New Zealand Law Society - Former lawyer jailed

Former lawyer jailed

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Former lawyer Gerald George McKay, 74, has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years imprisonment in Napier District Court.

Mr McKay was found guilty in February 2016 by an 11-member jury of five counts of theft and another five of dishonestly using documents for pecuniary advantage. He was also found guilty on another representative charge of criminal abuse of trust.

Judge Colin Doherty said the sentencing start point was six years' imprisonment, but there was no credit for plea because Mr McKay took the matter to trial. Judge Doherty said there was no credit for remorse because Mr McKay had none, and no credit for co-operating because he had not.

Mr McKay was given some recognition for his ill health and also for keeping his bail conditions before his trial.

Mr McKay stole $566,900 from family trust funds and estates without his clients' authority between 2005 and 2010. He also converted trust funds from McKay Hill Lawyers Trust Fund for a use that was not authorised.

In November 2014 Mr McKay was struck off by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal. The Tribunal said it considered his misconduct was "at the high end of the scale" and that his failures to one client were "many and obvious".

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