The Bar Standards Board v Crawford, Court of Appeal - Administrative Court, December 04, 2017, [2017] EWHC 3101 (Admin)

Issuing Organization:Administrative Court
Actores:The Bar Standards Board v Crawford
Resolution Date:December 04, 2017
 
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Case No: CO/3114/2017

Neutral Citation Number: [2017] EWHC 3101 (Admin)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION

ADMINISTRATIVE COURT

DIVISIONAL COURT

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

Date: 04/12/17

Before :

LORD JUSTICE HICKINBOTTOM

and

MR JUSTICE GREEN

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Between :

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Simon Clarke (instructed by The Bar Standards Board Legal Team) for the Appellant

Anthony Speaight QC (instructed by Weightmans LLP) for the Respondent

Hearing date: 29 November 2017

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JudgmentLord Justice Hickinbottom :

Introduction

  1. Lincoln Crawford OBE (``the Respondent'') was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn on 22 November 1977.

  2. On 13 June 2017, he appeared before a five-person panel of the Disciplinary Tribunal of the Council of the Inns of Court (``the Disciplinary Tribunal'') to answer a single charge, namely that, contrary to Core Duty 5 of the Bar Standards Board (``the BSB'') Handbook (``the BSB Handbook''):

    ``[He] engaged in conduct which was likely to diminish the trust which the public places in him as a barrister or in the barristers' profession in that he on 20 April 2015 was convicted on five counts of having breached a restraining order imposed by the Highbury Magistrates' Court on 15 May 2016 pursuant to the provisions of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997''.

    He admitted the charge and, having heard the matter opened on behalf of the BSB and from Anthony Speaight QC for the Respondent, the Disciplinary Tribunal imposed a reprimand.

  3. The BSB now appeals against that sanction, under section 24 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 (``the 2013 Act'') and regulations rE183 and rE185 of the Disciplinary Tribunals Regulations 2014 (``the 2014 Regulations'')

  4. Before us, as before the Disciplinary Tribunal, Simon Clarke of Counsel appeared for the BSB, and Mr Speaight for the Respondent. At the end of the hearing, we announced that we would dismiss the appeal but would give our reasons later. We do so now.

    The Factual Backgound

  5. The Respondent was born on 1 November 1946 in Trinidad, where he was brought up in a rural village by his grandparents. In 1967, following a chance encounter with someone from London, he bought a one-way ticket on a cargo passenger ship to England, determined to make good. On arrival, he worked as a night security guard to support himself, whilst he worked his way through A level examinations and then a law degree at Brunel University. He was called to the Bar in 1977, and secured a tenancy at the chambers of Lord Rawlinson QC, where he built up a mixed common law practice. He was appointed Junior Counsel to the Scarman Inquiry, following the Brixton riots. He was appointed an Assistant Recorder in 1993, and a Recorder in 1997. He sat as an employment tribunal judge from 1996. In addition, he obtained a number of public appointments, for example as a Commissioner with the Commission for Racial Equality and a member of the Parole Board. He took an active part in the campaign to abolish slavery, including speaking at the United Nations on behalf of the United Kingdom. He was also active in politics being, amongst other things, an elected member of the Inner London Education Authority. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1998.

  6. He married in 1976, he and his first wife having three children. That marriage unfortunately broke down. They divorced, but, as I understand it, remained on good terms.

  7. In the late 1980s, the Respondent began a relationship with Bronwen Jenkins, whose father had been a prominent trade unionist, whom he had met in the course of his political activity. They began living together in 1990. From the mid-1990s, they lived at Miss Jenkins' family home in North London, which had been transferred to her after her father had died and her mother had moved out of London. The Respondent and Miss Jenkins married in 1999. They had two children.

  8. Unfortunately, their years of married happiness were few. Miss Jenkins was a solicitor, in a firm in Sheffield. She began an affair with one of her partners. By early 2003, Miss Jenkins clearly considered that her marriage with the Respondent was over. She began divorce proceedings. The divorce, and its ancillary applications, were highly acrimonious. It seems to me that no party came out of them with any credit; and everyone, but particularly the entirely innocent children, suffered a great deal as a result of the manner in which the Respondent and Miss Jenkins conducted themselves over several years.

  9. Immediately before serving the divorce proceedings and without notice, Miss Jenkins applied for, and obtained from the Principal Registry of the Family Division, a non-molestation injunction against the Respondent. The Respondent is of the firm view that she acted inappropriately in obtaining that order; but it is unnecessary for me to do more than note that that injunction was maintained, and quickly followed by an on notice application seeking to oust the Respondent from the matrimonial home. After a contested hearing, that order too was granted. The Respondent had to leave the home he had occupied for several years. He was considerably upset. He felt humiliated.

  10. However, it was Miss Jenkins who was made unhappy by the next stage of the proceedings, in which, as part of the financial settlement, to reflect his considerable contribution to it, the Respondent was awarded 29.5% of the value of the matrimonial home. In practice, that meant that Miss Jenkins could not remain there. The house had to be sold, and the proceeds split.

  11. Miss Jenkins was granted a residence order in respect of the two children, with the Respondent having access both at weekends and during the week. Until 2006, when he obtained a permanent place to live, he picked up the children from Miss Jenkins' house; thereafter, she was ordered to deliver the children to him for the purposes of allowing him access. The access arrangements were a constant source of disagreement and discord between the Respondent and his former wife.

  12. Miss Jenkins began involving the police, to whom she complained of harassment at the hands of the Respondent. She had in mid-2005 begun a relationship with another man, Dominic Buttimore; and much of the Respondent's concern (and the alleged harassment) was focused upon that man's relationship and contact with the Respondent's children.

  13. In September 2005, the Respondent was charged with two offences contrary to section 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the first alleging that, during 2005, he had pursued a course of conduct which amounted to the harassment of Miss Jenkins and Mr Buttimore respectively. On 15 May 2006 at the Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court, after a nine-day trial, the Respondent was convicted on both charges, and given a conditional discharge for 18 months. Importantly for this appeal, the court also imposed a restraining order on the Respondent, for the express purpose of protecting Miss Jenkins and Mr Buttimore ``until further notice'', paragraph 1 of which prohibited the Respondent from:

    ``Contacting directly or indirectly Bronwen Jenkins, Dominic Buttimore.... or Christine Murphy EXCEPT to send a text message to Christine Murphy during the week, or Bronwen Jenkins during the weekend concerning contact with the children, or in the event of an emergency concerning the children OR by post in relation to Civil Litigation Proceedings.''

    Ms Murphy was the children's nanny. The order also prohibited the Respondent from entering various areas around where Miss Jenkins lived.

  14. The Respondent appealed to the Crown Court; but, after an 11-day hearing, on 28 September 2006 the appeal was dismissed. A challenge to that decision by way of appeal by case stated was dismissed by a Divisional Court on 4 February 2008 ([2008] EWHC 1481 (Admin)).

  15. In the meantime, however, there had been an incident involving the Respondent and Mr Buttimore. The normal arrangements for the handover of the children for access were changed to accommodate Miss Jenkins. Usually, the handover was at Miss Jenkins' home, in Mr Buttimore's absence. On 6 July 2007, it was agreed to take place at the children's school. The Respondent did not expect to find Mr Buttimore there - but he was there, for a reason that has never been made clear. There was a verbal altercation between the two men, the Respondent asking Mr Buttimore, in robust terms, what he was doing there. In speaking to Mr Buttimore, the Respondent was in breach of the restraining order to which I have referred.

  16. Miss Jenkins reported the matter to the police. The Respondent was willing to plead guilty to a breach of the restraining order contrary to section 5(5) of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, as a result of his confrontation with Mr Buttimore; but he faced a total of six charges of breach. He elected trial at the Crown Court. In the event, he pleaded guilty to the single charge, all the other charges being dropped. On 21 July 2008, he was sentenced to a community order with 50 hours unpaid work.

  17. The BSB then brought three charges against the Respondent, two in relation to his convictions for harassment in 2006 and one for the breach of the restraining order as a result of the incident with Mr Buttimore. Before a Disciplinary Tribunal panel chaired by His Honour Dennis Levy QC, the Respondent was found not guilty of the first two charges. He pleaded guilty to the third. Of this charge, the Disciplinary Tribunal, in its determination of 26 June 2009, having taken into account the fact that the Respondent had pleaded guilty to the charge at an early stage and had much by way of positive good character upon which to call by way of mitigation, said this:

    ``... [W]e are satisfied that had Mr Buttimore not attended the school, the incident would not have occurred. Furthermore, at this event, the behaviour of Miss Jenkins and Mr Buttimore was such as to stretch the...

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