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Three lawyers from one firm in the dock for driving offences

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

LIKE any law firm, its solicitors can expect to spend a lot of their time appearing in court.

But some of the lawyers at a Glasgow business have been doing it for all the wrong reasons.

On Wednesday, Matthew Berlow, 47, a partner at Berlow Rahman, was fined £300 and given four penalty points at Kilmarnock Justice of the Peace Court for driving at 75mph in a 50mph zone.

Earlier this month another solicitor at the firm, Manus Tolland, racked up his second drink-driving conviction. And last month another colleague, Martha Rafferty, was convicted of a drink-driving-related offence for the third time.

Rafferty and Tolland will now be probed by the Law Society for Scotland. Tolland had gone to see a client when he was caught drink-driving, and it’s understood Rafferty was going to court to represent a client when she was detained.

Raffery, 58, pleaded guilty at Hamilton Sheriff Court to a charge of failing to provide specimens of breath on two occasions.

The court heard Rafferty appeared unsteady on her feet when she was spotted by officers in the car park at the town’s police station. She told them she was “using medicine.”

She was twice asked to take a breathalyser test but failed to provide a suitable specimen both times. In 2012 she was convicted of failing to provide two specimens of breath and was fined £500 and banned from driving for 18 months.

And in August 2014 she was fined £530 and disqualified for three years for a similar offence. After that, she was censured by a Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal, and is due to be sentenced for the latest offence next month.

Tolland, 62, of Paisley, was fined £1,000 and banned from driving for 30 months earlier this month.

He went to Kilmarnock police office in May to see a client, who sacked him as he smelled of alcohol then told police he had been drinking. Tolland was stopped by officers and tests revealed he was nearly four-times the limit.

Berlow Rahman declined to comment. However, a source said Martha Rafferty was not on staff but used the firm’s “insurance umbrella” while working for many firms. The Law Society of Scotland website lists her as working at the firm.