A sole practitioner has been fined after repeatedly posting on social media about criminal cases he was advising on.
Harmal Singh Paul, admitted in 2006 and practising at West Midlands firm Paul & Co Solicitors, posted on 130 occasions over 10 months after attending a police station, prison or court.
According to a regulatory settlement agreement published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Paul added inappropriate comments or emoji icons in 21 of these posts.
Examples included posting ‘From Attempted Murder at Smethwick’ following by two emojis to depict crying with laughter, ‘sexual assault’ followed by a sad face and tear emoji, and ‘DV [domestic violence]… Christmas Coming Up… What you Expect.’
In two posts, the SRA said, Paul disclosed specific, confidential information about a client matter.
Paul admitted posting ‘inappropriate and puerile’ messages about client matters, some of which trivialised serious criminal charges, and disclosing confidential client details.
The SRA said his conduct was deliberate and continued for an unreasonable period. He was fined £1,500, rebuked and agreed to pay £600 investigation costs.
In mitigation, he said he had cooperated with the SRA and deleted all of the relevant social media posts.