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SRA appeals tribunal’s ‘unduly lenient’ sanction against City solicitor convicted of sexual assault

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He was suspended but not struck off after Christmas party attack

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The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is to appeal to the High Court over what it describes as an “unduly lenient” sanction imposed on a former in-house lawyer. Alastair Main, who was convicted of sexual assault and racially-aggravated assault, was suspended from practice but not struck off the roll.

Main, a former lawyer at global asset management firm Schroders, was handed a 12-month community order after attacking a woman at the London Rowing Club’s 2015 Christmas party in Putney. The married father-of-one was also placed on the sex offenders register for five years.

At trial, Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court heard how University of Nottingham grad Main had poured beer over a 27-year-old woman and called her an “Australian slut”. Main — who trained at international outfit Ashurst — was also said to have followed the unnamed woman into the ladies’ toilets, lifted up her skirt and slapped her bottom.

Earlier this year, Main was handed a lifeline by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) after it decided against striking him off. Instead, Main was suspended from practising for two years and ordered to pay approximately £2,000 in costs.

Interestingly, the suspension was backdated to begin when Main lost his job following his conviction in January 2017. Therefore, he has been suspended until January 2019.

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The SRA has now confirmed it’s appealing the SDT sanction. A spokesperson said:

“While it is not for us to say what sanction the SDT should have applied, we feel that the suspension of less than a year was unduly lenient and have appealed to the High Court.”

In reaching its decision, the tribunal noted that Main “had already been punished by the criminal courts and that its role in this matter was to consider the protection of the public and the maintenance of the reputation of the profession”. It continued:

“Public confidence in the legal profession demanded no lesser sanction than suspension but the tribunal did not consider that the protection of the reputation of the legal profession justified striking off the roll.”

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19 Comments

Scep Tick

It is surely beyond argument that a convicted sex offender should be struck from the Roll. Why should we share the profession with such creatures?

(17)(17)

Michelle

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

(2)(1)

Sensible

I assume you are being sarcastic.

Why shouldnt you share the profession with people you dislike?

(8)(0)

A barrister

Obviously it’s not beyond argument, since it’s what the SDT decided and the SRA are now arguing against it.

(15)(1)

Cheeky Chappy

Slappy bom bom

(7)(5)

Anonymous

So the SRA are willing to waste time and resources getting someone struck off for calling a woman an ‘Australian s**t’ but they aren’t willing to do more useful things like address the extortionate fees LPC providers continue to charge? Priorities, Priorities

(20)(7)

Anonymous

You clearly don’t understand the concept of virtue signalling.

(18)(4)

Michelle

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

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Whats the case name? Or a link to the judgment?

(0)(0)

A London Barrister

This does seem to strike (just to me at the moment) more of the matter being in the public eye in a visible form forcing the SRA’s hand to appeal, as opposed to a precedent issue. The issue was considered, determined and a decision reached after all.

I would anticipate the arguments will centre on deterrent in the current climate we find ourselves in, as opposed to it being manifestly lenient.

I wouldn’t anticipate that it will succeed and feel sorry for the victim. This kind of behaviour belongs nowhere in society, and it seems the offender was acting like a stereotypical drunken under twenty who considers the word “Bantz” to be part of the English Lexicon.

However, I also feel some sympathy for the offender, who has lost at least one job, his capacity to earn as a solicitor (till January 2019 at least) and will carry this around with him forever.

In my experience, issues, and errors such as this will stigmatise him forever, not just professionally and should be factored in to the overall result for the following reason.

If we assume that the current social climate has enthused the decision to appeal, then the impact of the sentence on him in the current climate, also needs to be considered. To do otherwise has be unjust, and unequitable. Secondly, if as in any act of sentencing, the actual impact and the proportionality of the sentence on the offender is considered, then the above point gains more gravitas.

Anyway, just my passing thoughts, we will see what the outcome is.

(8)(2)

Anonymous

A charming chap, no doubt.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

He didn’t need to follow her in to the toilets and he didn’t need to lift the skirt. I think that is where he crossed a line most men would not. For that reason I think he deserves everything coming to him. A bit of mischaevous touch touch is one thing but removal of clothing and invading the ladies fortress is too much.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

He definitely needed to pour a beer over her thought right?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Meanwhile, the barrister from Zenith was initially fined £1,800 (£600 per grope) and eventually acquitted on appeal. The tribunals just don’t take these offences seriously.

(1)(1)

Dark Destroyer

Another white man gets away with it.

(1)(2)

Anonymous

What a naughty boy!!

(1)(0)

Ashurt Equity Partner

Naughty enough to follow him into the loos and spank his bottom?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

This is why anyone decent has moved further down the embankment. YEEEEAAAAAHHHH THAMES!

(1)(0)

Comments are closed.

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