Richard Barnett may appeal striking off over "shameful" £4.86m unpaid loan dishonesty
Richard Barnett, the solicitor struck off by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) over a raft of allegations, including misusing a multi-million pound loan, says he is considering an appeal over the decision.
The 65 year old formerly of Merseyside-based Barnetts Solicitors also continues to deny accusations of dishonesty.
He also said he intends to continue giving legal advice but not practicing as a solicitor.
Richard Barnett said: “I deny any dishonesty, 150 per cent.
“I’m not the rogue and the vagabond they say I am. Can I still walk outside with my head up high? Absolutely. I don’t believe myself to be the person they said I am.
“With regards to an appeal, the question is, is it a principle that I want to prove my innocence, but then what would the good be if I won? I don’t intend to practice as a solicitor again anyway.
Mr Barnett says the decision to strike him off came as a shock. He continued: “On the day of the tribunal, we thought we’d won, before the decision had been given.
“We thought we’d done enough to win but the tribunal took a different view.
“It’s staggering there is a system in place where the panel is prepared to accept one side, without third party evidence.
“We couldn’t test what the prosecution was saying.
“How can a regulator take sides and interfere in a commercial contract between a lender and a borrower? Surely it should stand impartially.
“There was a dispute, but the regulator took sides without corroborating evidence.”
As well as being struck off, Richard Barnett was also asked to pay £346,000 by the SDT.
According to the 112 page judgement, he also led his firm to believe they could expect to receive £2 million in income from the fund which the decision notes they were “very unlikely to receive”.
Richard Barnett also admitted to acting for a client where their interests conflicted with his own, and in another case where the interests of two clients were in conflict with each other.
The second respondent in the case, Anthony Augustine Swift was suspended from practice for six months from 20th July and pay £61,000 in costs.
He added: “To quote Groucho Marx, do I want to be part of a club for whom I have no respect for?
“I have no faith in the regulator.
“I am no longer a solicitor, but I am a lawyer, and will give legal assistance to members of the public who need it – filling out court forms, or advising them on law.
“All the circumstances have contributed to produce what is a bad taste in the mouth.”
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) said: “These allegations were heard by a tribunal independent to us who came to their conclusion.
“Mr Barnett was able to make any representations.”