A solicitor struck off for defrauding clients has been caught apparently plagiarising the work of other lawyers.
As a solicitor at his firm De Vita Platt, 35-year-old Chris Platt bullied a trainee into helping him overcharge clients. In one instance he and De Vita Platt's other partner, Jonathan de Vita, invoiced a client £52,000 for work valued at £2,500. Their actions resulted in the firm's closure and all three lawyers getting struck off.
Platt is now standing trial at York Crown Court alongside De Vita, De Vita's wife and several others in connection with alleged frauds they perpetrated at other law companies they ran. After an investigation by trading standards, Platt and De Vita have been accused of being "knowingly a party" to fraudulent business activity in which they convinced elderly victims they could help them avoid care home fees.
But Platt apparently didn't let the scrutiny put him off his stride. He has popped up at Stallard Kaine, a health and safety consultancy, contributing posts on its website. Paradoxically, the man who treated his HR obligations towards one of his own employees so casually his schemes got her struck off is billed as Stallard Kaine’s HR Advisor.
Perhaps because he is so time-poor due to his court engagements, Platt's post about restrictive covenants is almost a word-for-word replica of other solicitors' work. The first paragraphs appear to have been lifted from a blog posted in July 2017 by Omar Khalil, the Head of Legal at EEF, a representative body for UK manufacturers. The remainder duplicates an advice paper produced by Linklaters in 2014.
Stallard Kaine and, via it, Platt, failed to reply to requests for comment. After being contacted by RollOnFriday, the company quickly and quietly removed Platt's crowdsourced article from its site:
Platt is not the first solicitor to be caught impersonating a magpie. Even Wombles have, fittingly, got involved. However he is the first for whom it's not the most embarrassing thing they've ever done.
For those who want a refresher on restrictive covenants, here's Platt's article and, alongside it, his sources: