A former barrister who was disbarred for giving unregulated immigration advice and then went to set up his own company to commit further offences has been jailed and fined nearly £3,000.
Michael Wainwright was sentenced to 22 months yesterday at Southwark Crown Court. His Honour Judge Christopher Hehir also ordered Wainwright to pay compensation of £2,858.
The 33-year-old former barrister had pleaded guilty to eight offences of providing unregulated immigration advice between 2013 and 2016. He was remanded in custody on 2 May 2017.
Wainwright was disbarred in 2014 at a hearing at the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service.
According to the tribunal, Wainwright lied to a client about submitting to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) an application on behalf of his client’s mother-in-law for discretionary leave to remain in the UK.
Wainwright told the client that the application would reach the agency before the end of 2011 but it was in fact not submitted until March 2012 – by which point it was too late for his client to appeal the UKBA's decision to refuse his mother-in-law leave to remain. She was later deported to China.
The panel also found that Wainwright had worked with the same client as a public access barrister despite not completing training and registering as a public access practitioner.
According to a notice published by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner today, after Wainwright was disbarred he went on to form a legal services company called Crested Associates Ltd, which he used to commit further offences targeting vulnerable people.
Wainwright conducted cases when not entitled to; failed to make applications to the Home Office or the immigration tribunals for which he had been instructed and paid to do and claimed to act as a McKenzie friend, the statement said.
Sentencing Wainwright, His Honour Judge Hehir said his conduct represented a ’flagrant disregard’ for the standards of profession of which he used to be a part. ’The facts of the eight offences have been very fully opened to me. They reveal that you persistently and in a sophisticated fashion, held yourself out to vulnerable and often desperate people,' he said.
'Charlatans like you take advantage of their difficulty and desperation and by doing so you can only harm their interests,' he said.