An IT support worker at a major London law firm who sought to influence a coroner by sending misleading emails using his work account has been banned from the profession.
Mohammed Ullah, who was a senior service desk specialist in Charles Russell Speechlys’ (CRS) IT department, was made subject to an order under section 43 of the Solicitors Act 1974, meaning he cannot work in the profession without permission from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
According to an SRA notice, between August 2022 to January 2023, Mr Ullah sent a number of emails from his work account to a coroner concerning a private and personal matter that was unrelated to his role at CRS.
Throughout his correspondence, he altered his job title, including describing himself as ‘senior service desk manager’. His email signature included ‘For and on behalf of Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’.
One of his emails said he worked in a very large law firm and that he had spoken to others in the firm – Mr Ullah described them as “ruthless Seniors” – for advice on the matter before the coroner.
The coroner reported the email to a CRS partners. “The firm carried out its own internal investigation which identified an escalatory pattern of behaviour in the emails sent to the coroner from Mr Ullah’s work account,” said the SRA.
“During the investigation, Mr Ullah admitted to the firm that he did not speak to nor obtain legal advice from anyone at the Firm and that the email he sent on 6 January 2023, was inaccurate and misleading.”
CRS sacked Mr Ullah soon after for gross misconduct and reported him to the SRA.
Mr Ullah admitted his misconduct and that this meant it was “undesirable for him to be involved in a legal practice”.
The SRA said it look account of “the impact of his personal circumstances affecting his judgment” when he sent the emails, and that he had shown insight and remorse.
The regulator said a ban was the appropriate sanction because “Mr Ullah repeatedly used his work account to ensure that the recipient would read and take full note of the content of his emails”.
It went on: “Making misleading and dishonest statements in such emails, diminishes the trust and confidence that the public places in the firm, all those who work in or under its name and in the safe delivery of legal services.”