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James Counsell, QC successful in Bar Tribunal disciplinary appeal


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James Counsell, QC successful for BSB in appeal by Howard Godfrey, QC against Bar Tribunal disciplinary finding.

In an appeal against a finding of professional misconduct by Howard Godfrey, QC, the Administrative Court (Lady Justice Sharp and Mr justice Spencer) rejected an argument that, in making disparaging remarks about the victim of a sexual assault, whilst acting for the abuser in an appeal against conviction and sentence, Mr Godfrey, a criminal silk for 25 years, was not guilty of professional misconduct.

The Administrative Court held that the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Council of the Inns of Court had been correct to find that Mr Godfrey’s description of the victim as being “a girl accustomed to taking alcohol, who previously … had made a rape allegation against two boys that was then withdrawn” and that she “…was not a young innocent girl” amounted to professional misconduct.

In May 2017, the Tribunal had found such remarks to be offensive and unnecessary in the context of the appeal and that there had been a breach of Core Duty 5 of the Handbook, namely, that Mr Godfrey had behaved in a way which was likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in the profession.

The full judgment is here. Please see The Times for more about this case.

There was no appeal against the sanction that Mr Godfrey should attend an ‘Advocacy and The Vulnerable’ training course for barristers.

James Counsell, QC acts both for the BSB and for barristers in disciplinary cases before the Tribunal and on appeal.


Barristers: James Counsell QC
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