Costs Professional Convicted Over Illegal Images

Costs Professional Convicted Over Illegal Images

In mid-April 2023 a non-qualified legal professional who was representing a provider of legal services found himself in the position of being at the mercy of both the criminal and solicitors regulatory courts in connection with allegations that he had committed numerous offenses. The matter was taken extremely seriously by the authorities from both a regulatory and criminal perspective. Not only did the legal professional receive a criminal conviction but was also latterly told that he would not be permitted to provide his services to a provider as his character had been questioned.  

What Happened In The Case?

The legal professional had seemingly done extremely well for himself and despite not being a qualified solicitor appears to have been employed in his capacity as an administrator responsible for billing-related activities for the legal services provider. All was progressing well until the legal professional’s personal and professional life seems to have nose-dived when the law enforcement authorities probed into what had taken place behind the proverbial scenes. When the police did so it uncovered some disturbing information emanating from his personal life. The legal professional was discovered to be holding over one hundred films and just shy of twenty illegal photos.  

Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out…

In the Crown Court, he admitted to acting as a spectator of illicit sexual activity and manufacturing unlawful images. To punish it imposed numerous punishments on him and to make an example of him it imposed a thirty-six-month community order, twenty-working days of uncompensated work, and a five working week rehabilitation order. The legal professional earned the personal humiliation of a place on the Register of sex offenders for sixty months. An order was also imposed simultaneously stopping the legal professional from committing acts of harm of a sexual nature. When the provider of legal services was notified of his criminal sentence it decided to end his employment forthwith restricting his ability to operate in the legal profession.     

What Did the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal Say?

In the SDT the panel found that he was unsuitable to represent the legal profession. The panel dished out a section 43 of the Solicitors Act 1974 order barring the legal professional from being employed by a legal service provider he was non-qualified. Should the legal professional wants to return to the profession he must apply for SRA consent.  

Lessons Learned? 

Persons operating in the legal industry should take note of this case and do all they possibly can to reduce the likelihood of ending up in the same seemingly awful position of being left cast into the proverbial wilderness by the powers that be providing oversight in the legal industry. To reduce the likelihood of being made an example of in this way that potentially affects persons providing their services to clients and legal service providers need to be: 
-    acting professionally in the personal 
-    correctly conducting themselves in their working lives
-    avoiding the need to assemble a collection of illegal material of a photographic and video nature
-    concentrating on their day-to-day work-related activities whilst employed with providers of legal services and
-    not putting themselves in the professionally and criminally risky position of being able to gain easy access to material of an unlawful nature. 
If lawyers take the below steps, it will give them the best possible chance of success in mitigating the risk of losing their permission to practice in the legal profession.  
If you have experienced something similar, or have an opposing viewpoint, please kindly leave a comment on the article or contact us.  

ASSESSING FIRMS

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