Barrister reprimanded for sending ‘grossly offensive’ Instagram messages to ex-partner

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By Rhys Duncan on


Tribunal described relationship as “toxic”

A barrister has been reprimanded after sending “grossly offensive” messages to a former partner on social media.

Rashvinderjeet Panesar admitted to two professional conduct offences in relation to the messages, accepting that they could reasonably be seen by the public to undermine his integrity, and were likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in him and/or the profession.

The messages, sent via Instagram between December 30, 2020, and March 4, 2021, were intended to cause distress or anxiety to Person A, Pansear’s unnamed former partner, according to the disciplinary tribunal.

The tribunal said it had also seen additional “unpleasant”, but “less offensive” comments posted by him on TikTok during the same period, directed at the same person.

The barrister submitted to a conditional police caution at the time, and then promptly self-referred to the Bar Standards Board.

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The tribunal said “it is clear that the relationship between the Respondent and the recipient of the messages had severely deteriorated and that there were difficult proceedings relating to matters consequential upon the breakdown of that relationship.”

It also noted that at the time Pansear “had spent a period with a low mood and heightened anxiety, from which he has since recovered”.

Whilst the messages were “grossly offensive”, the tribunal accepted that Panesar was “reacting, albeit wrongly, to public and private denigration of him by the recipient of the messages”.

“While that explains his behaviour, it does not justify or excuse it,” the tribunal said. “It was not behaviour that the public would expect from a professional, although it was the product of a private dispute rather than anything relating to his professional practice.”

In determining that a reprimand was the appropriate sanction, the disciplinary body considered that there was “no direct evidence” of an effect on the recipient, who herself used social media to “cause upset”. The relationship was described as “clearly toxic”.

Also taken into account were the fact that Pansear made an apology “which appears genuine and sincere”, immediately self-reported to the Bar Standards Board, and that there have been no further incidents since 2021.

The tribunal stated that it did not see any real risk of repetition in this case and found no need to address any other risks to the public.

Pansear was also given a costs order of £2,100.




Given that this was a private matter for which D has already been punished by way of a conditional caution, why does the regulator get to help itself to a couple of grand of his money?


Because he had received a conditional caution. The answer is in your question if you look hard enough.


Because when you willingly become a barrister, you also willingly agree to abide by the profession’s ethical code.

Don’t want to face the BSB? It’s easier to behave.


Personal matter, nothing to do with his job.

Archibald O'Pomposity

Cue the moans that if he had been a solicitor, his ability to make a living would have been destroyed forever by the SRA, whereas barristers get the lightest admonishment for misconduct.

Listen up, folks: if you want the privileges of barristerial life, get admitted to the Bar.

Eric Clacton

Regulatory discipline or morality police? Sometimes it is hard to tell these days.

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