BH

Benny Gill


A senior partner who had sex with a junior lawyer twice on his office desk, and told female staff that short skirts were "proper office attire", has been suspended. 

Jasvinder Gill qualified in 1999 and was a partner at Kent firm, Hatten Wyatt, at the time of the incidents. The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found that he put junior female staff in the "unsettling dilemma that rebuffing him would or could count against them in their continuing employment".

In one instance, he invited a female colleague, 'Person A', to a pub lunch in 2015. Gill requested that she come to his office, where he kissed her on the lips. On other occasions, he went into Person A's office and stroked her hair and gave her a shoulder massage, in the presence of another colleague, the tribunal heard.  

The partner also told Person A that "proper office attire" was "open-toed shoes, stockings and not tights, and short skirts." In a conversation with another colleague, he said that he "preferred" a dress code of skirts rather than trousers.

In 2019, as part of a work event in Bristol, Gill invited 'Person B' into his hotel room for takeaway pizza. He changed into "loungewear" in the bathroom, joined Person B who was sat on the bed, and offered her an alcoholic drink. It was accepted that, while this was inappropriate, it was not sexually motivated.

Between 2019 and 2020, Gill initiated a sexual relationship with 'Person C'. Gill kissed her in the office, and then had sex with her, on two occasions, on his desk. The encounters were consensual.

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal said that it was not an "arbiter of morals and human frailty", but acted to maintain the reputation of the profession and protect the public.

The tribunal noted that Gill was "an experienced and well-regarded solicitor who had built a thriving business", but that he had "conducted himself towards more junior staff in a way which was wrong and inappropriate." 

Gill accepted that there was an "inherent power balance between himself, as the senior partner of the firm and a solicitor in his forties", which may have prevented his junior colleagues "from refusing to engage with him and/or from refusing his requests." 

The partner's conduct "had not been a matter relating to his private life alone as it had been tied closely to his practise as a solicitor and in fact arose from within the work environment itself," said the tribunal.

He had repeatedly "used his position of influence and authority in the workplace to create situations in which office relationships, sexual in intent, were initiated and pursued by him," the tribunal added.

The SDT suspended Gill for two years and ordered that he pay £85,501 in costs.  


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Comments

Anon 21 June 24 08:40

I do wish more women would stand up and speak out about these sex pests and force action.   “Consensual” or not the abuse of power is vile. We have one  here well known for it and it just goes unchecked. Management need to grow a pair and deal with it. 

The Vivienne 21 June 24 08:54

A partner at Clown & Co also did this with his trainee when they worked at King’s House.  Eventually after being ditched by the trainee he left his wife and married his Paralegal instead. Good job she accepted as the librarian and the cleaner were nervous that they were next in line for his advances

City veteran 21 June 24 09:46

I’ve seen worse in the City. There are limits to the sacrifices that morality can demand. 

If it’s all consensual who are you to judge the conduct? Would you have formed a different conclusion if the partner is female? 

 

Anonymous 21 June 24 10:00

I can see that what he did with Person A was clearly wrong. No doubt about that.

But what's the problem with Person C? They were both up for it, and I can't see anything in the story that suggests they did it in front of a room full of horrified onlookers (which, obviously, not ok). What's the big deal?

 

 

Obvs Person B is the latest contestant in "Seriously, what did you think you were doing in their hotel room?" which I'm sure we all agree on.

Similar thing happened at 21 June 24 10:06

Slater Gordon some years back both the parties got the slap, sorry i mean sack.

Anon 21 June 24 10:08

Of course the SRA won’t do anything when there’s criminal activity like massive embezzlement like Prags or innocent people being sent to prison by WBD, but hey - they’re all out to destroy the career of someone whose only mistake was sleeping with someone junior in his office, even though it was entirely consensual and there’s not a hint of it being a criminal matter. 

It’s funny the statement says “we don’t look into private lives” when they obviously do, and the biggest issue is that there’s been a cultural change in the last 20 years so that this kind of thing is now considered a bit icky when it used to be commonplace - that doesn’t justify destroying someone’s career FFS. 

aCHRIS 21 June 24 10:20

SRA should have absolutely no business investigating anything that goes on behind closed doors. 

Paul 21 June 24 11:17

"Who was sat on the bed".

I think you mean "Who was sitting on the bed".

(This is one of my pet hates by the way; but if solicitors will not stand up for proper standards in written English then who will?).

Vinegar Drunkard 21 June 24 11:51

 Well there goes the last of this "work/life balance" and "bring the real you to work" BS they've been pushing for literally decades. 

Defund the SRA 21 June 24 12:33

Far from a suspension, this lad should be knighted. If anything, the SRA should be punished because how on Earth did they incur £85,501 in costs???

Anonymous 21 June 24 13:28

@8.40 - there is a mutual imbalance of power in cases like this. Is 'your one' male or female and what are you accusing them of?

Anonymous 21 June 24 14:31

What is the point of grinding out a life in private practice if you can't, on rising to the rank of managing partner, after decades of toil, bop an attractive young associate on your desk after hours? 

Nobody, and I mean nobody, has ever joined a firm's management committee because they cared about all of the spreadsheets. It's a sex thing and we shouldn't have to keep pretending it's not.

Like, if the desktop bonking thing isn't an option anymore what is keeping us from all just leaving to be in-housers and recruiters already? Nobody wants to have sex with them either, but they don't have to fill in timesheets do they?

SRA actually killing the profession in front of our eyes.

Anonymous 21 June 24 20:07

@City veteran 21 June 24 09:46

If the offender is female, and the victim is her client with whom she grew up, their parents also know each other before they sold the house in SE London etc etc, then no, these circumstances would be considered because there is no power imbalance and people wouldn't think ill of the profession, they'd think ill of the white trash class. 

Greg Smith 22 June 24 10:44

More seriously...wasn't this affair a flagrant breach of the then Covid Regulations! I sense a further case and another £85k in fees, why not, we have to pay for Axiom? 

LadyVader 22 June 24 22:45

Similar to a mid size firm in the North West. Senior Partner in the office had  ongoing  ‘affairs’ with women ranging from receptionists to paralegals. Several other partners were aware. Given that he was a senior manager the power imbalance was sickening. All whilst married (to someone who had been his secretary). Whether ‘consensual’ or not his moral compass did not exist. And it only appeared to be lower graded office staff he was pursuing. Sickeningly manipulative. 

Anonymous 23 June 24 16:09

The process is automatically unfair as he (male) is named and his accusers (female) aren't. 

Anonymous 24 June 24 12:19

@LadyVader - but as it was consensual its not our business. And all parties involved had a power imbalance.

Anonymous 24 June 24 13:24

"Senior Partner in the office had  ongoing  ‘affairs’ with women ranging from receptionists to paralegals. Several other partners were aware."

Aware that's the whole point of becoming Senior Partner in the first place?

Again, why would anyone bother if that wasn't part of the job?

 

Come on, it's 2024 and times have changed a bit since the 80's. We don't need secretaries for things like typing and booking meeting rooms any more. Surely it's about time that we dropped the prudish pretence that there's some kind of vaguely work related function for them all and started being honest about why we have so many of those stupid little meeting rooms with no windows ,that are barely big enough for four people, and which nobody uses to meet anyone external?

Lord Lester 24 June 24 18:43

Anonymous 22 June 24 20:55 - sadly not! The BSB had no jurisdiction to interfere with the findings of the House of Lords that I had sexually harassed Ms Sanghera and offered to obtain her a peerage in exchange for sex. So your old friend Mo Lester is bang to rights, and would get on very well with Jasvinder Gill! Two peas in a pod! 

Where is Question Man when we need him most? 24 June 24 19:09

URGH may GAWD he HAD CONSENSUAL SEX WITH ANOTHER ADULT ON HIS DESK!!! ON HIS DESK!!!! HE MUST HANG.

Anon 25 June 24 06:56

Lord Lester 21 June 24 11:43: Jasvinder and old Mo Lester would certainly get on well, given their fondess for non-consensual sexual activity!

Anon 25 June 24 07:16

Anon 21 June 24 08:40: Dame Jasvinder Sanghera called out Lord Lester for sexual harassment. We are all delighted for her being awarded the DBE in the King’s Honours, in recognition of her work on behalf of women who have suffered abuse.

anon 25 June 24 15:56

'Gill accepted that there was an "inherent power balance between himself, as the senior partner of the firm and a solicitor in his forties", which may have prevented his junior colleagues "from refusing to engage with him and/or from refusing his requests."'

At least Gill had the self-awareness to accept that.

One rule for all, or none at all 26 June 24 07:00

If it was all consensual, considering these things happen in every single law firm in the country, why has he been reprimanded and billed a whopping 85K for a simple investigation!!! The SRA are wholly untrustworthy and incompetent. Flirting and having sex with juniors has been the norm for any partner in their 40s and 50s for a long time. Some of them end up getting married to their junior. Also happens in barristers chambers. Nothing to see here. It's creepy and sleazy, but let's not pretend that this doesn't happen in every law firm in the UK and beyond. 85K. Wow. 

The SRA needs disbanding. They are not, and have never been, fit for purpose. They're a mafia run by lawyers who could not make it in traditional practice, and they only have the balls to go after small fish. They let the Post Office lawyers get away with actual thuggery for so long, and they always go after the little man...

Anonymous 26 June 24 23:36

@[email protected] - no not. Neither you nor Gill have been found guilty of any wrongdoing by the BSB. Two peas in a pod indeed!

And there were no such findings as you refer to in the HoL. 

Anon 27 June 24 17:18

Lord Lester 24 June 24 18:43; Anon 25 June 24 06:56; Anon 25 June 24 07:16; anon 25 June 24 15:56: correct. 

Lord Lester 27 June 24 20:26

I was bang to rights!

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201719/ldselect/ldprivi/252/252.pdf

"Recommendation 59. We recommend that the House should endorse the conclusions of the independent Commissioner for Standards that Lord Lester of Herne Hill breached the requirement of the Code of Conduct to act on his personal honour, by sexually harassing the complainant and offering her a corrupt inducement to sleep with him. 60. We further recommend that Lord Lester of Herne Hill be suspended from the House until 3 June 2022."

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2018-12-17/debates/E9E8AE1E-3CD4-4166-BCF9-0765260054A9/PrivilegesAndConductCommittee

“The Senior Deputy Speaker

The noble Lord said that there were six contemporaneous witnesses. We invite Members to read their accounts.

In her own words, “on the basis of the strong and cogent evidence of the complainant and her witnesses”, the commissioner found that Jasvinder Sanghera was a victim of sexual harassment and that Lord Lester was guilty of a grave abuse of power. The Committee for Privileges and Conduct reviewed and endorsed this view. We ask the House to do the same. I hope the House will now agree to this report.

Motion agreed.”

 

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