Decisions filed recently with the Law Society (which may be subject to appeal)

Farrukh Najeeb Husain

Application 12463-2023

Admitted 2014

Hearings 18-22 September, 18-19 December 2023, 26 and 29 January, 6, 13, 20 and 23 February 2024

Reasons 28 March 2024

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll.

Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal

Source: Michael Cross

Between 27 September 2020 and 6 June 2021, the respondent had used his Twitter (now X) account to publicly post antisemitic and/or inappropriate and/or offensive comments, thereby breaching principles 2, 5 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2019.

Between the same dates, he had used his Twitter account to publicly post inappropriate and/or offensive comments, thereby breaching principles 2, 5 and 6.

On 13 and 16 December 2022, he had sent inappropriate and/or offensive emails to the SRA, thereby breaching principles 2, 5 and 6.

The respondent’s misconduct had arisen from a conscious decision on his part to follow a certain course of action in which he had used offensive and antisemitic language as a means of making his points or dealing with counterargument. There might have been an element of spontaneity but that conduct had persisted over a number of months and the respondent had had time to reflect and moderate his mode of expression.

While the respondent might have been suffering from depression, that did not excuse his behaviour, and the SDT had been shown no medical evidence that his condition was of such degree and nature that he did not know what he was doing or that he had had no control over his use of Twitter.

Similarly, there was no medical evidence to provide any explanation as to why his underlying depression would have caused him to be antisemitic and use racist and inappropriate sexualised language. He was fully culpable for his actions.

The impact of the respondent’s misconduct upon those directly or indirectly affected by it was high. The misconduct was deliberate, calculated and repeated, continuing as it had over a period of at least nine months. It had been motivated by and/or demonstrated hostility, based on protected or personal characteristics of a person, namely race and religion. There was clearly a bullying element and puerile and crude sexual references.

Other than a hitherto unblemished record, the SDT had been unable to identify any mitigating factors in the case.

The case was one where there had been many examples of antisemitic rhetoric, vulgar and offensive language, and racism. That had been ingrained behaviour and the respondent had shown himself to be without contrition or insight.

In such circumstances, the protection of the public and public confidence in and the reputation of the profession required no lesser sanction than that the respondent be removed from the roll.

The SDT felt compelled to state that there was no place for bigotry and prejudice in the profession. While the wider world was experiencing turbulent times, solicitors had to exercise restraint, show courtesy and display understanding to all manner of people with whom they came into contact, while at the same time not shrinking from fearlessly fighting for their client, no matter their creed or political views.

With respect to the use of Twitter, a solicitor would be well advised to avoid using that platform when in a state of anger and to refrain from sending messages until they had a clear head and had reclaimed their objectivity.

No order for costs was made.

Kerry Ann Stevens

Application 12512-2023

Admitted 2016

Hearing 25 March 2024

Reasons 15 April 2024

The SDT ordered that the respondent should be struck off the roll.

On 25 February 2020, the respondent had made a false representation, namely stating that she would return to a Harvester restaurant to pay her bill of £60.91, but, in fact, had not returned to pay, intending to make a gain of £60.91, thereby breaching principles 2, 4 and 5 of the SRA Principles 2019.

On 21 January 2021, the respondent had made a false representation, namely that she had paid for food delivered when in fact she had not paid and had thereby intended to make a gain of £43.47 worth of takeaway food, thereby breaching principles 2, 4 and 5.

Those allegations were based on her convictions of committing fraud by dishonestly making a false representation, contrary to sections 1 and 2 of the Fraud Act 2006 on 22 March 2022 at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court.

During the period in which the conduct had occurred, the respondent had been a solicitor practising criminal law, though not working at a regulated entity on the dates of the offences.

The respondent’ motivation was personal financial gain. The offences were premeditated and deliberate.

Obvious harm had been caused to the profession by a solicitor committing criminal offences, particularly when it was for financial gain, and losses had been caused to the restaurant and to the delivery driver involved.

The respondent had committed two criminal offences almost a year apart. The SDT was not dealing with an isolated incident. The respondent had told her former employer of the first offence in December 2020, only a few weeks before she had committed the second offence.

The respondent would have known that she was in material breach of her professional obligations. No mitigating factors could be identified.

The usual sanction where misconduct included dishonesty would be a strike-off. The SDT had identified no exceptional circumstances in the case and the only appropriate sanction was that the respondent be struck off the roll.

The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £4,489.

William Harris Solicitors

On 23 May 2024, the adjudication panel resolved to intervene into the practice of William Joseph Harris, practising at William Harris Solicitors of 63a Scotforth Road, Lancaster LA1 4SD.

The ground for intervention was: there had been a failure by Harris 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 act).

Carl Johnson of Stephensons Solicitors LLP, Wigan Investment Centre, Waterside Drive, Wigan WN3 5BA (tel: 0333 321 4406; email: has been appointed to act as the intervention agent.

The first date of attendance was 28 May 2024.