A barrister who posted ‘seriously offensive, abusive and publicly disparaging’ tweets about another barrister has been suspended from practice for two years.
Barbara Hewson, called to the bar in 1985, was charged with professional misconduct by the Bar Standards Board over a series of tweets posted between 2017 and 2019, and a blog published this year.
An independent disciplinary tribunal found the posts were ‘seriously offensive, abusive and publicly disparaging towards another barrister’, with some directed at that barrister’s competence and reputation.
It also found they were ‘obscene or seriously offensive in terms of the language used’ and ‘disparaging of the BSB’s regulatory process thereby undermining public trust and confidence in that process and thus in the profession’.
A BSB spokesperson said: ‘As the tribunal found, and Ms Hewson accepted, a barrister’s actions on social media can diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in individual barristers and the profession. The tribunal’s decision to suspend her from practice for two years demonstrates the serious consequences that can arise from such offensive and abusive behaviour online.’
The tribunal’s decision is open to appeal.