Scandal-hit barrister reprimanded for continuing to work during suspension over drug offences
A controversial barrister who continued to practise while suspended for drug offences has avoided disbarment.
Henry Hendron faced a total of 18 charges in relation to his professional conduct during the three-year suspension he received in 2017. This came following his conviction in 2016 for possession of controlled drugs with intent to supply a year earlier.
Last week a Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS) panel found Hendron had failed to remove an advertisement for his legal services on a website, even after the Bar Standards Board (BSB) requested him to do so.
The 40-year-old also held himself out as barrister by performing a reserved legal activity by serving a notice of acting to a firm of solicitors, and signing off emails “barrister — non practising”, CourtNewsUK (£) reports.
Further, the tribunal found Hendron had used threatening and/or inappropriate language in emails to a client.
Hendron was reprimanded and prohibited from undertaking public access work for two years, according to a finding published on the BTAS website, after a tribunal found nine of the charges against him proven. He must also attend a training course before resuming public access work.
In light of Hendron’s bankruptcy, the panel found that any financial sanction would be “ineffective”.
Addressing the messages at an earlier hearing, Hendron said he threatened the client after a High Court case was settled and he feared he would not be paid. The tribunal heard how email subjects to the client included “don’t screw your lawyers” and “you have been warned”, which Hendron justified as “putting in stern language”.
Although not sorry for sending the emails, Hendron accepted that “perhaps there’s a pattern here where I act, do or say things without considering the impact of whatever it is I may be doing from time to time”.
Further allegations include appearing before a High Court judge while suspended and failing to inform a client of his recent criminal conviction were not proven, the report states.
In response to the tribunal’s decision, Hendron told Legal Cheek: “I am now in the process of taking stock and evaluating all personal and professional aspects of my life so that I can truly bring about the changes in all the aspects of my life which the tribunal identified as concerns.”
“I intend to go somewhere sunny for a few weeks to gather my thoughts and recharge my batteries and then on my return to commence building back and building strong my legal practice in London (of which I have not been able to do while I have had BSB proceedings hang over me).”
Harini Iyengar, for the BSB, commented: “There are significant factors in terms of aggravating features found in the guidance. On the BSB’s submission Mr Hendron has shown a lack of insight into his own conduct and a lack of remorse for the misconduct the panel found proved. An important question for this panel to ask is: what is the extent to which Hendron is capable of learning from his mistakes as a professional, given the history and sequence of events in his practice?”
She added: “There is also the importance of the protection of the public and the reputation of the profession. One might have thought that someone who had been suspended would have taken all their professional obligations seriously at this stage.”
Hendron was arrested in early 2015 after his then-boyfriend, Miguel Jimenez, was found dead with drugs in his system. He pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance — ‘chemsex’ drugs mephedrone and gamma-butyrolactone — with intent to supply and was handed a community order with 18 months supervision and 140 hours unpaid work.