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Last Updated: Friday, 16 September 2005, 12:35 GMT 13:35 UK
Lawyer jailed for embezzling cash
The High Court in Edinburgh
The court heard Blyth had been struck off as a solicitor
A solicitor who embezzled more than 100,000 from his Glasgow law firm has been jailed for two years.

Calum Blyth, 34, admitted taking the money from the firm's accounts over two-and-a-half years in the late 1990s.

Judge Lord McPhail told the High Court in Edinburgh that cases of embezzling by solicitors damaged public confidence in the legal profession.

The judge said Blyth was effectively using the clients' account as his "firm's overdraft".

He had been the cash room partner at the Glasgow law firm, which has since been wound up, and had responsibility for financial matters within it.

Blyth earlier admitted embezzling the money between 1 December in 1996 and 9 April in 1999 at Blyths Solicitors, in St Vincent Street, Glasgow.

Stuck off

Lord Macphail said: "This court has consistently taken the view that the public is entitled to expect that the criminal law will do what it can to punish solicitors who abuse that trust and to deter others."

The judge explained that he took into account that none of the firm's clients suffered any financial loss and that Blyth cooperated with the Law Society of Scotland.

He added: "You have been struck off the Roll of Solicitors and will never be able to practice as a solicitor again, with all that means in the shape of disgrace and hardship for you."

He told Blyth, now of Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, that he would have jailed him for three years if he had been convicted after a trial.

Money repaid

But the judge said he would reduce the sentence to take into account Blyth's guilty plea and co-operation with the authorities.

Defence counsel Paul McBride said Blyth was a first offender and that the money embezzled was paid back in a short period of time.

Blyth returned to the UK from the US, where he had been living, to face criminal charges.

Mr McBride said Blyth was suffering from a serious depressive disorder and there were concerns that he was a "significant suicide risk".

Lord Macphail rejected a plea to allow Blyth to avoid a prison sentence but said the concerns over his welfare would be conveyed to the prison authorities.




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