United Kingdom

Immigration barrister, 40, avoids being struck off after headbutting female lawyer in Chelsea

A top barrister who headbutted a female lawyer – leaving her covered in blood on the ground – was spared being struck off.

Disciplinary chiefs handed Rashid Ahmed just a three-month suspension over a drunken attack on King's Road in Chelsea.

Ahmed, an immigration law specialist, left his junior colleague 'on the pavement, on her back', with 'blood all over her face, and surrounded by members of the public'.

Ahmed, a deputy head of chambers, was restrained by passers-by and was allegedly seen still clenching his fists.

A senior barrister who drunkenly headbutted a female colleague outside of a Calvin Klein store on King's Road, Chelsea, has avoided being struck off

He was convicted over the assault at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in April 2018 and handed a 12-month community order.

A Bar disciplinary tribunal has now sided against kicking Ahmed from the profession – despite ruling he had undermined public confidence.

The tribunal insisted Ahmed was 'not a risk to the public', and had 'shown insight'.

But critics say the suspension is further evidence of regulators showing leniency to barristers guilty of crimes.

In March, a barrister received a four-month suspension after being convicted for assault by beating a woman.

The Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service heard how violence erupted between Ahmed and his unnamed victim had been for a meal together and talked about finances.

It started with Mr Ahmed throwing water and an ashtray before he was then allegedly seen 'to grab her, shake her, push her up against a pillar between two of the shop windows'.

Ahmed then tried 'one headbutt that missed', and then 'a second headbutt to her face', making contact 'just above her nose, close to the eye'.

A member of the public was still restraining Ahmed when the police arrived, and he was handcuffed after a short struggle. He spent 48 hours in a police cell after the incident.

Ahmed was convicted over the assault at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in April 2018

Ahmed admitted a single charge of professional misconduct - behaving in a way likely to diminish public trust in the profession.

Chairman Paul Ozin, QC, said: 'While we accept that this was a single incident that was the result of particular circumstances, we note that it occurred over an extended period of time in the early evening and that its context was a continuing episode starting with an alcohol-fuelled argument over lunch.'

Ahmed was initially handed a suspended jail term after admitting assault. The conviction was later swapped for a community order and unpaid work following an appeal.

An appeal judge cited Ahmed's 'exemplary character' and 'genuine remorse'.

The Bar Standards Board denied that the tribunal's decision was too lenient.

A spokesman said: 'Being convicted of any form of assault is a serious matter for barristers and the tribunal's decision to suspend Mr Ahmed from practice reflects this.'

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