Disgraced solicitor accused of professional misconduct
MARK Flynn will have to find new profession after a Sydney court found his career as a top-earning Ballina solicitor was plagued with misconduct, lies and a battle with the bottle.
The disgraced solicitor's name was struck off the roll on Wednesday after the Administrative Decisions Tribunal accepted five applications brought by the Law Society of NSW alleging 16 counts of professional misconduct and unsatisfactory professional conduct.
The tribunal heard Flynn had, among other things, forged the signature of a Justice of the Peace, failed to transfer the file of a deceased estate and lied about the balance of a trust account to the tune of about $88,000.
On one occasion, he visited the elderly mother of his client in a nursing home, knowing that she had her own solicitor working for her, and sought to have her sign an authority which would have benefited his client.
In 2009, he harassed a female family law client with more than 30 calls or text messages in six hours and asked her to "wear something sexy" to a dinner.
At the time, Flynn blamed "excessive alcohol and labouring in respect of my mental illness" for his behaviour and said he was "extremely embarrassed" about it.
He also assured the tribunal "it will not be repeated".
In March last year Flynn was suspended from practising for the second time in 10 months for "gross incompetence in failing to progress a matter".
A psychologist report, dated October the same year, suggested Flynn was suffering from a "recurring depressive illness ", sparked by his father's suicide and his infant son being diagnosed with a traumatic illness.
It revealed alcohol abuse had "become a problem for him" in 2007, just prior to his separation from his wife.
According to the report, Flynn was, at the time, in remission or "moving towards remission" and was fit to give evidence at hearings.
He was not, however, the report suggested, fit to work in a solo practice as "his ability to continue practising safely both for himself and his clients will depend on his ongoing health status".
Character references from nine people, including former clients, colleagues, a former police officer and friends, were tended during the hearings.
The tribunal took into account Flynn's medical history but questioned whether it "could be satisfied that he would not suffer another relapse and that he would not engage in any further acts of professional misconduct" should Flynn be allowed to resume practice.
It was also noted that while Flynn had pledged to change his behaviour following reprimands in 2007, his behaviour in 2012 proved previous proceedings "did not act as a wake-up call after all".
Flynn was admitted as a solicitor in 1987.
He will have to pay the NSW Law Society's court costs.