A solicitor prosecuted for the advice given to his client almost eight years ago has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority had charged Rhys Mardon with advising the client in November 2010 to plead guilty to assault, without having viewed the relevant CCTV footage.
The client, named as Simon Williamson, was found guilty and sentenced to a 12-week curfew and £500 fine. His appeal against conviction and sentence was allowed in November 2015, and Williamson subsequently complained to the SRA about his former solicitor’s conduct.
But the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal said there was no evidence produced to show Mardon, a solicitor for 12 years, had advised Williamson to plead guilty, and indeed it appeared that the client had been given full and comprehensive advice about his situation and made his own decisions about how to plead. The case against Mardon was found not to be proved.
The tribunal added it was ’most unsatisfactory’ that the SRA had not been able to obtain a full copy of the contemporaneous file from Mardon’s former London firm, which had declined to supply the document as it was not named as a party to proceedings.
It was accepted that at the time of conviction CCTV footage existed of the alleged assault which neither Mardon nor his client had viewed. It was provided to Williamson in a watchable format a month after his conviction.
Mardon had told the SRA the dis c he received with the footage was not in a playable format and could not be viewed despite repeated attempts to get it to work. Based on the evidence available at the time, Mardon said he would not have changed his advice or the options he had offered to Williamson.
The solicitor stated that in 2010 it was unusual to receive any CCTV footage from the Crown Prosecution Service, with the organisation struggling due to cutbacks and in a ‘state of disarray’. Williamson knew the problems with viewing the footage, said Mardon, but had still decided he wanted to plead guilty.