A DISCIPLINARY tribunal has recommended to the President of the High Court that Kilkenny solicitor Padraig Butler be struck off for professional misconduct.
Mr Butler, of Butler solicitors, Lower Patrick Street, appeared before the disciplinary body in Dublin on Thursday.
Solicitor Eimear Burke representing the Law Society said that the tribunal had in their possession two sworn affidavits.
Emer Kirwan of the Complaints and Client Relations Section of the Law Society told the tribunal that there were a number of breaches relating to four properties at Regency Court in Kilkenny city. She also outlined that there were 19 breaches in relation to property at Fiddown in Co Kilkenny where there had been a failure to discharge ACC charges.
Tim Bolger who works as a chartered accounted for the Law Society said that a number of payments were made from their compensation fund in relatio to claims made against Mr Butler. In total €825,957 had been paid out.
The tribunal also heard €1.2 million was taken the administration of the estate of the late Elizabeth Sinnott.
The tribunal found Mr Butler guilty of professional misconduct and not fit to be a solicitor and remarked that The Law Society treated the matter in most grave way.
“The Society was instructed because of the serious and grave nature of the charges. The tribunal will prepare a report for the President of the High Court recommending that he be struck off,” said chairperson, Patricia Harney,
His solicitor stated that his client did not deliberately engage in various matters that occurred.
Mr Butler issued an apology through his solicitor to the tribunal and wished to apologise to the tribunal, The Law Society and his colleagues. He also stated that most of the difficulties that arose in relation to his undertakings were not of his client’s making but added that his client should not have engaged. The tribual heard that Mr Butler’s wife was one of the benefeciaries of the client’s estate from where the money was taken.
The tribunal heard that The 60-year-old was holding his hands up and his life and marriage had collapsed and now had to live on €188 per week. “At a time when he should be thinking of retirement his life and marriage have collapsed and he is living on €188 per week and his health is not good,” added his solicitor.
The tribunal consists of three members, Anothony Ensor, Patricia Harney (chairperson) and Seamus Byrne.
During a High Court case in 2009 Mr Butler, admitted taking €1.2 million from the dead woman’s estate despite knowing the amount due to him was more than half that sum. The court heard that Mr Butler was owed between €300,000 and €500,000 for work related to the estate and by taking the amount he did he left a deficit of between €586,000 and €850,000 in the account.
The Law Society was told Mr Butler didn’t have the capacity to pay back the deficit.
Mr Butler was present at the tribunal and left the building immediately in the company of his solicitor.