Solicitor motivated by financial gain struck off
By Nicola Laver
A solicitor with a long, unblemished career, was struck off for regulatory breaches motivated by financial gain
A solicitor with a long, unblemished career, was struck off for regulatory breaches motivated by financial gain.
Vincent O’Neil was a partner at Town and Country Property Lawyers in 2014 when he agreed to buy a property from a family member, who was also a client, in relation to a related transaction.
However, he failed to complete the purchase and discharge a mortgage – but failed to tell the client.
O’Neil then continued acting on behalf of that client and another in a linked purchase, knowing a conflict had arisen or that there was a significant risk of conflict.
He had also failed to disclose that the balance of the purchase monies for the linked property purchase would not be coming from the earlier sale.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) said O’Neil’s motivation was to gain financially from the transactions, although he tried to justify his actions.
He was also found to have acted dishonestly, including sending a misleading certificate of title to a lender client by one of the partners at his firm who had trusted him.
The SDT described O’Neil’s conduct as deliberate, calculated and with “blatant self-interest”; and he had shown no real insight or remorse.
“He should have known that it was absolutely sacrosanct that solicitors did not take advantage of clients or dishonestly mislead a colleague for their own personal financial gain,” the SDT said.
It ordered O‘Neil to be struck off the roll and he was also ordered to pay £11,081.00 in costs.