‘Realistic prospect’ attempted murderer could ‘return to practice eventually’
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has decided there’s a “realistic prospect” a solicitor who tried to kill his wife and then himself when mentally ill may “recover from his ill health, respond to retraining and return to practice eventually”. The SDT has therefore decided to impose an indefinite suspension on Iain Farrimond, rather than strike him off.
Senior prosecutor Farrimond was sentenced last October to six years in prison for the attempted murder of his wife — a shocking act of violence apparently brought on by the pressures of work.
Reports at the time said the then 54-year-old “cracked under the strain” of working for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and ended up repeatedly stabbing his wife in the head and face on 26 May 2016. The attack took place on the eve of the couple’s wedding anniversary. After calling the emergency services, he then tried to impale himself on the knife, and later asked paramedics: “What have I done?”
Farrimond pleaded guilty at Nottingham Crown Court and is now serving out his custodial sentence. The fate of what the tribunal described as Farrimond’s “otherwise long unblemished career” lay in the SDT’s hands.
The three-person tribunal was quick to conclude Farrimond had failed to uphold the rule of law and the proper administration of justice. It also stated his conduct had not maintained the trust the public placed in him or in the provision of legal services, particularly given the media attention the case garnered at the time.
When it came to imposing a sanction on Farrimond, admitted onto the roll in 1987, the SDT said it had “considerable sympathy” for the imprisoned lawyer’s situation. It said:
The tribunal concluded it would not be proportionate, in light of the medical evidence provided, the excellent references and the fact that this was a single incident that occurred due to [Farrimond’s] ill health to permanently remove his ability to practice thereby also depriving the public of a good solicitor.
When Farrimond — who has had the support of his wife throughout the case — has completed his custodial sentence, the tribunal stated that he would be able to apply to have the suspension lifted. He was also ordered to pay £3,309.53 in costs.
Though the SDT’s decision may irk some, if Farrimond returns to practice he will not be the only solicitor with a criminal conviction under his belt.
We obtained stats from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) which holds data on the number of lawyers with practising certificates who have criminal convictions for, either, an indictable offence or an offence under the Solicitors Act, the Financial Services and Markets Act, the Immigration and Asylum Act, or the Compensation Act. The answer: 41 solicitors.
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