24 October 2013

Barrister to be disbarred for £900,000 fraud

A public disciplinary tribunal has ordered the disbarment of a barrister for dishonest conduct following convictions for a range of fraud offences amounting to around £900,000.

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) successfully brought disciplinary charges against Mr Bryan McNaught - of Monmouth, South Wales - at a five-person disciplinary tribunal, chaired by His Honour, Michael Baker.

The panel found that Mr McNaught, who was not present and not represented at the tribunal, had engaged in conduct which was dishonest or otherwise discreditable to a barrister.

The panel heard that in 2011 Mr McNaught pleaded guilty to 15 counts of fraud- and dishonesty-related offences, for which he was sentenced to three years in prison.

He was, in 2012, found guilty of three further offences (two of which were fraud-related). One of these offences was committed while Mr McNaught was awaiting sentence following his plea for the first set of offences.

The Bar Standards Board's Head of Professional Conduct, Sara Down, said: "Honesty and integrity are fundamental to ensuring public confidence in the profession. As a regulator, it is our duty to protect the public and promote high standards of behaviour for those called to the Bar. On any view, Mr McNaught's conduct was utterly unacceptable."

The Council of the Inns of Court (COIC) is an independent body - separate to the BSB - which is responsible for appointing the Disciplinary Tribunal panels which adjudicate on disciplinary charges brought by the BSB for professional misconduct. Since February 2013, this function has been performed under COIC's auspices by the Bar Tribunal and Adjudication Service (BTAS).

More details will soon be made available via the BTAS website.



Notes to editor

Disbarred means an individual is expelled from the profession and no longer entitled to practise as a barrister or call themselves a barrister.

Mr McNaught is an unregistered barrister. He completed the academic stage of the Bar's training and was called to the Bar in 2001 but has not completed pupillage so was not entitled to offer or provide legal services as a barrister but could still use the title in limited circumstances. The Tribunal's order of disbarment, once put into effect, means that Mr McNaught will no longer be a barrister and cannot use the title in any circumstances.

Contact: the Bar Standards Board Press Office on 0207 611 1452.