Solicitor Gerald Kean ‘shocked’ by misconduct finding

Solicitor has 21 days in which he may appeal the decision

Tribunal recommended  Mr Kean be fined €20,000 after it found there was misconduct on his part. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Tribunal recommended Mr Kean be fined €20,000 after it found there was misconduct on his part. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 


Solicitor Gerald Kean has said he is “shocked” after the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal made a finding of misconduct against him.

The tribunal recommended that Mr Kean be fined €20,000 after it found there was misconduct on his part in respect of three allegations made by a former client. The tribunal found there was no misconduct in relation to a further three allegations. The fine is subject to approval by the High Court.

Mr Kean, who has 21 days in which he may appeal the tribunal’s decision, said he was shocked by it. “I will never accept the findings, and I have received legal advice to appeal the decision,” he added.

The allegations against Mr Kean were made by Christopher O’Neill, Drumsna, Co Leitrim. In three days of hearings between November 2013 and February this year, the tribunal heard that the case stemmed from litigation brought against Mr O’Neill by Ballycotton Marine Services Ltd in 2005.

Repairs on boat
Mr O’Neill had been unhappy with repairs carried out on a boat he owned and, with a view to taking legal action, sought analysis from Ballycotton Marine Services. However, its engineer would not testify and when Mr O’Neill received an invoice for the report, he refused to pay, citing breach of contract.

After the surveyors initiated legal action to pursue the fee, Mr O’Neill claimed he instructed Mr Kean to represent him and was told by the solicitor that “everything was in hand”. However, he lost the case and received a summary judgment in the post instructing him to pay €1,067.

Mr O’Neill alleged Mr Kean knowingly misled him into believing a notice to defend the civil summons had been submitted, that he failed to lodge an appeal against a decree and that he knowingly led Mr O’Neill into believing an appeal had been lodged. The tribunal found there was misconduct in respect of those three claims.

The tribunal made no finding of misconduct on three other allegations. Previously, the tribunal had found there was no prima facie case of misconduct for Mr Kean to answer in relation to a further 11 allegations.