Christchurch lawyer Gary Horne has been suspended from practice for a period of three months effective from 1 February 2017.
Mr Horne admitted one charge of misconduct and two charges of unsatisfactory conduct before the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal.
Two of the charges related to his actions when acting for different clients in the purchase of properties. The third charge concerned the operations of Mr Horne’s nominee company and a number of breaches of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Nominee Company) Rules 2008.
The tribunal took into account that there was no personal gain to Mr Horne, his long career of service and the fact that there was no risk to the public as he has surrendered his practising certificate and will retire on 1 February 2017.
“Mr Horne is fundamentally an honest person; he is motivated by what has been described as his altruism attested to by the testimonials of his former clients,” the tribunal said.
As well as his suspension, Mr Horne has been censured, prohibited from practising on his own account and ordered to pay the New Zealand Law Society’s costs of $21,771 and also to reimburse the Law Society $4,020 for tribunal hearing costs which it must pay.