A barrister who was convicted of fraud for wrongly claiming expenses has avoided being disbarred, instead receiving a three-year suspension.
Michael Rowan, an unregistered barrister who was called to the bar in 1992, was convicted of fraud by false representation at Ipswich Crown Court last year, after submitting three expenses forms to his employer to which he was not entitled.
The Bar Tribunal and Adjudication Service found that Rowan had failed to act with honesty and integrity; acted in a way which could reasonably be seen by the public to undermine his honesty, integrity and independence; behaved in a way that is likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in him or in the profession; and that he failed to report the conviction to the regulator.
The five-person panel suspended Rowan for three years and ordered him to pay costs of £600. It said it took into account mitigation put forward by Rowan.
A spokesperson for the Bar Standards Board said: ‘The tribunal’s decision to order that Mr Rowan be prohibited from obtaining a practising certificate for three years serves as a reminder to all barristers of the serious consequences that can result from breaching their obligations contained within the BSB Handbook.'
The tribunal’s decision is open to appeal.
Last week, a barrister convicted of grievous bodily harm also avoided being disbarred, instead receiving a fine and a three-year suspension.