- Legal Futures - https://www.legalfutures.co.uk -

Solicitor agrees to leave profession over offensive emails and tweets

Twitter: Offensive communications

A solicitor who sent hundreds of offensive emails and tweets to the law firm acting for him in a dispute has agreed to remove himself from the roll.

Kieran Patrick O’Connor, a non-practising solicitor, was convicted last year of a racially aggravated public order offence for his actions.

However, in reaching a regulatory settlement agreement with Mr O’Connor, the Solicitors Regulation Authority said that he has a history of “significant mental health issues” and that his medical records indicated that he suffered a relapse of his symptoms around the time of the misconduct.

He accepted a fine of £2,000, in addition to paying costs of £1,350, and undertook to remove his name from the roll and not apply for its restoration for three years.

Any such application would have to be accompanied with medical evidence, to include an up-to-date psychiatric report.

The agreement recorded that Mr O’Connor instructed Manchester firm JMW Solicitors to defend a claim being brought against him.

He started sending offensive communications to JMW employees other people not connected with the firm.

JMW reported Mr O’Connor’s conduct to the SRA, identifying that between 3 January to 28 March 2019 he sent approximately 471 “offensive, derogatory and inappropriate communications” by email and on social media, particularly Twitter.

The firm also obtained two High Court orders that resulted in judgments for £24,000 and £18,000 being entered against Mr O’Connor in favour of two JMW solicitors, an injunction dealing with contact and communication, an order that he complied with an undertaking to delete his Twitter accounts, and an order to pay costs of £50,000.

Mr O’Connor was also convicted and fined at the magistrates’ court for the public order offence, followed later in the year by a police caution for sending electronic communications that were ‘grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character’, contrary to the Communications Act 2003.

The caution followed a complaint made by the two JMW solicitors.

Mr O’Connor admitted that his conduct breached the requirement to behave in a way that maintained the trust the public placed in him and in the provision of legal services.