DLA Piper Trainee Solicitor Convicted Of Making Homophobic Remarks And Attacking Two Students

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By Alex Aldridge on

A second-year trainee at the Edinburgh office of DLA Piper has been found guilty of making homophobic remarks and attacking two students outside a nightclub.

Bruce Mangeon-Fairweather, 26, had denied the charges, claiming that he was the victim of a plot to “ruin” his fledgling legal career. But on Friday the presiding judge at the DLA rookie’s trial described  his story as “inherently improbable”. The conviction is likely to have “profound consequences” for Mangeon-Fairweather’s future as a lawyer.

The assault happened during a night out in Aberdeen last year after a “hopelessly drunk” Mangeon-Fairweather began talking to a group of students waiting to enter the city’s Exodus nightclub.

According to a witness, Mangeon-Fairweather picked up on the fact that one of the students, Steven Dongworth, was gay and “started being quite aggressive about that”, before proceeding to label him “disgusting” and a “poof”.

Later that night, Mangeon-Fairweather apparently punched Dongworth, having waited outside the club for him.

Then, after Dongworth had begun walking home with his friends, Mangeon-Fairweather is said to have returned to torment the group, pushing one of them, Katie McIntrye, to the ground as she tried to protect Dongworth.

In his evidence, Mangeon-Fairweather told Aberdeen Sheriff Court that he had pushed McIntrye in self-defence after she lunged at his face. He denied making comments about Dongworth’s sexuality or assaulting him, suggesting that their dispute had initially been limited to “banter” about the likely outcome of a law debate between Robert Gordon University (which Dongworth and the other students attended) and Aberdeen University (where Mangeon-Fairweather had studied).

Mangeon-Fairweather said that later he had heard someone in Dongworth’s group shout “we are going to ruin you” – which he had taken to be a reference to his future as a solicitor.

The presiding judge was having none of Mangeon-Fairweather’s claims, though, telling him: “I simply don’t believe your evidence”, adding: “There is no reason why these people might have set out to ruin you. I don’t accept that they made this up and came to court to perjure themselves.”

Sentencing has been deferred while Mangeon-Fairweather clarifies DLA Piper’s position with regard to the conviction.