A barrister jailed for fraudulently using his grandmother’s bank account and bank card to withdraw cash and transfer funds to himself has been disbarred.
Darren Craig Stapleford, who was called in 2012 but was an unregistered (ie non-practising) barrister, was convicted in August 2016 at Chichester Crown Court of five counts of fraud and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment on each count to be served concurrently.
He was also ordered to pay £8,000 in compensation.
Mr Stapleford was found to have transferred approximately £11,000 from his grandmother’s bank account to his own, and used her bank card to withdraw £4,240 in cash and pay for online goods and services.
In ordering Mr Stapleford to be disbarred, the Bar disciplinary tribunal said: “The behaviour was cynical and deliberately dishonest behaviour over an extended period of time, directed at a vulnerable elderly victim and involving a significant breach of Mr Stapleford’s responsibilities towards her.”
A Bar Standards Board (BSB) spokesman said: “The tribunal’s decision to disbar Mr Stapleford reflects the seriousness of the charge against him. Committing the offence of fraud is clearly incompatible with the high standards expected of the Bar.”
Mr Stapleford was ordered to pay the BSB costs of £1,560.
Meanwhile, the BSB is calling for tenders for external legal support, with its current arrangements due to expire in May.
Providers need to be able to advise on at least some of regulatory decision-making, litigation (including statutory appeals), outsourced investigations and disciplinary work, as well as the BSB’s contracts and data protection responsibilities.