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Barrister fined £6,000 for slapping female colleague’s bottom

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Criminal specialist held woman’s neck and pulled her on to his lap, according to ruling

An experienced criminal barrister has been fined £6,000 for telling a female colleague “I really wanted to smack your arse” with his hand around her neck.

Dominic Woolard, who was called to the bar in 2008, also pulled the unnamed woman on to his lap and slapped her on the backside, according to a bar disciplinary ruling.

The tribunal found that Woolard had “acted without integrity” and “behaved in a way that which was likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in him or the profession”.

According to the rap sheet, Woolard had held his colleague, “over whom he was in a position of professional seniority”, by or around the neck while saying “I really wanted to smack your arse” or words to that effect. The panel found that this was a sexual act with no consent or reasonable belief that there was consent.

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A second charge records that Woolard did in fact smack Ms A, “with a slap which caused her physical pain”. He also pulled her “on to his lap, which was unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which had the purpose or effect of violating A’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or otherwise offensive environment”.

A panel fined Woolard £6,000 plus £3,600 in costs. All three incidents took place on 21 December 2018.

Woolard has been a tenant at chambers in London and Northampton but is currently listed as an employed barrister by the Bar Standards Board. The ruling is open to appeal.

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