An in-house solicitor formerly with a major bank has been struck off after being found with more than 15,000 indecent images and videos of children.

Mohamed Faliq Mohamed Ismail, who was a solicitor at NatWest based in London, also distributed indecent material – some of which was classed in the highest category of seriousness – over several weeks before he was arrested in  2017 at his home address.

Having made full and frank admissions, he was convicted in 2020 of six separate offences and sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to a 16-month sentence, suspended for 18 months. He was further made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for five years and placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal heard that Ismail, 37 this year and a solicitor since 2013, agreed with the SRA that a strike-off was a ‘sufficient and proportionate sanction’.

In mitigation, he expressed deep regret for what he did and said he had taken steps for the past four years to rehabilitate himself so the behaviour was never repeated. This included seeking help and treatment from a specialist organisation for perpetrators of sexual offending, and completed 60 therapy sessions over four years.

The sentencing judge noted Ismail had already responded to rehabilitation measures to ensure there would be no recurrence of his offending.

The tribunal said his actions caused significant harm to the victims of sexual abuse and also damaged the reputation of the legal profession.

Ismail was struck off the roll and ordered to pay £2,082 costs.