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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 16:56 GMT
Jail term for crooked lawyer
Alistair Hall
Alistair Hall: Sentenced to 11 years
A lawyer who embezzled money from his clients to fund his extravagant lifestyle has been jailed for 11 years.

Alastair Hall, from Perthshire, stole about 500,000 worth of cash and shares, often from elderly clients and used the money to pay for shooting and fishing weekends.

The former Territorial Army major also stole a valuable Robert Burns book which ended up being sold to the National Library of Scotland.

Sentencing Hall, 46, at the High Court in Edinburgh, trial judge Lord Wheatley said he regarded the catalogue of offences as being the "worst of its kind".

The essence of what you did was to steal this money to maintain a standard of living you would not otherwise be able to afford
Trial judge Lord Wheatley
The court heard that Hall, a father of five, spent about 2,000 on a weekend's shooting or fishing and had an expensive taste in antiques.

He also alleged that his father was a rear-admiral in the Navy when in fact he was a petty officer during his National Service.

Lord Wheatley said: "It is very clear that you have over a period of many years profoundly abused the position of confidence and trust which you held as a solicitor."

"There is no question but that you systemically looted the accounts of a number of your clients, some of whom were elderly clients, who had clearly given you their complete confidence.

"The essence of what you did was to steal this money to maintain a standard of living you would not otherwise be able to afford," said the judge.

Hall, formerly of Kingseat, Bridge of Cally, in Perthshire, and Stafford Street, Helensburgh, in Dunbartonshire, had admitted five charges of embezzlement, two of fraud, a theft, a bankruptcy offence and failing to appear for his trial last year.

Lawyer admits stealing 500,000
18 Feb 03 |  Scotland

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