bretherton v

Bretherton contests the allegations.

A solicitor who worked at Macfarlanes, Bird & Bird, and Gowling WLG has appeared before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal after three women accused him of sexual misconduct.

This week the tribunal heard that Oliver Bretherton, who is now a banking and finance partner at virtual firm gunnercooke, interviewed and then hired an 18-year-old woman to work in his practice at Gowling WLG, according to the Law Gazette.

Once she started in her position, Bretherton allegedly told her he wanted to “fuck her, and he would do it in the office, and he didn’t care if there was a glass wall”, said Nimi Bruce, appearing for the SRA. 

Bretherton has been accused of setting the woman, identified as Person A, various sexual tasks for his own gratification.

On one occasion he allegedly told the teenager that she should sleep with a man she was meeting for a date and text him pictures of herself having sex.

The SRA has alleged that Bretherton threw ping-pong balls down the front of Person A's dress and ordered her to fetch them when he missed.

In another sexual office task, he allegedly instructed her to masturbate in Gowling WLG’s toilets, and before she went to sleep each night.

Person A initially “found it funny”, but her amusement turned to discomfort as the then 36-year-old solicitor continued with his inappropriate conduct, said Bruce.

At one point he allegedly sent Person A a video of himself masturbating, which the teenager told him at the time she had watched, but did not actually open, she said.

He has also been accused of attempting to control the young woman outside of work with a “stream of messages” from the moment she woke up, which included demands to know where she was and who she was with. 

Bruce said that Bretherton would text the 18-year-old at work, too, and watch her reactions from his desk. 

He “told her what to wear in the office and tried to influence her relationships and who she had sex with” and would even “time her toilet breaks”, said Bruce.

Describing Bretherton's alleged misconduct as “repeated” and “relentless” over the course of a year, Bruce said that “his attempts to conceal his actions were painstaking and meticulous”.

Bretherton has countered that Person A initiated a relationship with him, and he has denied the allegations against him.

Michael Luckman, general counsel at Gowling WLG, said, “Our aim is always to provide a safe, inclusive and respectful working environment for everyone and while the SRA has not raised any issue of wrongdoing on the part of Gowling WLG, a former employee was referred to the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal".

A spokesperson for gunnercooke said they were unable to comment as it was an ongoing case.

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Anonymous 08 March 23 12:50

@[email protected] - you seem to take a very cavalier attitude to Person A's consent, viewing it as something which only matters when you decide it does, and believing as you do that even if Person A was in a consensual relationship that this doesn't matter unless you consent too. Your consent isn't required for Person A's relationships. But you know that.

Incel is not ok. It is a sexist slur.

We don't know yet if 'sexual harassment' was committed or who committed it, other than we know that thd SDT publishing the name of the accused at this stage and not that of the accuser is a form of sexual harassment, so there is nothing to apologise for.

Given all this, it sounds as if the one who is arguing in bad faith is you!


Anonymous 08 March 23 23:02

It is thrilling to watch this publicly. Today was brilliant!

Oh to be a sexual risk taker thrill seeker who thinks without respect for his or her wife or husband or unborn or newly born baby.  A respectable career in law is the wrong profession for you.  The investment banks await.

Anonymous 08 March 23 23:32

@[email protected] - you seem to be saying Person A is in the wrong if she worked for him. So your logic would be what on earth was she thinking, not what on earth was he thinking?

There is no suggestion that either the accused or the accuser is or was insane.

Anonymous 10 March 23 00:23

We still don't know what happened but in his evidence he claimed that Person A instigated a lot of it. Neither of them come out of it well morally, but if it was consensual it wouldn't be a regulatory matter. The SRA/SDT are likely to get Beckwithed if they propose to heavy a sanction.

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