The Law Society has secured interim orders to freeze the accounts of a solicitor after he disclosed a deficit of up to €400,000 in a client account.

In documents supplied to the court Barry Murphy, a sole practitioner practising as Eugene Carey & Company Solicitors, Courthouse Chambers, Mallow, Co Cork also admitted having a "serious gambling problem".

Mr Justice Peter Kelly was told Mr Murphy was consenting to various interim orders, including freezing his accounts and suspending him from practising.

Niamh O'Connell, an investigating accountant with the Society, said in a sworn statement that Mr Murphy had admitted to a serious gambling problem.

He said he originally used monies from his office account to fund his gambling habit. He had admitted to first dipping into the client account in November or December 2015 and when he won money gambling he would put it back into the client account.

After his office facility was withdrawn by his bank in mid-March, he then only had access to the client account and he said he operated a personal "SKRLL" credit account for his gambling which was mostly online with "Bet365" and "Betfair".

The Society's Regulation of Practise Committee has formed the opinion Mr Murphy was guilty of dishonesty in his practise in allowing a minimum deficit of €349,437 arise on the client account as of 28 June last, she said.

Mr Murphy disclosed the client account deficit to two clients and the Law Society earlier this week when he was unable to provide €319,000 needed by the clients to close a sale, she said.

Mr Murphy had said he only has some €100,000 left in his client account and admitted to having considerable debts including an office overdraft of €130,000 and some €16,400 on his credit card.

He also said the Revenue was seeking €15-16,000 for arrears of VAT and PAYE/PRSI.

Mr Murphy further stated his online banking facility was withdrawn by his bank in late March or early April and his office overdraft facilities were withdrawn around mid-March.

He had admitted to delay in dealing with money matters and telling clients many lies "in order to cover his tracks", Ms O'Connell said.

He admitted to waiting for one client's monies to come in to pay off another client and had also said he had had to pass over some cases to another solicitor.