Called to the bar
A barrister has been jailed after travelling across the country with the intention of sexually abusing teenage girls.
Guy Sims, 53, a civil barrister, used a teenage app MyLOL and a messaging app Kik to chat online to two people who he believed were 13-year-old school girls. However, they were fake accounts set up by officers of the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU).
Sims pretended to be an 18-year-old, calling himself 'markbatx' and 'markviva', and arranged to meet one of the 'girls' in September 2017. He travelled from Cambridge to Portsmouth with the "intention of engaging in sexual activity" with the girl, said SEROCU.
Police arrested the barrister when he arrived, and discovered that he had condoms and cider in his car, as well as camouflage leaf netting. Sims told the officers that he had found the booze on the street, and had the netting for his daughter's Woodcraft Folk youth club, and not because he wanted to take the girl to the woods. He had also arranged to meet another of the teenage girls that day, according to a report in the Oxford Mail of his trial.
Sims was released under investigation, but had a sexual conversation online with another person who he believed to be a 13-year-old girl, and arranged a meeting in Oxford. Sims claimed that his reason for doing this was to see if the police were on the internet hunting potential paedophiles.
Sims was found guilty of three counts of arranging or facilitating commission of a child sex offence by a unanimous jury at the Oxford Crown Court, and sentenced to three and a half years in jail.
“This is the conclusion of a case in which Sims engaged in conversation of a sexual nature and arranged to meet up with those who he believed to be three teenage girls with the intention of carrying out child sexual abuse," said Detective Chief Inspector Philip Attwood of SEROCU.
“Sims worked as a civil barrister and should have recognised the consequences of this offending. He demonstrated that he was prepared to go to great lengths and travel across the country to Portsmouth, to Guildford and to Oxford to engage in depraved sexual activity with children."
“He repeatedly engaged with the profiles of those he believed to be teenage girls online, and the threat he posed would have continued had it not been for the continued and dedicated efforts of those working for SEROCU.”
A spokesman for the Bar Standards Board told RollOnFriday that Sims had been "suspended with immediate effect by the BSB following his conviction" and that "the suspension would remain in place until a full Disciplinary Tribunal can be arranged and heard." The spokesman added: "we cannot comment in advance about the possible outcomes of the independent tribunal.”