The Supreme Court on Friday, February 24, suspended Counselor Charles H. Gibson’s license for two months for duping his client, identified as Anwar A. Saoud, of US$25,322 while defending him for over two years.
Cllr. Gibson misled his client on whose behalf he had instituted a series of lawsuits to recover loans and other business activities from Saoud’s customers, and refused to account for the US$25,322 he had earlier collected.
Delivering the court’s judgment, Associate Justice Sie-A-Nyene Yuoh said her action was based on findings of both the Grievance and Ethics Committee and Amicus Curiae (friend of the Supreme Court).
Amicus Curiae is a group that is not a party to the case, but assists the Supreme Court by offering free legal services to the court.
It was the two groups’ report that led to the suspension of Gibson.
“Cllr Gibson’s action as a lawyer breached Rule 15 of the client – lawyer relationship,” said Justice Yuoh. “A lawyer should refrain from any act whereby for his personal benefit or gain he abuses or takes advantage of the confidence reposed in him by his client. Money collected for his client, or other money or property of his said client coming into his possession as a result of his professional duty to his client should be reported and accounted for promptly, and should not under any circumstances be commingled with his own or be used by him.”
The Justice emphasized that: “Gibson’s license is hereby suspended for two months and he is mandated to pay back the client’s money; and until the money is paid he will not practice law in this country.”
Before the suspension, Saoud had complained about Gibson’s attitude to the Grievance and Ethics Committee.
Gibson was successful in collecting thousands of United States dollars from Saoud’s delinquent customers, from which he was allowed to take 20 percent as part of his legal fees.