Judge ‘losing patience’ with bogus solicitor who failed to show up for court seven times

A judge said he is “losing patience” with a bogus solicitor from Yorkshire who has failed to turn up at court to be sentenced seven times.

Recorder Jeremy Richardson said he has “deep suspicions” as Richard Lipscombe “does seem to have a life crowded with medical emergencies just before court hearings”.

Lipscombe, 47, pretended to be an experienced solicitor and he was hired to represent a construction firm in the High Court in 2016.

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He pleaded guilty to acting as a solicitor when unqualified and carrying on a reserved legal activity when not entitled, at Southwark Crown Court in London in 2020.

Sheffield Crown Court.Sheffield Crown Court.
Sheffield Crown Court.

But Lipscombe, who lives in Sheffield, has not been sentenced yet, because he has failed to attend the sentencing hearing on seven separate occasions due to health issues.

The case was transferred to Sheffield Crown Court, to make it easier for him to attend in person, but he did not turn up for the latest hearing today and claimed he was travelling to Royal Hallamshire Hospital to be treated for Covid-19.

But the court heard he has not been admitted to hospital, to be treated as an inpatient.

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The judge accepted that Lipscombe has had serious health issues in recent years and undergone surgery several times, but said he is “gradually losing patience with the current situation”.

He said: “There is a serious question mark in my mind as to whether, on every single occasion the case has been listed, that he is quite as indisposed as it has been billed to me.

“I've been patient thus far and I have adjourned this goodness knows how many times, but my patience is getting to the point of being extinguished.

“If he's fit and well enough to go to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, he's fit and well enough to come here.”

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The judge said ”we cannot carry on like this” as “the court's time is incredibly precious”.

He then told Lipscombe’s barrister that the hearing will be adjourned until Wednesday, April 5, when he could be jailed for up to two years.

“I shall sentence him in his absence if he fails to attend and if there is a prison sentence, a warrant will be issued and he'll be taken straight to prison,” he added.