A barrister who posted offensive comments on social media about a member of the public has been suspended from practice for 10 months.
Richard Miles, called to the bar by Gray’s Inn in 1997, was found by a disciplinary tribunal to have acted in that was likely to diminish the trust and confidence the public places in him or in the profession.
The Bar Standards Board brought charges of professional misconduct after Miles posted a number of ‘offensive and disparaging’ comments about a member of the public on social media. The comments were posted on a Facebook chat forum, and included matters of a sexual and/or violent nature.
Sara Jagger, BSB director of legal and enforcement, said: ‘Barristers are obliged not to act in a way that diminishes the trust and confidence the public places in them or the profession.
‘The tribunal found Mr Miles had breached this obligation and its decision to suspend him shows the serious consequences for barristers that can arise from inappropriate behaviour on social media.’
The tribunal's decision is open to appeal.
Earlier this week, newly issued guidance warned barristers that they could face disciplinary action if they take part in ‘heated’ internet debates, post ‘distasteful’ comments online, or reveal their whereabouts via social media.
Even comments which ‘you reasonably consider to be in good taste’ may be considered distasteful or offensive by others, it warns.