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10 month suspension for barrister who posted ‘offensive’ comments on Facebook

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Less than a week after regulator issued fresh guidance on social media etiquette

A barrister who posted a number of “offensive” comments about a member of the public on social media has been suspended from practice for ten months.

A disciplinary tribunal found that Richard Miles had breached regulatory rules when in March 2018 he posted on a Facebook forum, ‘London floaters do as you likey’, comments about a member of the public which were “offensive and disparaging, including matters of a sexual and/or violent nature”.

In doing so, Miles, who was called to the bar by Gray’s Inn in 1997, acted in a way which was likely to diminish the trust and confidence the public places in him or in the profession.

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Commenting on the order to suspend, Sara Jagger, Bar Standards Board (BSB) director of legal and enforcement, said:

“Barristers are obliged not to act in a way that diminishes the trust and confidence the public places in them or the profession. The Tribunal found Mr Miles had breached this obligation and its decision to suspend him shows the serious consequences for barristers that can arise from inappropriate behaviour on social media.”

Miles has been approached for comment. The decision is open to appeal.

The finding comes less than a week after the regulator issued fresh guidance which warned barristers they could be hauled before a disciplinary tribunal if they engage in “heated debates or arguments” on social media.

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27 Comments

tips@legalcheek.com

Should have banned him for life. He should have known that you can post this comments only on Legal Cheek (which was created specifically for this purpose).

Born Dirt Poor

…….. and he needs to learn how to spell ‘puke’ correctly ………

Student

As a bar student, I’ve always thought that the bsb handbook goes too far in regulating conduct which occurs outside of the professional environment.

Diminishing the trust and confidence the public places in barristers or the profession, is very subjective.

Anonymous

Hugely. Which is why this chap was suspended for 10 months, and that drink driving Blackstone barrister wasn’t. It’s a funny profession.

Anonymous

Funny? It’s downright weird. The details of the offensive posting are so sparse it is impossible to take it much further, but by way of comparison, a recent ruling concerned a barrister who “assaulted three members of the public, culminating in his conviction by South Essex Magistrates Court in February 2019” The sentence? 28d suspension. Yep, 28d for three assaults, but 10m for some nasty words on Facepalm.

Patrick Star QC

What? 10 months for engaging in what sounds like tame banter on FB? BSB needs to be disbanded immediately

Anonymous

What were the ‘offensive’ comments?

Fact checker

https://www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/disciplinary_finding/183543.html

They’re in the schedule linked above. Why Legal Cheek didn’t link to this, rather than a 1-page press summary, I have no idea.

Mr Pooey Bum QC

Thanks Fact Checker
He was clearly harassed up by someone he would consider a friend, or at the very least a colleague.

I keep saying it (And my comments keep getting deleted):

TRUST NOBODY IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION. They are a brood of vipers.

I’m convinced that there is little to no difference between ‘extremely ambitious’ and ‘sociopathic’

Mr Pooey Bum QC

*grassed up

Tim Compton

Is it surprising that your posts are deleted when you lack the courage to publish under your own name, but hide behind a rather silly false name?

Mr Pooey Bum QC

Poor little Tim.

Tim Compto

Having read the actual posts, they are offensive, they are puerile and anyone who posts such infantile rubbish may not be best suited for any aspect of the Bar involving extensive contact with the general public, but 10 months suspension for puerile juvenilia
rather OTT – better deslt with firmly by his HOC?

Major Robert Rogers

The BSB would have a field day with some of the comments posted on this website.

(Assuming that at least some of the commenters are actually qualified, “pupillaged” barristers, which may not be entirely the case…)

Sir Patrick Star QC

Did you not hear? It’s illegal to use QC after your name if you are not a QC.

Ciaran Goggins

He can always join the police.

Constable Savage

Hello Ron

Legal Officer with a 2.ii

The smart ones set their Instagram and Twitter to ‘Private’.

The really smart ones keep the racist, misogynistic and anti-Semitic banter to conversations, which they can very easily deny happened.

sggrg

The really, really smart ones will join either the Conservative (for racism) or Labour (for anti-Semitism) parties.

Anonymous

If that is considered “really, really smart”, why am I not a QC? I won’t pretend to be one here, Joanna Hardy might come crashing through the window.

The Right Honorable Dimbelby QC

Pfft – like she would know that you would make yourself out to be a QC.

After all, I am a top Q…

Oh god! Someone just through a brick through my window. There’s some animalistic female screaming coming from outside. There’s a shadow approaching from the street. it’s her! Help me! Contact the Press! She’s got a…bundle of chains. She’s approaching me while dragging the end across the floor, snarling. Tell my mother I…

Nothing to see here chaps – as you were… Joanna

Anonnn

I once did an internship in an Asian country researching Christian women and other religious minorities who had been beaten to death for blasphemy. The proper use of the letters ‘QC’ isn’t really something that crosses these women’s minds.

I wish Joanna would realise the value of human beings and say something on Twitter about those deaths, you know?

Mr Pooey Bum QC

Joanna is far too intelligent and knowledgeable to ever insult the religion of peace.

Anonymous

Yes.

I was really disappointed when a barrister from that peace group ignored my e-mails to take part as allies in the recent Pride parade.

We really need to remember we are all ‘one human race’ in these dark times.

I need a drink!

What about the in-house barrister who sent cocaine in a bundle to chambers? He only got a slap on the wrist.

BSB hearing outcomes are arbitrary to say the least.

Mr Pooey Bum QC

Disparaging women or minorities is now a far worse crime than even sex offences against children.

Zan

BSB aka the thought police 🚨

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