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Barrister reprimanded for refusing breath test

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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.

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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.

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17 Comments

Solicitors Repression Authority

If this was a junior solicitor, the SRA would have had him struck off, with a £10,000 fine, and his head on a spike on Tower Bridge.

(43)(0)

Anon

The SRA is too strict rather than the BSB too lenient.

(15)(3)

Ruby red

All the more ironic when his LinkedIn profile lists him being a paralegal in a criminal defence firm (at the time of the offence) and also ‘licensed’ by the BSB!

(8)(0)

Archibald Pomp O'City

“All the more ironic when his LinkedIn profile lists him being a paralegal in a criminal defence firm (at the time of the offence) and also ‘licensed’ by the BSB!”

Why is that ironic? The premise of the piece is that an ambassador of the legal system committed an offence and refused to cooperate with his prosecution. Whether he worked in criminal defence makes little difference to the overall gravity of his professional downfall.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Fined by the state, the fined by the Bar stasi. Poor guy.

(10)(3)

Just Anonymous

I don’t follow the logic of criticising Siddiq for giving a no comment interview.

We all have a fundamental right to remain silent and, in that sense, to decline to co-operate with the police. Regulators have no business punishing or criticising individuals for exercising their legal rights.

(79)(1)

Han Solo

Isn’t the consequence of remaining silent that the court can make a negative inference?

(5)(1)

JoJo

Yes to support a criminal charge in limited circumstances but he’d pleaded guilty to that so not relevant.

(11)(1)

Young Garrick Member

‘Non-practising’ tells you everything you need to know.

(14)(4)

Anonymous

That he was “non-practising”?

(16)(0)

Anonymous

BSB interfering again in things way beyond what should be their remit and zone of interest.

(18)(0)

Scouser of Counsel

I didn’t know that being a professional means a duty to assist in one’s own prosecution and that the right to remain silent did not apply.

I must remember that if I ever get arrested for possession of an offensive haircut!

(31)(1)

Scep Ticl

It is an offence to refuse to give a breath test. Nothing to do with the right to remain silent.

(3)(4)

Scouser of Counsel

I was referring to the fact that the regulator commented negatively on the fact that he exercised his right to remain silent when interviewed about the offence.

(4)(1)

Archibald Pomp O'City

The right to remain silent is a qualified right, namely qualified by the right of a judge or jury (and by extension the BSB) to draw adverse inferences from it, you ignorant sod.

(0)(1)

Anon Bar

It’s another professional who has fallen from grace. All I see on social media is a braying mob. This section of Legal Cheek is a barely disguised version of the stocks. It’s a shame whether it’s Legal Cheek or FB mimicking the Daily Mail in the comments section. It’s also a shame that people feel obliged to make it an us versus them issue. The legal profession is now only nominally divided. The BSB ethics team have detailed guidance and breaches are being taken seriously. That doesn’t necessarily mean that merciless punishments should follow.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Maybe you should read the comments before jumping in criticising them. “This section of Legal Cheek” above has hardly said a single negative thing about the individual and the main target of criticisms has been the power hungry regulators who are encroaching more and more outside their proper remit, as Beckwith in the High Court shows. You should go back to the Daily Mail site, you can skip the stories and just spout prejudice there – the participants there are too thick to notice or just want to spend some time in a basic racist echo chamber.

(6)(0)

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