A lawyer has lost his final appeal against a decision of the Disciplinary Committee of the Law Association to find him guilty of professional misconduct.
Delivering a judgment yesterday, the United Kingdom-based Privy Council dismissed all the grounds raised by attorney Shaheed Hosein in his appeal. Hosein was brought before the committee over his dealing with a former client, Nazreen Ali.
In 2009, Ali’s husband Nigel was killed in a car accident involving another vehicle and Ali retained Hosein to pursue compensation from the insurer of the other driver.
Hosein was initially seeking $657,400 in compensation on Ali’s behalf and on January 24, 2011, the other driver’s insurer Guardian General Insurance Company Ltd increased its offer to $529,900. Almost a week later, the company slightly increased its settlement offer to $535,000.
Ali claimed that when Hosein approached her to approve the final settlement, he presented correspondence, purportedly from the insurer, with settlement offers of $406,598.32 and $439,275. Ali then contacted the insurer and was told of the higher offers. She ended her arrangement with Hosein and settled the issue directly with the insurer.
The insurer then made a complaint of professional misconduct against Hosein for allegedly forging its correspondence in a bid to defraud Ali.
During hearings before the committee, Hosein produced a letter on his professional-headed notepaper, which showed the correct settlement figure.
He claimed that the document was the one he showed Ali and alleged that Ali had fabricated the letters to avoid paying a 20 per cent commission to a person, who had put her on to him.
The committee rejected Hosein’s defence and found him guilty of professional misconduct. As the committee was of the view that the infraction was severe enough to warrant suspension or being struck from the roll of attorneys, it forwarded its findings to the Chief Justice and the Attorney General.
Hosein’s challenge before the Court of Appeal was rejected leading to the final appeal.In the judgment, Lady Mary Arden ruled that the committee had sufficient grounds to reject Hosein’s correspondence.
“It had not been disclosed at the appropriate time. There was no explanation as to where it came from,” Lady Arden said.
Lady Arden also dismissed Hosein’s complaints over the findings of fact made by the committee based on the evidence before it as she noted that there was no basis to come to a different conclusion.