Decisions filed recently with the Law Society (which may be subject to appeal)
Hearing 2 June 2021
Reasons 23 June 2021
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll.
The respondent had been found to be in possession of 23 indecent images of children, resulting in his conviction on 10 June 2020 of three counts of making indecent images of a child, for which he was sentenced to, inter alia, eight months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months, being made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years, and being placed on the Register of Sex Offenders for 10 years. The respondent had thereby breached principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.
The respondent had been found to be in possession of a controlled drug of Class B (cannabis) resulting in his conviction of producing a controlled drug of Class B (cannabis), for which he was sentenced to, inter alia, a fine of £150. The respondent had thereby breached principles 2 and 6.
The parties had invited the SDT to deal with the allegations against the respondent in accordance with a statement of agreed facts and indicated outcome.
The SDT had reviewed all the material before it and was satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the respondent’s admissions had been properly made.
Considering the seriousness of the respondent’s misconduct, the only appropriate and proportionate sanction was to strike him from the roll. The proposed sanction was proportionate and in line with the Guidance Note on Sanction.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £1,290.
Hearing 4 June 2021
Reasons 17 June 2021
The SDT ordered that the respondent should be suspended from practice for two years and six months from 4 June 2021.
The respondent had wounded and inflicted grievous bodily harm without intent on person A, contrary to section 20 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861, thereby breaching principles 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.
Having given careful consideration to all the matters raised by the respondent on his behalf including his genuine remorse, full co-operation with the regulator and that he had no previous disciplinary findings, the SDT had concluded that only limited weight could be given to these factors when evaluated against the inherent seriousness of a conviction for grievous bodily harm (albeit without intent).
The respondent had been part of a group who had used violence against a lone individual who had been hospitalised for two weeks as a result of the attack and had suffered lasting after-effects. In such circumstances, the SDT would be justified in striking the respondent from the roll.
However, that 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 into his behaviour; and 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.
The respondent had only two years’ post qualification experience when he committed the offence and he was still a young man with many years of his working life ahead of him. In those circumstances, neither the protection of the public nor of the reputation of the legal profession justified striking off the roll; however, in view of the findings of lack of integrity, and the inherent gravity of the criminal conviction, the reputation of the profession demanded no less than the imposition of a fixed term of suspension of two years. That would still meet the requirements of the guidance on sanctions which the panel applied while being proportionate to the seriousness of the misconduct.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £3,600.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has intervened into the practice of Christopher Adriaan Robin Dickins of Groves House, 60 Outgate, Ealand, Scunthorpe DN17 4JD. This decision was made by the Adjudication Panel.
The grounds of intervention were:
- There was reason to suspect dishonesty on the part of Dickins in connection with his practice as a solicitor (paragraph 1(1)(a)(i) of Schedule 1 – Part I to the Solicitors Act 1974).
- There had been a failure by Dickins to comply with rules made under sections 31 and 32 of the Solicitors Act (paragraph 1(1)(c) of Schedule 1 – Part I to the Solicitors Act 1974).
John Owen of Gordons LLP, 1 New Augustus Street, Bradford BD1 5LL; telephone 0113 227 2116; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; has been appointed as the Law Society’s intervention agent.
Consilium Legal Ltd
On 5 July 2021, the adjudication panel resolved to intervene into Consilium Legal Ltd and into the practice of Sarinjit Singh Bahia at Consilium Legal Ltd, based at Colman House, 121 Livery Street, Birmingham B3 1RS.
The grounds of intervention into Bahia’s practice at Consilium Legal Ltd were:
- Failure by Bahia to comply with rules made under sections 31 and 32 of the Solicitors Act 1974 (paragraph 1(1)(c) of Schedule 1 – Part I to the Solicitors Act 1974).
The grounds of intervention into Consilium Legal Ltd were:
- As a manager of the firm, Bahia and the firm itself, have failed to comply with the SRA Principles 2011 and 2019, the SRA Accounts Rules 2011 and 2019, the Code of Conduct for Firms and the Code of Conduct for Solicitors which are rules applicable to them by virtue of section 9 of the Administration of Justice Act 1985 (paragraph 32(1)(a) of Schedule 2 of that act).
Sean Joyce of Stephensons Solicitors LLP, Wigan Investment Centre, Waterside Drive, Wigan, Greater Manchester WN3 5BA; tel: 0333 321 4404; has been appointed to act as the Society’s agent. The first date of attendance was 8 July 2021.
Bahia’s practising certificate has been suspended as a result of the intervention.