High Court blocks barrister’s appeal against six-month suspension for making lewd comments to woman on mini-pupillage
The High Court has rejected an appeal put forward by a criminal barrister from Manchester against a decision to suspend him from practice for six months for making inappropriate comments to a woman he had brought into his office on work experience.
Criminal barrister Michael Kearney was suspended from practice for six months, in March of last year, for making inappropriate sexual comments to a woman he had met whilst she was serving him as a waitress.
While working in a restaurant out of the same building as Mr Kearney’s chambers, she told the barrister that she was a law student and that she had aspirations of becoming a barrister. After taking Mr Kearney’s card, she was offered a three-day mini-pupillage in January 2015.
Whilst undergoing her mini-pupillage, Mr Kearney made a series of lewd and sexual comments, and asked intrusive questions. Mr Kearney is also alleged to have leant into the women’s neck to smell her perfume.
Last year, Mr Kearney was suspended from practice for six months. The High Court today refused Mr Kearney’s appeal, after ruling that decisions made by the initial tribunal were not “wrong in any respect.”
In 2018, Mr Kearney was also fined £1,000 for “disgraceful” behaviour during a Bar Mess event, which Kearney subsequently claimed that he was so drunk, he could not remember put his arm round a pupil barrister and making “uncomfortable, hostile, and intimidating” statements.