"Nobody will notice."
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has struck off a lawyer who falsified documents by using Tipp-Ex to change the dates.
Nicholas Gething was an experienced property lawyer at Howell Jones who had to register legal charges at Companies House for two property transactions. But he made errors on the application forms and missed the 21 day deadline.
As a "quick fix", the property lawyer used Tipp-ex to re-date the documents. He submitted copies of the charges with the new dates, to make it appear that they had been delivered within the registration deadline. The property lawyer was eventually rumbled and Howell Jones referred him to the SRA.
Gething told the tribunal that he was "embarrassed" for getting into this position and acknowledged, on reflection, that his conduct was wrong. But he said he had believed at the time that his actions were "common practice", as he claimed that colleagues had told him during his career that changing the dates on documents was "one way of dealing with late applications".
The tribunal found that Gething had shown "some degree of insight during the hearing" but "still did not appear to grasp the gravity of his actions". The SDT said it was "absolutely sacrosanct" that solicitors did not mislead third parties who relied on the integrity of documents, and also criticised Gething for concealing the cover-up from his client and the mortgage lenders.
Gething's "deliberate" actions had been "dishonest", said the SDT. He was struck off the roll and ordered to pay costs of £5,700. The judgment can be read in full, here.
This is not the first case of someone in the legal profession using correction fluid in a desperate act of deception.