A 66-year-old solicitor found guilty of sexual assault when he tried to kiss a 15-year-old girl in a pub has been struck off.
The age of the victim was a “substantial aggravating factor” in deciding the sanction for William Herbert Black, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal said.
“Public confidence in the profession and the reputation of the profession required no lesser sanction than that [he] be removed from the roll.”
The tribunal approved the sanction that was proposed in an agreed outcome between Mr Black – who qualified as a solicitor in 1981 but retired in 2016 – and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which described the incident as “thoroughly unpleasant”.
It heard that in November 2018 Mr Black pleaded guilty to sexual assault contrary to section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
He claimed in mitigation to the SRA that he touched the victim on her chin and tried to kiss her, but “no kiss occurred and he did not know her age”.
He also said alcohol was an aggravating circumstance but “he ceased to drink immediately after the offence for a period”.
Mr Black was sentenced to a community order comprising a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 25 days, an unpaid work requirement of 100 hours within 12 months, and the payment of compensation of £100, a victim surcharge of £85 and costs of £85.
He was also placed on the sex offenders register for five years.
Mr Black apologised for the behaviour and his other “non-agreed” mitigation was that he self-reported his conviction, “felt remorse for the victim and sorrow that he had failed to uphold the integrity of the profession and has since received counselling concerning his mental health”.
He also had a previously unblemished regulatory history.