Knights partner fined after assault and drink-drive convictions

Drink-driving: Solicitor was stopped by police

A partner at listed law firm Knights convicted of assault by beating and separately drink driving has been fined £1,700 by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Simon Trees, a dispute resolution partner in Knights’ Leicester office, admitted that he had failed to behave in a way that upheld public trust in the profession.

According to a regulatory settlement agreement published by the SRA yesterday, on 23 August 2021, “Mr Trees pushed and grabbed the arm of another person during a brief altercation at his private residence”.

He was subsequently charged with assault by beating and in March pleaded guilty at Loughborough Magistrates’ Court. He was discharged conditionally for 24 months and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £22.

On 25 August 2021, Mr Trees was stopped by the police while driving and found to be over the drink-drive limit. In September 2021, at the same court, Mr Trees pleaded guilty and was disqualified from driving for 23 months, to be reduced by 23 weeks on completion of an approved course, fined £1,730, and ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £173.

The SRA said the solicitor “promptly notified” it of the convictions. He had also shown “insight and remorse for his actions” and completed the driving course.

The regulator said a fine was the appropriate sanction to uphold professional standards and public confidence. “Any lesser sanction would not provide a credible deterrent to Mr Trees and others.”

Mr Trees also agreed to pay the SRA costs of £300.

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