Christmas party game: Guess the gesture.
A solicitor has been rebuked by the SRA for making a crude gesture to a colleague at an office Christmas party.
Samuel Thorne was working as an associate at Russell-Cooke at the time. In December 2017 he made a "lewd gesture" to a colleague at the Christmas party which was witnessed by other staff. Someone was videoing the incident, which ensured that his actions were preserved and the footage eventually found its way to the SRA.
The SRA's report failed to specify exactly what the action was, although the regulator said in a statement that it was "sexual in nature". So it was probably that one, that you're thinking of.
Thorne's handiwork was significant enough for the SRA to find that he had breached SRA Principles of: acting with integrity; not damaging the public trust placed in the provision of legal services; and carrying out his role in a way that encourages equality of opportunity and respect for diversity.
The SRA issued Thorne with a written rebuke and ordered him to pay £600 in costs.
The regulator said that its decision was "an appropriate and proportionate sanction" as Thorne’s conduct "demonstrated a lack of integrity on his part; he caused harm and distress to the recipient" and "failed to treat a fellow professional with respect and dignity".
A spokesperson for Russell-Cooke told RollOnFriday, "Samuel Thorne left the firm in 2018. We were made aware of the incident in question in 2019, and promptly launched an investigation".
"We take any allegations of possible professional misconduct, whether inside or outside of the office, extremely seriously," the spokesperson said.
"Had the individual still been employed by the firm he would have been subject to our robust disciplinary process". And if he had mimed calling us tossers at that point, it would have definitely counted against him, they didn't add.