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High Court strikes off depressed solicitor who stabbed wife in murder-suicide bid

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It overturns a more lenient tribunal decision to suspend him indefinitely

A solicitor who stabbed his wife in a murder-suicide bid while struggling with work-related depression is to be struck off, the High Court has ruled.

Former senior prosecutor Iain Farrimond was handed a six-year prison term for the attempted murder of his wife in May 2016. At the time, the court heard how the now 55-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 before attempting to take his own life. His wife has continued to support him.

Last year, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) decided to impose an indefinite suspension on Farrimond, rather than strike him off. Justifying its decision, the tribunal noted there was a “realistic prospect” Farrimond would “recover from his ill health, respond to retraining and return to practice eventually”.

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However, the Solicitor Regulation Authority (SRA) appealed the tribunal’s decision to the High Court, claiming Farrimond’s actions warranted a strike-off.

And the High Court has now agreed. In a judgment published earlier this week, Mr Justice Garnham said:

“I have a significant measure of sympathy for Mr Farrimond and a very great deal of sympathy for his wife and son. In my judgment, however, the sanction imposed in this case by the tribunal cannot stand because of the seriousness of the offending and the consequent damage to public confidence in the profession it will have engendered.”

Sir Brian Leveson, president of the Queen’s Bench Division, agreed. He said it was “beyond argument” that a solicitor serving such a long custodial sentence should not remain on the roll. Leveson continued:

“The work of a solicitor, in whatever field he or she practises, inevitably involves a degree of stress and the public must be able to expect that those whom they consult are not so susceptible to mental ill health that they are at risk of behaving as Mr Farrimond did, however difficult the work might become.”

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21 Comments

Anonymous

Six years???? Once again, the UK justice system shows itself to be the laughing stock of the world

(8)(18)

Anonymous

Definite scope for appeal on the grounds of proportionality, lots of research shows that cracking once does not mean you will do it again. The SDT was unquestionably a more proportionate sentence if he can in the future prove a full recovery to mental stability.

(11)(3)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(1)(2)

Anonymous

Oh common, it could be South Africa.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Feel sorry for him and his wife. No job should entail that level of stress to make you snap.

(28)(3)

Trumpenkrieg

Most people who snap get by with shouting, smashing inanimate objects, perhaps turning to drink or drugs in extreme cases. This guy chose to manifest his ‘snapping’ by stabbing someone. I think you might have a warped morality if you actually feel sorry for him.

(17)(23)

Anonymous

Not weird for having sympathy for someone suffering mental health issues or a victim of attempted murder.

Look in the mirror, Trumpenkrieg.

(22)(7)

Anon

It wasn’t a ‘choice’.

(4)(13)

Anonymous

Yea I feel so sorry for him. I blame the job really.

(7)(5)

Anonymous

It says a lot if his wife stood by him.

It is a terrible gravy train, SDT work though, isn’t it ?

As with seasoned employment law clients and practitioners, they must have cases that they look forward to presenting to the appellate courts on day one that the problem in hand lands in their in tray.

Do not mess with the dynastic middle class. Soldiers and prisons may barely cross most people’s minds, but the dynastic middle class rely on them and are happy to feed them both. Here you are just a tad dimmer than feeding soldiers on the ruthlessness spectrum.

The wife was given a ray of hope by the tribunal, a reward for turning the other cheek perhaps but the dynastic middle class say that the justice of mercy is not applicable, as usual.

(3)(10)

Anonymous

Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks the public sector is a cushy option!

(3)(0)

Belinda

I can see from his eyes that he is a beautiful gentle soul at heart.

(11)(7)

Anonymous

Hi Belinda we haven’t seen you on here for a while ! Good to have your experienced spiritual insight back again 🙂

(4)(0)

Anon

Thought the SRA were vindictive in pursuing this and the High Court showed a lack of understanding of the issues around mental health.

Would like to see the big mental health charities speak out publicly on this case.

(15)(5)

Anonymous

I doubt he would want to return to a line of work that caused so much suffering – but it may be nice to have the option….
If he acted due to mental health, and his wife is standing by him I would have thought six years is long unless that’s how long it takes to treat his illness.

(8)(1)

Anonymous

Please, you don’t really think the sentence was imposed on the basis of him receiving adequate rehabilitative treatment!

(0)(2)

Anonymous

what the actual f*ck… I’ve had plenty of stress and strain and I’ve NEVER felt the need or desire to stab someone. This is a crazy maniacal person who should be locked up forever. God knows what would make him snap next time!

(7)(12)

Anon

Although you don’t know how you would act in the same circumstances.

(11)(1)

Patsy

No One checks side effects of medication
Cam cause
Such a severe behavioral side effect
If he was on medication please check !
if your take something that makes you do something like this
then d it’s not his fault
Blame the prescriber thats if he was on medication
These drugs can make you out of control!!

(5)(9)

Anonymous

I suppose there may have been a hidden point:

6 years in jail listening to tales of woe from all sorts of prisoners, he would come out as a defence solicitor with a huge following who knows the dark arts of the cps, and can outwit them where needed.

It took me a while to realise this could be a *kill the seed before it grows* scenario.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Dark Arts of the CPS? The CPS know only one art, and that is the art of raging incompetence.

(0)(0)

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