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Former solicitor stole a total of €63,000 from client

February 22nd, 2024 5:15 PM

By Southern Star Team

The period of detention for 10 men arrested in West Cork last Thursday has been extended by 48 hours.

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A FORMER solicitor who was struck off by the Law Society over a decade ago has received a fully-suspended sentence after he pleaded guilty to the theft of €63,000 from a business client.

The offence committed by Alex Gibbons (60) occurred in 2008. Mr Gibbons, who lives in Bandon, operated out of Gibbons and Co Solicitors in Kent Street in Clonakility before his practising certificate was suspended in 2011. He was formally struck off the Law Society register the following year.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard evidence in the case from Dt Garda Daniel Lordan. He told Judge Colin Daly that Mr Gibbons transferred funds from a client account into his own personal account in 2008. He repaid the account of the construction company in full, three years later.

However, the offence subsequently emerged as the funds should have been sent to Revenue for stamp duty. The stamp duty was paid after the funds were returned to the client account.

Dt Garda Lordan told the court that Mr Gibbons was without previous convictions.

Defence barrister Tom Creed, SC, said that the married father-of-three had saved the State the expense of a difficult trial given the ‘complexity of documentary evidence’ in the case. He said his client was formally struck off the Law Society Register in June 2012.

‘Mr Gibbons has paid a huge penalty by losing his profession and being struck off, not just suffering the indignity of it, but also losing his profession. That is a significant penalty in itself for Mr Gibbons. He brought the misfortune on himself and caused his own downfall.’

Mr Creed made a plea for leniency in the case. He added that his client was caring for his very elderly father. Judge Daly said that Mr Gibbons was in a position of enormous trust and professional responsibility.

‘This was a most egregious breach. He took €63,000 from the company’s client account and transferred it to his personal account.’

However, he acknowledged the value of the plea in the case and the loss of ‘30 years of good (professional) standing’ by Mr Gibbons.

He said that he was cognisant that the criminal prosecution would have impacted, not only Mr Gibbons, but on family. He opted to suspend the sentence in its entirety.

‘You come before the court with previous good character and in the exceptional circumstances of the case I am satisfied to suspend the three years in full.’

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