find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
WA lawyers banned for stealing from clients

WA lawyers banned for stealing from clients

Two lawyers in WA were struck off on the same day for making unauthorised withdrawals from their clients’ trust accounts.

A full bench of the Supreme Court of WA found Geoffrey Paul Dutton and Simon Victor Smith guilty of professional misconduct on 4 December and ordered that both lawyers be removed from the roll of practitioners.

Dutton admitted to regularly stealing client money held in trust and failing to properly maintain his trust accounts over a five-year period.

According to the judgment, Dutton withdrew tens of thousands of dollars from trust accounts between July 2007 and March 2010. He also repeatedly neglected to carry out the instructions of his clients or take steps to progress their matters, which had serious consequences for some of his clients.

“The practitioner’s conduct undermines his trustworthiness and leads inevitably to the conclusion that he cannot be trusted to deal fairly within the system in which he practises,” the judgment stated.

On the same day, the Supreme Court of WA banned Simon Victor Smith, a Perth-based sole practitioner, from practising in the state.

Smith admitted to stealing more than $30,000 of client funds held in trust over a seven-month period.

The court acknowledged that Smith had made reparation of the funds misappropriated, and that the breakdown of his marriage may have contributed to his misconduct.

However, the judges stated that the impact of his personal circumstances should not override the court’s obligation to protect the public’s interest in the honesty and integrity of practitioners.

“Striking the practitioner off the roll of practitioners is required to protect the public,” the judgment stated.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

WA lawyers banned for stealing from clients
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...