Barrister who “abused position” by threatening to sue dentist loses appeal against misconduct finding

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20 October 2015

High Court: tribunal gave adequate reasons for its findings”

High Court: tribunal gave adequate reasons for its findings”

The High Court has rejected by an appeal by a barrister against a finding of a Bar disciplinary tribunal that he abused his position by threatening to sue a dentist.

The tribunal had found that Henry Olusola Davies sought to “fortify” his threat by telling Dr Anil Shrestha that he was a barrister, mediator and medical negligence expert “and asserting that he would win the case”.

He was also found to have wrongly told Dr Shrestha that the legal principle of restitution applied to the case, and so he should receive a full refund, with his teeth returned to their original condition.

Mr Davies was a patient of Dr Shrestha between 2007 and 2010, and in 2008 implant surgery was carried out. There were problems with the surgery from the start and after various attempts at corrective treatment over 18 months, Dr Shrestha acknowledged that the surgery had failed, and the old implant was removed.

Mr Davies, who specialises in immigration, was found guilty of professional misconduct by a majority of two tribunal members to one, and fined £500. A further charge against him was dismissed.

Looking at the oral evidence, the tribunal said: “Broadly speaking, we accepted that Dr Shrestha was an honest and reliable witness… Broadly speaking, we felt that Mr Davies was not being in any way untruthful, but… formed a sense that [his] feelings of grievance over the treatment and the costs of the treatment predominated over a fully accurate account of what took place.

“We were not able to accept his evidence unreservedly and, in balancing up the witness evidence, we preferred on the whole the evidence of Dr Shrestha.”

Before the High Court, Mr Davies argued that the tribunal failed to give adequate reasons for its decision and in particular “why such conduct as was found was so serious as to undermine the standards of the profession”.

Delivering judgment in Davies v Bar Standards Board [2015] EWHC 2927 (Admin), Supperstone J said the tribunal gave “adequate reasons for the findings” it made and accepted the submission made by counsel for the Bar Standards Board (BSB) that there was “ample oral and documentary evidence” to support its findings.

He added: “In my judgment, having made the findings of fact that it did, the tribunal was entitled to consider that the conduct it found proved could properly be regarded as sufficiently serious as to amount to professional misconduct.”

A note Dr Shrestha made of a conversation with a person at the Dental Defence Union recorded: “Also mentioned that I was now made very wary of treating other law professionals, members of whom form a significant part of my patient base as I am located at flagship practices in Colmore Row in Birmingham, and Gray’s Inn/Lincoln’s Inn, London.”

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