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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.

(43)(24)

Anon

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

(80)(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)(11)

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.

(7)(11)

Dave

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

(66)(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)

anon

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

(11)(1)

Anon

Or attractive, intellectual and artistic men.

(2)(0)

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.

(64)(0)

Anonymous

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

(14)(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)

Anonymous

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

(7)(10)

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)

Anonymous

Ban on sex

(1)(1)

Joker

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

Looks, Physique and Height.

(7)(5)

Anonymous

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

(1)(2)

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)

Anon

@ Oct 4 2019 8:09pm. Okay have it your own way. Natrually as a partner in the firm I do not allow a trainee to have access to the numbers of the partners and associates. When a client rings from the police station at 3.00am, we don’t allow the trainee to have the numbers of the partners and associates to contact us when she picks up a murder case from an own client as we do not at all want to retain that case. We just leave the trainee to deal with it as that is good buisness paractise.

If you look up the website of any criminal firm, they have a single point of contact number. The way every criminal firm operates is that there is one out of hours mobile number, which is held on a rota basis. Every member of the firm takes it in turns to hold the out of hours phone. Every memeber of any criminal firm has each other’s numbers stored on their phone as that is the only way to transfer calls from the DSCC to the solicitor requested. It is the same with civil and commercial firms, for the same reason.

If you really think that any firm operates on the basis that trainees are not expected to be able to ring any and all members of the firm when they get a client ring them out of hours, then you have never been in practice.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

It’s certainly not the case that all staff at all law firms carry around all the numbers on the company directory on their mobiles. If you think they do you ain’t a partner in a law firm. The original question was how the claimant in this case got the accused’s number. We’re still no closer to understanding this. Remember your tone if you want to be taken seriously. You are becoming increasingly incoherent.

(2)(1)

Paul Donoghue

Seems harsh to me. Put your hand up if you’ve never done anything as stupid as this in drink yourself. If you haven’t I pity you. And if an adult dealing with criminals can’t deal with this you’re in the wrong job.

(1)(3)

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.

(1)(0)

Comments are closed.

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