As the following article, in "The Scotsman", written by William Chisholm shows, the Case Reporter from the Law Society on the complaint, found a catalogue of failures on Mr Penman's part (this report exists as a pdf file on this site) ... among those failures were falsifying documents in the files, deceiving the Royal Bank of Scotland, ignoring the Inland Revenue ... etc .. to a significant cost to my family .. almost as if Mr Penman & Mr Howitt (the executor) were trying to make sure that there was nothing left to inherit at the end of their administration ...
Think this kind of thing only happens to a few people ? well .. think again. These kinds of actions by executors - particularly the solicitors - are VERY COMMON when it comes to administering the wills of the deceased .. simply because, the dead are easy to rip off .. and the Law Society of Scotland will cover up the actions of their members (as we all know) to make sure nothing ever happens ... my case, and thousands of others which have gone unpublicised, are a good example, and testament to that ...
Inquiry call over bungling lawyer
Executry dispute - Son queries why Law Society reversed decision to prosecure lawyer
By William Chisholm The Scotsman 11 October 1996
The son of a Borders businessman wants a report which investigated allegations of misconduct by a solicitor handling his father's estate to be re-opened.
Peter Cherbi has sent the report to Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth, with a demand for further action. He wants Mr Forsyth to force the Law Society to reopen the report to allow a prosecution of the lawyer, Andrew Penman, by the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal.
The Law Society investigation concluded that Mr Penman, of the Kelso law firn of P & J Stormonth Darling, shoudl be prosecuted by the tribunal for the "appalling" way he handled the executry of Gino Cherbi, a Jedburgh businessman whose estate was valied at ￡300,000, after his death in 1990, aged 73.
But the decision to prosecute Mr Penmanhas been shelved in favour of a reprimand.
Now Mr Cherbi's son, Peter claims the society's about-face cannot be justified given the findings of the investigation, including "an apparent attempt to mislead the Royal Bank of Scotland, and failure to collect estate assets".
When The Scotsman spoke to Mr Penman, he said the complaint against hiim had been thoroughly investigated by the Law Society and that was an end to the matter. In general, he could not make comments because of confidentiality.
The law Society report outlined lengthy and unexplained delays and a repeated failure by Mr Penman ro respond to correspondence. It also alleged a complete lack of proper management in the handling and progressing of the executry.
There had been a "bungled and unsuccessful attempt to put the files in order".
Peter Cherbi was to have been the main beneficiary from his late father's estate. Others named in the will were to receive legacies ranging from ￡500 to ￡2000. But Mr Cherbi has been told there are no funds left in the estate.
A document showed the estate to be worth ￡257,211 exclusive of Italian finds.
The overseas assets included an account with the Banco di Roma containing some ￡26,000 which was not collected by the executry. The Society report states that Mr Penman apparently attempted to mislead the Royal Bank on this matter.
The committee of the Law Society which first considered the report in June this year expressed grave concern at the way the executry had been handled.
Members agreed that Mr Penman's actions were so serious and reprehensible as to amount to professional misconduct and recommended prosecution by the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal.
But the decision was changed after Mr Penman submitted written representations to the society. He claimed the executry had been complex although he accepted matters could and should have been dealt with more expeditiously.
Mr Penman also apologised to the complainer (Mr Cherbi) and to the Law Society.
Mr Cherbi said Mr Penman's pleadings "contradicted the society's own findings", adding that the Cherbi estate had suffered substantial financial loss.
When the Law Society committee reconsidered the matter, it was decided a reprimand and a compensation award of ￡1000 to the estate would be more appropriate.
P & J Stormonth Darling were instruced to limit their fee for work done from the date of death until October 1994 when Mr Penman ceased dealing with the file, to ￡3000 plus VAT.
Peter Cherbi told The Scotsman "I am shocked at the findings of the Law Society investigation which has uncovered many disturbing facts about the way my late father's estate was handled. I will not be allowing this matter to rest"
The Law Society advised Mr Cherbi not to instigate civil action while their investigation was in progress. He said the completion of the inquiry meant he was now in a position to sue for full recovery of the estate although the society report had been promised 15 months ago.
Mr Cherbi has also asked Mr Forsyth to instruct the Law Society to reopen the files so that prosecution can be taken before the solicitors tribunal.
Following the finding of professional misconduct he has also registered a complaint against Norman Howitt, an accountant with John J Welch & Co, Galashiels, who acted as executor of his father's estate.
In his submission to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, Mr Cherbi alleges a lack of control by Mr Howitt over the activities of Mr Penman which resulted in financial loss to the estate.
A Law Society spokeswoman said the complaint had been dealt with and Mr Cherbi had exercised his right to refer the matter to Scotland legal services ombudsman to whom the file had now been sent.
Mr Penman said the Law Society papers with the committee's deliberations showed that a press statement from Mr Cherbi contained many untruths and half-truths. "I would consider that the press release if published as it stands would be defamatory of me" he said.