SRA allows former trainee barred for stalking to work for criminal defence firm
A former trainee solicitor has been allowed to re-join the legal profession working for a criminal defence firm 15 months after being barred for a stalking conviction.
The Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) has granted Central Chambers Law Ltd permission to employ Aqeeb Khan. The regulator’s approval was given on the condition that Khan is supervised at all times.
Khan’s telephone calls will be monitored and recorded and he will not be allowed to attend clients on remand in prison or at police stations, according to the regulator. His approval to work will lapse if he leaves the firm.
In November 2016, Khan was convicted of stalking under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Shropshire Magistrates Court found that his actions, which included “making a verbal threat over the telephone” and “following his victim in a vehicle”, had caused the victim “serious alarm or distress” as well as having an “adverse effect” on her day-to-day activities.
Khan was sentenced to 18 weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to complete 20 days’ rehabilitation activity. He was also handed a restraining order lasting until January 2020.
Following his conviction Khan went on to work as a trainee solicitor for a Birmingham-based criminal defence law firm. In June 2021, the rookie lawyer was made subject to a section 43 order which prevented him from working in a law firm without the regulator’s prior permission.
In its recent decision to allow him back into the legal profession, the SRA said it was satisfied that Khan’s employment at Central Chambers Law “will not put public confidence in the administration of justice and the provision of legal services or the interests of clients at risk”.
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A partner at my current firm hit the tabloids for stalking her husband’s mistress and avoided getting struck off. Yet when a trainee accidentally forgets a briefcase of client documents on a train she gets struck off. The SRA are all about punishing the junior lawyers, the senior lawyers get away with murder time and time again. Something needs to change.