The extraordinary emails sent by a DLA partner have been revealed against his will, along with his attempt to defend his use of the word "Klunt" by claiming he was referring to one of Ricky Gervais' Flanimals.
Nick West was caught out in 2014 when emails which he sent to Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore were leaked. In one email West complained about an in-house lawyer - "have spent all day fending Edna off my graphite shaft. She is terribly relentless isn’t she?!” In another he advised Scudamore to “save your cash in case you find some gash”.
Scudamore's PA was appalled by the exchanges. She leaked extracts of the emails to the press and West found himself hitting the headlines and had to issue a grovelling apology. DLA reported West to the SRA, and he was called to a tribunal. West had originally agreed to pay a fine of £10,000 in return for the evidence not to be made public, but the chairman of the tribunal, Andrew Spooner, ordered that it be read out. Spooner described West's comments as "despicable" and increased the fine to £15,000.
Now the SDT has published its ruling, revealing that West may actually be Roy Chubby Brown, aged 13. Here are the 'highlights' (West is the Respondent). Fun task: read them and imagine being a woman working along the corridor from him.
2. "Dangle of your dong"
3. "Foetus shopping"
5. "Graphite shaft"
7. "Teach her to talk"
Aside from the toe-curling attempts at gagsmithery, the saddest thing about the emails is West's pathetic, panting indulgence of his client's misogyny. What a depressing lesson if a partner at DLA feels they have to sink to these depths to keep the fees coming in.
|Here comes the Bantasaurus Rex
Unsurprisingly, West was extremely keen for the emails not to see the light of day.
He gave the SDT four reasons why it would be "wrong, unfair and disproportionate" for the tribunal to publish them. Firstly, because "the majority of the emails were sent by others". Which doesn't address the fact that some of them were sent by West, nor that his lapdog-like response to the rest represents a failure by omission to stand up to his client.
Secondly, because he and his chums thought their misogynist bantah "would remain private". Except West used the firm's email system to send and receive them.
Thirdly, because the emails were exchanges "between long-standing friends" and contained comments which might damage them. Presumably those super-sexist comments for which, it might be argued, they should be damaged.
Fourthly, and somewhat negating the third reason and his whole argument not to publish, because the emails "contained what were intended to be light-hearted remarks" and the participants "were not in the least offended by them because they understood their proper meaning".
And what was their proper meaning, according to West's letter to the tribunal? Er...
That resulted in one of the more extraordinary sentences to grace a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal:
Shockingly, the tribunal did not buy West's Flanimal Defence. Nor West's argument that the graphite shaft conversation was merely referring to golf clubs. It was particularly unimpressed that "the email referring to 'the dangle of your dong' was sent in the context of a recruitment exercise".
Summing up, the tribunal called Gashgate a "sad and salutary lesson" for West "and indeed the profession not to engage in inappropriate and offensive correspondence particularly when using business email addresses in the course of their work". Especially if you're an unfunny creep.
The full ruling:
Read more on Friday.