Kevin MacPherson: 50 Shades of Stornoway.
A Scottish solicitor has been struck off after emails were discovered on his computer in which he fantasised about his trainee and appeared to be titillated by evidence in a child sex abuse case.
Kevin MacPherson took on a trainee solicitor, referred to as 'TS' in proceedings, in 2011 while he was a partner at Ken MacDonald and Co in Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis.
In 2013 the firm's office manager, 'Mr B', logged on to MacPherson's computer to retrieve details of a banking transaction and uncovered a trove of emails which left him "distressed".
A year earlier, Mr B had warned MacPherson to delete a folder from his desktop which Mr B had opened while searching for a deed, only to find it was full of pornography.
The email which caught Mr B's eye in 2013 was from a woman referred to as 'Ms D' who worked at another firm, which stated "...if you come near me I'll scream...."
Mr B continued searching for the banking information, but also searched for more emails from Ms D. He found correspondence between the woman and MacPherson dating from the time of TS's training contract, which he printed out and took to the trainee and Ken MacDonald, who ran the firm. MacPherson was confronted and agreed to resign, but continued to practise law after setting up his own firm which he ran out of his home in Stornoway.
After a complaint was made to the Law Society of Scotland, MacPherson was prosecuted before the Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal (SSDT) in 2019, and earlier this month it published its judgment.
Inbetween explicit conversations about threesomes, nipples and Ms D's "massive fl**s", MacPherson and Ms D worked themselves into a lather discussing TS.
"Have you been thinking of my trainee?" asked MacPherson. "A little, just thinking how exciting it will be for her if she is as you think and she has found you", replied Ms D.
"The trainee is the only stimulation i have these days", lamented MacPherson. "Is she pretty?" enquired Ms D. "In an elegant way", replied MacPherson.
In another email exchange, Ms D told MacPherson, "I must admit I did consider leaving my pants at home. Also I thought you would approve of my dress and how you'd observe me", to which he replied, "I wish my trainee knew the code!" Ms D responded, "Ha yes you never know one day she might sit in front of you open her legs and display her bare shaved [****] for your use".
But, she told Macpherson, "I think that would only happen if I was your trainee", warning that "It's too dangerous for you to involve her". Macpherson agreed, commenting "Yep i know, good view of her chest today though!"
"Doubt her nipples are as big as urs though!", added the solicitor. "Or can take pain like mine!" replied Ms D. "No that's true", accepted MacPherson.
However, MacPherson did not leave TS alone. He repeatedly texted his trainee outside of work hours about non-work matters, and attempted to arrange to meet her socially, both by himself and with his fiancée. TS described his invitations as "unwanted".
Mr B also found disturbing emails in which MacPherson discussed his representation of a minor who had been accused of sexually abusing a young girl. "You would have loved what I was reading this morning x", he told Ms D, continuing that it was "a statement of a little girl talking about what she saw in a gym".
The SSDT said the email trails which mentioned TS referred to her in a manner which was "inappropriate, disrespectful and sexually explicit", and that MacPherson's out-of-hours badgering of his trainee amounted to harassment.
Ruling that he should be struck off, the SSDT said it was clear that MacPherson found the alleged victim of sex abuse's statement "titillating or sexually gratifying", and that his conduct called his integrity into question and the profession into disrepute.