But the QC he was caught in a drunken tryst with outside Waterloo station with remain anonymous
A lawyer caught in a drunken rush hour romp with a QC outside of Waterloo station will not be charged over claims he sexually assaulted her.
However, the middle-aged female barrister in question, dubbed the ‘Waterloo sex QC’, will remain anonymous, sparking further debate about the rules governing anonymity in sexual assault claims. One leading lawyer has already described this case as “an abject lesson” in the manipulation of the rules.
52-year-old Graeme Stening, a married father of three, was arrested along with the anonymous QC following a very public sexual encounter last summer, which is said to have been the result of an afternoon drinking session. The unnamed female accepted a police caution for outraging public decency at the time, but raised eyebrows across legal London six weeks later when she claimed Stening — general counsel at London private equity outfit Doughty Hanson & Co — assaulted her.
After a long wait, it has now been confirmed that the City solicitor will face no further action over these claims. In fact, the police have not even passed a case file to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider.
However, the barrister in question — who has been described by The Times newspaper as a “leader in her field” — still cannot be named, because her allegation has secured her full, lifelong anonymity under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
This legal provision has attracted fierce controversy over the years. Being accused of committing a sexual offence is not something to be taken lightly, and some lawyers — including anonymous blogging barrister the Secret Barrister — have advocated a move back to 1970s position, where accused rapists were granted anonymity along with their accusers.
Turning to this case, the tabloid knives have been out for the anonymous QC for months now. One newspaper slammed the “attractive female” lawyer for using the courts to hide her identity, while Stening has been subjected to the public’s wrath and scrutiny.
Police confirmation that there isn’t enough evidence to bring assault charges against the successful City solicitor will no doubt stir the debate even more.
Mark Stephens, media lawyer and partner at London firm Howard Kennedy, has described the Waterloo sex QC case as “an abject lesson in the manipulation of the anonymity laws around allegations of sexual assault.” Though he agreed there are “very good reasons” for the anonymity rules in many cases, he added:
[I]f there are many more cases like this one, then the public interest is going to demand that the alleged victims are also named.
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