Out of the sin bin.
A barrister convicted of battering a hotel receptionist with a hockey stick has been allowed to retrain as a solicitor.
Felix Evans had been drinking heavily after a game of hockey in February 2017 when he attacked the receptionist at the hotel at which he was staying in the early hours of the morning.
Evans, now 29, hit the receptionist twice on the back, and once in the face so hard that he broke the man's jaw.
Evans was sentenced to two years in prison, suspended for 2 years, after the judge at his criminal trial ruled that his behaviour was "completely unforgivable".
"In my mind it matters not, in fact, it only exacerbates things, that you were drunk, and you ought to be thoroughly ashamed of yourself", said the judge.
The Chairman of his Disciplinary Tribunal, Witold Pawlak, described the attack as "egregious", and said that disbarment would normally follow a conviction for serious violence, "which this undoubtedly was". Evans had also failed to report his conviction to the Bar Standards Board.
However, the tribunal decided there were exceptional circumstances which merited a three year suspension instead. Pawlak noted that Evans was now attending AA meetings, and had said that he was "ashamed and devastated by what he did".
"Were it not for the efforts [Evans] has made to put his life in order we would not have hesitated to disbar him", said Pawlak.
The tribunal also said that as an unregistered barrister, Evans may not have realised that he was required to tell the BSB about his conviction.
The regulator only found out because Evans disclosed his record to the Solicitors Regulation Authority when he applied to retrain as a solicitor.
Evans was granted permission by the SRA and managed to secure a position at a firm specialising in criminal law to undertake his training. Despite being made aware of Evans’s conviction, his profile on its website included the unfortunate line, "Felix has experience of advising on a whole range of cases including assault".
The firm did not respond to a request for comment.
Wow, two years in prison for a broken jaw? In Germany he would be fined EUR 500 and, if he cannot pay, given a stern look.
How about someone breaks your jaw? Suck your food via a straw for a month, than decide what the punishment should be.
Sorry, but this guy should be squeegeeing windscreens at the Wetherby Road roundabout, not practising law.
It’s heartwarming that this guy was given a second chance and I feel uncomfortable sharing a profession with anyone who disagrees. Both the Bar and the less twattish branch of the profession need people with real life experience, including the experience of having to learn from their own mistakes.
You can't act like a hard man and play hockey.
Monty on the bus.... Are you not considering the impact on the victim? I'm not saying that people can't change but unfortunately law is a profession in which you simply cannot have a career if you have done certain things in the past, irrespective of whether or not you will do them again in future. I had to spend 8 months providing references to the SRA because when I was 18 and working at a festival, I was caught out by one of the police stings when I inadvertently served alcohol to a 17 year old. It took ages to get me cleared. This is 20 times worse and he hid it. On top of that, I believe ABH or GBH are sufficiently severe crimes to warrant the same treatment as financial crimes in terms of whether people who commit them are suitable to be a solicitor. I'm glad this guy's life is sorted out but why does he get a free pass to restart however he wants? No one else does.
Thug. Should have been birched and gaoled .
Yo Zorg, I'm Anon 9:18.
My comment was meant to express a positive surprise by the sentence. Sentences for bodily harm are a joke in Germany. You can basically kill a man every five years , i.e., once your probation runs out, and remain free.
Three stories in ROF this week about disciplinary proceedings, with very different results. Being creepy is clearly much worse than committing GBH.
@Amonymous - that's just one of the many reasons that Germany is superior to the UK in every way.
Progressive European sentencing is the only way to ensure that the rights of the offender are respected alongside the rights of the victim. Not like in the UK where its outdated relic of a legal system is still pining for the old days of empire and public hangings. The British (mainly the English) need to learn some humility and take lessons from more developed systems overseas, they would do well to start with Germany, Sweden and Ireland (which in many ways has now bettered its old colonial master).
Until the UK fixes itself it's going to remain an international pariah and a laughing stock on the world stage I'm afraid.
To our German friend - it was a suspended sentence so he never went to jail. All he got was a £2,000 fine.
@Paul - £2000 too many. That money would have been better spent on training to help him to deal with his anger in the future. As it is, it has just been wasted on absurd period costumes and wigs for inefficient English judges.
People on the mainland would read this story and think it was from the middle ages.
@ anonymous 13:11 - no I most certainly do not think the interests of the victim should be considered! The vic gets his day in court when the crim gets sentenced. that’s when he gets his justice - when sentence gets handed down. His stake in the process ends at that point and from that point in its about the rehabilitation of the victim.
I’m sorry your unjust experience has embittered you but the answer to that would be you facing absolutely zero questions whatsoever for the (should be) non crime of accidentally serving the mostly harmless substance of alcohol to an only-just-minor. You having a different and better experience. Not some other poor fucker having a terrible experience to assuage your feelings of being hard done by. Your “I suffered, so others must do likewise” epitomise literally the very worst of our profession. I would rather see solicitors recruited 100% from prisons than see people like you prosper.
I’d like to see the solicitors’ profession become the first to go 100% alternative opportunity - that is, nobody is offered a TC if they are the standard middle-England, worked-hard-at-school, always-been-a-bore, no life experience to offer joker. Make all TC orders to people who’ve earned their spurs by learning what life’s like on the outside like this guy has.
Monty - in what way am I hard done by? I provided the relevant information and was cleared, I qualified and practised successfully. It was a faff, but I understood that was a necessary part of the process of becoming a solicitor.
The point is that it's made blindingly obvious to all law students, whether they qualify via the traditional route or the GDL/CPE and the whether via the LPC or the BBC that any and all things must be reported while a student. I don't believe he cannot have known that it needed reporting and, if he didn't he is not the sort of person who should be a barrister or solicitor.
It is a fact that bad choices made in youth can impact the rest of one's life. I am unsure as to where your hostility to me has come from, but I would think it would be better to work with young people to provide them with information to make better choices is more constructive than kicking out a solicitor with Asperger's who may just not express thoughts on emotive topics in favour of someone who batters people's faces in when angry. But I respect that your approach to the profession as different to mine and will agree to disagree.
Get struck off when someone whines "he hurt my feewings" yet a drunken thug who causes GBH with a weapon is welcome in? Yeah, nah.
The SRA bangs on about ethics and integrity then allows this guy to get on the roll. Joke.
I don't think you can compare apples with pears when it comes to stuff like this. There is a difference between dishonesty offences and other stuff, like battery. The regulator disciplines dishonesty offences more severely because it is perceived that such offences are more likely to undermine public confidence (which actually means client confidence) in the profession.
By way of example, a client needs to instruct a solicitor on something and has to choose between the following F*uck ups: -
F*ck up A: Solicitor who lost a suitcase containing originals and lied about it.
F*ck up B: Solicitor who necked 10 pints and punched a colleague in the face.
If offered the choice, it is more likely that the client would choose F*ck up B over F*ck up A. That's why the regulator is more likely to strike off F*ck up As, rightly or wrongly.
This phenomena is not limited to the legal profession either. Doctors, dentists, accountants etc are similarly judged by their respective regulators and you will find that the most common types of cases that lead to professionals being suspended/struck off/erased/terminated are dishonesty offences.
I’m supportive of this guy’s rehabilitation tbh. Nasty crime but he was punished by the court and I’m not sure why he shouldn’t have a second chance.
Seems as long as not dishonest anything goes.