A barrister convicted of beating a woman has received a four-month suspension and a reprimand from the disciplinary tribunal.

Stephen Joseph Sweeney, who was called to the bar in 2001, was convicted in 2018 of assaulting a woman by beating her, and failed to surrender to custody when required to do so. Sweeney was sentenced to a community rehabilitation order and received a restraining order. The Bar Standards Board subsequently brought charges of professional misconduct.

An independent disciplinary tribunal found that Sweeney had behaved in a way which was likely to diminish public trust and confidence, and had 'acted without integrity or in a manner which could reasonably be seen by the public to undermine his integrity'. 

Sweeney received a reprimand from the tribunal and two four-month suspensions to be served concurrently. The tribunal said it also took into account the fact that Sweeney, having been granted bail, failed to surrender to custody when required to do so.

Director of legal and enforcement, Sara Jagger said: ‘The tribunal’s decision to suspend Mr Sweeney from practice demonstrates the serious consequences for barristers that can arise from being convicted of criminal offences, even where the conduct relates to issues in their personal life.’