KUDDUS SOLICITORS AND NOTARY PUBLIC

A practising barrister who failed to declare his old criminal convictions has been disbarred

Omissions come back to haunt forgery barrister 16 years later

A barrister has been disbarred for failing to reveal a string of convictions including one for forgery back in 2001.

Martin Christie, who was an in-house barrister at Stockport high street practice Henry’s Solicitors, applied to become a student member of Gray’s Inn in 1999.
In doing so, Christie revealed two previous criminal convictions, but kept quiet about a further seven run-ins with the law, dating back as far as 1968.

Clearly torn between which side of the law to work on, the then aspiring barrister was charged with forgery in 2001. Opting to plead guilty at Chester Crown Court, Christie received a two-year conditional discharge and was ordered to pay costs of £290
Having failed to disclose this latest conviction, alongside his previous ones, when applying to be called to the bar in April 2003, the disciplinary tribunal naturally took a dim view of Christie’s conduct.

Bar Standards Board (BSB) professional conduct chief Sara Jagger said:
“The public have a right to expect barristers to be honest and act with integrity, and the BSB expects all barristers to be open and honest with their regulator and their Inn. Mr Christie failed to do this when going through the process of becoming a barrister.”

Keen to distinguish Christie’s “dishonest” actions from situations where barristers have committed historic misdemeanours, Jagger continued:

“Sometimes barristers with minor or historic convictions may be permitted to enter the profession, but Mr Christie acted dishonestly when he failed to declare the full extent of his convictions. It is therefore right that the tribunal decided that disbarment was the most appropriate sanction.”

The sentence is open to appeal.

By Thomas Connelly