Aspiring lawyer who assaulted man while out celebrating his offer from University of Gloucestershire spared jail so he can start law degree

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By Katie King on

But mystery surrounds Sherman Wright’s future as university “reviews” his place


A notorious criminal who assaulted a man while he was out celebrating obtaining a university offer has been spared jail so he can “do something with his life” and go to law school.

It was reported in Belfast Live earlier this month that serial convictee Sherman Wright had secured a place to study law at the University of Gloucestershire and would be heading there, over from Northern Ireland, on 19 September.

Speaking to the local newspaper, he said:

Law is something I have always had an interest in because a couple of times I represented myself in court.

However, aspiring lawyer Wright found himself in the dock once again yesterday on four charges: theft, criminal damage, possession of cannabis and assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH). Regarding the latter offence, Wright was accused of assaulting a man earlier this month while out celebrating the offer of a university place.

The 44-year-old — who already has more than 60 convictions under his belt, according to the Belfast Telegraph — was convicted on all four counts.

Though Judge Desmond Perry reportedly told the court he should lock Wright up and “throw away the key”, he handed the defendant an 11-month prison sentence and suspended it for three years. Wright was also ordered to pay £1,000 of the “significant funding” he obtained for his law course to the man he assaulted by way of compensation.

But why no custodial sentence? The local newspaper reports District Judge Perry — sitting in Ballymena Magistrates’ Court — told Wright he was giving him the chance “do something with his life”.

Wright has apparently “spent a number of years” working towards securing his university place, but his latest run-in with the law has cast doubt over his dream career as a lawyer.

Though defence barrister Stephen Law told the hearing Wright had declared his convictions on his university application form, the Belfast Telegraph reports Wright’s last court appearance means his university place “would now be reviewed.”

Speaking to Legal Cheek this morning, a spokesperson for the University of Gloucester confirmed that Wright has not started a law degree at the university and issued this comment:

While we can’t comment on individual cases, criminal convictions are not an automatic barrier to a place at the university. We look at each case individually and make a clear distinction between convictions that are spent or in a person’s past and criminal proceedings that are current or ongoing before deciding whether to allow an applicant a place at the university.

With his university dreams up in the air, Legal Cheek speculates whether Wright — who has been jailed a total of nine times — stands a chance at making it in the profession. A spokesperson for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) told us:

All potential entrants to the profession must complete the Suitability Test, which includes declaring any past convictions, to see if they are a fit and proper person to deliver legal services to the public. Every application is dealt with on its merits, there are no convictions or otherwise that lead to an automatic refusal.