Solicitor to be heard on ‘vile’ Facebook posts

Solicitor to be heard on ‘vile’ Facebook posts

19 October 2021 By Reporter
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A solicitor working alongside police will be heard further on whether a number of Facebook posts vilifying his late father’s wife, including accusing her of murder, should be referred to a professional legal body for disciplinary action.

In the Facebook posts, the solicitor referred to his father’s wife as “evil” and accused her of being “hell-bent” on murdering his father during his last months. Although the posts were made in a private capacity, the solicitor – who will not be named until after potential action is taken – and his connection to police as a legal practitioner could still bring the profession into disrepute, a Supreme Court heard.

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The posts were found to be “vile” and were calculated to cause others to share the solicitor’s view of the wife. The Supreme Court noted that the opposing counsel “rightly” deprecated the posts when he acknowledged that they “should not have been made” and were a “horrendous thing to be putting online”.

“The [solicitor] vilified [the wife], over many months, with a view of changing the views of the local community, both English and Arabic speaking, in a way which sits very uneasily with the responsibilities courts place upon legal practitioners, especially those practising in criminal courts,” the Supreme Court found.

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Although the fact that a post appears on the solicitor’s account containing his photograph did not strictly mean he made the posts, the solicitor did concede during cross-examination that at least some were written by him. Further, there was no suggestion that he would take steps to remove the posts or disassociate from them.

During the posts and over the course of the hearing, the solicitor referred to the wife as “a black widow, a grim reaper, a wicked witch, a satanic serpent, a woman who still protects herself under the roof of the man whom she murdered” and so on. He also secretly filmed her, was involved in keeping her from attending her husband’s funeral, and prepared a dossier for the police in hopes of a murder investigation.

Responding to the solicitor’s claim that he had video footage of the wife being violent with his father, the court found nothing in it that suggested anything like that. The court did, however, concede that the wife was attempting to record her husband but found it unusual the solicitor would make the accusation given his own recordings.

“It is richly ironic that the man who asserted that [the wife] doing so was an invasion of [the father’s] privacy, had himself, days earlier, installed a hidden camera and microphone in his bedroom. Either [the father] consented to that occurring or he did not. If he did, it is impossible to see how [the wife’s] recording a conversation was a serious invasion of privacy, for he had none. If he did not, then there has been an extraordinary invasion of [the father’s] privacy, as well as [the wife’s],” it found.

The solicitor will be permitted to be heard further on this issue, but the court found that there is a proper basis for concluding his conduct is “discreditable”. The solicitor will be given the opportunity to respond to the Supreme Court prior to it making any decision about referring the conduct to a legal body for further investigation.

Solicitor to be heard on ‘vile’ Facebook posts
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