Here`s a further article from "The Scotsman" Newspaper - when I asked the late Donald Dewar to intervene in this corrupt mess created by the Law Society of Scotland to protect Andrew Penman ... surprise - he did nothing. Why ? Because the Law Society of Scotland had him round their little finger.
Plea to Dewar for inquiry on Law Society role in wrangle.
William Chisholm The Scotsman 2 December 1997
A MAN who lost much of his inheritance because of a solicitor's incompetence is to challenge a decision not to allow him access to key documents drawn up by the Law Society of Scotland in the course of an eight year legal wrangle.
Peter Cherbi, from Jedburgh, has asked the Scottish Secretary, Donald Dewar, for an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the handling of the ￡300,000 estate of his late father, Gino Cherbi, a Borders businessman.
The demand for an inquiiry into the role of the law society and the Scottish legal services ombudsman, Garry watson, was made yesterday after Mr Cherbi heard that Mr Watson was closing the file on the case.
Mr Cherbi alleges that the society conspired to prevent prosecution of the solicitor who dealt with his father's affairs.
Mr Cherbi also plans to raise a court action against the society to force its officials to release crucial reports int he case.
Written submissions lodged on behalf of a lawyer, Andrew Penman, persuaded the society's complaints committee to abandon plans to refer his "appalling" handling of the executry to the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal.
Instead, the committee decided that a reprimand and a compensation award of ￡1000 to the estate would be a more appropriate penalty, despite grave concerns about Mr Penman's professional misconduct.
After the decision, Mr Cherbi took his complaing to Mr Watson, who carried out a separate inquiry into the society's handling of the case.
The ombudsman conclided "It is most important that there is transparency of decision making within committees and that reporters and committees provide their reasons for arriving at decisions".
Mr Watson said the complainer and the ombudsman should be afvised why the complaints committee had changed its mind on prosecuting Mr Penman.
His report also disclosed that a society memorandum contained concerned that a solicitor who represented Mr Penman before the committee had made reference to Peter Cherbi's character and that such references had been considered "unfair".
But now Mr Watson has told Mr Cherbi he has received the written representations made on Mr Penman's behalf on the basis that they remain confidential to the ombudsman's office.
Mr Watson adds "However, I can assure you that these representations solely relate to the solicitor himself; they do not contain any comments with regard to yourself."
Mr Cherbi said yesterday "The Law Society must have tremendous pulling power when they can get the legal services ombudsman to alter his stance.
"They are only interested in protecting their own members. I am not even able to see the evidence presented to the committee on Mr Penman's behalf yet he had access to all of my submissions".
In Mr Cherbi's opinion, Mr Watson was a 'puppet of the law society'. In a letter seeking Mr Dewar's intervention, Mr Cherbi states "I am the victim of a very sleazy cover-up by the law society to protect a very bad solicitor who has already been found guilty of misconduct".
He said he had no intention of giving up the fight to recover his father's estate in full.
Mr Cherbi is to seek judicial review of the law society's alleged mishandling of his complaint.
The society has sent him a cheque for ￡250 to compensate him for long delays in processing the case, a payment Mr Cherbi describes as an insult.
The Scotsman asked Mr Watson to comment after his decision to close the file in the Cherbi case.
In a written response, he said "I am not in a position to make any public comment on a matter, which, in accordance with my remit, is private between myself and complainer".
Philip Yelland, the law society's deputy secretary, said "Mr Cherbi appears to be expressing concern about the ombudsman's position and it would be inappropriate for us to say anything if he wishes to take further action.
When mr Cherbi, senior, died aged 73 in 1990, he left stocks and shares, property, and other assets valued at more than ￡250,000.
There were also overseas assets including an account with the Banco di Roma, containing an estimated ￡26,000. which was not collected by the executry. The estate has yet to be settled.
A separate complaint by Mr Cherbi against an accountant who acted as executor of the estate is the subject of a separate inquiry by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.