A barrister whose website contained the assertion he could ‘get Stevie Wonder a driver’s licence’ has been fined for making inappropriate boasts online.
Michael Wolkind QC, of 2 Bedford Row, was fined £1,000 following a two-day hearing at the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service.
According to the judgment, Wolkind’s boasts were ‘likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public placed in him or in the profession’.
The website, topcriminalqc.co.uk, contained statements including that Wolkind QC was ‘the UK’s top criminal barrister’.
The site also claimed he was ‘widely recognised as the UK’s top murder barrister and QC; top protest case barrister and QC; top terrorism barrister and QC; top property householder self-defence rights barrister and QC and top regulatory, inquest health and safety and tribunal barrister and QC.’
According to the tribunal, these comments were made in circumstances where he was ‘unable to substantiate the assertion’.
The tribunal ruled that the Steve Wonder comments, left as a testimonial by a lay client of Wolkind’s, would also diminish the public’s trust in the profession.
Wolkind’s website came to the attention of Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the lord chief justice, during an appeal against the 2013 murder conviction of Wolkind’s former client Robert Ekaireb.
At the 2015 appeal Thomas upheld the conviction but the tribunal heard Wolkind had made ‘completely unprofessional’ personal criticism of prosecution barrister Brian Altman QC during his closing speech.
Wolkind was cleared of allegations relating to comments made during that speech.