A solicitor convicted of sexual assault following a drunken encounter on a night out has been allowed to continue in practice.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ruled that Ravi Khosla was highly unlikely to repeat his misconduct and that it was ‘abundantly clear’ from character references that he was a highly respected and competent criminal lawyer.

Khosla, a consultant with Durham firm Kenneth M Barrow & Co Limited, was convicted at Leeds Crown Court in March 2019 of one count of sexual assault following a guilty plea. He was sentenced to undertake 120 hours of unpaid work within 11 months but was not required to register with the police in accordance with the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

The tribunal heard that Khosla, 41, had squeezed the bottom of an 18-year-old woman and tried to kiss her while he waited at a taxi rank in the early hours of 31 December 2017. The victim reported feeling ‘dirty and shocked’, ‘disgusted to be kissed by someone who I didn’t want to kiss me’, and ‘scared by the man’s persistence’.

In his mitigation to the tribunal, lawyers for Khosla, a solicitor for 16 years, submitted this was a ‘two-minute event in an otherwise unblemished record both professionally and personally’. He was said to be contrite and offered his fulsome apology to all concerned.

Married father Khosla explained he had been out with friends but was not accustomed to drinking and was intoxicated on the night. The sentencing judge had stated his conduct was ‘entirely out of character’ and he had shown ‘profound and genuine remorse’.

The tribunal heard character references, including one volunteered by Caroline Goodwin QC, chair of the Criminal Bar Association, who said this was ‘utterly out of character from everything I know about him’ and this was a ‘moment of complete madness, an unattractive incident committed in drink’.

Khosla was fined £17,500 and ordered to pay £1,900 in costs.