Barrister handed £500 fine for turning up to court ‘under the influence’ of alcohol

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By Thomas Connelly on

He also left his client unrepresented


An experienced barrister has been handed a £500 fine by the regulator after turning up to court “under the influence” of alcohol.

According to a Bar Standards Board (BSB) disciplinary finding published this week, Christopher Ellison — who was called to the bar in 2001 — attended Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court last September having “consumed” alcohol.

The BSB stated in its finding that Ellison, who was at court to represent a client, had “behaved in a way likely to diminish the trust and confidence the public places in the profession”.

According to the report, later that day the Bournemouth-based barrister left the same client “unrepresented”, having exited the court prior to the “resumption of an adjourned sentencing hearing”.

Ellison — who according to his LinkedIn spent time as a “top currency trader for a very large bank” before joining the bar — was slapped with a £500 fine and given a reprimand from the leader of his circuit, Bill Mousley QC.

Elsewhere, a fare dodging non-practising barrister has been disbarred.

Dr Peter Barnett, who evaded fares worth up to £19,000 over a two-and-a-half year period, was convicted of six offences of fraud by misrepresentation at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last year. Barnett, 45, from Thame in Oxfordshire, was handed a 16 week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

The Oxford graduate — who was called to the bar in 2007 — is also a qualified solicitor.

A spokesperson for the BSB said:

Dishonest conduct is incompatible with membership of the bar. The tribunal’s decision to disbar Dr Barnett reflects this.

Speaking to The Times newspaper, a spokesperson for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) revealed that Barnett had removed himself from the roll seven years ago, and therefore is no longer within its regulatory remit.