Mainly on Twitter
A solicitor has agreed to quit the profession after sending hundreds of offensive messages to his own defence lawyers.
Kieran Patrick O’Connor, a non-practising solicitor, must apply to have himself removed from the roll of solicitors as part of a settlement with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
According to a record of the settlement on the SRA website, O’Connor had instructed Manchester-headquartered JMW Solicitors to defend a claim against him. He then began sending “offensive communications” to employees of the firm.
Between January to March 2019, Mr O’Connor “sent approximately 471 offensive, derogatory and inappropriate communications by email and on social media (in particular on Twitter)”, the SRA found.
JMW secured a High Court injunction to get O’Connor to stop and delete his Twitter accounts. The court also fined him £42,000 and ordered him to pay costs of £50,000.
O’Connor was later convicted of a “racially aggravated public order offence” by magistrates in Manchester, as well as receiving a separate police caution.
But the SRA noted that O’Connor “has a history of significant mental health issues”. There was medical evidence showing that he had suffered a relapse around the time of the offensive messages.
The settlement requires O’Connor to apply to remove himself from the roll of solicitors within two weeks and not to apply to get back on for three years. Any application to be restored to the roll will have to include an up-to-date psychiatric report.