Northern Ireland

Former financial adviser jailed for stealing thousands

Law Society
Image caption Denis William Mackie, 55, stole more than £53,000 from the accounts of two clients to pay his mortgage

A former director of a company that provided financial advice to the Law Society of Northern Ireland has been jailed for six months for stealing thousands.

Denis William Mackie, 55, took more than £53,000 from the accounts of clients to pay his mortgage.

He admitted abusing a position of trust for his own gain.

The court heard Mackie transferred the bulk of the money into his mortgage account.

Mackie, of Bristow Drive in the Gilnahirk area of Belfast, voluntarily resigned from Law Society Financial Advice in 2014 after 23 years.

The court heard Mackie transferred the bulk of the money into his mortgage account.

'Isolated himself'

But while Mackie was in debt, he lived beyond his means, holidaying in Hawaii, Las Vegas, Portugal and Malaga, as well as taking several hotel breaks on shorter holidays.

The court also heard he was afraid of losing his two children after the breakdown of his marriage and attended to their financial needs.

The judge said Mackie had not led what the prosecution said was an extravagant lifestyle; instead he had spent most of the money - £50,000 - on paying his mortgage.

The court was told that Mackie had shown real and valid remorse and had paid the money back after drawing down funds from his pension.

Mackie, whom the court was told had socially isolated himself because of the shame he felt, was jailed on Wednesday.

The judge at Belfast Crown Court said despite an early guilty plea and other mitigating factors he was handing down a jail sentence as a deterrent to others who held a similar position of trust.

Mackie will spend a further six months on licence.