• Application 11560-2016
• Admitted 1993
• Hearing 8 February 2017
• Reasons 8 March 2017
The respondent had been convicted on indictment of stalking, involving serious alarm or distress, and had thereby breached principles 1, 2 and 6 of the SRA Principles 2011.
The present case was wholly exceptional. While the offence of which the respondent had been convicted was correctly described by the trial judge as ‘not a trivial offence’, there were extreme circumstances. Her actions were in reaction to circumstances which were not of her making, and which were exceptionally stressful, humiliating and painful. The respondent’s actions were out of character and were a misguided attempt to protect her family.
Unlike in dishonesty cases, where the case law indicated that the normal penalty was to strike a respondent off the roll, save where there were exceptional circumstances, the present case was one in which the whole range of sanctions was open to the SDT.
The reputation of the profession was enhanced by some consideration of humanity, as well as by retribution, for those who fell below the profession’s high standards. The respondent was plainly someone whom very substantial clients (and doubtless demanding clients with high standards) continued to regard as someone to be trusted to the ends of the earth.
In those wholly exceptional circumstances, the appropriate and proportionate sanction was a fine of £1,000.
The respondent was ordered to pay costs of £5,040.