Linklaters partner guilty of assault and another indicted for rape
15 July 2016
partner who beat up a colleague at the firm's Oktoberfest party has been sentenced to seven months in prison, while the partner he punched is now facing a charge of raping one of the firm's interns.
The partners, both from the Munich office, were attending Linklaters' annual 'After Wiesen' party in 2014 when litigation partner Laurenz Schmitt punched a tax partner (who cannot be named on threat of RollOnFriday being sued into the stratosphere) three times in the face. Schmitt claimed that he was protecting a female student who was being sexually harrassed by the tax partner, whom we shall call 'Horst'.
||Schmitt, when not punching another partner in the face
Horst resigned from Linklaters in October 2014, followed by Schmitt in December. Unfortunately for the firm, their hasty departures failed to draw a line under the incident as Schmitt was then charged with assault. This summer he stood trial in Munich, where he accused Linklaters of botching its internal investigation into the incident. Schmitt claimed that then-Senior Partner of Germany Dr. Carl-Peter Feick, who now sits on Linklaters' executive board, failed to follow protocol in his interviews with the female student. Schmitt also accused the firm of being uninterested in his opinion of the seriousness of Horst's alleged sexual assault, testifying that Linklaters' London management began its first interview with him by stating, "[Horst] did not rape her
This week Schmitt was found guilty, despite his argument that he punched the tax partner repeatedly in the face as an "emergency response
". Judge Josef Bonkamp, explaining that vigilantism was no defence, handed him a seven month suspended prison sentence and 150 hours community service. Schmitt said he thought the punishment was wrong and vowed, "I will appeal
However, in his ruling on Schmitt's assault, Judge Bonkamp said that he "absolutely believed
" the female student's "very credible
" testimony that she had been raped. And the German public prosecutor's office has now indicted Horst
for raping the student, although charges have not been filed pending a
Lawyers acting for Horst told RollOnFriday that the allegations against him were part of a "fatal campaign carried out by Schmitt in an attempt to justify his grievous assault
". A Linklaters spokesman declined to comment on the basis that the investigation was ongoing.