A junior solicitor who was convicted of sending malicious Facebook messages to a woman has been fined £10,000 by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
Newly-qualified James Andrew Wilson sent the messages, which were said to have caused annoyance, inconvenience and needless anxiety, through Facebook messenger on the same day in 2018.
At the time of the offence, Wilson, formerly known as Victor Kruchinkin, was in practice as an assistant solicitor at central London firm Adams and Remers LLP, having been admitted to the roll in January 2018.
Wilson pleaded guilty last year to malicious communication, which eventually resulted in a 12-month community order, 100 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation activity requirement. He had initially received a suspended six-week prison sentence and made subject to a restraining order, but on appeal the sentence was removed and the restraining order revoked.
Wilson produced a medical report as part of his submission to the SRA: much was redacted in the tribunal’s judgment but the unredacted part states his propensity to speak his mind when writing emails or using social media without thinking through the consequences.
In mitigation, not endorsed by the SRA, Wilson cited his medical condition and noted that on appeal the court had acknowledged he showed remorse, a good positive character and this was an isolated incident carried out on one day. He self-reported his conviction promptly to the SRA and has attended course to deal with his medical issues.
The regulator made an agreed outcome with Wilson and accepted that he did not need to be suspended.
The tribunal agreed the seriousness of what Wilson did was not enough to interfere with his right to practise. The £10,000 fine was an ‘appropriate and proportionate’ sanction. The solicitor must also pay £2,600 costs.