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SLOW MOTION ON CROOKED LAWYERS : Law Society Chiefs unable to sniff out rogue solicitor, fail to serve court order banning him from targeting new victims

02 Nov

Law Society fails to sniff out rogue lawyerIn the bag ? ‘Sniffer dogs may have a better chance of catching John O’Donnell than Law Society’s Elaine Motion’. A ROGUE SOLICITOR remains at large in Scotland today after Law Society Chiefs claim they could not find him to serve a court order banning him from working as a solicitor. The lawyer in question, John G O’Donnell, who was suspended, then had his practising certificate removed after the media focussed on his trail of destruction which includes many ruined clients, is, according to the Law Society of Scotland “nowhere to be seen”, thus preventing the incompetent regulator from serving a court order obtain earlier in October at Scotland’s Court of Session.

The recent case in Scotland’s Court of Session, where the Law Society sought an Interim Interdict preventing O’Donnell posing as a solicitor, only came about after further investigations by the Sunday Mail newspaper, who revealed that O’Donnell had been receiving clients desperately in need of legal assistance from ‘wannabe lawyers’ working for Hamilton Citizens Advice Bureau.

The Sunday Mail revealed that O’Donnell had targeted an elderly widow, Elizabeth Campbell, who produced evidence that one of Hamilton CAB’s In Court advisers had sent her to O’Donnell, sending a handwritten note he hoped the crooked lawyer would be able to scoop £3000 from his latest victim. Diary of Injustice reported on the case, here : Crooked lawyer impersonates DEAD COLLEAGUE to lure clients in fraud scam as Law Society of Scotland’s self regulation of solicitors fails yet again

QC Elaine Motion of Balfour & Manson, has represented the Law Society against John O’Donnell at hearings before the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal and now at the Court of Session, yet years have gone by, and the numbers of victims of O’Donnell increased markedly, without any substantive action on the part of regulators or Scotland’s Crown Office to go after O’Donnell to end his reign of terror over Scots who take him on, unknowingly. In an earlier attempt to get O’Donnell off the hook, and limit media coverage of the serial conman, legal representatives of O’Donnell tried to broker a deal at a Law Society Christmas party in 2009.

A ‘sanitised‘account’ of the meeting between Elaine Motion & Steven Gold, is reported in the Tribunal’s hearing into one of the complaints against O’Donnell, which is published online here Council of the Law Society of Scotland v John G O’Donnell and reprinted below to give a flavour of the double dealing behind the closed doors world of self regulation of Scottish solicitors :

Law Society of ScotlandLaw Society’s 2009 Christmas party was scene of deal to save O’Donnell from disciplinary moves. Page three of the Council of the Law Society of Scotland v John G O’Donnell states : “In December 2009, Elaine Motion and Steven Gold, Solicitor were both at a Law Society’s Christmas Drinks Party. They were involved in a conversation with regard to the health and welfare of the Respondent. Mr Gold made representations on behalf of the Respondent to Elaine Motion to the effect that it would be humane and advantageous to everyone involved if a way could be found to allow the Respondent to hand in his practising certificate without having to undergo the ordeal and expense of an appearance before the Tribunal. Elaine Motion was sympathetic to the representations but indicated that she would require to discuss matters with the Law Society of Scotland who would make the decision. There was no undertaking given at this meeting to Steven Gold that if the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal struck the Respondent’s name from the Roll of Solicitors in Scotland no further Complaints would be brought against the Respondent and no undertaking was given that if the Respondent accepted pleas of guilty to the outstanding Complaint, no further proceedings would be brought against him.”

Commenting on the latest development in the O’Donnell saga, a legal insider told Diary of Injustice this afternoon he felt the case was being handed very poorly by the Law Society, who could have gone after O’Donnell “years ago” to stop his trail of destroyed clients.

He compared the latest efforts made by the Law Society of Scotland to stop O’Donnell working as a solicitor, as “a joke”, going onto say “The Law Society clearly don’t want to find him to quickly. Perhaps they might have a better chance if they call out some sniffer dogs.”

If you know where rogue solicitor John G O’Donnell is, tell us via scottishlawreporters@gmail.com and the information will be passed on to the appropriate channels.

The Sunday Mail has reported on the new developments :

Banned lawyer faces new court date - Sunday Mail Oct 28 2012BANNED LAWYER FACES NEW COURT DATE

A rogue lawyer is being hunted by watchdogs so they can tell him he’s banned – again.

John O’Donnell, 62, has been accused of breaching a ban on working as a solicitor following a Sunday Mail probe.

The Law Society of Scotland’s Elaine Motion is trying to take him to court but does not know where he is.

O’Donnell has been repeatedly rapped for professional misconduct and negligence.

The Law Society won an interim interdict at the Court of Session Edinburgh three years ago, banning him from posing as a solicitor. Six Months ago, we revealed that O’Donnell was allegedly using another lawyer’s identity to beat the ban.

That prompted the Law Society to take action against him for flouting the interdict.

One source said : “The problem is that he’s nowhere to be seen and does not appear keen to make himself available.”

The Law Society said : “John O’Donnell does not hold a current practising certificate and therefore cannot practise as a solicitor in Scotland.

“The Law Society applied to the court to serve notice – by way of an advertisement in the press – of an alleged breach of an interim interdict.”

“The Interim Interdict included an order preventing Mr O’Donnell from holding himself out as entitled by law to practise as a solicitor.”

“The application to service a notice was granted by the court on October 16”

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