A man who was over-charged nearly $600,000 in legal fees by a former golf buddy says his 67-year-old wife has been forced to keep working to make ends meet.
The man's complaint against former lawyer Eion Castles, whom he use to play golf with at Titirangi Golf Club in Auckland, has led to the Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal ordering Castles to pay $599,000.
The tribunal also ordered Castles be struck off the Law Society's register.
The penalty hearing in Auckland yesterday follows Castles being found guilty of professional misconduct in December.
The charges related to Castles' $1,030,000 bill to his former golfing buddy - well above the $436,000 cost assessors estimated his work would have cost to help sort out legal problems created by the client's leaky Remuera home.
During yesterday's hearing, the former client - who was now living in a rental property in Northcote with his wife - told the tribunal Castles would not suffer any hardship.
"Castles will still live in an upmarket suburb in a comfortable house owned by his wife. He will still enjoy rent from another house owned by his wife. He will still holiday on the beach at Waiheke in a house owned by his wife," the man said.
Castles would also continue to play golf at the Titirangi Golf Club he was still a member of, the former client told the hearing. The complainant also said he felt vindicated they had pursued Castles through the tribunal for so long.