A lawyer who dodged £650 of train fares has been struck off the roll.

Between July 2017 and October 2017, NQ solicitor Adam Kemeny avoided paying £650 in fares to commute from his home in east London to Morrisons Solicitors in Redhill, Surrey. Kemeny realised that he could leave the station by a rear exit without "tapping out" with his Oyster card and skip the cost of around £11 for the journey. He also dodged paying some of his return fares which cost around £6.

A ticket inspector stopped Kemeny in October 2017. When he examined the history of the lightly-used Oyster card, the inspector realised that the Kemeny had failed to tap out on a regular basis. Following an investigation, Govia, the rail company, calculated that £650 in outstanding fares were owed. Kemeny paid a settlement sum to Govia and reported himself to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. He was fired from his job as a Corporate Solicitor at Morrisons Solicitors.

Artful dodger
An artful dodger fails to tap out with his oyster card

 

Kemeny appeared at a hearing before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in December 2018. He said that he was "deeply ashamed" and "remorseful" for his "total lapse in judgment". In mitigation Kemeny stated that "the non-payment was committed at a time of great financial hardship". However, the Tribunal found that he was earning £38,000 a year and, on review of Kemeny's bank accounts concluded that the lawyer "was clearly not short of cash" during the three month period of his fare-dodging.

The tribunal found Kemeny had acted dishonestly, struck him off the roll, and ordered that he pay £3,000 in costs. 

Kemeny is not the first lawyer to be busted skipping through a barrier

Neither Kemeny or Morrisons Solicitors responded to a request for comment.
 

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Comments

Anonymous 01 February 19 09:21

Can't help but feel slightly sorry for him.  Many of us will appreciate that that there are rotten apples in the profession getting away with far more nefarious activities.  This strikes me as "don't be a bad boy again - now off home with you" territory.

FmrCityLawFirmWorker 01 February 19 10:06

38K traineeship in Redhill. Not bad!

Not getting advice from your litigation-focused mates before turning up to your Tribunal hearing. Poor show. 

This is not just an "oops I forgot a couple of times" issue. Suspect cases like this drove the reform of the Redhill station and introduction of ticket barriers! 

Agree he should not have been struck off though...Anyone know what happened to the banker who was caught out doing something similar a couple of years ago?

Anonymous 01 February 19 10:18

Can't see any excuse for this, it's dishonesty under the code of conduct, whatever he was being paid. Very different to the other strike off recently despite whistleblowing.

I think the FCA banned the banker from working in FS.. Believe a barrister was caught doing this too, disbarred in 2016.

Plonymous 01 February 19 10:18

Absolutely appropriate to strike off someone who is essentially no different from a common thief.  I assume those sympathetic posters above are not members of the profession.  Indeed it was good he was struck off early before he could mature into one of those involved in "more nefarious activities".

PoFaced 01 February 19 10:23

Nah, sorry. There may be worse getting away with worse but this is deliberate theft/fraud over a sustained period. It's petty stuff but it displays a moral flexibility you shouldn't have in the profession. There are definite minor infractions which I think could be overlooked, and I'm sure we can all argue over which ones should and shouldn't fall on which side of the line (I reckon a speeding ticket or a parking fine is OK, for example, or a bit of spliff) but this looks like someone who just said "bollocks, I can get away with it" which is not the attitude you want in someone deciding how much to bill his clients, whether to 'fess up to errors, etc.

Anonymous 01 February 19 11:06

Completely agree strike-off was appropriate here. Blatant, calculated dishonesty over a long period. 

Anon 01 February 19 14:28

If he pleaded significant financial hardship but his bank statements showed this was not true, isn’t this also an issue?  

This was a calculated and repeated series of deliberate dishonest acts.   

He had to be struck off I’m afraid.   

Tim L 02 February 19 04:29

You can understand his rationale: “if I save £650 this month, I can easily buy some mint imperials”.  A tough result but he was in a very difficult position. 

Anonymous 05 February 19 17:40

A public thrashing delivered by a couple of train drivers would have been a fairer punishment and less harsh.

if that upsets the snowflakes, then suspension would have been better, say a year max.