Disgraceful and dishonourable conduct has gotten a Wellington lawyer struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors.
Ian David Hay was struck off on 17 April for his actions, which are related to his guarantee of a $200,000 loan from the complainant to a company the former lawyer was associated with. The money was supposed to be invested in a Queenstown development, but Hay used most of the funds to pay off his own debts.
Hay was found guilty by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal of breaching conduct and client care standards and was struck off despite his defence counsel arguing that a censure and imposing of restrictions on his practice were more appropriate. He had been a lawyer for 32 years.
“Terms such as ‘outrageous’, ‘disgraceful’, ‘dishonourable’ and ‘blatant obfuscation’ leave no doubt as to the impact of his actions on the complainant and also on the reputation of the legal profession,” said Kathryn Beck, New Zealand Law Society president.
“The consequences of his actions to the complainant have been extremely grave. She obtained a judgment against Mr Hay for $227, 293.15. However, none of this money was repaid to her because Mr Hay was bankrupted,” Beck said.
In addition to being declared bankrupt, Hay has had three previous disciplinary findings against him, the Law Society said. He has since come out of bankruptcy.
He has been ordered to pay the complainant $25,000, the maximum the tribunal can award. He has also been ordered to pay the Law Society $33,095.74 in costs. The Law Society, as the legal profession’s regulator, will pay the $14,922 costs of the tribunal.