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18-month suspension for solicitor who texted ‘I want to f*ck you’ to newly qualified colleague

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Disciplinary tribunal points to mitigation, including medical issues

A former criminal solicitor has been suspended for 18 months after texting “I want to fuck you” to a newly qualified work colleague.

Gerard John Scott, at the time a criminal solicitor in the Sunderland office of regional outfit Ben Hoare Bell, admitted to propositioning “Person A” on two alcohol-fuelled occasions in 2017.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) said that Scott had “failed to act with moral soundness”. But it noted that he had a medical condition that was exacerbated by stress and heavy drinking.

Person A was a female solicitor who had done her training contract at Ben Hoare Bell and qualified in March 2017. Two days after she qualified, the crime department organised a night out. It was St Patrick’s Day, and a Friday night in Newcastle. The tribunal’s judgment records that “various pubs were visited” that evening.

According to Person A’s witness statement, Scott — who had been drinking heavily — groped her at various points in the night. Scott “put his hand inside Person A’s dress” and “put his hand inside Person A’s underwear on two occasions”, among other things. Just after midnight, he sent Person A a text message saying “I would like to fuck you”.

Scott later said that he had been “extraordinarily drunk”, having downed “10-12 pints plus wine”.

Person A didn’t report this incident, saying “I was worried that I would find it uncomfortable to work with [Scott] afterwards and I was worried that I would then have to leave my job”.

In November that year, at another post-work drinks, Scott reportedly got “so drunk and unable to talk” that a third colleague suggested that he go home. Person A texted Scott to check that he had got home safe, to which he replied: “Yes why? Want to fuck you why. I want to fuck you”.

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This time Person A reported the message to Ben Hoare Bell and the police. Scott received a police caution for malicious communications and immediately resigned. He is no longer working as a solicitor and has no plans to return to the profession.

Before the disciplinary tribunal, Scott admitted the allegations and said that he was “deeply sorry for his conduct”. He said that he had been under considerable stress at work which “had caused him to drink excessive alcohol while on medication and this had led to his behaviour”. This was backed by medical evidence.

The tribunal found that Scott had “failed to act with moral soundness, rectitude and a steady adherence to an ethical code by touching Person A inappropriately and sending her inappropriate text messages when there was no indication that she consented to this”. It also noted that Person A had reported “loss of confidence, her need for medication, her fear of losing her job after the first incident in March 2017 and the very negative impact the respondent’s conduct had had on her”.

On the other hand, there were various factors in mitigation, including Scott’s “genuine insight, regret and remorse”, full cooperation, and abstinence from alcohol since November 2017.

The result was an 18-month suspension and an order for £7,837 in costs.

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62 Comments

Anonymous

Not a police matter surely – they don’t have time to waste on stuff like this.

(44)(25)

Anon

The text messages perhaps not. But the groping and hand down her dress would surely fall within a sexual assault.

(83)(6)

Anonymous

The caution was for malicious communication, not sexual assault.

(15)(3)

Anonymous

And was it malicious? Hardly when he was simply expressing attraction. What next? A criminal record for sending out a few “R U still up” texts to fillies in the little black book?

(14)(12)

Anon

That isn’t how the Act defines it. It need only be shown to be a grossly offensive communication. It was also a caution. Cautions are often accepted to avoid prosecution for something more serious. As he seems to have accepted the grope and hand down the dress, accepting a caution for a telecomunications offence may have been tactically wise.

Anonymous

What’s “grossly offensive” about it? He was trying his luck. The law should not be there to protect the easily offended.

Anonymous

I don’t it can be objectively described as either malicious or grossly offensive. Time to look at the cautioning system if they’re handed out for stuff like this, the police are way to busy to be spending time on it. Not at all clear that he admitted sexual assault. He seems to be a victim of having an advance (if he was even serious) turned down.

Anonymous

Exactly, the cautioning system is being abused to intimidate people into admit crimes they did not commit.

L

If he was cautioned under duress or while vulnerable through alcohol or mental health issues he may be able to challenge the caution. There are lawyers who specialise in that type of thing.

Anonymous

Another victim of the feminist extremists’ influence on the profession.

Jane

The text message for malicious communication presumably applies to about 80% of the UK in that case then – who probably have sent I want to …. text before now. NO wonder the police are so busy.

The groping is totally different and a crime.

(4)(0)

Anon

Agree about the text. The courts would need to decide if he was guilty of a crime.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

What a desperate creep.

How arrogant and sad to assume every woman must want to sleep with solicitors because they have money.

(8)(11)

Dave

He was a criminal solicitor. His postman is pulling in a bigger income 😂

(68)(1)

Turd

😂😂😂

(1)(0)

Anon

Omit that one little “I” and this would’ve been a reprimand at worst haha

(1)(10)

Anon

Some people are arrogant enough to think all women must secretly want to sleep with them because of their earning power.

As if attractive, sporty men don’t exist…

(38)(4)

Anon

She might have, he didn’t know until he asked.

And he might be attractive and sporty.

Not fair if he’s punished for being ugly and not playing sports.

(11)(29)

A

Is it unreasonable to want to go into work to work and not be asked if you feel like having sex?

Nice sporty man already back at home and all that?

(0)(0)

Anon

People don’t know that until they ask though.

Some people like to be asked to have sex by colleagues, sporty man already at home and all that or not.

(0)(0)

anon

As a criminal solicitor in the north (or indeed anywhere). There wouldn’t be any earning power involved.

(12)(1)

Anon

Or attractive, intellectual and artistic men.

(2)(0)

!

He groped her. Without her consent.

(0)(0)

Anon

Would the employer, the SRA and the police have become involved?

(0)(0)

tips@legalcheek.com

Judging by the story, he messaged her earlier. Anyway, if it was a work mobile phone, the number was on the firm’s system.

Though not sure regional firm like this would have work phones (but still must have a directory with mobile numbers in case need to call / chase).

(1)(4)

F

Maybe, although unlikely that she would have gone through her call log from months ago in the circumstances and she wouldn’t have had access to the company directory after a night out. Someone else could have given it to her, possibly they had each others number and were friends and a lot of this has been a misunderstanding.

(0)(1)

Calling out the SDT

£7,837 in costs?? WTF…. he had admitted all the facts, resigned immediately on Person A complaining, is no longer working as a solicitor and has no intention of returning to the profession. Justice surely requires that there should be a “fast track” procedure for uncontested cases where the costs are limited to a few hundred £ instead of almost £8000.
Costs should be proportionate. This is an absolute racket which would not stand up to proper scrutiny.

(65)(0)

Anon

Can the 70 year old woman, person who weighs 22 stone or pre-op transsexual sleep with you too if they just feel like it?

What’s so bad about them just going for it?

(3)(2)

Anon

So you’d punish them for asking because of their looks?

People are entitled to ask and people are entitled to refuse. Nobody forced anybody to do anything.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Poor guy clearly had a drink problem. Treatment is more appropriate than removing him from his livelihood.

(15)(9)

Anonymous

I have to say “Do you want to fuck” has worked as a chat up line for me in the past, including with people I work with.

(20)(7)

Anon

Scott — who had been drinking heavily — groped her at various points in the night. Scott “put his hand inside Person A’s dress” and “put his hand inside Person A’s underwear on two occasions”, among other things. Just after midnight, he sent Person A a text message saying “I would like to fuck you”.

Scott later said that he had been “extraordinarily drunk”, having downed “10-12 pints plus wine”.

Do learn to read. It will help you in giving advice to clients, should you ever get that far.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

That happened months before (allegedly). Read the article. Do learn to read.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

He didn’t do that either. Read the article again.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

He didn’t do that either – read the article again!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Yes, he’s being punished because she didn’t agree to. Very strange decisions.

(7)(11)

Anonymous

*perspires profusly* This can get you suspended off??

(8)(3)

No one

I enjoy the fact that the ‘f-word’ is censored in the headline, but not in the body of the article.

(7)(0)

Martin

So you aren’t allowed to tell people you want to f*ck them now? What next?

(8)(5)

Anon

It will have worked for some people, he’s being punished because it didn’t work for him.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Ban on sex

(1)(1)

Joker

What determines the dividing line between flirting and sexual assault/misconduct?

Looks, Physique and Height.

(8)(5)

Anonymous

Although clearly sending text messages isn’t sexual assault under the 2003 Act. Regardless of whether or not she was attracted to him.

(1)(1)

Anon

No. But it could be argued that sending a text message to someone you have just sexually assaulted that you’d like to fuck them is perhaps grossly offensive. If you read the article he fully accepted that he had sexually assaulted the trainee. He accepted that his conduct amounted at the very least ammounted to a MCA offence. You seem to have no grasp of what a Caution actually means. You have to admit the offence in interview, having been advised prior to interview by a solicitor and then admit the offence again to a Police Officer of at least the rank of Inspector and sign the Caution form accepting that you admit the offence. This guy was not only a solicitor, he recieved advice from another solicitor before deciding to admit that he was guilty of the offence. If he accepts that he was guilty, why do you think he wasn’t?

(7)(2)

Anonymous

Where in the article do you read that he admitted sexual assault to the police and made a plea-bargain to receive a caution? It doesn’t look to me as if you’ve read it at all. The caution was given for the text.

(0)(0)

Anon

Do learn to read. It’s very useful in life generaly.

Scott — who had been drinking heavily — groped her at various points in the night. Scott “put his hand inside Person A’s dress” and “put his hand inside Person A’s underwear on two occasions”, among other things. Just after midnight, he sent Person A a text message saying “I would like to fuck you”.

Scott later said that he had been “extraordinarily drunk”, having downed “10-12 pints plus wine”.

You might advise a client that he has a defence in those circumstances, as reading is beyond your abilities. Good luck with that. Hope you have a lot of insurance, fresher.

(4)(2)

Anonymous

The text complained about happened later though. Think it’s you needs to learn to read fresher.

(1)(0)

Anon

Oh dear. Reading is too difficult for you. He accepted a caution and then accepted the SRA version of the fact by accepting the charges brought by the SRA. When your client pleads guilty and does not advance a basis this means that your client has accepted the offence.

There are a lot of good books you can buy to teach you to read. The Janet & John childrens books will help you here. When Janet says she has a big red ball, this means she has a big red ball.

When your client accepts a police caution for MCA and then admits to the SDT that he did do what the complainant and the SRA said that he did, I know this will be difficult for you to follow, it means that your client has admited the offence to the police, admited the offence to the SRA and pleaded guilty to the offence. Is there any part of he admited it that you are having difficulties with?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

So where does it say he accepted an MCA caution in return for not being charged with sexual assault? Nowhere, because the caution was only for the text. You’re getting all muddled with the timescale, the difference between the police and the SRA, and what he admitted to who. Suggest you go and read the article more carefully. Try not to be insulting when you lose an argument, it does your credibility no good at all.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Man sends text message while blind drunk and gets kicked out of job he studied 4 years for.

(1)(2)

Anon

Have you never worked in an office? On my first day 25 years ago, the first thing HR did was email me a firm contacts list of numbers. I saved them all to my phone so that I had everyone’s contact numbers from the most senior parter to the most lowley assistant such as myself. I had often to ring or text people to ask them “I’m doing X, Y and Z on a case you are acting on. It’s in court tomorrow. Can you help me on what it is in court for” This is particulary true in criminal practise. You might be holding the out of hours phone as a trainee, pick up a murder, accept the call from the DSCC and then need to sort out cover for the 1st App the next day. 25 years later as a partner in my firm, I still have all the contact numbers for my staff, fellow partners, counsel I instruct, police station agents, local cops I speak to a lot and Uncle Tom Coddly and all saved to my phone. It doesn’t mean I want to fuck any or all of the above.

(4)(12)

Anonymous

And you carry it about with you on nights out? I’m sure your contacts will be glad to hear that.

(17)(0)

Anon

Yep. Everybody who works in a criminal firm carrys they mobile with them at all times, because your number is saved to DSCC On Line and any Own Client may contact the DSCC and ask for you, whether you are a trainee, partner or assocaite at any time of the day or night. If they do, the DSCC will ring you on the number you provided when you passed the PSQ. Sorry you don’t understand how the DSCC system works. This is because you are still a fresher.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

And an NQ has all the company directory stored on a phone? Really? I’m sorry, it’s possible, but I’m not convinced that’s how she got his number.

Remember what you were told about being insulting when losing an argument. This is getting embarrassing.

(0)(0)

Anon

It’s here in the article:-

Scott — who had been drinking heavily — groped her at various points in the night. Scott “put his hand inside Person A’s dress” and “put his hand inside Person A’s underwear on two occasions”, among other things. Just after midnight, he sent Person A a text message saying “I would like to fuck you”.

Scott later said that he had been “extraordinarily drunk”, having downed “10-12 pints plus wine”.

What part of he admitted a S3 SOA 2003 was too difficult for you?

(3)(6)

Anonymous

You still haven’t answered the question: Where in the article do you read that he admitted sexual assault to the police and made a plea-bargain to receive a caution? I don’t see it anywhere. Are you sure you’ve read it? He was cautioned for sending a text to a colleague, nothing more.

Remember what you were told about your behaviour. You’ll come across a lot more credibly if you read the article carefully, try to understand it, and don’t lose your temper.

(9)(2)

Anon

A sexual assault is an touching without permission which was in the context sexual objectively. Sticking your hand in a trainee’s underwear without her permission (as stated in the article) is a sexual assault. I have understood it. If you wish to maintain that a hand down your trainee’s underwear is not a sexual touching, then it is you have not understood the article.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

You still haven’t answered the question: Where in the article do you read that he admitted sexual assault to the police and made a plea-bargain to receive a caution? I don’t see it anywhere. Are you sure you’ve read it? He was cautioned for sending a text to a colleague, nothing more.

Remember what you were told about your behaviour. You’ll come across a lot more credibly if you read the article carefully, try to understand it, and don’t lose your temper.

(4)(0)

Comments are closed.

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