The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) has taken the unusual step of anonymising the identity of a solicitor appearing before it after a drink-driving conviction.
It was told that publishing a judgment without doing so “posed a real risk to her life and would be in contravention of her article 2 (right to life) and article 8 (right to private and family life) rights”.
This was supported by medical evidence and the SDT agreed that publishing an un-anonymised judgment would “significantly violate” those rights, “such that a departure from the usual principles of open justice was necessary”.
‘AG’ was admitted in 1994. She worked for 20 years at the same firm before retiring in March 2020 when a director and owner. She is no longer practising but her name remains on the roll.
According to an agreed outcome – approved by the SDT – AG was convicted in September 2020, disqualified from driving for 26 months and made subject to an overnight curfew. The police officer who arrested her said she was so drunk that she could barely stand when she got out of the car.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority initially also charged her with not reporting her conviction to it and not co-operating with its investigation, and that the conviction showed a lack of integrity.
But the regulator decided it was “not proportionate and in the public interest” to pursue these allegations in the circumstances and the SDT allowed it to withdraw them.
The agreed outcome said AG “was, and remains, unwell. Her condition (and its associated symptoms) was directly responsible for the commission of the offence”. She “has, and continues to seek treatment for her condition, demonstrating insight and remorse”.
Approving a £1,000 fine, the SDT accepted that the conviction fell within the lowest level of misconduct but was “sufficiently serious to justify a financial penalty”.
AG was also ordered to pay costs of £2,392.