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£1,600 fine for solicitor who forwarded ‘grossly offensive’ email to colleague

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Paul Kenneth Breen was department head of Liverpool outfit when he passed on email derogatory to women

A former department head at a Liverpool law firm has been fined £1,600 after forwarding a “highly derogatory and grossly offensive” email to a colleague.

Paul Kenneth Breen was head of catastrophic injury at Cassell Moore Law when in August 2015 he forwarded the email that was offensive towards “women and persons of a particular religious group”, according to a decision published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

The regulator said Breen was not the author of the email and did not expressly endorse the content, “although he forwarded it without condemnation”. The colleague did not forward the email to others at the firm, the ruling states.

Breen admitted that by forwarding the offensive email onto a colleague he “failed to carry out his role in the business in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity”.

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The solicitor said in mitigation that the views communicated in the email are not reflective of his true character and belief, he had expressed remorse and is deeply ashamed of what was said in the email, and that the behaviour will not be repeated.

In reaching its decision, the regulator noted that the email was exchanged internally and not released to others, nor released in the public domain, the content was not endorsed or commented upon and, there is no evidence of a repetition of the misconduct.

Breen, who is now listed as a partner at Manchester outfit JMW Solicitors, was fined £1,600 and agreed to pay £600 in costs.

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