Solicitor who stole £94k of clients' money is jailed
A disgraced solicitor who stole almost £94,000 from the estates of three deceased clients to prop up his failing business has been jailed for four months.
Sentencing John Irwin (39), of Trummery Heights, Moira, to a further eight months on licence on his release, Judge Kinney said the solicitor, who has since been struck off, "breached the high degree of trust" placed in him.
Irwin had previously pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud by false representation and a three of false accounting.
Craigavon Crown Court was told the offences took place between August 2007 and July 2012 and involved three deceased males he was acting for in probate matters on behalf of their relatives.
The offences came to light in 2012 when the Law Society received a complaint and an investigation was launched.
Three cases were found to be at fault with a total loss to relatives amounting to £93,366.97.
Judge Kinney told Irwin: "There is no basis for accepting that you had any intention of paying the money back in an economic upturn in the property.
"You knew what you were doing and you should have accepted your lot like everybody else who was in a similar position to you.
"You have brought disgrace to an honourable profession. The level of trust in this case was high, both to your professional colleagues and to the public."