Barrister Stephen Joseph Sweeney was suspended from practice for four months by an independent disciplinary tribunal which concluded on 9 March 2020 following charges of professional misconduct brought by the Bar Standards Board (BSB).
The tribunal's decision comes after Mr Sweeney was convicted in March 2018 under section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 of assaulting a woman by beating her. The disciplinary tribunal also took into account that Mr Sweeney, having been granted bail, failed to surrender to custody when required to do so.
The tribunal found that Mr Sweeney had behaved in a way which was likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in him or in the profession, and acted without integrity or behaved in a manner which could reasonably be seen by the public to undermine his integrity. Mr Sweeney received a reprimand from the tribunal and two four-month suspensions to be served concurrently.
Commenting on the order, Director of Legal and Enforcement, Sara Jagger said: “The Tribunal’s decision to suspend Mr Sweeney from practice demonstrates the serious consequences for barristers that can arise from being convicted of criminal offences, even where the conduct relates to issues in their personal life.”
The tribunal’s decision is open to appeal.
Notes to editors
About Stephen Joseph Sweeney
Stephen Joseph Sweeney was called to the Bar of England and Wales by Inner Temple in November 2001.
About disciplinary tribunals
The appointment, operation, and decisions (including sentencing) of disciplinary tribunal panels are performed by the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service (BTAS). BTAS is run independently of the Bar Standards Board, the barristers' regulator. The BSB is responsible for bringing charges of professional misconduct against barristers, which BTAS tribunal panels then adjudicate. The sanctions imposed are a matter for the tribunal having regard to BTAS Sanctions Guidance which is endorsed by the Council of the Inns of Court.
About the Bar Standards Board
Our mission is to regulate barristers and specialised legal services businesses in England and Wales in the public interest. For more information about what we do visit: http://bit.ly/1gwui8t
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