Naomi Jane Barnes was convicted of one count of acquiring criminal property in 2015
A young solicitor who held £36,000 of cash pinched by her accountant boyfriend in her bank account has been kicked out of the profession.
Naomi Jane Barnes, 28, was found guilty of one count of acquiring criminal property at Harrow Crown Court in December 2015. According to a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) finding, Barnes received a payment of £36,610 to her personal bank account sometime between June and October 2014.
Continuing, the report states that Barnes — who does not hold a current practising certificate — was also found guilty of one count of transferring criminal property. This is because she moved £8,000 of the plundered funds into another account. Barnes was handed a six-month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, and 200 hours of unpaid work.
The judgment reveals the young lawyer had informed her firm on 24 October 2014 that she would be unable to come into work due to a family emergency, before then flying to Thailand. Joined by her partner, the couple remained in the Far East until May 2015, at which point the police requested they return to the United Kingdom.
Barnes’ boyfriend — who worked as an in-house accountant for a small business referred to only as “Company S” in the judgment — made £298,270 of unauthorised transfers in total.
In a statement to the SDT, Barnes submitted that she was not acting in her capacity as a solicitor when any of this occurred and had simply made a serious mistake in trusting someone she loved. Asked why she had suddenly left the country with her partner, the solicitor told the SDT that she was worried about his mental health.
Stressing the need to protect the reputation of the legal profession, the tribunal ordered Barnes — who qualified in 2012 — to be struck off the roll and pay £2,000 in costs. The judgment states that she now runs her own legal recruitment firm.
Read the judgment in full below:
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