A lawyer who applied for a £ 30,000 loan using the forged signatures of his wife and former colleagues has been struck off the roll.
Michael Cahill, admitted in May 2002, was found by the Disciplinary Court of Lawyers to have acted dishonestly in applying for the loan using documents he knew to be false.
Cahill did not appear at the one-day hearing in May, but told the SRA that he did not consider the issues relating to the loan application to have any connection with his profession. He said the “false” allegations stemmed from his ex-wife’s desire for personal and professional revenge on him.
The court dismissed this account, saying Cahill’s wife, who gave a written statement to the court, was detailed and consistent in her testimony and ultimately more convincing.
The court concluded that Cahill’s explanation was false and that he had sought to cover up his wrongdoing and blame his wife, who could be seen as vulnerable.
The ruling added: “The misconduct, related to the use of inauthentic documents for personal financial gain, was so blatantly unacceptable that [Cahill] inevitably had to know that he was in breach of his duties as a lawyer, even if it was behavior outside his practice.
The court heard that Cahill told the SRA the loan was to buy him out of his interest in the marital home, but that turned out to be false.
The SRA argued that the loan was for the direct benefit of Cahill and paid into his personal bank account. He defaulted on the first repayment.
The SRA said this was the “inevitable and damning” inference that Cahill sent, or caused to be sent, documents bearing forged signatures and other forged documents. In a letter and email to the SRA, Cahill denied the wrongdoing, but the court said his explanation was “false and self-serving” and a “vivid example” of conduct well below the minimum ethical standards required of ‘a lawyer.
The court struck him off and ordered him to pay £ 20,700 in costs.