The SRA has confirmed it will not bring disciplinary action against him
It has been reported today that the female QC caught in a sex tryst with a City lawyer during London rush hour will have her record cleared.
Police cautioned the middle-aged silk after she admitted outraging public decency by engaging in a sex act outside Waterloo station. This caution will appear on her criminal record.
However, six weeks after her admission she claimed she was too drunk to consent. She had reportedly been drinking from lunchtime with her companion, 53-year-old married lawyer Graeme Stening. As a sexual assault complainant, she is now entitled to lifetime anonymity.
Stening — managing partner at London private equity outfit Doughty Hanson & Co — was never charged with sexual assault, leading to speculation that the ‘Waterloo sex QC’ made the accusation to keep her identity a secret. Media lawyer Mark Stephens, for example, described the case as “an abject lesson in the manipulation of the anonymity laws around allegations of sexual assault.” Stening’s solicitor, Amarjit Bhachu, went as far as to suggest the police should bring charges against her for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
After a quiet spell, the case has thrown the law on anonymity in sex cases into the spotlight once again. The Times (£) has today reported that the woman’s criminal record has now been cleared. The article reads:
A Scotland Yard spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that the caution had been ‘expunged’.
The news has been met with contention from various lawyers. Cornerstone Barristers’ Jon Holbrook, for one, tweeted:
Unequal before the law:
•woman gets anonymity
•man, picture & details in press
NB there were no criminal proceedingshttps://t.co/wyew490fFY
— Jon Holbrook (@JonHolb) May 23, 2017
The tweet was shared by legal affairs journalist Joshua Rozenberg, who was quick to defend Holbrook’s position when lawyer Robin Levett stepped in:
— Joshua Rozenberg (@JoshuaRozenberg) May 23, 2017
It wasn’t just lawyers who felt discontented. Broadcaster Martin Daubney observed:
Female barrister gets lifetime anonymity after deciding public sex was "non-consensual" while his reputation trashed https://t.co/1FQl3Ui7gW
— Martin Daubney (@MartinDaubney) May 23, 2017
While writer Jane Symons pondered what impact this case could have on “real” rape victims:
The female QC who cried rape to secure anonymity does a huge disservice to real victims: https://t.co/l69gdOXarl
— Jane Symons (@JaneSymons1) May 23, 2017
The Times article concludes by stating: “Stening is reported to have referred himself to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which could lead to him being disciplined.”
A spokesperson for the SRA confirmed to Legal Cheek this morning that this matter has been dealt with, stating:
Looking at the facts known at the time, we decided not to take disciplinary action in this case.
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