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Rebukes for solicitors convicted of harassment and assault

Sheffield Crown Court: Sentence increased

Solicitors convicted of harassment and assault have received rebukes from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

The SRA has the power to rebuke solicitors and fine them up to £2,000 without referring their cases to a disciplinary tribunal.

Ansar Khan was convicted by Sheffield Magistrates’ Court in 2015 of two harassment offences contrary to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and the Public Order Act 1986.

According to the SRA, Mr Khan, who continues to work at Blackwells Solicitors in Keighley, West Yorkshire, unsuccessfully appealed his conviction and in fact his sentence was increased by Sheffield Crown Court to a three-month custodial sentence suspended for two years.

He was also made subject to a restriction order preventing contact with the victims until 29 October 2020 and was required to pay certain costs.

The conviction related to conduct which occurred outside of his professional practice.

Meanwhile, Shahid Mumtaz – the recognised sole practitioner of Essex-based KBM Solicitors – has been rebuked following his conviction last year for common assault.

Snaresbrook Crown Court imposed a financial penalty of £120 and Mr Mumtaz was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30.

In a regulatory settlement agreement, the SRA said the rebuke was “a proportionate outcome in the public interest”.

Another rebuke was issued to Benjamin Lowe, who the SRA said received £1,000 of client money into his personal bank account.

He retained £900 of this for seven days before transferring it to his employer, which at the time was Cumbria firm Progression Solicitors, which had raised a query about the money.

Mr Lowe retained the remaining £100 for a further month, when he returned it to the client.

Non-solicitor Andrew Slade, who was employed as a litigation executive by DAS Law in Bristol at the time, has been rebuked as well.

The SRA – which also banned him from working in the profession without its permission – said Mr Slade wrote a number of misleading letters to clients regarding the progress of their personal injury claims and created misleading telephone attendance notes in relation to some of those matters.