A common law barrister has been found guilty of professional misconduct for withdrawing almost £2,000 from his client’s bank account without permission and not returning it when requested.
Stephen Supple, a barrister at Holborn Chambers, was found by the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service to have paid himself £1,978 using money he took without prior warning from Graham Phillips’ bank account.
A five-person panel found that Supple subsequently failed to provide an explanation about why he took the money, and did not return it when requested to do so.
According to the finding, Phillips sent emails to Supple asking for the money back in February and March 2013, a year after the money was taken.
Supple was also found to have failed to provide information to the Bar Standards Board after it launched an investigation into a complaint made by Phillips, breaching his duty to cooperate with his regulator.
In a separate disciplinary finding he was found to be in breach of conduct after failing to reply to letters, calls and emails from the Legal Ombudsman in connection with an investigation into a complaint against him.
Sentences for both findings will be considered at a further hearing on 2 October this year. The disciplinary findings are open to appeal.
Holborn Chambers has said it has suspended Supple with immediate effect pending a final resolution with the bar tribunal. It added that it was unaware of Supple’s dealings with Phillips and the matter was never conducted through chambers.