THE Cyprus Bar Association (CBA) has this week fined Paphos lawyer Emily Lemoniati €1,000 for misconduct after she failed to register her clients’ 2005 property sales agreement, then waited three years to amend, sign and file a new contract without her clients’ instructions.
Lemoniati’s clients, Scottish expats Andrew and Patricia McClay, complained to police in 2009 but it has taken the CBA’s disciplinary board until now to reach a verdict on the two charges of “showing conduct contrary to the advocates’ profession”.
The first, according to board president and Attorney-general Petros Clerides, was for failing to register the sale agreement for the McClays’ home, dated 25 October 2005.
The second was issued because, on or around 21 October 2008, Lemoniati used a power of attorney given by the McClays without their instruction, to issue a sales agreement of which they were not aware.
Board chairman Doros Ioannides said: “It is clear that the accused lawyer breached her clients’ instructions and breached the code of professional ethics and therefore we find her guilty on the said charge.”
He also said: “It is with great difficulty that we do not impose to Ms Lemoniati the highest sentence, that of the deprivation of her licence to perform her profession and we only impose a monetary fine that of €1,000.”
It is unclear why Lemoniati delayed the registration of the original document.
Andrew McClay, who has since returned home to Scotland, said: “The guilty verdict is out there but the sentence is disappointing. I took her to court because she’d broken the law and forged the property contract… that fine is not really very much is it?”
However, a defiant Lemoniati fiercely denied any wrongdoing, adding that the McClays suffered no loss and that she was acting in her clients’ interests all along by using her power of attorney.
She told the Sunday Mail: “I simply don’t care (about the judgement) because I didn’t steal money or do anything unethical. I registered the contract with a slight delay…of a few months… only to safeguard my client.”
Her vehement denial also seems to have alarmed the board.
Ioannides wrote in the board’s meeting minutes: “It is with great surprise that we have noticed that what Ms Lemoniati stated, does not constitute mitigation or any other apology towards the Disciplinary Board but rather stigmatises the persons who made the complaint and which in any case, the Disciplinary Board found her guilty.”
He added: “What the Disciplinary Board expected from Ms Lemoniati, was at least to apologise to the complainants.”
Instead, Lemoniati said she would now appeal the board’s “unfair” decision and sue McClay for defamation, after he allegedly commented about her on a website based in the north.
McClay denied ever commenting on such a website about Lemoniati.
“It is not the intention of Mr McClay to get justice.” Lemoniati said: “He just wanted to make a problem for me… He made comments on a north Cyprus website mocking me because I could not come (to a disciplinary board hearing) when I was pregnant… where is the respect?”
Her name now appears on several websites, such as: http://www.ripoffreport.com, whatswrongwithcyprus.eucy.info, bewarepaschalicyprus.com/ and several chat forums, where details of her previous conviction, imprisonment and subsequent presidential pardon for driving offences can be found.
Moreover, she claimed to have more than 15 people ready to testify against McClay: “This is ridiculous, this person is insane. Maybe he has a personal issue with me. He does not care about his wife… he has a mania about Emily Lemoniati, every morning he wakes up and his intention is Emily Lemoniati.”
“I will chase him until the day he dies… no matter what. I’m going to make his life a nightmare.”
Asked if he would continue to pursue Lemoniati, McClay said: “I don’t think so. It seems like a complete waste of time and money and there’s nothing to be gained. It’s just more grief and hassle that we don’t need.”
“The guilty verdict is out there” he added.