Campbell dismayed by report’s criticism of legal profession

Newtownabbey Alliance Councillor, Tom Campbell, has expressed serious concern and dismay about the implications of comments against the legal profession contained in the NI Affairs Committee report into organised crime.

Cllr Campbell stated that the advice from the Committee that professional bodies such as the Law Society must ‘satisfy themselves that their membership requirements are sufficiently rigorous and that observance of them is carefully monitored’ was offensive and highly regrettable.

Cllr Campbell, who is himself a solicitor, said: “There has been a history of ill informed comments of this nature from Westminster. The Committee has ‘expressed concern about the involvement of professionals in organised crime’ and lamentably fails to give any justification for this claim. What the Committee either doesn’t know or has chosen to ignore is that all professionals, including accountants, are subject to the money laundering regulations.”

Mr Campbell concluded: “This piece of legislation has been the source of ongoing concern for the legal profession but it does make it a legal requirement that suspicions

concerning illegal activity of the sort referred to in the report are to be reported to the Central Criminal Intelligence Bureau. Failure to report reasonable suspicions can and has led to criminal proceedings against the professional concerned.

“The concerns expressed may have been relevant before the introduction of this very stringent legislation but one wonders what the Committee based this conclusion on other than on the basis of ill informed gossip.

“As far as I am aware the Committee had no private access to police intelligence so they should be careful before making unfounded allegations.”


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