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A lawyer in Queensland, Australia, who wrongly thought he was dying of cancer took a cavalier attitude to his practice and embezzled $426,000 of his clients’ money, a tribunal was told yesterday.

A Queensland lawyer who wrongly thought he was dying of cancer took a cavalier attitude to his practice and embezzled $426,000 of his clients’ money, a tribunal was told yesterday.

Stephen John Hockey wrote his name into the record books when he became the first solicitor to be struck off by order of Queensland’s new Legal Practice Tribunal.

The Legal Services Commissioner brought charges of professional misconduct against Hockey, 55, who ran a one-man practice at Bundall for almost 20 years.

The tribunal was told Hockey, whose practising certificate was cancelled earlier this year, admitted in a letter that he forged his clients’ signatures on mortgages and borrowed money against the security of clients’ properties without their consent or knowledge.

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.

One of the authors claiming Dan Brown’s bestseller The Da Vinci Code copied his ideas has admitted he exaggerated his case in an interview with a journalist.