Former City law firm partner fined £15,000 for drink driving offences

Ex-Simmons & Simmons lawyer did not report earlier conviction to regulator

Picture by way of Unsplash

A former Simmons & Simmons partner has been fined £15,000 for a drink driving conviction she did not open up to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and which solely got here to mild when she refused to take a breath check 5 years later.

Helen Mathias Hancock, an skilled solicitor admitted to the roll in 1988, pleaded responsible to failing to offer a specimen of breath for evaluation and failing to cease after a highway accident in November 2019.

Hancock was seen by a witness to be “driving all over the road including on the wrong side, narrowly missing curbs and stopping in the middle of the road” earlier than she crashed right into a parked automotive, Cardiff Magistrates’ Court docket heard.

Officers stated Hancock appeared “intoxicated, unsteady on her feet and smelt of alcohol”, in line with a ruling by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT). She was requested to offer a specimen of breath however “refused on several occasions”, leading to her arrest.

Hancock was later handed an eight-week sentence suspended for 12 months, disqualified from driving for 4 years, ordered to endure rehabilitation and perform 60 hours of unpaid work.

After the SRA was notified of her arrest, Hancock informed the regulator that “my first conviction for driving with excess alcohol was in 2014” — a conviction she had not disclosed beforehand.

For this earlier offence, she had been fined £2,000 and disqualified from driving for 12 months.

Hancock, now director of authorized affairs at water utility firm Bristol Water, admitted to failing to inform the regulator of each convictions however stated that she had been “unaware” of the necessity to report her 2014 conviction, and had “intended” to report her 2019 conviction earlier than the police notified the SRA, however her psychological ill-health “prevented her from doing so in a timely fashion”.

The ruling states her “immediate concern was to address her chronic anxiety and depression and ‘get through Christmas without resorting to alcohol’”.

The SDT discovered {that a} £15,000 advantageous was “proportionate, reflecting the seriousness of the respondent’s misconduct”, and ordered Hancock to pay £1,286 in prices.

In mild of Hancock’s admission that she had did not report her convictions, the SRA thought of it was “not proportionate and in the public interest” to pursue additional allegations of breaches of the SRA ideas.

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