"Mmm, I don't like what I hear..."
A male solicitor who said "mmm, I like what I see" when interviewing a woman for a job, has failed in his appeal to overturn a SDT ruling against him.
In 2018, Victor Nwosu, the owner of Dylan Conrad Kreolle Solicitors in London, interviewed a 22-year old woman for a paralegal role.
The woman claimed that during the interview Nwosu had "repeatedly" told her how beautiful she was. She also claimed that he said words to the effect of "mmm, I like what I see" when she turned around to hang up her jacket, and asked her if she had a boyfriend.
The woman said that she felt "uncomfortable" and "objectified" when Nwosu asked her to move her chair towards his so she could see his computer. She reported the matter to the SRA.
In a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearing that concluded in January 2022, Nwosu's lawyer suggested that the woman was not telling the truth and that she had misunderstood what had taken place during the interview. Nwosu claimed that his comment stating "I like what I see" was in relation to the woman's CV.
However, the SDT found that Nwosu had behaved inappropriately and fined him £20,000 and ordered that he pay £23,500 in costs.
Nwosu appealed the tribunal's decision. The SRA made a cross-appeal claiming that the sanction was too lenient, it was reported in the Gazette.
At a court hearing for the appeal, Nwosu put forward "highly positive character references". The presiding judge acknowledged that Nwosu provides "valuable service for members in his community." The judge also noted that the "SDT recognised" that the case was "one person's word against another's".
However, the judge ruled that the tribunal was right to find the allegations proven on the civil standard basis, and concluded that the SDT "came to a sensible and reasonable conclusion."
The judge also dismissed the SRA's cross-appeal for a higher fine, saying that the tribunal "took into account" Nwosu's "relatively limited means."
Nwosu told RollOnFriday that he "denies all the allegations" against him. He listed some of his arguments against the decision, including that he was allegedly not informed about the complaint "for over 9 months at which time recollection or exculpatory evidence which could have assisted me respond factually to the allegations were either lost or destroyer [sic]".
He also claimed that his "only witness of fact, who was present on the day of the alleged interview...was not allowed to give evidence."
Nwosu told RollOnFriday that he intends to apply to the Court of Appeal "on points of practice and procedure, or for other very compelling reasons; all of which fall into 'errors of law or fact'."