Former crime chief targets crooked lawyers
Former Deputy Commissioner of Police Mark Shields, through his company Shields Crime and Security Consultant, is offerings free consultations to individuals whose attorneys hold on to money after they have won legal cases on their behalf.
After hearing about the prevalence of the problem through anecdotes from police officers and lawyers about unscrupulous, unprofessional attorneys who fail to turn over money to their clients, Shields said he put out an advertisement in the print media to gauge the extent of the issue. He said he received 40 clients in the month that the advertisement ran.
"Many of the people that come to me, they are poor, they are ill-informed and they are not aware of the rights that they have in terms of going to the general legal council, and in some cases, as a last resort," he said.
Shields said that the consultation that he gives is for free.
"I am not charging for an hour or two of my services to give that advice. I am able to give these persons some of my time for free because I think that it is the right thing to do. That is why I am doing it," Shields told THE STAR.
Shields said cases that have come to him include persons who have suffered injury or loss through insurances; real estate clients, who have done transactions and monies are not paid over or titles have been held on to by attorneys; as well as individuals in cases involving probates and wills, where attorneys appear to hold on to funds and hold on to deeds to properties.
"I have met with these people, and they have come with some absolute horror stories. They fall into different categories, which is what I have found," Shields said.
He said he gives practical advice on what clients can do to remedy their cases against their attorneys although his ability to help is limited.
"I am not an attorney. I do not propose to represent myself as an attorney. I cannot give legal advice. All I can give to people is practical advice," he said.
In some cases, Shields said he has referred clients to a senior legal attorney, the general legal council or the police.
Shields stressed that he has no axe to grind with attorneys, as his wife and some of his friends are lawyers. However, he said these persons need to remember the oaths they took.
"Justice is not when an attorney holds on to a client's money for periods of time or fails for whatever reason to give the deeds of a property back to clients. It's wrong," he said.