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COCAINE LAWYER SCANDAL; Brief keeps job after man he supplied drug with died.

Byline: Dave Finlay

A LAWYER who supplied cocaine to an ex-boxer who later died escaped being struck off by his profession's disciplinary body yesterday.

Grant O'Connor was fined pounds 10,000 by the Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal, who found him guilty of professional misconduct and said he had brought himself and the legal profession into "serious disrepute".

O'Connor, 39, was previously ordered to carry out 150 hours' community service after he admitted supplying cocaine.

He bought the drug after meeting a group of men in a pub in January 2009. They then went to the offices of his then law firm - Allan McDougall Solicitors in Dalkeith, Midlothian - to carry on drinking and snorting the cocaine.

One of the group, David Norris, 25, a scaffolder, lost consciousness and died the next morning.

And last night, Norris's former bosses at J&I Scaffolding blasted the tribunal's decision to allow O'Connor, of Edinburgh, to keep his job.

A spokesman said: "I can't believe that O'Connor, who gave him drugs, has been allowed to keep his job as a lawyer.

"What kind of message does it send? That's it's OK to take drugs in your office. He shouldn't be allowed to practise law again."

However, the former junior boxing champion had taken cocaine earlier in the evening before O'Connor offered some from his supply.

A post-mortem revealed that his body had high levels of alcohol, cocaine and so-called date rape drug GHB.

The Crown accepted that the cocaine supplied by O'Connor did not cause his death.

Sheriff Roderick MacLeod told O'Connor that he took into account "the catastrophic effect this has had on your life and will have for a long time to come".

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FINED: O'Connor
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 1, 2011
Words:284
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