The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has offered hope that a solicitor convicted of attempted murder may one day return to the profession. Iain Farrimond was jailed for six years at Nottingham Crown Court last September after trying to kill his wife during the middle of the night.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal suspended him indefinitely but set out a series of requirements for any possible return to the profession.
The CPS prosecutor, a solicitor for 30 years, had stabbed his wife in the head in May 2016, intending to kill her, then another family member and then commit suicide. When she fought back, he attacked her with a wooden ornament, before going to the garden and trying to impale himself on a knife.
Farrimond submitted that the incident would not have taken place had it not been for a medical condition at the time. The sentencing judge had described how he was ‘in the grip’ of a severe condition which had a ‘catastrophic effect’ on his thinking.
Small difficulties were magnified multi-fold leading to them being perceived as life-threatening. The judge added that Farrimond’s thought process was that he could not cope with work and would never return to this work, so he had to kill his wife as he could no longer provide for her. The judge had added: ‘You have no innate criminality in you’ and noted that his wife and other family and friends had stood by him.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found Farrimond’s culpability was low due to his medical condition and he did not have control over his actions. But the harm caused to the reputation of the legal profession was high as incident featured in a large number of newspapers which referred to him as a ‘top solicitor’.
The tribunal judgement added: ‘[Farrimond] had shown genuine insight and remorse, he had made open and frank admissions at an early stage and had cooperated fully with the regulatory process. The tribunal also took into account the glowing references and the victim impact statement from the criminal proceedings which indicated the victim was very supportive.’
Farrimond requested the tribunal ensure there would be no element of ‘double punishment’ and he confirmed he would not be practising as a solicitor in any capacity in the immediate and medium term.
The tribunal opted to impose an indefinite suspension, to protect the public and reputation of the profession, but also to offer a chance to try and rehabilitate, should Farrimond’s health improve. To return to practice, he will need an up-to-date medical report, evidence of any retraining and rehabilitation, and information about his future work intentions. He must pay £3,309 in costs.