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Disciplinary Panel Hearings

15 DEZ 2011

Mr Jacob Goulde - 14 December 2011

Case of
Mr Jacob Goulde FRICS (Also known as Jack Goulde FRICS) [ 1126726 ], Middlesex, HA5

on
14 December 2011

at
RICS, Parliament Square, London , UK

Chairman                                            
Mary Symes         

Members
Lee Gledhill (Lay)
Peter McCrea FRICS

Legal Assessor
Tony Woodcock

RICS Representative  
Vicki Buckley

Charges heard

The Panel will hear the case concerning the conviction, contrary to Bye-Law B5.4.2 of RICS Bye-Laws 2009.

Determination

The Panel has before it as a preliminary issue an application by Mr Goulde for an adjournment of today’s hearing.  The application is made on the ground that Mr Goulde is hospitalised and cannot attend.  He anticipates being in a position to attend a Panel hearing when he is discharged from hospital, which he anticipates will be during the course of next month.  The application has been made at a very late stage.  Mr Goulde was asked to provide evidence of his being in hospital but none has been forthcoming though, in fairness, he anticipated he might find it difficult to do so at this stage. 

The application is opposed by the Institution.  It submits that this is a matter of considerable gravity which has already been the subject of significant delay; the breach is clearly made out on the documents; and nothing can be achieved by deferring the matter further.  All that can be said on Mr Goulde’s behalf is apparent from the papers.

In determining whether it should grant an adjournment, the Panel took account of the legal advice it received.  The Panel has to weigh in the balance and consider the fairness in relation to the interests of the member in presenting his case in person, or having it presented for him and the interests of the public in ensuring the cases, particularly of the nature of this case, are dealt with expeditiously.  The Panel specifically reminds itself of the need to exercise extreme caution in considering applications where, not to grant the application, will lead to a case being presented in the members absence.

The Panel has concluded that the case should not be adjourned today.  In reaching that decision it has taken into account the circumstances in which the application has been made.  Specifically the Panel finds that there is no independent evidence beyond the word of Mr Goulde to substantiate the basis for his request.  The application was made at the eleventh hour.  There have been previous applications of a similar nature in the past; Mr Goulde should have appreciated that it is not enough to expect proceedings of this gravity be adjourned simply on the basis of his word.  The only medical evidence that has been received is in the form of medical certificates from his general practitioner relating to July and August 2011 when he again claimed to be in hospital.

The Panel has taken into account the allegation.  It relates to his conviction for offences of fraud in relation to valuations prepared in his professional practice as a surveyor.  It is clear that the public interest is best served by an early determination by his professional regulator of the issue which the allegation raises. 

The Panel has also taken into account the significant delay in dealing with the matter to date.  Mr Goulde was made the subject of an interim measures order relating to these matters in November 2008 which is still in place.  The Panel notes that he is still able to engage in certain limited areas of practice under the designation of RICS.  Since then a police investigation has been concluded and, as the papers show, he has appeared at the Crown Court to be dealt with for the offences.  It is worthy of note that Mr Goulde only entered his plea of guilty at the very last stage when the matter had been listed for full trial.

The substance of his mitigation can be properly addressed through the various reports and correspondence which are found in the bundle, and in the remarks of the sentencing judge.  The Panel notes also that it would have been open to Mr Goulde to send a representative or, as previously provided, further written submissions.

The Panel also notes that, in the event of dissatisfaction with this decision, it is open to Mr Goulde to appeal and there is provision in the rules for an appeal panel to consider submitting the case for rehearing.

Panel’s Decision

The Panel considered the matter of Mr Goulde’s membership of RICS.  The Panel found that Mr Goulde is a member of RICS and his membership has continued uninterrupted since 1 January 2000.

Although Mr Goulde sent a letter of resignation in November 2010 this was not accepted by RICS.  There is no process to allow membership to lapse through failure to pay annual subscriptions and Mr Goulde did not appear in court to substantiate his allegation made in November 2011 that RICS had no jurisdiction and therefore should be enjoined from hearing this case.  The correspondence that the Panel has seen makes it clear that under By Law 5.2.3 Mr Goulde whilst subject to disciplinary proceedings was prevented from resigning.

The Certificate of Conviction is found at page 65 of the bundle and Mr Goulde is accordingly liable to disciplinary action.

Ms Buckley on behalf of RICS outlined the background to the conviction and referred the Panel to the sentencing remarks.

The Panel has determined that Mr Goulde should be expelled from membership of RICS.

The Panel considered the nature of the conviction, in particular that the matter arose from fraud and was liable to a custodial sentence which was in this case suspended only by reason of Mr Goulde’s late plea of guilty.

The Panel had regard to the Sanctions Policy and initially considered whether a caution or reprimand or a fine or a combination would be suitable sanction.  However the Panel consider that the circumstances of the conviction were so serious and the damage to the reputation of the profession is so great that none of these was sufficient. It goes to the heart of  the profession that clients can rely fully on the validity and honesty of any valuation given by a valuation surveyor who is a member of RICS.

The Panel came to the view that expulsion was the only proportionate sanction that would fully protect the public interest and the reputation of the profession.

Determination on Publication and Costs

Publication
The Panel directs publication in accordance with Supplement 3 to the Sanctions policy, namely in the local press, on RICS website and in Modus.

Costs
The Panel order that Mr Goulde pay the costs of the RICS in this case of £3,775.

Appeal Period
Mr Goulde has 28 days to appeal this decision in accordance with Rule 59 of the Disciplinary, Registration and Appeal Panel Rules.