Gladstone lawyer David McHenry faces disciplinary charges
COUNTRY lawyer David Allan McHenry pretended he was looking after his clients, but according to the legal services watchdog in many cases it was an elaborate "ruse''.
The former Gladstone solicitor instead allegedly used forged documents, fake emails and wild excuses to drag clients along, one for eight years.
McHenry allegedly promised that judgments had been made in clients' favour and sizeable payouts were imminent, but in some cases had not even filed proceedings.
The Legal Services Commissioner was forced to take the extraordinary step earlier this month of obtaining a Supreme Court injunction to stop him telling clients he was still practising, despite having his practising certificate cancelled in March.
It was the first injunction of its kind against a Queensland lawyer.
McHenry's elaborate excuses on why moneys had not yet been paid, included allegedly telling a client he had been awarded $412,000 and that the money was "coming in an Armaguard truck from Brisbane to Gladstone but had got lost''.
He took no steps to progress a couple's prospective claim against a will, despite allegedly telling them they had been awarded judgment of more than $300,000.
McHenry forged a grant of probate and bank deposit slips to maintain the "ruse'' that other judgments had been awarded and moneys were to be paid, the Brisbane Supreme Court was told.
He also forged a document purporting to be orders of a Federal Circuit Court judge and forged emails from banks and a barrister, the LSC claims.
The former Gladstone solicitor is facing 30 disciplinary charges, involving nine complainants.
"In order to give apparent credibility to the false representations it is alleged he forged documents including, but not limited to, a summons bearing the Supreme Court of NSW seal,'' counsel for the LSC said in a court affidavit.
Representing a client in an income protection insurance claim over eight years, he said he won a court case against an insurer, although he had not even filed proceedings, it is alleged.
A former client claims she lost the chance to claim thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and superannuation from an employer, because Mr McHenry did not progress her claim in time.
He allegedly falsely told her had obtained $172,000 for her. McHenry told one former client his "licence'' had been restored and told another that a judge had reinstated him, he had returned to practice but had to keep a low profile, the court was told.
A former client whom McHenry represented in three matters over five years has served him with a claim for almost $711,000 and is awaiting a court decision.
The disciplinary charges are yet to be heard.