Solicitor could face jail in client fund row
A SOLICITOR allegedly involved in an "elaborate charade" to misappropriate his clients' court settlement funds may face jail for not filing a statement of means.
Michael J Murphy, formerly practising as MJ Murphy and Co, Lower Salthill, Galway, was already facing striking-off proceedings after he was found guilty of professional misconduct over the alleged use of client monies for his own use.
Yesterday, the High Court heard the Law Society was prepared to bring attachment and committal to prison proceedings against him after he failed to comply with an undertaking to provide an affidavit containing a statement of his means.
Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns was given a letter from Mr Murphy stating he would be unable to attend court yesterday because he had a hospital appointment.
Paul Anthony McDermott, for the Law Society, said Mr Murphy was to have had the affidavit filed by January 18.
The judge said he was unimpressed by the last-minute delay and he would direct that he furnish evidence of the appointment. He heard the society would, in the meantime, move to begin attachment and committal proceedings next week.
Mr McDermott said it could only be described as an "elaborate charade'' and the tribunal had found he "rode roughshod" over the regulations.
The Law Society wanted a statement of means before any strike-off order was made because it needed to know what means he had available to pay compensation to the clients.