Cape Town – The South African Legal Practice Council has won a Western Cape High Court judgment to have lawyer Kerith Chetty struck off the roll for unlawfully spending money she held in trust on behalf of various trust creditors pertaining to property transactions.
In March 2018, then Western Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai, now retired, ordered an investigation into the conduct of the Claremont-based attorney following a questionable housing deal in Mitchells Plain.
At the time, Chetty, from KC and Associates, appeared before Judge Desai following an urgent application by Thaabied Noordien demanding Chetty repay a R200 000 deposit he had paid in December 2017 for a house in Mitchells Plain.
The initial relief sought by the legal practice council included other far-reaching orders such as the appointment of a curator to take control of the respondent’s practice and to wind it up.
However, after establishing that Chetty ceased practice with effect from November 1, 2018 and simultaneously closed her firm’s trust account at Nedbank, the legal practice council said the only thing remaining was for Chetty’s name to be struck off the attorneys’ roll together with the customary costs order.
After reviewing the evidence, Judge Judith Cloete said: “It is the court which is the final repository of disciplinary proceedings over attorneys. In my view striking is the only appropriate sanction in the circumstances.”
Judge Cloete ruled Chetty be struck off the roll of attorneys; that Chetty make available to law practice council, within 20 days of written request, all accounting records and ledgers up to the date of closure of her practice and trust account; and Chetty pay the costs of suit on the attorney and client scale.