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Wednesday, 2 August, 2000, 19:11 GMT 20:11 UK
Embezzling solicitor jailed
Supreme courts sign
Pirie was sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh
A solicitor who was struck off after embezzling more than 63,000 has been jailed for five and a half years.

Donald Pirie, 41, took money from clients for more than three years to keep his debt-ridden practice in Cowdenbeath going.

He also cheated his parents out of money.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that, at the same time, Pirie was indulging in his taste for expensive cars by driving around in a Jaguar.

At Pirie's trial last month, the court heard evidence from one victim, a woman who hobbled into court on crutches.

She told how she lost her money when she tried to sue her former boss after an accident at work.

Parental loans

Another witness, a devout Christian, handed Pirie money from his aunt's will to stop it falling into the hands of his runaway lesbian wife.

The embezzlement charges covered a period from June 1993 and November 1996, the year in which he was barred from being a solicitor.

Advocate depute Stephen Woolman QC, prosecuting, said the firm was always in the red, despite injections of capital such as loans of first 23,000 then 7,000 from Pirie's parents.

Pirie, with two children from a failed marriage and another child from a later relationship, studied law at Dundee University and became a solicitor in 1982.

He said that when he was no longer able to work as a lawyer he turned to the motor trade, putting prospective buyers in touch with cars for sale.

Lord Penrose sentenced Pirie to five and a half years in jail describing the offences as serious breaches of professional trust.

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See also:

12 Jul 00 | Scotland
Solicitor swindled clients
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Bank under fire over embezzlement
22 May 00 | Scotland
Solicitor walks free from court
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