Solicitor who left Harvester without paying is struck off

Harvester: Solicitor left her passport behind

A criminal defence solicitor convicted of failing to pay a combined £104.38 at a Harvester restaurant and to a Just Eat delivery driver has been struck off.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) said Kerry Ann Stevens committed the two offences almost a year apart, so this was not an isolated incident.

Ms Stevens, who qualified in 2016, did not engage with the tribunal or attend the hearing.

In February 2020, she ate at the Harvester restaurant in Rayleigh, Essex with her boyfriend. He then left the restaurant and, when it came to paying the £60.91 bill, she said she could not because he had her bank card.

Ms Stevens said she would return to settle the bill, providing her telephone number and leaving her passport. She did not do this, however, despite calls from the restaurant’s manager, and did not collect her passport.

The restaurant reported her to the police. The SDT said: “Ms Stevens told the police that the value of what she had left behind (presumably a reference to the passport) exceeded what she owed.”

In January 2021, Ms Stevens ordered food worth £43.47 from Essex Grill via Just Eat. She told the delivery driver that she had paid for it when placing the order and closed the door while he sought to confirm this.

When Essex Grill told him that the bill was due to be paid on delivery, the driver knocked on her door for several minutes but she did not open it. The cost of the food order was taken out of the driver’s wages.

The SDT said Ms Stevens told the police that she believed her boyfriend had paid when placing the order online.

In March 2022, Suffolk Magistrates’ Court convicted her of making a false representation and a false statement contrary to sections 1 and 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.

She was fined £440 and ordered to pay £100 compensation for each offence, plus £775 costs and a victim surcharge of £88.

The SDT said: “In assessing culpability, the tribunal found that the motivation was personal financial gain. The offences were premediated and deliberate. Ms Stevens had complete culpability for these matters, as reflected in her convictions.”

The usual sanction for dishonesty was a strike-off and there were no exceptional circumstances here to do otherwise. The SDT struck her off and ordered her to pay costs of £4,500.

    Readers Comments

  • Juliet Hall says:

    Ms Stevens arrogance shines through. Clearly her passport was of no monetary value to The Harvester staff. The unfortunate delivery driver copped for her food bill. She has lost her extremely well paid and interesting job for a tiny percentage of her salary. Crass stupidity and arrogance.

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