Legal secretary barred following county lines drug conviction

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By Rhys Duncan on


Avoided prison by ‘skin of her teeth’

A legal secretary has been barred from working in the legal profession after she became involved in a county lines drug gang.

Georgia Burns, who at the time of the offences worked in the personal injury department of Stockport firm Harvey Roberts Solicitors, was convicted in August 2022 of offences related to the supply of class A drugs. This followed a year-long police investigation into a county lines drug supply operation.

In May last year Burns was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for two years, for two counts of being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine. She also received 20 days of rehabilitation activities, ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work, and was required to pay a victim surcharge of £156.

Burns was found to have driven her co-accused partner, Jamie Upton, to facilitate drug dealing on at least four occasions, and a minor on at least a further two occasions, according to Greater Manchester Police. Upton was jailed for nine years and three months for his actions.

Burns avoided a custodial sentence by the “skin of her teeth”, the judge said at the time of sentencing. “You [Burns] were fully aware of Upton’s involvement but I am prepared to accept you were in an unhealthy relationship with him in which you felt some degree of coercive control.”

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Dishing out its own sanction this month, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) made Burns the subject of a section 43 order which prevents her from working for any law firm without its approval.

Whilst working at the firm, the regulator said Burns had been required to prepare files of confidential and sensitive client information and reply to client contacts and correspondence. Before this role, she had worked in other legal support positions.

Burns would be expected to fulfil her role with integrity and in a way that upholds public trust and confidence in the safe delivery of legal services, the SRA continued. However, this trust and confidence would be diminished if she could continue to work in such a role without permission.

She was also required to pay the SRA’s costs of £300.

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