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Former President of NZ Trusteess Association facing jail


  • Former President of NZ Trustees Association facing jail for theft

    A flagrant abuse of trust with little in the way of mitigating factors means a jail sentence is inevitable for the former President of the New Zealand Trustees Association and Napier lawyer Gerald McKay.

    Mr McKay , 74, was found guilty of five charges of theft, five charges of using a document for pecuniary advantage, and one representative charge of criminal breach of trust. McKay practised law in Napier from 1967 until his practising certificate was suspended following a Law Society investigation of his firm's trust account in 2010. He was president of the NZ Trustees Association from 2004 until 2010.

    The verdicts came at the end of an eight day trial in the Napier District Court. An application for bail until sentencing date in April was refused by Judge Colin Doherty, who remarked that evidence had revealed a "flagrant abuse of trust" by McKay and that a prison sentence was inevitable.

    The offending occurred between 2005 and 2010. McKay converted trust funds from the McKay Hill Lawyers Trust Fund account for a use that was not authorised by the terms of that trust. The thefts involved $556,000 that McKay removed from clients' trust fund accounts and estates without the clients' authority.

    Once McKay was aware his firm was to be audited by the Law Society in May 2010 he created five fake back-dated invoices totaling $1.01million. The offending came to light during the Law Society's inspection. The day before the inspection was to begin McKay dictated to a staff member five invoices that were to be backdated to 2009.

    McKay claimed that the firm's account manager Anne McAllister was responsible for the trust account deficit and he had no idea it had been in deficit until she told him in 2009. He created the invoices to recover legitimate debts, he said. McAllister told the court McKay was aware of the deficit and when he was made aware the audit was to occur he said "we're done for".

    Judge Colin Doherty said a lack of mitigating factors made it very hard to see a jail sentence of less than two years being imposed, which would have allowed a sentence of home detention. Judge Doherty said he had considered McKay's age and assertions regarding his fragile health, but noted there was no corroborating evidence as to his health, and any health condition could be dealt with by Corrections.

    McKay was struck off the roll of barristers and solicitors in 2014 after the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal found him guilty of one charge of professional misconduct by acting for a number of parties in a series of transactions where there were strongly conflicting interests.

    At the time, Law Society President Chris Moore said McKay "strayed so far from the path of professionalism that he can justifiably be said to have ceased to function meaningfully as a lawyer at all".
    Attached Files

    • 1victim
      1victim commented
      Editing a comment
      "A flagrant abuse of trust"

      "Five charges of theft"

      "Five charges of using a document for pecuniary advantage"

      "The thefts involved $556,000 that McKay removed from clients' trust fund accounts and estates without the clients' authority".

      ALL lawyers are guilty of these crimes. So why did the corrupt fu#ktard Moore pick on poor old Gerald ???
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