Lawyer failed to make mortgage payments for client A former solicitor maintained his innocence yesterday after receiving a jail term of 15 months for misappropriating $250,000 from a client. The professional life of Issac Rahmat Sadiq, 53, was in ruins following his conviction for stealing money from his client, Chan Wai-ming, between May and July 2001, District Court Judge Bernard Whaley said. Prosecutor Richard Donald told the court that Sadiq, who was formerly a staff lawyer of Haldanes Solicitors, started his own firm after he bought the Yuen Long branch office of Haldanes. He named his firm 'Messrs Sadiq Solicitors'. Chan was a client of Haldanes after he was arrested and charged with operating a pyramid scheme. While the money in his bank accounts was frozen following his arrest in 2000, the High Court granted Chan an order allowing him to release $250,000 to the law firm so he could make monthly mortgage payments. After the court permission was granted, Chan hired Sadiq. Judge Whaley said Sadiq requested Haldanes transfer the entire sum to him. But Sadiq never made any mortgage payments for Chan. Defence barrister Abdul Aziz Hoosen said the money Sadiq had allegedly misappropriated was actually part of the legal costs that Chan would have paid the lawyer. The judge noted that Sadiq 'was a man of good character', and barrister Graham Harris testified as a character witness that the former solicitor was a hard-working and honest person. But Judge Whaley passed an immediate custodial sentence, saying the case was a serious breach of trust and it undermined the public view of professional solicitors. Sadiq maintained his innocence and indicated that he would appeal against his conviction.