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Jul 2007

 

 

Supplement to Rogue Traders case

 

 

Fraud by a convicted criminal and a struck off solicitor unofficially readmitted to the profession with the full knowledge of the Law Society and at least two of its member firms.

 

Additions, updates and diary notes feature in Addenda, below. 2007

 

Use Ctrl+F to search this page.

 

(1.) Early in 1994 an acquaintance, Michael Turner of 65 Oldfield Road, Hampton, Middlesex (since fled to Cyprus), promoted to me a business proposition. I had known Turner some five years earlier as he had been a customer of my previous small business, being a neighbour of one of its premises. At the time of my knowing him, he was ostensibly a successful businessman who usually paid his bills on time. I had no reason to regard him with more than usual suspicion.

 

(2.) I examined the proposition carefully and decided that it had some merit, agreeing to explore matters further prior to engaging in any business activities with him. It involved the marketing of portable steam cleaning machines, which agreed with my concerns about the environment in general. He explained that his financial situation was lean due to having lost a sizeable sum to a property scam that had been facilitated by an American law firm. He also explained that his solicitors in England were in the process of securing compensation to the order of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds from the American firm, which had admitted liability. Given his previous ostensible financial stability I took on face value his assertions. He suggested a partnership to market the machines, but as I had recently dissolved a family partnership of some twenty years' standing, and not wishing to enter into another, I suggested that a limited company might be more appropriate, but that I would seek advice.

 

(3.) My own family solicitors, Dixon Ward, were a small local firm but I did seek from them a preliminary, general conversation about entering into any form of business with which I was not familiar, and with someone else about whom I knew little or nothing. They explained in outline the differences between partnerships and companies but that I would need to retain specialist lawyers for a new business venture who would conduct due diligence to ensure that my interests were best served by any new venture.  As I and several generations of my family had used DW primarily for family and property matters I decided to leave such matters to them and seek specialist lawyers for the purposes of the proposed venture.

 

(4.) I insisted, therefore, that suitable commercial solicitors should be retained before pursuing Turner's proposition any further as it was my money that was to seed the venture. Turner suggested his solicitors as they were eminently suited to the purpose and well qualified in that regard. Unsure of the processes involved, I sought advice from my bank - Lloyds - whose Business banking Manager, Pat Fitzgerald, gave me a copy of the bank's Small Business Guide which confirmed that retaining suitable solicitors was a crucial requirement to setting up a limited company. Turner said he would brief them as to our needs and he arranged a meeting accordingly.

 

(5.) I was presented to Daultrey as Turner's prospective business associate/partner and was given Daultrey's business card featuring his name only, and the name and address of the practice. The conversation focused primarily on Turner's affairs. I had accepted Turner's assurance that Daultrey had been briefed on our requirements, and that the purpose of our meeting was to engage him and the practice of Francis Read as solicitors to ourselves and the proposed limited company.

 

(6.) I had been impressed with Francis Read's and Daultrey's offices and their location in Mayfair and I felt satisfied that a competent firm of commercial solicitors had been engaged according to our requirements. I had not seen a need to ask for Daultrey's practicing certificate or to enquire about his credentials as I accepted his ostensible authority and status as admitted solicitor with suitable qualifications, given the foregoing. (At this time the solicitor's firm that I retained omitted to tell me that the solicitor in their employ, whom I had retained, had in fact been struck off for lying to clients and stealing their money. He, in turn, omitted to tell me that the man who had promoted the business to me - their client - was also a convicted criminal who had served time for fraud. At once they had a hidden agenda, had concealed their credentials from me, and had created an atmosphere of trust that was ultimately to prove my downfall, which is why I now have such utter contempt for the solicitors' profession as a whole. The bent solicitor and the fraudster also had waiting in the wings a dodgy liquidator who even broke the law in winding up the company that had caused all my woes. Clearly it was the solicitors who owed me a duty of care and failed miserably in that regard. The regulators, though, which include the DTI, the Law Society and the ICAEW all could hardly have cared less, despite the overwhelming evidence in favour of my claims.) See: Hilton -v- Barker Booth & Eastwood

 

(7.) There remained the matter of engaging a firm of auditors and, again, Turner suggested a meeting with his business accountants, Body Dubois of Esher, Surrey. At the consequently arranged meeting I met Christopher Body with whom we had lengthy discussions. I explained to Body that it would be I who entirely funded the proposed venture initially as I had some savings and the proceeds from the recent sale of my home. I also explained that Turner would be matching my input in the near future from the compensation being secured by the solicitors, Daultrey at the firm of Francis Read. Body agreed to act as auditors to the proposed venture which was, I believed at this time, to be formed by the previously engaged solicitors.

 

(8.) I was mildly surprised to discover several weeks later that Body Dubois had formed the proposed company, Jetstream Marketing Limited (JML) from a stock company, Glossyville Limited. I was also surprised to note that the issued share capital was one share each only to Turner and me, and that the company was possessed of only one hundred shares in total. I had previously explained to Body that I had assets and capital in excess of eighty thousand pounds and that I was prepared to invest substantially in the company, given the match funding becoming available from Turner. Turner assured me that the situation was standard practice, and that Daultrey had performed appropriate due diligence. At this time I knew little about the various forms and structure of limited companies and I had no grounds for suspecting Turner's credibility, nor that of his professional associates.

 

(9.) It was agreed, however, that Lloyds would be as suitable a bank as any and another meeting was arranged with Pat Fitzgerald, this time with Turner also present. Mr Fitzgerald agreed to open a business account for JML, but requested copies of the Memorandum and Articles of association. I explained that I would initially inject some twenty thousand pounds into JML's account to meet start up costs and initial stock. Mr Fitzgerald asked whether that sum represented company start up capital and Turner answered that it was. An unsecured overdraft limit of fifteen thousand pounds was consequently and subsequently agreed.

 

(10.) It was, to my mind, my capital that purchased start up stock. Turner broached with me the matter of salaries, again affirming that his situation was improving considerably. In hindsight, I know myself to have been very naïve and trusting, but given the circumstances, and having managed to spot suspicious deals in the past, I had no reason to question matters at this time.

 

(11.) I agreed on modest salaries in the interim, as I knew that it would help Turner in his 'temporary' difficulties, and also that it would motivate him to perform in his duties as diligently as I would. It was now about May to June 1994.

 

(12.) The sales effort was beginning to produce promising signs, yet I was prepared for the company to make modest or zero profits in its first year, as do most new ventures. A public relations initiative also produced promising and productive enquiries from trade customers and the signs were that an interesting and potentially rewarding company could be built with effort and application. Just a few months later Turner claimed to have found a large potential customer in the distribution trade. It was a distribution company based in Park Royal called Park Royal International Distribution (PRID). Turner began negotiations with PRID, which expressed a serious interest in JML's range of products. By the final quarter of 1994 PRID had placed a comparatively modest order with JML. I quizzed Turner about PRID'S status and he assured me that he had studied their accounts, taken references from Dun and Bradstreet, and trade referees. He explained that he was confident of PRID's credibility.

 

(13.) At this time, JML had been trading modestly from Turner's and my home premises and was financially committed to no party other than me. A line of credit had been agreed with JML's major supplier, Micromax International Srl in Italy, but this had not been significantly exploited. Micromax and its affiliate, Simac, was at the time owned by Sylvio Berlusconi. Turner informed me one day that PRID had sold large orders of our stock and would be placing a large order with JML accordingly. I grew concerned that such large orders supplied on credit terms represented an unacceptable risk to JML, but Turner was vehemently convinced that all was above board. Against my better judgement I agreed to meeting the orders on the promise that payment would be made to JML imminently. It was now around late September early October 1994.

 

(14.) Turner suggested that, as JML was becoming the success that initial efforts had indicated, small premises would be more suitable than trading from our homes. I agreed in principle and a small office and store was found in Teddington, Middlesex. The practice of Francis Read was again engaged to advise on the lease and deed of the premises for which JML was charged substantially. I did not attend the meeting Turner had with Messrs Read and Daultrey as I was working hard on my sales function, but I do retain a copy of the lease featuring Mr Read's comments and signature. By this time it was November 1994. I still had no grounds to question either Turner's propriety or that of our advisors, but I was becoming irritated at the delay in Turner's effecting match funding.

 

(15.) Large orders despatched to PRID resulted in a promise to pay by the second or third weeks of December; promises that were confirmed as being honourable by Turner who repeated his assertions as to the viability of PRID. He was pleased to show me a gift, a watch that he had been given by the General Manager of PRID, a Mr A. Bobat.

 

(16.) Turner assured me that payment was being made by PRID but it was impossible for me to confirm this during the course of what had become the 1994 Christmas closedown. After the Christmas holidays it quickly became apparent that PRID had absconded with stock from JML and several other companies and that no payment had been made at all. I immediately reported the matter to the police, but Turner seemed reluctant to do so. The following month was an acutely distressing time as I was aware of the penalties for directing what JML had become - an insolvent company in a bankrupt state. My health failed significantly and I became fearful and confused. My state of mind rendered me most receptive to any assurances that the damage caused by PRID was surmountable. Turner repeated his promises of match funding being imminent from Messrs Read and Daultrey. JML had not at this time entered into the lease agreement on which Mr Read had advised, but I was assured that JML and its directors were in capable hands and that there was no danger contained in continuing to direct it.

 

(17.) Given my disturbed state of mind I was induced to agree to JML's occupying the premises on a three-year lease. Francis Read duly held the lease and the rent deposit deed, reaffirming what I had believed to be a contract with his practice. Clifford Chance, solicitors, acted for the lessor, Five Oaks Investments. Turner, however, began to suggest that there were delays in obtaining his recompense as previously described. By now I had committed the company to further liabilities in the form of the premises and employing a secretarial assistant.

 

(18.) It was, quite simply, too late to back out by then. In view of the delays in Turner's recompense materialising, equity capital seemed a viable route to rescuing the company JML. At this point, Steven Daultrey began to suggest that one or more of his business clients might be in a position to fund the venture in exchange for a share, or even straightforward debt. Lloyds Bank's Small Business Guide confirmed this as a function of commercial solicitors. This further salved my concerns about directing a company into even more serious insolvency as the advice was coming from the solicitors Turner and I had engaged for the purpose of safeguarding our respective interests and those of JML. Daultrey had since moved to another London firm of solicitors, Donnellan & Co, whose principal was Richard Donnellan.

 

(19.) Upon the various machinations of Turner and Daultrey I redoubled my efforts on the sales and marketing activities of JML in order to render the company as attractive as possible to potential investors as described, always being certain that Turner would effect parity of investment eventually. I was aware of the unduly lengthy processes of some legal matters and was content to leave matters in the hands of our solicitors.

 

(20.) As time progressed, the promises of funding from Daultrey became more frequent and positive. I had occasion to request his mediation in matters relating to creditors of JML and on those occasions the promises were reiterated.

 

(21.) Confident that the affairs of JML, Turner, and I were in good hands I agreed to a contract vehicle hire agreement with Lovekyn Garages in Kingston, Surrey. I was induced to guarantee personally any shortfalls in the event of the agreements being breached by JML. Turner also gave guarantees to the same effect, but he completed the guarantee documents after my signing them. I later found that he had provided a false address to pre-empt possible credit checks, or to avoid alerting me about the veracity of his assertions and his association with professionals such as the solicitors and accountants. Being mindful of the need to exercise due care as a company director, I lent more money to JML to clear some of its debts, including salary to the assistant, out of my remaining savings. Following the PRID affair, I refused to authorise salary cheques for Turner and me. In addition, I was asked to pay a large sum to bailiffs acting for a creditor of JML. At this time I had been largely unaware of the true state of JML's finances and the scale of the debts it was accumulating. Post addressed to the company and to me was, I later discovered, intercepted and withheld by Turner, permitted by my being away from the offices as dictated by my sales activities.

 

(22.) Given that the interests of JML and its officers were ostensibly in professional hands, Turner applied pressure on me to agreeing to employ his partner, Ms Jacqueline Dyer, in the capacity of bookkeeper. Ms Dyer was allegedly suffering from multiple sclerosis, the pressure on me therefore taking an emotive tenor, as well as being presented as a sound business decision in the light of JML's prospective expansion and appeal to prospective investors. Effectively, this decision bolstered Turner and Dyer's domestic income, which I later found to have been seriously compromised. Many of Turner and Dyer's creditors had placed charges on their home and they were in danger of losing it as a result of several impending actions to recover debt. I believe that Turner's motives were the need for short-term gain and that, as he never had any intention to invest personally in JML from the outset, he and Dyer only stood to gain at my expense and that of JML and its other creditors.

 

(23.) Prospects for JML and myself began to follow the promised course when Turner announced that some of the funding had materialised. I later discovered that, in fact, he had been in secret negotiations with a small dealer of JML to sell them shares. I have since secured Turner's hand written correspondence with the dealer, along with much of his duplicitous correspondence with other parties. I shall address these matters more fully in due course of this summary.

 

(24.) Lloyds Bank, which had been made aware of the PRID fraud, agreed to keep JML's overdraft at fifteen thousand pounds - especially upon receipt of Turner's written assurances (which I now possess) about the funding being held by our solicitors - but it was to be secured by directors' guarantees. I was at the time reluctant to provide any further guarantees. Telephone calls to and from Daultrey were becoming more frequent and positive in tenor. Promises similar to those made by Turner to Lloyds were also made by him to other creditors, customers and suppliers of JML. There are copies of such correspondence and witnesses' testimonies to that effect.

 

(25.) As JML was still in difficulties, however, Turner suggested using a factoring company known to him and Dyer in order to alleviate cash flow problems. The factors in question, Isis Factors Plc, agreed to factor JML's invoices as well as to fund the purchase of stock against orders received. Isis also insisted on Personal guarantees from the directors. Again, Isis acted on the same assurances about JML's solicitors holding significant investment capital, as described previously. Isis Factors has since provided a written testimony to that effect. See the Supporting Documents section.

 

(26.) Upon receipt of the capital injection from Isis, however, Lloyds Bank withdrew the overdraft facility that it had agreed in writing to maintain until the last day of November 1995. The bank soon afterwards returned with an offer of a business development loan to the insolvent JML secured on directors' guarantees, the agreement to which had to be advised on and witnessed by a practising solicitor.

 

(27.) Daultrey was contacted and a meeting arranged for that purpose at his new offices at Donnellan & Co.. Upon arriving at Daultrey's offices he suggested that, as he was extremely busy on something else, Richard Donnellan would advise on the loan agreement and witness Turner's and my signature. Turner asked Daultrey how the capital was progressing and Daultrey's response was positive and encouraging. Richard Donnellan asked few, if any, questions and witnessed the signatures as a formality.

 

(28.) I was now in a situation, after a period of less than one year, in which I found myself heavily indebted against my best wishes and directing an insolvent company. I had lost the majority of my savings and was now in debt to Citroen Contract Finance; Grimshaw and Wake; Wheels Car Rental, Isis factors Plc, and Lloyds Bank. My professional advisors, however, seemed to have matters in hand.

 

(29.) Towards the end of 1995 I tackled Turner and insisted that he and our solicitors finalise all arrangements as previously described as my own resources had become dangerously low and I could no longer continue to support the company in the interim. Very soon thereafter, Turner called an insolvency practitioner into JML. He had, I later found, been in negotiations with Nigel Mallett of NMGW in Bristol for some time before my explanation of my own circumstances. Turner explained that his and Daultrey's promised funding had failed to come through in time and that liquidating JML was the only option remaining. My already compromised health took a serious blow and I became physically and mentally very ill.

 

(30.) I signed the guarantee for the liquidator's remuneration that had been put in front of me as I had lost all sense of reality by that time. I spent several months in absolute, crushing despair, trying to make some sense of the events of the previous year and a few months. I had gone from being what I had believed to be a comparatively honest, hard working individual with a few assets to show for my work, to utter despair, insolvency, and heavy indebtedness.

 

(31.) The above notwithstanding, I retained sufficient presence of mind to return JML's computer to its provider with the request that its integrity was to be verified - confirmed in writing - before producing for me a CD ROM mirroring its entire hard drive. From the data it contained I was able to trace much of Turner's correspondence with Lloyds Bank, suppliers, customers and other creditors of JML. There was also much correspondence from Turner to Daultrey, which, to my mind, is substantial evidence of the deception perpetrated on me from the outset, and subsequently on the company.

 

(32.) The situation had an almost surreal quality and I became more determined to interpret exactly where everything had gone so badly wrong. I made two attempts to contact Daultrey at Donnellan & Co but he did not respond to my letters. I telephoned the office to be told that Daultrey was not available "at that time". I was assured, however, that he was still admitted to that practice and that he was, indeed, a solicitor. As the receptionist had not been helpful I made enquiries as to Daultrey's whereabouts through the Law Society.

 

(33.) I eventually learned that Daultrey had been struck off the Roll in 1982 for making misleading and untrue statements to clients, and for misappropriating their money, and that he had not at any time been reinstated to the Roll. He should not have been allowed to hold out as a solicitor admitted to the practice of Francis Read, nor to that of Donnellan & Co.

 

(34.) I contacted Donnellan & Co again whereupon I was assured on the telephone that Daultrey was a solicitor admitted to the practice. It transpired that Donnellan & Co had in fact been intervened (closed down) by the Law Society on 21st February 1996, exactly the date of the liquidation of JML, and that the practice was the subject of an investigation by the police. The solicitors firm that the law Society had engaged to manage Donnellan & Co, Parrot & Coales, should not have permitted their telephonist to represent Daultrey as a solicitor at any time. Curiously, I also possess a letter from the liquidator of JML that he had by prior arrangement, agreed to invoice Turner at an inflated amount for the company's residual stock in order to ensure his own remuneration. I do find this most puzzling. Read it

 

(35.) I made contact with the Solicitors Complaints Bureau, which, after taking a very long time to consider my substantial submission and allegations, returned with a stupefying response. It suggested that, as it was the Law Society's function to regulate solicitors only, my affairs were of no concern due to the fact that Daultrey was not a solicitor. Thus it was not the fault of the owners of the damaged or shoddy stairs from which the hapless visitor fell to their death; it was, instead, the responsibility of the owner of the ground on which the victim impacted. Hmmm…

 

(36.) I conducted some more investigations to discover that Turner had, at the time of promoting the business to me, been very seriously in debt and was possessed of a number of County Court Judgements. Of far more concern is the fact that he had a criminal record, his having served a custodial sentence for fraud. This information was imparted to me by another creditor of JML, Isis Factors, who had researched the background of not only JML, but also its directors. Turner's solicitors, however, knew these facts beforehand, prior to the formation of JML, as did the auditors with whom I had had candid discussions and who subsequently formed JML from Glossyville Limited. Additionally, I discovered that those same auditors had shown the massive loss represented by the PRID affair not as a loss, but as a legitimate business debt thus misrepresenting JML's accounts as lodged at Companies House.

 

(37.) I later discovered, however, that Turner had opened an account at Barclay's Bank in Hampton under the name of Jetstream Marketing (not limited), with himself as sole signatory. I made the liquidator of Jetstream Marketing Limited about this fact, but he was not interested in the information.

 

(38.) I wrote several candid enquiries to Francis Read who immediately made contact with Daultrey and Turner. I received a threatening telephone call from Turner advising me to have no further contact with Mr Read. I ignored this and wrote several more letters to Mr Read who eventually wrote to me acknowledging his prior knowledge of Daultrey's striking off, but stating that he had taken pity on him for having been unfairly treated by the Law Society. I also obtained much of Turner's duplicitous correspondence; statements from witnesses to the affair, and much salient documentation that amounts, in my mind, to substantial evidence of both crime and tort having been committed by several parties.

 

(39.) I reported the matter to the Metropolitan Police Company Fraud squad, detectives Andrew Thackwry and Paul Harty. The police took the view that Francis Read was a "nice guy" and that they were not interested in struck off solicitors holding out as legitimate, qualified solicitors, no matter what the circumstances. Future attempts to get the police to take the matter seriously were treated with contempt and indifference, despite holding out when unqualified is a criminal offence.

 

(40.) I requested of the Law Society that it attended to my claims as a matter of urgency and asked it for the names of solicitors who might be prepared to assist me. The Law Society recommended three firms, all of whom declined to act on my behalf. Funny, I thought not.

 

(41.) I eventually found a legitimate solicitor to assist me, Andrew Sweet of Keppe Shaw in Twickenham, Middlesex, and an application for Legal Aid was made in order to fund research into my allegations against Francis Read and Donnellan & Co. The application was rejected forthright, as was a subsequent appeal. Mr Sweet had no choice but to withdraw his help, as I was unable to pay him for reasons already defined. I spent a long time trying to find alternative assistance.

 

(42.) I made further submissions to the newly formed Office for the Supervision of Solicitors (OSS) and to the Solicitors Compensation Fund. The OSS chose to ignore or fudge the essential, fundamental issue that Daultrey's ostensible authority from the very outset had permitted the entire chain of events portrayed in this summary, and cemented the credibility attached to his and Turner's subsequent representations and machinations. The OSS stated that it had accepted Francis Read's explanations and arbitrarily closed its file without any desire to study the material in my possession by way of balancing its decision. The Compensation Fund arrived at the decision that I had made insufficient efforts to ensure that the promised funding had been truly available, laying the blame back with me for having trusted whom I had believed to be a legitimate solicitor from the outset. (Ye Gods!)

 

(43.) In the meantime guaranteed creditors were increasing their pressure on me to pay. I made them all abundantly aware of the situation represented by my discoveries and one, Isis Factors Plc, decided to drop their action against me and to pursue Turner solely.

 

(44.) Turner, it transpired, had commenced trading as Jetstream Trading even prior to the engagement of the liquidator, Nigel Mallett. I now possess copies of his correspondence and invoices in this regard also. This was facilitated by Mr Mallett's making a prior arrangement to invoice Turner at an inflated value for residual stock of JML in order to ensure his own remuneration. I have his letter to me in that regard - see Solicitors' Lie detector

 

(45.) Throughout 1996, 1997 and 1998 I have endeavoured to bring these matters to the attention of authorities, including the Police (Company Fraud Squad at Richbell Place); the DTI; the Insolvency Service; HM Customs & Excise; the Inland revenue; the Law Society; the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales; the Lord Chancellor; the Legal Services Ombudsman, and other appropriate concerns. No party appears to have had the interest or the inclination to pursue the matter, or at least conduct even the most superficial of investigations. My offers of assistance to the Police met with no acknowledgement whatsoever.

 

(46.) It has even been suggested that the juxtaposition of a convicted criminal, a solicitor struck off for the reasons previously explained, a massive commercial fraud, and a solicitor's practice being closed down amid a police investigation on exactly the same day as Turner's liquidating JML (21 Feb 1996) is all mere coincidence. Bad luck, at best.

 

(47.) I shall return for a moment to the matter of the funding as promised by Daultrey and Turner. It had been suggested that parties interested in funding JML were based in America, the West Indies, South Africa, and even Russia. Some of the financiers included were: Regent International, and a Robert L. Mitchusson of M & M Financial Services in St Louis. It might be of interest to note that Steven Daultrey sent Turner a fax to the offices of JML that clearly showed some one million pounds being held in Daultrey's client account at National Westminster Bank. Turner showed the fax to me, and a dealer of JML, as evidence of the promised funding being available. The dealer has provided a written testimony as described previously.

 

(48.) Recent developments in my personal predicament now pivot on the actions of Lombard North Central, a creditor of JML, to whom I was fraudulently induced  to assume personal liability.

 

(49.) Lombard commenced an action in 1998 against Turner and me. At this time I had still been unable to find a solicitor prepared to assist me. I prepared my own defence in the action and attended a hearing at Brentford County Court at which Turner was also present. The judge, Judge Plaskow, noted the content of my defence, and, after ascertaining that I was accusing Turner of fraud, directed the case to go to trial. For reasons that I do not understand, Lombard's solicitors, John Bell & Co, had obtained a subsequent hearing at which judgement was given against Turner (not present) and me by the same judge. Thus my hoped-for means of airing my grievances in the public arena had been denied, and at a stroke I lost my credit rating with all attendant implications.

 

(50.) Judge Plaskow directed me to the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand to which is attached a Citizens' Advice Bureau where, I was told, I could obtain advice on personal bankruptcy and other matters. I duly telephoned the Courts and was given the CAB number (0207 405 2255) which was answered in Miami, Florida. It was confirmed that I had indeed reached the CAB attached to the Royal Courts and that I needed to speak to a Mr Ronald Gould who, interestingly, has an email address: legalchief@aol.com.

(51.) Being curious, I sent a note to Mr Gould who responded, leaving a message on my answering machine, explaining that he has no certificate to practice in England. He would, however, be pleased to advise me, offering the following menu of options:

£500.00 to receive my papers.
£5000.00 as a retainer.
£250.00 per hour thereafter.

I telephoned Mr Gould hoping for some clarification but found him to be most abrupt, rude, and somewhat stupid. There was the sound of clinking glasses and giggles in the background.

The state of my mental and physical health was very poor by this time.

As of 20 April 1999 I have been unable to find stable, remunerative employment. I have had to dispose of my few remaining unessential possessions. John Bell & Co now threatens to compound my distress and difficulties by deploying bailiffs to secure property that I do not possess.


Diary note - added 06 October 2003

Original summary text resumes below the line. P.B. 06 Oct 2003


Finally, I do have the assistance of a lawyer who has made an application for Legal Aid, but the prospects for being granted a limited certificate are not encouraging at this time. (see Diary note 1)

 

As at 01 July 1999 Legal Aid has yet again been denied. (see Diary note 1)

 

As at September 1999 the situation continues to evolve into a grotesque farce. Turner and Daultrey are still at liberty to do as they wish, Francis Read continues to practice, and the Donnellan & Co matter would appear to have been buried without ceremony, almost four years after discovering the facts described in this summary.

 

03 November 1999

 

It has recently transpired that the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal has heard the matter of Richard Donnellan, Daultrey's second employer in this scenario, subsequently striking him off the Roll of solicitors on 8th October 1999. The Law Society intervened in his practice on 21 February 1996. As yet I have not obtained the details of its findings.

 

On the 29th October 1999 I learned from the Metropolitan Police Fraud Squad that the perpetrators of the PRID credit fraud had been tried and sentenced on 14th November 1997. Contrary to assurances from the Fraud Squad I had not been contacted prior to, during or after the trial despite my having been one of the first parties to report the matter to the police in January 1995. This might have impacted seriously on the ability of the liquidator of Jetstream Marketing Limited (JML), Nigel Mallet, to seek and secure any assets on behalf of the creditors of JML. It might also have denied me access to information relevant to my own allegations of fraud and negligence, which I continue to pursue.

 

The liquidator of JML has agreed to assign to me his rights in litigation.

 

As at 16 November 1999 my MP, Dr Vincent Cable, has studied much of the salient material in my possession and has written to the Law Society requesting its explanation as to how a struck off solicitor might be employed in the legal profession without adequate supervision. Dr Cable's letter has been passed back to the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors. My view is that this represents yet another spin of what has become an interminable merry-go-round ride to nowhere.

 

As at 06 January 2000 I have received a copy of the findings of the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal in the matter of Richard Donnellan. It tells a tale of corruption, deception and professional impropriety on an alarming scale. I am concerned that, whilst the findings bear out many of my allegations, none of my material appears to have been taken into account, even in regard to South African funding to which the findings make several references.

 

It is difficult to believe that the deliberate concealment of Daultrey's true status from the outset was not an integral part of a greater agenda known only to he and Turner. If there had been no such agenda, what had been the purpose of introducing Daultrey to me at Francis Read's practice if not to cement his and Turner's credibility to some future purpose? What, otherwise, had been the purpose of the meeting? It could be surmised that Daultrey was very much aware of Turner's status and financial difficulties and that he would use his ostensible authority as an admitted solicitor to alleviate those difficulties, at any opportunity, regardless of the expense to other parties including me. It is also possible that Daultrey's subsequent move to Donnellan & Co was being planned at the time, but the precise nature of his activities is subject to speculation. Suffice it to say that the findings of the SDT suggest that there had been a conspiracy between several parties from which Turner cannot be totally excluded. It was known to Turner that Daultrey was in the process of establishing a range of business and legal services. Upon Ms Dyer's joining JML Turner wrote to Daultrey offering a range of assistance including administration and accountancy services. I possess a copy of Turner's correspondence in that regard.

 

The Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal found that Donnellan had breached the Solicitors' Practice Rules 1990 in that he had failed to supervise properly the activities of Daultrey in the London office of his practice. No such stance has been taken in regard to Daultrey's employment at the practice of Francis Read. Why not?

 

The agenda and credentials of pivotal parties were deliberately concealed from me at the outset, and from the company that was formed as a consequence of its promotion to me. The company, therefore, was also compromised, being of no legitimate substance and purpose, and, given the circumstances summarised herein; its representations to suppliers, customers and creditors were also flawed and false.

 

Despite being confronted with the latest evidence and findings with a request that the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors reconsiders its stance in the matter, it has denied even receiving my submission dated January 13th 2000.

 

July 2000

 

During the five months to date I had found a solicitor who made a successful application for Legal Aid. The process included seeking Counsel's opinion on the case against Francis Read for permitting negligent misrepresentation. Counsel, Dov Ohrenstein at the chambers of Lord Goodhart, was of the opinion that there was no case against Francis Read, Steven Daultrey, Richard Donnellan, or any of the other professionals involved by reason of the Limitation Act. He identified only breach of promise by Turner, but that the Limitation Act had all but removed any possible action I could take in that regard. He saw nothing unusual about the readmission of a struck off solicitor to the profession, nor in there being more than a million pounds in a struck off solicitor's bank account. According to counsel, a fraudster and a struck off solicitor working together was not a formula for fraud, and that pretending to be a solicitor when unqualified is not a criminal offence.

 

November 2000 - February 2001

 

I continue my efforts to secure a fair hearing of my grievances and to secure satisfactory redress for creditors of the company, Jetstream Marketing Limited - the final dissolving of which I still refuse to allow - as well as for me. I have recently made a substantial submission to the Serious Fraud Office in view of the abysmal failure of the Law Society to protect the public, and that such failure permits breach of trust on the scale described in the foregoing and accompanying material.

 

March 2001 - Aug 2002

 

Further investigations revealed that Steven Daultrey continues to hold out as being a solicitor at his current employer, Overseas Company Registration Agents (OCRA) in London. Until recently, he described himself as such on the OCRA web pages. I alerted OCRA to Daultrey's true past but received no acknowledgement. A search at Companies house reveals that Daultrey has been and remains very active as a director/facilitator of numerous companies, a more recent one being Trident Import Export Limited. Michael Turner is now a director of PCL Internet International Limited, which is registered at his home address in Hampton Middlesex. PCL Internet, established in August 2000, has recently purchased Prolink NZ from Newcall for the sum of $1.5 million. I cannot help but wonder about the fate of the investors in Turner's latest venture. He has directed several other companies into ruinous misery, and his association with Daultrey is an historic one about which I am trying to find out more. There are few doubts in my mind that there is very little legitimacy to the activities of Turner and Daultrey, and my suspicions are that they are involved in the laundering of funds and tax evasion/avoidance schemes. It appears that OCRA was under scrutiny in regard to the missing Barlow Clowes millions - Sunday Times 29th July 2001. Who knows about now?

 

The fundamental premise of fraud is the withholding of essential information. Had Francis Read made clear to me the histories and true credentials of his client Michael Turner and his clerk Steven Daultrey none of the above would have happened at all. I would instead have found other, entirely legitimate uses for my life savings.

 

I am keen to hear from anyone else who has had business dealings with these people.

Summary of Evidence or use this LINK to documents.

1. Francis Read's acknowledgement of Steven Daultrey's striking off.

2. Francis Read's confirmation of having been retained by advising on and holding documents relating to Jetstream.

3. Steven Daultrey's business card at Francis Read's practice.

4. Michael Turner's original correspondence to Lloyd's Bank affirming Daultrey's status as solicitor holding funds on behalf of JML.

5. Verified transcripts of Turner's correspondence to suppliers, customers and other creditors of Jetstream, making the same assertions as in 4 above.

6. Turner's handwritten correspondence eliciting money from a dealer of Jetstream and acknowledging receipt thereof.

7. Turner's provision of a false address on guarantee documents.

8. The directing of Jetstream into serious insolvency in the fullest knowledge of its inability to meet liabilities.

9. Statements from witnesses and creditors.

10. Findings of the Solicitors' Disciplinary Tribunal in the matter of Richard Donnellan (Donnellan & Co).

11. Ancillary material.

 

Addenda

This section has been added in response to questions as to why I had been denied Legal Aid repeatedly, and why I had apparently "gone quiet" in the pursuit of my claims.

Diary Note

 

Date added

1

I had at all times made clear to Lombard that I had been unjustly indebted to it and that I refused to pay the debts of criminals sheltering under the auspices of The Law Society and using its apparent respectability to satisfy their own agenda.

At this time I had discovered on the Internet a London firm of solicitors called Alexander Johnson, who expressed in their publicity material their willingness to act in claims against other solicitors. A preliminary consultation by email and conventional post resulted in their agreeing in principle to act for me in my claims against Francis Read, Michael Turner and Steven Daultrey. They sent me the appropriate forms for making an application for Legal Aid.

Some weeks beforehand I had met socially, in my local bar, the Turks Head in St Margaret's, where I had a casual job, a Mr Anthony Bilmes, a non-solicitor lawyer specialising in dispute resolution with a solicitors' firm called Chanas in Plantation Wharf, London, previously with H W Fisher & Co, also Fisher & Bilmes.  I had not seen him there before, but after several conversations Mr Bilmes was sympathetic to my situation and agreed to help me pursue my claims. As Mr Bilmes was apparently well known and respected where we met, I thanked London solicitors Alexander Johnson for their interest and explained that I felt my claims to be in good hands with Mr Bilmes. I subsequently had countless meetings with Mr Bilmes both socially and at the firm of Chanas. Appreciating my poor financial state Mr Bilmes suggested applying for a limited Legal Aid certificate to fund research into my claims, and I signed a Green Form to commence the process. Several months passed without any apparent progress, but Mr Bilmes was confident that we could make progress, confirming that he could make Legal Aid applications on my behalf.

Mr Bilmes subsequently moved to another firm of solicitors called Prismall's (whose principal was Jason Prismall), also of Plantation Wharf, where he was employed as their Dispute Resolution Manager. Mr Bilmes had taken my file with him, but explained that the Legal Aid process would have to be commenced again, and I consequently signed another Green Form. Many more months passed during which time Lombard, to whom I had made no payments against the County Court Judgement, again sought satisfaction through the courts. Mr Bilmes agreed to act for me, attending court as my legal representative, introducing himself to the judge as a clerk. The court was interested only in my ability to pay, not how the debt had been engendered.

Some several more months passed without any apparent progress in my claims, Mr Bilmes eventually informing me that Legal Aid had again been denied to me and that there was little more he could do. By now it was early July 1999, approaching two years since Mr Bilmes had agreed to assist me. Mr Bilmes subsequently left Prismall's, without informing me, to commence his own dispute resolution business and management and personnel consultancy, but our association was by this time increasingly tenuous as Mr Bilmes would not confirm whether or not he would be able to continue helping me. He became very difficult to contact. I did eventually, in October 1999, receive a short note accompanied by two forms, effectively relinquishing my instructions to Prismall's, transferring them to Garson & Co under the auspices of the Bilmes Organisation. Little or nothing happened since then, and I received no further contact. Read the forms.

With some humility, and in an increasing state of despair, I returned to Alexander Johnson, who did kindly agree to resume their efforts on my behalf, but explaining that, as some two fruitless years had since passed, my claims might be statute barred under the Limitation Act. Their appointed counsel, Dov Ohrenstein confirmed. Thank you for nothing, Mr Bilmes.

I did request Mr Bilmes's files from Jason Prismall, which showed little or no activity on my behalf at all, comprising a few of my own papers and one sheet of hand-written notes, contrary to what I had been told. There was no evidence of any correspondence made on my behalf. I since learned that both Chanas solicitors (1) and Prismall's solicitors (2) had been closed down by The Law Society. The Law society cannot at this time tell me why Chanas has been closed down, but it seems that Prismall's was closed amid investigations into financial matters, Mr Prismall returning to his home in Australia.

Mr Bilmes is now working for or is associated with Newtons solicitors of Hampstead, where he has been described as Head of Litigation, and Garson & Co of Pinner, Middlesex.

Mr Bilmes is threatening action against me for publishing this. I am making my own enquiries at this time. Readers might meanwhile consider Open to Persuasion?

PB 20 Oct 2003

 (back to original text)

(1) Anjna Chana

Admitted 1963: Application 8039/1999: Hearing, 26 April 2000: reasons, 14 June 2000

The SDT ordered the respondent, of 8 Molasses Row, Plantation Wharf, London SW11 3TW, who practised on her own account, to be suspended from practice for six months from 26 April 2000 for unbefitting conduct, in that she had employed or remunerated in connection with her practice a person in respect of whom a direction had been made under s.47(2)(g) of the Solicitors Act 1974 (direction prohibiting restoration of former solicitor to the Roll except by order of the SDT), contrary to s.41(1A); and she had permitted that person to sign cheques drawn upon client account, contrary to r.11(6) of the Solicitors Accounts Rules 1991. The SDT accepted that the respondent had been influenced by persons with more experience than herself; she had not been assisted by a lack of efficiency on the part of the OSS; and she had not been particularly helped by formal legal advice. For these reasons the period of suspension was less than might otherwise have been imposed. The respondent was ordered to pay £2,000 costs.

(2) Jason Prismall

On 11 April 2001 the Law Society intervened in the practice of Jason Prismall, who practised at 2 Calico Row, Plantation Wharf, London SW11 3UF under the firm name Prismalls.
Nigel Coates of Russell Cooke Potter Chapman, 2 Putney Hill, Putney SW15 6AB, has been appointed to act as agent and is in possession of client monies and practice papers.
 

06 Oct 2003

 

 

 

The note above refers to the period 1997-1999/2000, when I was trying hard to sue Francis Read. During this time I was also trying to determine the reasons for the closure of Donnellan & Co amid a police investigation. Mr Bilmes ceased his less than productive activities on my behalf at a time coinciding with the publication of the SDT's findings in the Matter of Donnellan & Co, in which none of my claims and allegations had been taken into account. This might have been very convenient for the Law Society, and Messrs Read, Daultrey and Turner. To my considerable alarm I have discovered that Steven Daultrey has been inexplicable restored to The Roll in 2004, The Law Society and the SDT utterly ignoring their own findings in his involvement in the matter of Richard Donnellan's striking off.

 

See: Struck off and Restored and Questions for The Law Society for further information.

 

 

 

END