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Donegal solicitor agrees to cease practising

The High Court, Dublin

The High Court, Dublin

Robert Sweeney, a solicitor based at High Road, Letterkenny has given an undertaking at the High Court not to practise law.

A number of matters relating to his practice were due to be heard before the High Court last Thursday, the Irish Times reports.

He had already been investigated by the Law Society and a new investigation found there was “no control or accountability over money going into his office”, the paper said.

There had been more than 200 complaints against him, mostly from financial institutions in relation to failure to comply with solicitors’ undertakings.

Mr Sweeney had previously been suspended and his client accounts frozen following an investigation in June 2012. It emerged that he did not have 151 title deeds for property transactions stamped in time for Revenue deadlines, which meant interest and penalties accrued.

Following discussions between his lawyer and the Law Society, Mr Sweeney agreed not to seek to obtain a practising certificate and not to practice as a solicitor, the High Court heard on Thursday.

The court also heard that the had failed to discharge the €77,000 deficit in his client account, despite having promised to do so.

In addition, a second Law Society investigation which took place last November revealed: a further 38 unstamped deeds, worth around €91,000 in unpaid stamp duty; VAT and income tax arrears of €65,000; and a client deficit of c. €27,000.

The fact Mr Sweeney was unable to account for €25,000 of client money gave rise for serious concern, the Law Society’s investigation accountant said.

The Law Society’s regulation of practice committee recommended to the High Court that Mr Sweeney’s suspension should continue and the matters be referred to a disciplinary tribunal.

 

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