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New date set for trial of Caithness solicitor accused of £100k embezzlement

By Court Reporter

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Sheriff Ian Cruickshank.
Sheriff Ian Cruickshank.

A new trial date has been fixed for a Caithness solicitor accused of embezzling more than £100,000 from his law firm more than five years since he was indicted.

Patrick Copinger allegedly embezzled £105,129.48 from his Highland Law Practice firm in Lybster between July 2008 and January 2012, and will face a jury on May 20, 2024.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank will preside at Inverness Sheriff Court and has fixed a preliminary hearing for February 27 to ascertain readiness for trial.

The case against Sylvia MacLennan, Copinger's former business partner, who was accused of embezzling £7,297.39 was thrown out in March this year by Sheriff Sara Matheson.

The sheriff ruled MacLennan's right to a fair trial within a reasonable time had been breached by it taking so long to come to court.

She had been told that a Law Society investigation into the Caithness legal practice had begun 11 years ago after alleged financial irregularities.

The police became involved and in 2019 both partners were indicted on embezzlement charges.

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