A junior solicitor jailed for his part in a ‘brutal and sustained’ attack has avoided being struck off the roll.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal said the assault by Adeel Saghir, which left the victim with bleeding to the brain, was a ‘disgraceful incident which should never be repeated’. But the tribunal considered that Saghir, 31, had just two years’ post-qualification experience when he committed the offence and was still a young man with his working life ahead of him. Despite considered whether a strike-off was necessary, the panel found that a suspension for two-and-a-half years was ‘proportionate’, and that neither the protection of the public nor the reputation of the profession justified him being permanently removed from the profession.
The tribunal heard that on 4 May 2019, Saghir and four other individuals were involved in a ‘serious and sustained’ assault on a lone victim lasting 10 minutes, following a family dispute. The victim, Saghir’s uncle, was struck 80 times and CCTV showed he was hit at least once by all the assailants.
Saghir was seen on CCTV to be barefoot and arrived at the altercation about a minute and a half after it started. He pushed the victim while he was already on the ground and kicked him, and was also present when the victim was hit with a traffic cone.
The tribunal heard the victim was in hospital for two weeks and has lasting side-effects as a result of his injuries.
Saghir, formerly a personal injury solicitor with Wembley, London firm Aman Solicitors Advocates, pleaded guilty in October 2019 at Luton Crown Court to grievous bodily harm without intent. The sentencing judge said his involvement was less than that of others but he had played a part in an ‘extremely serious group attack’. He was released in February 2021 and is undergoing a period of supervisory licence until November 2022.
The solicitor denied acting without integrity but the tribunal found this allegation found proved, saying Saghir had lacked ‘moral soundness, rectitude and steady adherence to an ethical code’.
In mitigation, Saghir said he was ashamed of his behaviour and had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He had no previous convictions and an unblemished regulatory record, with his employers standing by him and allowing him to continue working until he had been sentenced.
The tribunal accepted it was not a planned and calculated act, but rather spontaneous and impulsive ‘without judgement or rational thought albeit the incident itself had lasted 10 minutes’.
Its ruling said: ‘The tribunal considered that in such circumstances it would be justified in striking the respondent from the roll.
‘However, this had to be weighed in the balance against the complicated family circumstances which had been at the heart of the offence and the mitigation put forward by the respondent: his genuine remorse; his insight on his behaviour; the indication in the PSR that the risk of reoffending was judged to be low and that the offending had not occurred directly from his practice as a solicitor but had certainly reflected adversely upon it.’