'Draw me like one of your colleagues.'

Lawyers accused of upskirting have suffered setbacks on both sides of the Channel this week.

In the UK, a partner was struck off after becoming obsessed with a colleague.

Richard Smith sent the woman identified as ‘Person A’ over 1,000 messages and showered her with gifts.

More problematically, he was accused by a member of the public of taking a photo up Person A’s skirt on a train which led to his arrest by transport police.

60 covert videos of Person A were found on his phone along with hundreds of images of her, said the SRA in its prosecution.

Smith, who headed up the firm's environmental law practice, told police he was simply amassing material in order to paint a picture of Person A.

However, at the SDT tribunal he admitted the SRA’s charges and agreed to be removed from the Roll, having stated in mitigation that he “may well have suffered a midlife crisis”.

Conversely, a French lawyer has denied that he upskirted multiple female colleagues.

Patrick Thiébart, who now co-heads the employment department of Parisian firm Franklin, was prosecuted after three woman at his former firm, Jeantet, accused him of sexual misconduct.

“I ran into [Thiébart] in the kitchen, then I saw that he had sent me an email inviting me to join him”, said ‘Rym K’, who was an intern at the time.

“He asked me which master's degree I planned to take at the start of the school year, then he asked me to come and write it on his computer. I refused the first time, but he insisted. I told myself I was going to do it even if I found it weird. I walked around the desk and he leaned back in his chair. By the time I bent down, I heard the sound of the start of an iPhone video”, she told the court in 2021.

“I know the sound very well, I'm from Gen Z, I'm not wrong about that. I turned around, I saw him with his arms outstretched between my legs with his phone facing the ceiling. I was completely stunned.”


Not the insights they were expecting.

Two other former colleagues claimed he also upskirted them in the office, allegations Thiébart has always denied.

“I dispute the facts in the strongest possible way. I'm furious. In this matter, obviously, I am completely innocent. The three complainants are lying”, he was reported as saying at the original trial.

No incriminating photos or videos were found on the partner’s phone and a number of colleagues defended him on the stand.

“I worked 14 hours a day with him for 20 years. I would have seen it!” testified one colleague, adding that she was “deeply feminist ” and “would not have stayed” if she had noticed him upskirting.

His defence raised the possibility that the accusations were manufactured to destroy his reputation as a result of inter-team tensions in the Jeantet office, according to reporting of the trial.

Thiébart was found guilty of voyeurism and ordered to pay each victim 3-4,000 euros in damages, but he has appealed the verdict.

This week he lost his appeal, however he told RollOnFriday that he would continue to fight to clear his name.

“I strongly challenge the decision rendered on 27 October 2023 by the Paris Court of Appeal. I have immediately filed an appeal against this decision with the French Supreme Court to have it quashed”, he said.

“I would like to stress that there is absolutely no material evidence against me”, he added, pointing to “the absence of any conclusive proof” and stating that “under French law, I am still presumed innocent”.

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Anonymous 03 November 23 08:45

Will be interesting to see how the French partner's appeal goes.

How did the trial find him guilty without photos on his phone?

Anonymous 03 November 23 09:49

@9.35 - yes, neither of them have been found guilty of any wrongdoing by the BSB either.

Older lawyer 03 November 23 10:43

All I can say is thank goodness mobile phones with cameras were not around in the early 1990s. A whole lot of lawyers may have been struck off.

Ronald 03 November 23 11:06

Deeply disturbing.

Shocking to see false accusations like these being made by Gen Z freeloaders. Clearly can't face the hard work so going after a quick payout for making stuff up. No doubt at the cost of likelihoods and reputations. Awful behaviour.

Robertius 03 November 23 12:30

iPhones don’t actually make a noise when switched to video mode. She might be Gen Z but that’s just not a thing. Makes one wonder if she is telling the truth.

Roscoe P. Coltrane 03 November 23 14:58

Even in France, after conviction and a failed appeal surely you are not "still presumed innocent"...

Older lawyer 03 November 23 15:56

"@Older lawyer - or falsely accused, don't forget!" Perhaps but mobile phones would have been just another avenue for misconduct by some partners.

Anonymous 03 November 23 16:11

@14.58 - why 'even in France'? Innocent until proven guilty applies everywhere.

Anonymous 04 November 23 20:09

@ronald deeply distrubing that you can conclude the accusations against the UK lawyer were false and made by "gen Z freeloaders" given the evidence found on his phone by BTP. I hope the victim has recovered from what will have been a horrendous time and is now flourishing in her career inspire of all of this.

Anonymous 04 November 23 21:23

Good, glad these pervs are facing the consequences. Didn’t Wayne Couzens “just” start off by flashing or something similar (and equally downplayed as trivial). These things escalate and these sickos believe they are entitled to women’s bodies.

Also, it’s funny that women never do this sort of thing or use “midlife crisis” as an excuse despite going through a very real “midlife crisis” in the form of a massive hormonal change with the menopause. Midlife crisis my arse!

iPhone user 06 November 23 08:39


Eh? The phone makes the sound when the video is started, as she describes, not when switching to video mode.

Anonymous 06 November 23 20:54

@[email protected] - although of course in the French case we don't know if he actually did anything he needs to face consequences for!

If it wasn't a midlife crisis what do you think it was?

Robertius 07 November 23 03:40

Perhaps it’s a setting issue or OS issue? My iPhone video makes no sound at any stage of the video process. I would assume that anyone attempting so called upskirting would ensure that their iPhone was on silent video mode.

Anonymous 09 November 23 20:37

@20.54 it was being a disgusting pervert with no respect for women, that’s what it was. Sorry that you feel the need to pathologise here. It’s not a midlife crisis, “mental health” issues or unresolved childhood trauma. Sometimes some people, usually men, just do whatever the F*ck they like because they have power over their victims and believe they can get away with it. It needs no deeper analysis than that.

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