Lawyer struck off for ripping off clients
10 February 2017
A Sydney tribunal has struck off a lawyer, for the second and probably final time in his career, for stealing from his clients.
The Law Society brought the action against lawyer Bruce Percy Hocking for overcharging and misappropriating money from his clients from 2009 and 2014.
Hocking, a director of now-obsolete Sydney firm DC Legal, stole dividends from clients who were creditors of an insolvent mining company. He tried to cover his tracks by disguising the dividends as costs or disbursements on the file. At the hearing, the tribunal said that Hocking's clients not only experienced substantial losses as investors of the mining company, but also "the further indignity of being deceived"
by their own lawyer.
In another case, Hocking misappropriated money owed to barristers in a defamation claim. The tribunal noted that the funds were used to "prop up
" Hocking's office account which was "in overdraft to a significant amount
This is not the first time that Hocking has been hauled before a disciplinary tribunal. In 1968 the dodgy solicitor was struck off the roll for similar misconduct, but he managed to be readmitted to the legal profession again in the late 1990s.
|What are the odds?
However it's unlikely that he'll make another comeback. The tribunal ruled that Hocking had "failed to learn from his previous experience
", had "milked
" clients and was "no longer a fit and proper person to engage in legal practice
". The tribunal struck him off the roll, again, and ordered that he pay the Law Society's costs.