A male solicitor who got drunk and behaved inappropriately to female colleagues has been publicly rebuked by the SRA.
John Peter Burnand was a partner at London firm Winckworth Sherwood LLP when he became intoxicated at the firm’s Christmas party on 8 December 2016.
According to an SRA notice published this week, Burnand behaved in an ‘inappropriate, physical manner’ towards several female members of the firm’s staff.
The firm investigated the matter, although no staff members raised formal grievances or sought to take the matter further, and Burnand made an apology which was published on the firm’s intranet.
The notice confirmed Burnand resigned from the firm on 13 December.
The solicitor admitted breaching principle six of the SRA principles, namely failing to behave in a way that maintains the trust the public placed in him and in the provision of legal services.
The SRA considered his conduct was reckless and that the agreed outcome was proportionate and in the public interest.
In mitigation, Burnand apologised and was remorseful, having promptly accepted his conduct was inappropriate. He pointed out he had resigned promptly, cooperated fully with the SRA and had a clear regulatory history.
He was rebuked by the SRA and agreed to the publication of the agreement and to pay £600 costs.
The decision was the second time the SRA has taken action against a solicitor in relation to misconduct at a social occasion. Yesterday, Liverpool solicitor Richard Lacey was rebuked after punching a female colleague in the face at a pre-Christmas get-together.