Misused personal contact info
An experienced barrister has been suspended from practice for 26 months after he was found to have pursued a “romantic interest” in a defendant he was prosecuting.
An independent tribunal found that Drew St’Clair, called to the bar in 2001, acted in a way which was “likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in him or in the profession”.
In November 2021, St’Clair used personal contact information that he was given access to whilst prosecuting a criminal case for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), according to a statement by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) covering the decision. This was done, it said, to “pursue his romantic interest in the defendant in those proceedings”.
St’Clair was aware that this defendant was “likely to be vulnerable as a victim of domestic abuse,” the regulator added.
Commenting on the order, a BSB spokesperson said:
“The tribunal found that Mr St’Clair violated a clear professional boundary and abused his position of power in relation to a vulnerable individual. This type of conduct is manifestly incompatible with the high standards expected of the bar by those experiencing the justice system and the wider public and the tribunal’s order to suspend Mr St’Clair reflects the seriousness of such behaviour”.
The tribunal’s decision is open to appeal.