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Junior solicitor suspended from practice after lending assault suspect phone in custody

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24

He was just eight months qualified

The incident occurred at Woodgreen Police Station

A very junior solicitor has been hauled before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) and suspended from practice for misconduct that took place a matter of months after he qualified.

Mohammed Abid was the first in his family to go to university and worked in a warehouse alongside his degree before he was admitted as a solicitor in November 2015. In July 2016, Abid — who was aged 27 and working for Imran Khan & Partners — attended Wood Green police station to see a man who had just been arrested. This man was a hardened criminal with 25 convictions who had just broken the eye socket of a visitor to his home (he’d eventually receive six years in prison for the attack).

During a private consultation, the young solicitor gave the suspect his phone to source his National Insurance number, which was needed to fill out legal aid forms. The suspect then called his partner, a key witness in the case, who was at that time at the police station giving her witness statement.

The SDT’s judgment states that Abid didn’t intervene when his client said to his girlfriend “don’t tell them anything”. The SRA’s barrister, Andrew Bullock, said “a solicitor of integrity would have taken immediate action at that time to attempt to retrieve the mobile phone and bring the conversation to an end”.

As a result of the phonecall, the suspect’s partner did not sign the witness statement. The SDT said Abid “had handed a potential weapon to a suspect which he could have used to drive a coach and horses through the prosecution case”.

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The judgment goes on to say Abid “attempted to conceal his wrongdoing” to police.

A statement from a detective superintendent said that when Abid was asked whether he’d given his client his phone, Abid “looked shocked and animated stating that he had personally made a call to his office”. However, shortly after this “momentary act of denial” Abid said he’d allowed his client to use his phone to get his National Insurance number.

Barrister Veronica Ramsden, from Staple Inn Chambers, in mitigation presented the tribunal with testimonial from the director of the firm where Abid had completed his training contract. Mitigation continued:

“The respondent had seen the error of his ways, he had lost his job and would not be able to regain the situation in which he had been because of the stain on his character. The responded accepted that he had shown an appalling lack of judgement for which he apologised.”

The tribunal took into account that Abid “had been relatively young and inexperienced at the time” when deciding a sanction. The SDT said Abid’s conduct was “far too serious” to just reprimand or fine him, and landed on a six-month suspension. Abid — described as a “person of modest means” who had been earning around £20,000 until he left his firm in 2017 — was ordered to pay costs of £7,320.

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24 Comments

Blair

Weak. Weak. Weak.

(1)(0)

nappiesrus.co.uk

Bladder. Bladder. Bladder.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

A lapse in judgment. Sounds like the wily old crim took advantage of his willingness to please.

(31)(0)

Anonymous

Another ridiculous costs bill.

In situations like this, the individual concerned, when first accused, should be offered the opportunity to resign and agree to disbarment administratively with fixed costs of a few hundred pounds or so.

£7K+ when you’re on £20K a year
is crippling.

(20)(0)

Anonymous

Relatively young and inexperienced??

He was a 27 year old grown man and a fully qualified solicitor.

(8)(21)

Anonymous

You must practice in a nice office dealing with civil law.

(11)(4)

Anonymous

You’re neither, i imagine!

(2)(2)

Anonymous

It seems most things are in your imagination.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Not only naive but incredibly stupid and dishonest to conceal it from the police.

Just the sort of person who has no place being on the roll.

(10)(4)

Trumpenkrieg

Winker.

(1)(0)

Richie

Saad pathtic winker!

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Wait do they not teach ethics for soclitors. Cause the line between criminal and lawyer is looking really blurry at the moment in this particular case x

(0)(0)

Ciaran Goggins

As any political prisoner will tell you “No comment”.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Don’t do criminal law, kids

It’s not worth spending your life with a bunch of scrotes

(13)(1)

Judge hobosexual

£20k / year after minimum 4 years of university education, and 3 years of experience…and the opportunity to be suspended from practice just like that.
Of course, it’s a total mystery why anyone would prefer being a city solicitor to this. After all, you only get paid like low six figures and the work is soooo unfulfilling!

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Sheesh.

I guess the lendment, the failure to intervene when he realised the trick, the failure to self report and the brief animated denial did for him.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

“lendment” – are you sure?

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Don’t know why he would need an NI number at the police station so desperately. They aren’t needed for police station work. At all.

Had he been trained or taught to get legal aid applications signed pre interview? That’s not exactly good practice either given that the client has a choice over who he may want to instruct post interview or post charge.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

An eDec would be needed for the 1st Appearance in custody the next day. Where a client has asked for you as duty it would be normal practice to ask them if they want you to represent them in Court the next day and if they say yes, complete a legal aid application. As they do not have their own solicitor, the alternative would be to leave them unrepresented at Court. He should have just made the call himself though!

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Solicitors job is very hard, you have to protect and justify horrible asshole criminals!

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Serious error of judgement

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Poor thing. Seems very harsh.

(2)(2)

Anonymous

Harsh? He is lucky not to be in prison.

(2)(1)

ufohunterorguk

Just the sort of lawyer one needs with the way the CPS are these days LOL

(1)(1)

Comments are closed.

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