Jersey lawyer removed from the roll of solicitors of the Royal Court for following fraud and Money Laundering conviction
The Respondent, Kevin Manning, is a solicitor (écrivain) of the Royal Court. On 12th December, 2018, he was sentenced to a total of 3½ years imprisonment in respect of
- twenty counts of fraudulent conversion,
- one count of fraudulent conversion by a trustee and
- one count of failing to comply with the requirements of the Money Laundering (Jersey) Order 2008.
Following the above the Attorney General sought for an order that the Respondent is removed from the roll of solicitors of the Royal Court. The application was brought pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of the Court, which is expressly preserved by Article 32 of the Law Society of Jersey Law 2005. At the end of the hearing on 31st July 2019 the Court granted the Attorney General’s application.
Background to the offending
The Respondent has been a sole practitioner as an écrivain since 1993. His practice consisted largely of conveyancing and non-contentious matters. In particular, he managed a number of estates and curatorships. Each curatorship had a client account specific to the particular curatorship.
It appears that his record and account keeping was poor and as a result there came a time when his client account was deficient. He was unable to meet payments due from the client account on behalf of various clients. As a result he resorted to taking money from specific curatorship accounts, which he controlled, in order to meet the shortfall on general client account or other specific client accounts.
He pleaded guilty to twenty one such payments between 2008 and 2010. Twenty of these were from specific curatorship accounts and one was from a specific client account of a trust of which he was trustee.
According to the Crown, the total amount involved came to £94,189 but the defence submitted before the Superior Number that the overall deficit was some £65,000. The Superior Number did not resolve this difference as it was agreed that the outcome would not affect the level of sentence. For the purposes of the present application, we were willing to proceed on the basis of a figure of £65,000 because it makes no difference to our decision whether the amount involved was £65,000 or £94,000.
The Respondent also pleaded guilty to one count of failing to keep accurate client records over a 6 year period in breach of the Money Laundering (Jersey) Order 2008, which amounted to an offence under Article 37 of the Proceeds of Crime (Jersey) Law 2008.
The matter was investigated by the Law Society and on 18th December, 2014, he was suspended by the Royal Court from practice and the Viscount was charged with taking possession of all the bank accounts relating to his practice. He was eventually charged in 2017.
On 23rd May, 2019, the Royal Court made a compensation order pursuant to the Criminal Justice (Compensation Orders) (Jersey) Law 1994. The Respondent’s only realisable asset was a pension fund worth £19,273.58. The Law Society has compensated the victims in full and the compensation order was to the effect that the Respondent pay the Law Society the £19,273.58 as part recompense for the £96,524.83 paid out by the Law Society to victims.
That is the background to the current application.
The court granted the Attorney General’s application and removed the Respondent from the roll of solicitors.
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