Gave no comment interview
A barrister who refused to undertake a roadside breath test has been reprimanded and fined by the bar disciplinary tribunal.
The three-person panel also criticised Adnan Siddiq, a non-practising barrister who was called to the bar in 2012, for giving a no comment interview at the police station.
Siddiq “failed to co-operate with a roadside breath test” after he was stopped by officers in north London on 29 September 2019, according to a recently published ruling. He also failed to provide a specimen of breath at the custody suite of Stoke Newington Police Station.
Siddiq was convicted of offences under the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Road Offenders Act 1988 in October last year at Thames Magistrate Court.
The tribunal acknowledged that Siddiq had admitted the charge to the police, paid the fine and reported the matter promptly to the Bar Standards Board (BSB). It also noted that he had since lost his job as paralegal, expressed remorse for his actions and was of previous good character.
But the tribunal said the offences were “more serious, in our view, than a conviction for drink driving… [because] we do not know and cannot know, because of your conduct, what the level of alcohol in your blood was when you were driving”.
It was also critical of his behaviour in the wake of his arrest, flagging his “lack of cooperation with police on the day of the incident” and his decision to give a no comment interview at the police station.
The tribunal said:
“[A]lthough you were entitled to and advised to give a no comment interview, you are a professional man and you had to decide whether no comment was the appropriate response at the time.”
It added: “You did not at the time say any of the things you could have done to the police that might have helped them or us to understand what you did. Although your right, you also have to bear in mind that you have obligations to the profession and to the public.”
The tribunal reprimanded Siddiq and fined him £1,000, reduced to £400 due to him being on Universal Credit.