Cannabis Lawyer Banned

| General

On 28th September 2022, the Scottish Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal handed down a decision to a lawyer who had inexplicably attended a criminal court with the controlled drug cannabis on his person.

What Happened In The Case?

The lawyer reportedly was on a period of absence and whilst on this leave he was attending to his elderly mother. Both were suffering from the impact of bereavement following the loss of their husband. However, during this absence, the lawyer received communications from his employer by way of a telephone call from one of his workmates who had received notification about a person who had been arrested and taken into custody and was exposed, unsafe, and susceptible to risk. In light of the exceptional circumstances and the tight timescales he quickly made his way over to the court to represent his client. 

Ordinarily, a legal representative in the preparation ahead of a criminal court hearing would be suitably attired in a suit, shirt, and tie combination. The case would then go under the radar, the case would go ahead as planned and the court would make a decision on the case. However, this is where this case became interesting and is something of an outlier. By all accounts, the lawyer did not have time to get suitably attired and only had the opportunity to put on a football strip from one of the leading Glasgow Old Firm catholic football clubs. When the lawyer arrived at the court claiming to be a lawyer the court staff was skeptical about his competence. 

Curiousor and Curioursor…

The matter became even more alarming when the court staff conducted a search on the lawyer and when they did so they discovered a packet containing a small amount of the controlled drug cannabis in his pocket. The lawyer claimed he had been provided with the illicit substance by somebody at a gathering who had claimed that he had recommended the drug to help him to enter into a more relaxed state of mind. The lawyer asserted that he had suffered from an attack of seeming absent-mindedness and had forgotten the presence of the illicit drug on his person. He also claimed that he was suffering from anxiety, distress, and trauma at the time the incident had taken place. 

At the time of the incident, the law enforcement authorities issued a financial sanction in the form of a fine on the spot in the amount of just over three hundred pounds. In this regard, the lawyer escaped a formal criminal conviction. 

What Did The Scottish Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal say?

If the lawyer had thought his luck was in, in front of the law enforcement authorities, his luck seemingly ran out and the weather vain seemingly turned when he was held accountable in front of the Scottish Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal panel. When he faced this panel they considered the evidence and took a dim view of his conduct whilst representing the profession in a criminal law court. The panel was damning and described his behavior as significant, deplorable, and disgraceful. The Scottish Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal panel criticized the lawyer’s conduct. They provided a balanced approach in suggesting that legal professionals need not be the epitome of morality. However, they stated that they should conduct themselves with honesty in all aspects of their lives. 

Lessons Learned?

Legal professionals should be:

  • avoiding finding themselves in a situation where they are going to court with illicit substances on their persons
  • conducting themselves with professionalism and
  • ensuring they are suitably attired when attending court hearings.

Written by Adam Green

ASSESSING FIRMS

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THE ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN USING THE FOLLOWING SOURCES 

[SOURCE 1] Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal – Solicitor censured after turning up at Glasgow Sheriff Court with cannabis – 28 September 2022 – Solicitors Regulation Authority - Solicitor censured after turning up at Glasgow Sheriff Court with cannabis | Scottish Legal News

[SOURCE 2] Beresford, Paige – Scots lawyer caught with cannabis after turning up to court wearing a Celtic shirt – 28 September 2022 – The Sun - Scots lawyer caught with cannabis after turning up to court wearing Celtic shirt | The Scottish Sun

[SOURCE 3] Horne, Marc – Lawyer took cannabis he’d ‘forgotten’ he had into court – The Times – 28 September 2022 - Lawyer took cannabis he’d forgotten he had into court | Scotland | The Times

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