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Complainant Name:
Mrs Susan Neville

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Bognor Regis Observer

Complaint:

Mrs Susan Neville of Bognor Regis complained that the headline and opening paragraph to an article reporting the findings of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal at which she had been struck off for improperly using clients' funds referred misleadingly to the figure of 445,000. The complainant made clear that the client account had not been withdrawn by this amount at any one time. She was concerned that the article implied that this amount of money was missing, which was not the case.

Resolution:

The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following clarification:

Susan Neville, the solicitor and a former partner in the Neville & Jones Partnership of Bognor Regis, who was struck off for improperly using clients' funds, has asked the Observer to publish this correction to the previous article to clarify the total amount of money concerned.

The total mentioned in our article headlined "Solicitor struck off after 445,000 cash ‘mystery'" was reached by adding together the shortages - cited in the Solicitor Regulation Authority tribunal report - in the client account at different dates. We would like to clarify and accept that the client account was not short of 445,000 at any point. The largest shortage cited in the report was 143,806 on January 31, 2005, and the most recent amount was 35,818.32, on August 31, 2006.

To clarify, the Solicitor Regulation Authority tribunal report reads: "The investigating officer identified a number of cash shortages on client account had existed at different times. He reported that from January 8, 2004 ,to November 8, 2004, there was a shortage of 10,800; as at November 8, 2004, there was a shortage of 17,522.53; as at November 9, 2004, the shortage was 31,810.31; as at November 10, 2004, there was a shortage of 40,806.31; as at November 11, 2004 the shortage was 19,143.68; as at January 31, 2005, there was a shortage of 143,806.06; as at October 20, 2005 the shortage was 5,138.22; from October 20, 2005, to November 24, 2005, there was a shortage of 141,018.01 and as at August 31, 2006, there was a shortage of 35,818.32." These figures demonstrate the chaotic state of the accounts.

We are happy to clarify the position.

Report: 79



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