herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Kean loses appeal ... but won't pay €20k fine

Celebrity solicitor Gerald Kean has lost a High Court appeal against a finding of professional misconduct.

But the lawyer to the stars will not have to pay a €20,000 fine recommended by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

Last May, it recommended Mr Kean be fined €20,000 for misconduct following complaints by a former client over services rendered.

The SDT found misconduct in relation to three allegations but not in relation to several others. The fine imposed on Mr Kean was subject to the approval of the High Court.

misconduct

This morning, High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns upheld the findings of the Tribunal in respect of the misconduct, but said that in the circumstances he did not propose to impose the fine.

Mr Kean did not attend court for the brief hearing.

"The finding of misconduct will undoubtedly be sorely felt by the applicant, particularly as he is an extremely well-known solicitor," said Judge Kearns in his 20-page written ruling.

"This case does not rank with the most serious cases of misconduct to come before the Court, though misconduct it undoubtedly was," he added.

"As that finding is not disturbed, I believe the conclusion to that effect arrived at by the court will be a harsh enough penalty in itself."

Mr Kean disputed all findings and denied misconduct.

Crane driver Christopher O'Neill, from Drumsna in Leitrim, complained to the SDT that Mr Kean knowingly misled him into believing that the solicitor had put in a defence to a District Court debt case against him.

UNHAPPY

That case arose because Mr O'Neill was unhappy with repairs carried out on a motor yacht he owned.

Judge Kearns said that there was sufficient evidence to enable the Tribunal to find, as it did, that the evidence, were such as to comprehensively demonstrate that Mr Kean "in effect tried to mislead his own client in a misguided attempt to cover up what initially was an omission which, addressed in a proper way, would not have led to a finding of professional misconduct".

hnews@herald.ie

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