Lawyer struck off over missing $10,000

Lawyer Mary Hackshaw failed to respond to disciplinary charges brought against her. Photo / File
Lawyer Mary Hackshaw failed to respond to disciplinary charges brought against her. Photo / File

An experienced Auckland lawyer has been struck off over her mismanagement of a $10,000 trust.

Mary Hackshaw, who had nearly 30 years' experience under her belt, failed to respond to disciplinary charges brought against her, and appeared before the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal this morning, where she was found guilty of misconduct.

New Zealand Law Society National Prosecutions Manager Mark Treleaven says Hackshaw's misconduct arose out of her administration of a legacy.

It required her to hold $10,000 on trust with annual interest being paid to the beneficiary who was the son of the deceased, he said.

"The funds ultimately were being divided equally between the children of the beneficiary," he said.

Hackshaw did make interest payments to the beneficiary for six years, but then took the $10,000 through a series of withdrawals before closing the trust account when she sold her practice.

The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal found that she misappropriated approximately $10,000, and this amounted to misconduct.

She was struck off the roll, ordered to pay compensation of $10,000 to the estate and to pay the New Zealand Law Society costs of $10,518 and also to reimburse the costs of the hearing.

Law Society President Kathryn Beck said Hackshaw was in a position of both privilege and, trust and she abused it.

"To deprive the beneficiaries of this estate when she was entrusted to look after this sum of money is appalling behavior that won't be tolerated," she said.

- NZ Herald

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