Barrister who beat woman — then failed to surrender to custody — suspended for four months

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By Legal Cheek on

Decision open to appeal

A barrister has been suspended from practice for beating a woman.

Stephen Joseph Sweeney, who was called to the bar in November 2001, was convicted in March 2018 of assaulting the unnamed woman by beating, and failed to surrender to custody when required to do so. He received a community rehabilitation order and made subject to a restraining order.

A Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS) panel found that Sweeney had behaved in a way which was likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in him or in the profession, and acted without integrity or behaved in a manner which could reasonably be seen by the public to undermine his integrity.

The tribunal said it also took into account that the barrister, having been granted bail, failed to surrender to custody when required to do so.

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Sweeney received a reprimand from the tribunal and two four-month suspensions to be served concurrently.

Commenting on the order, Bar Standards Board director of legal and enforcement, Sara Jagger said:

“The tribunal’s decision to suspend Mr Sweeney from practice demonstrates the serious consequences for barristers that can arise from being convicted of criminal offences, even where the conduct relates to issues in their personal life.”

The tribunal’s decision is open to appeal.

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