Barrister suspended for harassment conviction
A criminal defence barrister who was convicted two years ago for harassing his ex-girlfriend by text has been suspended for three months by the bar disciplinary tribunal.
Peter Sefton, a barrister in Northern Ireland, was convicted at Craigavon Magistrates' Court in March 2014 for ‘bombarding’ his former partner with ‘intimidating’ text messages, according to a BBC report from the time.
Sefton, whose high-profile cases included defending double murderer Hazel Stewart, received a three-month jail sentence, suspended for two years for the harassment.
He was also ordered to pay £3,000 in compensation to the victim and a restraining order was imposed on him.
The bar disciplinary tribunal found that Sefton had engaged in conduct ‘which was likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in him as a barrister’.
It also found that Sefton had failed to comply with his regulatory obligations by failing to report his conviction, or a resulting six-month suspension by the disciplinary committee of the Bar of Northern Ireland, to the Bar Standards Board.
The tribunal suspended Sefton for three months, and fined him £400. His sentence is open to appeal.