A solicitor convicted of a string of sex and drug-related offences has been thrown out of the legal profession. David Daniel Joseph Regan, 46 this year, admitted possessing and watching images that a sentencing judge described as ‘depraved material of the very worst kind’.

At Bristol Crown Court in January this year, Regan was convicted of making indecent photographs of a child, possession of extreme pornographic images which involved sex with an animal, distributing an indecent photograph of a child and supplying and possession of class A drugs.

He was sentenced to a total of 69 months’ imprisonment and his case passed on to the Solicitors Regulation Authority for prosecution before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

At a one-day hearing last month, at which Regan was not present or represented, the tribunal heard Regan pursued a ‘depraved lifestyle’ which included criminal behaviour committed even while he was released on bail.

The tribunal’s judgment says the damage to the reputation of the legal profession was ‘commensurate’, and represented a major departure from the integrity, probity and trustworthiness expected of a solicitor. Regan had used his knowledge and ability with computers to install encryption software to disguise and hide material stored on various devices and equipment.

The tribunal added: ‘The harm caused by [Regan’s] behaviour was incalculable including watching and joint-watching via the internet of the appalling treatment of very young children. It involved the commission of criminal offences, was deliberate, calculated and repeated, continuing over a period of time and involved taking advantage of vulnerable children damaging their lives forever.’

Correspondence from Regan and from a family member set out that he deeply regretted his behaviour, but the tribunal said the misconduct was of such a serious nature that striking off was the only reasonable and proportionate sanction. Regan was also ordered to pay £1,880 in costs.