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Oktoberfest bust-up: Linklaters partner guilty of punching another partner in the face three times

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And now his victim is facing an allegation of rape

Bust

A former high-flying partner at magic circle giant Linklaters has been found guilty of beating up a colleague — who was also a partner — in a row about a female student.

Laurenz Schmitt, who was based in the outfit’s Munich office, has been sentenced to seven months imprisonment, suspended, and 150 hours community service for his involvement in the bust-up at an Oktoberfest celebration.

But what exactly possessed Schmitt — a successful, wealthy corporate lawyer — to punch a tax partner and fellow colleague in the face?

Well, both lawyers had attended an annual ‘After Wiesen’ party back in 2014, which was organised by Linklaters’ Munich office. Schmitt claims his colleague — who cannot be named for legal reasons — was sexually harassing a female student.

Corporate litigation specialist Schmitt argued that by punching his tax colleague three times in the face, he was in fact protecting the young student, who reports suggest was interning at the firm.

According to local media, Judge Josef Bonkamp agreed Schmitt was trying to protect the female student, but told the court that vigilantism is no excuse for his violent behaviour.

At trial, Schmitt — who joined Links in 2001 — accused the elite law firm of mishandling its investigation into the Oktoberfest punch-up, and specifically of not appreciating the seriousness of the sexual assault allegation.

Both partners have since left the firm, but the whole saga is not quite over yet, and not just because Schmitt “immediately” announced he’d appeal his sentence.

In a further twist to this sorry saga, German media reports suggest that Judge Bonkamp told the court he believed the female student’s claims that she had been sexually assaulted.

According to local legal news website Juve, the unnamed tax lawyer who was on the receiving end of Schmitt’s attack has since been indicted — but not charged — for “rape and intentional assault”. However the report states the “admission” of this has not yet been decided and “the court had ordered a full follow-up.” The ex-Linklaters partner denies the allegation.

When contacted by Legal Cheek this morning, Linklaters declined to comment.

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