Auckland lawyer struck off

by NZ Lawyer07 Apr 2016
Auckland lawyer Bruce Harvey Reid had been struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal.

Reid admitted to two charges of misconduct and one charge of unsatisfactory conduct back in February and the tribunal had made an interim suspension order against him.

According to a report by the Law Society, the first charge of misconduct stemmed from a property sale in which Reid acted as the solicitor for the trustees.  He misappropriated $41,920 and created a false settlement statement to disguise the misappropriation.

The second charge related to a misappropriation of $145,836 for an estate of which he was appointed executor.  Funds were transferred into his trust account for his personal use.

The unsatisfactory conduct charge was for a misappropriation of $62,700 from the same estate, though 19 separate payments by way of temporary advances made to him without having advised the executors to obtain legal advice.  It was found to be in breach of the Trust Account Regulations.

“It is fundamental that the public must be able to trust their lawyers to be completely honest in handling their money,” said NZ Law Society president Chris Moore.

“There is absolutely no way that misappropriation of a client's money can be excused.  There is no room in the legal profession for anyone who abuses the trust of their client.”

Reid appeared at the hearing and apologies to his clients, and the profession.

According to the Law Society, he consented to being struck off.

He was ordered to pay the maximum compensation of $25,000 in respect of each charge and $8,402 to the Law Society to reimburse hearing costs.