A veteran solicitor and convicted paedophile has agreed he should be banned from the profession.
Criminal defence lawyer Michael Philip Pulsford was jailed for more than eight years at Southampton Crown Court last year for offences relating to children. The crimes occurred between 1974 and 1989 when Pulsford was acting as a leader in a local youth organisation.
At a one-day hearing of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal last month, it was outlined that Pulsford had admitted a total of 16 offences of indecent assault against six boys and girls under the age of 16. As well as being jailed, he must also sign the sex offenders register indefinitely.
The tribunal heard the sentencing judge His Honour Judge Henry described Pulsford’s conduct as a ‘gross breach of trust’ where he used his position of considerable influence over impressionable children. He noted the damage done to the lives of six people and the emotion and pain expressed in their victim personal statements.
The judge accepted that the abuse stopped in 1989 and there was no evidence of him having been anything but law-abiding since that time. He added: ‘I accept that many people have found you to have been a very positive influence on their lives and speak highly of your character… and has described you as a mixed bag who has done much evil but also much good.’
Pulsford offered in mitigation that he pleaded guilty in the criminal proceedings at the first opportunity and fully cooperated with the SRA investigation. He agreed with the regulator that a strike-off was the correct sanction and also agreed to pay £1,300 costs.
Pulsford, 69 this year, was admitted to the roll in July 1980 and was a director at Wiltshire firm Jeary & Lewis until 2018. He practised mostly in Swindon and was one of the first solicitors to be granted Crown court audience rights.