Reprimand for barrister who gave magistrates a Nazi salute

Salisbury Magistrates’ Court: Bench chair said conduct was inappropriate

A veteran barrister who used a German accent during proceedings before magistrates and raised his hand to the bench in a Nazi salute, has been reprimanded by a Bar disciplinary tribunal.

Thomas David Davidson, who was called in 1973, was found to have behaved in a “seriously offensive and discreditable” manner.

The full decision of the tribunal, explaining the context of his actions, has not yet been published and at the moment the decision remains open to appeal.

But, according to the Bar Standards Board (BSB), in February 2022 Mr Davidson represented a defendant at Salisbury Magistrates’ Court before a bench consisting of three lay magistrates.

“After the chairperson raised with him the issue of his having used a German accent during the proceedings and telling him that this conduct had been inappropriate, Mr Davidson looked at the bench and said ‘Jawohl’ at the same time as raising a hand in a Nazi salute, which conduct was seriously offensive and discreditable.”

This behaviour was “likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in him or in the profession”, in breach of a core duty of barristers.

In addition to being reprimanded, Mr Davidson was fined £250 and ordered to pay costs of £1,750.

According to the BSB register, the barrister practises from CHL Chambers in North London and also 160 Fleet Street Chambers. The latter’s website says he is a former Crown prosecutor with a “specialist criminal practice which also touches on immigration, family and commercial law”.

He sat as a fee-paid immigration judge between 1992 and 2016.

Image: Neil Owen, CC BY-SA 2.0

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