Barrister disbarred after benefit fraud conviction

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7 September 2016

BSB: determination by consent

BSB: determination by consent

A barrister convicted of benefit fraud has been disbarred by a disciplinary tribunal.

The Bar tribunal recorded that Jeremy Garnham, who was called in 2012, was convicted in 2014 at St Albans Magistrates Court on two counts of providing a ‘lodger licence’ which he knew to be false in a material respect.

This was contrary to section 112 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992, which deals with false representations for obtaining benefit. He was fined a total of £950 and ordered to pay costs of £1,900.

Prosecuting, the Bar Standards Board said this was likely to diminish trust and confidence in him or the profession.

Further, Mr Garnham was accused of failing to co-operate with the regulator by not reporting the convictions to the BSB.

The tribunal ordered disbarment for the first charge and a fine of £200 for the second charge.

A BSB spokeswoman said: “A criminal conviction that is not minor and involves dishonesty is incompatible with membership of the Bar, and the tribunal’s decision to disbar Mr Garnham reflects this.”

Meanwhile, barrister Shivani Jegarajah of Mansfield Chambers has accepted a reprimand and £500 fine after she accessed a colleague’s e-mail account without permission.

The ‘determination by consent’ means the barrister will not face a disciplinary tribunal.

It recorded that Ms Jegarajah, who was called in 1993, “gained unauthorised access to the e-mail account of another member of chambers, searched the account and then disseminated contents of an e-mail on the account to others without the permission of the account holder. In so doing, Ms Jegarajah failed to act with integrity”.

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