As the case of fake kidnap solicitor Francis Bridgeman (pictured) illustrates, lawyers sometimes make big, weird mistakes when they’re off duty. But it’s the minor fuck-ups that happen in the course of their work that tend to cause the most damage.
Today it emerged that a Manchester barrister’s blunder saw three friends who tortured a man with learning disabilities given unusually soft sentences. The blunder? The unnamed Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) barrister forgot to ask the judge to impose harsher sentences reserved for hate crimes under Section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act.
A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: “While it is correct that this case was reviewed and prepared as a disability hate crime and the judge was told the victim was vulnerable and disabled, we did not invite him to consider a Section 146 uplift in the sentence as we are required to do. We will be writing to the advocate to find out why this was not done.”
According to the Manchester Evening News, the barrister in the case “will be quizzed but is not expected to face disciplinary action.”
Readers with time on their hands may be interested in checking out the Bar Standards Boards’ (BSB) rogue gallery of barristers facing disciplinary hearings. There’s also a solicitors’ equivalent available here.