Gazette campaign exposed rogue lawyer

A campaign by The Galloway Gazette to bring a rogue solicitor to justice has ended with him being jailed.

The Gazette took up the cause of cheated clients of John Kennedy Forster three years ago, urging the Law Society of Scotland to investigate.

The high-profile case was finally concluded last week, when the disgraced former lawyer was jailed for six-and-a-half years at Edinburgh High Court for a catalogue of felonies stretching back years in which more than £660,000 was embezzled.

Editor Peter Jeal said: “We started our coverage in April 2000. We were approached by a client who was fed up that nothing was being done but we found the Scottish law society’s tactics obstructive. If it wasn’t for our campaign, Kennedy Forster could have been allowed to just retire on the grounds of ill health.”

The society told the Gazette, when it made its first inquiries, that “there are no aspects [of the Forster case] which require the society’s intervention”.

The Gazette has now launched a campaign to have an independent authority, such as an ombudsman, to have powers of ultimate sanction over the society’s appeals procedures.

Gazette reporter Stephen Norris added: “The Law Society of Scotland must take its stand in the dock after its disgraceful execution of this case.”

The Law Society of Scotland said in a press release that Kennedy Forster had been struck off in April 2001, but it was decided not to make that information public so as not to prejudice his trial. “This is an example of the society doing its job well,” said president Joe Platt

By Jon Slattery

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