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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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18 Comments

Anonymous

I am quite surprised that he was only fined for such acts. You see legal professionals having been struck off for much less serious acts, yet this barrister was only fined? This seems completely unjust.

(82)(28)

Anonymous

Agreed that some strike-offs are too severe (and SRA costs just ridiculous), but not sure this barrister should have been struck off.

(38)(14)

Irate Solicitor

How on earth have we gotten to such a state where the BSB lets this go with a light slap on the wrist, yet the SRA will strike off solicitors at the drop of a hat?

Both organisations are unfit for purpose and need urgent reform.

(73)(31)

Anonymous

Double standards.

A smack on the wrist for a smack on the bottom is not justice.

(40)(9)

Irate Barrister

How on earth have we got to such a state where a solicitor in the UK is using the word “gotten”? Your grammar is unfit for purpose and needs urgent reform.

(47)(15)

Anon

Crass Americanisms like “gotten” indicate an education of limited breadth. They are real red flags of wider concerns and risks. Of what else are they ignorant? “Gotten” left these fine shores by the 18th century. Unfortunately, because of the basic such as Irate it is returning.

(23)(7)

Not a loser

Christ. People like you make me want to change career.

(29)(13)

Anon

Glad you can take a hint.

Anonymous

£9,600 is hardly a light slap on the wrist.

(16)(18)

Anon

Reopen the comments on the ski slopes guy. I’m not finished with him yet

(33)(1)

Apres Me

It’s been all downhill since that article.
Like all pieces concerning mountains and slopes I find your comment hill-areas
Personally I think LC is on thin ice with articles like that.
They have a duty of care to us, with great powder comes great responsibility.
I might conduct a ski poll, to see why people disliked that article so much.
That might lift our spirits.

But seriously that article was terrible.

(13)(1)

Anonymous

Not sure that the “over whom he was in a position of professional seniority” has much to do with it. Is the suggestion that it would be ok if she was senior?

(4)(24)

Anonymous

It wouldn’t have been ok if she was senior, but the power disparity makes the offence more serious. In other words, it’s an aggravating feature. Are you a lawyer?

(47)(5)

Anonymous

So it would have been a mitigating factor if she was his boss by your logic? What power disparity? Are you a lawyer? Why do you ask if I am or think it matters?

(3)(27)

Ken

Because by asking the question posed in Jan 22 2021 10:58am, you reveal an ignorance of the dynamic of such a professional misconduct charge – which shows that you are not a lawyer or, if you are, you are a bad one.

(21)(4)

Anon

No. The fact that something is not an aggravating factor does not mean it is necessarily a mitigating factor. If she had been his boss then the power differential is unlikely to have come into it one way or another. If you think that your proposition arises “on [my] logic” then I urgently recommend you do some reading on logic, particularly the contrast between deductive and fallacious reasoning, or you are going to become (or continue to be) a poor lawyer. People who talk to you will form the view that you don’t know how to think.

(8)(16)

Anonymous

No. The absence of an aggravating factor does not imply the presence of a mitigating factor. That’s flawed logic. It’s also a basic. Which I think is why the question about your occupation was asked.

(20)(1)

Barbie

So by your logic its an aggravating factor that he was senior but it wouldn’t be if she behaved in that way and he was senior. And its an aggravating factor that he is senior but not a mitigating factor if she was. Sounds like one rule for men and one rule for women in your world. You still don’t say what the ‘power dynamic has to do with it’. I still don’t see what “over whom he was in a position of professional seniority” has to do with it.

If I’m not a lawyer or a bad lawyer the way I’m wiping the floor with you makes you look even worse if you’re a lawyer.

Btw, frantically repeating the same posts without waiting for the site to update just makes you look worse.

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