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

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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.



If a solicitor turned up to court under the influence of alcohol the repercussion would be way more severe than that of which a barrister would receive. The BSB needs to increase the punishments they serve to barristers as the barrister in this article not only let down the profession but more importantly he let his client down severely and may have hindered the clients hope of receiving a fair trial.



The latter charge seems to be more important to me, leaving the client unrepresented.

If you read the BSB disciplinary reports you’ll find that something like 90% of them involve alcohol, failure to do CPD or failure to file standard paperwork. Doesn’t really read well for the Bar.



What, a bunch of disorganised pissheads? Never!



Laddington bear.

What a lad.

Under the influence of banter juice.

Lads lads lads


Lord Lyle of Champers

Since when was it a disciplinary offence to attend court having consumed alcohol? It was quite normal in my day to have a pub lunch quashed down with a glass of wine.

Leaving a client unrepresented can be a professional duty in certain scenarios , however one should inform the court before discarding the wayward client.

Mags also presume counsel have nothing to do all day long and are free to sit in the back of the court all day over a 5 min sentencing.

This smacks of the government plot to liquidise all criminal defence counsel.



Ur a dirty poof, bro.



that building looks so depressing



So excited I found this article as it made things much qukecir!



I find that you can’t do the job without a small tipple every now and then!


Pedant Boy

Lord Lyle, “quaffed down” even. I expect that even back in the day many of your cases were quashed on appeal


Lord Lyle of Champers and Quaffles

Good point on the appeal PB. Is it worth Mr Ellison’s time to appeal a poxy £500 fine? He may have had a very important and lucrative case pre-listed in the afternoon. And simply couldn’t hang about in the Mags any more. He prolly told the Usher before buggering off.

Not enough info and could be Mr Ellison would like to keep it that way.



Forgot these small fry.

What happened to Dr Anton van Dellen, defender of the fake Lord Harley ?



Slow news day bud…



Yet James Allen QC still practises having assaulted his wife.



To be fair he was sacked from the bench, spent £76,000 on legal fees trying to beat the charge, and was later expelled by his chambers.

Think he didn’t get off so easily (FAOD he committed a terrible crime but the above poster is making out like he has had it easy)



No he doesn’t, he has since died.



Oh that is sad, when did he pass away?


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