Solicitor avoids jail after selling house

Edinburgh Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court, Chambers Street

Edinburgh Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court, Chambers Street

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A SOLICITOR who embezzled over £21,000 from a lawyers’ office in Edinburgh has avoided a jail sentence after selling his home and repaying the money.

Paul O’Donnell, from Glasgow, pleaded guilty earlier this year at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to embezzling £21,485 from Thorley Stephenson, in South Bridge, between November 1, 2012, and September 1, 2014.

Sentence had been deferred to allow him to sell his home, with a view to making repayment.

Defence solicitor Murray Robertson yesterday told Sheriff Frank Crowe that his client had sold his house and the money had been paid to Thorley Stephenson.

O’Donnell, he added, was now living in Cambuslang with relatives. He had been sequestrated and declared bankrupt and was no longer practising as a solicitor.

Sheriff Crowe told O’Donnell, 35, that cases like this usually led to a prison sentence.

However, he said, O’Donnell had co-operated totally, admitting his guilt, arranging the sale of his house and paying the money to Thorley Stephenson.

“I don’t think I will prolong this” he added. “I will deal with this by way of a Restriction of Liberty Order.”

He confined O’Donnell to his address from 9pm to 6am for six months.

Action could still be taken against him under the Proceeds of Crime Act.