bigbu

He was quite clear in his training contract interview. 


The SRA has fined a former Ashfords trainee £2,000 for drunkenly slapping and squeezing his colleagues' bums.

By the time Oliver Conway's team had rolled from their Christmas meal into a nightclub, the trainee had "consumed a large volume of alcoholic beverages and was inebriated", the SRA found.

Prior to the December 2019 work event, Ashfords had warned employees to be mindful of the SRA's professional standards. However, once he was in the club, Conway offered 'Person A' a drink saying that he "had roofied it" (there was no suggestion he had actually spiked it), and then slapped her on the bottom "in a manner which was inappropriate and/or unwanted".

Later in the evening, Conway "squeezed Person B’s bottom, resulting in her pushing him away and telling him 'don’t do that'", then grabbed her around the waist and "dragged her away from a conversation", and "repeatedly pulled" her by the arm.

Conway was sacked after an internal investigation, but reported his own conduct to the SRA. He said he was so drunk he couldn't remember doing any of it, but accepted that it took place. 

As well as admitting breaching the SRA Principles to uphold the public's trust and confidence in the profession and act with integrity, Conway also voluntarily wrote apology letters to Person A and Person B, and testified that he was "embarrassed and humiliated by his behaviour".

Despite recognising the mitigating factors, the SRA said being drunk was no excuse, and that his actions "demonstrated a lack of integrity and were serious", which merited a fine. Conway is now a paralegal at another firm.

Tip Off ROF

Comments

anon 17 June 22 09:24

harsh to name the guy here (even though the SRA decision is public, i expect that this will reach a wider audience). yes he was a tool, but everyone (well, most people who do idiotic things when blind drunk) deserves to forget about it and move on (with appropriate contrition, which it sounds like here). 

Anonymous 17 June 22 09:24

You've presented this as a comic story. Is it so funny? When a man tells you he's spiked your drink, is that fun, does it add to your enjoyment of the evening? Or does it leave you alarmed and afraid and yank you out of the party mood, while he carries on enjoying himself drunkenly regardless. Is it hilarious when the same man then pulls you by the arm away from your colleagues? Rollonfriday gives much-needed levity at the end of the week, but usually you do choose to skip the jokes on serious stories. I imagine this was a truly alarming and fear-inducing evening for the person this happened to, and I think it was the wrong call to present this as one of the funny stories of the week.

Mr Lester 17 June 22 09:34

@ Anonymous 17 June 22 09:24

"fear-inducing"?

sound the alarm and run to the hills, women and children first

 

 

Not lord lester 17 June 22 09:43

Anonymous 17 June 22 09:24 This was someone getting handsy at a party, not Weinstein, and it's two and a half years later. By my count there's one gag, in the picture, and it's not even at the expense of Persons A and B. Chill out.

papercuts 17 June 22 09:47

"I imagine this was a truly alarming and fear-inducing evening for the person this happened to"

Dear God.  We're ruled by po-faced neo-nuns.  His spiking remark was clearly a poor attempt at humour, not that he’d actually done it. One would imagine that people who actually do that would tend not to tell you about it, for heaven’s sake; so, unless you’re extremely dumb, it’s not a statement anyone would take seriously. 

As for the rest, sure, the guy was a bore and a pest, but I very much doubt if anyone was in fear for their lives here.  One cutting remark would have quashed this junior pissed idiot in a heartbeat.  Grow up.   

Good for Ashfords 17 June 22 10:33

This is a commendable reflection on Ashfords:

Prior to the December 2019 work event, Ashfords had warned employees to be mindful of the SRA's professional standards.

It's also a far better option than simply ceasing to allow social events, which was at least a notional risk during the worst excesses of the MeToo moment.

Anonymous 17 June 22 10:57

Sounds like he was an absolute fool on the beers. 

Reprimand and fine appears correct here. 

While he seems to have acted like an idiot it appears on the papers alone to be a yellow card offence.

Hope he has got his life together now and the women have recovered. 

Anonymous 17 June 22 11:20

Rather ironic as some of the current partners have committed worse misdemeanours at staff social events in the past and still remain with the firm

Mole 17 June 22 11:50

At least the firm is finally dealing with inappropriate behaviour. More senior staff however seem immune to being reported to the SRA and able to preserve their careers/reputations, including a partner involved in a fight at a work event where the police had to separate him from his PAs partner who had discovered their affair and another partner who is well known to have stabbed a solicitor in his team.

Donald 17 June 22 11:54

Got to say feel sorry for the trainee here - the actions described here I have come across at various firms and all levels of the profession (partners to paralegals, males and females) - I'm not saying it's good or acceptable behaviour, I'm just saying it being career ending seems very bad luck when there are people who have gotten away with it for years.

Anonymous 17 June 22 12:01

They seek him here

They seek him there

They seek him almost everywhere!

Is he in Heaven?

Or is he in Birmingham?

That defender of ass-slappers...

... the Question Man!

 

 

Anon 17 June 22 12:22

Anonymous 17 June 22 12:01: Don't encourage him. We are all grateful to be spared his sinister, sociopathic nonsense.

Jacket 17 June 22 12:32

He was reprimanded appropriately for his behaviour. I'm not buying comments along the lines of 'yea he's an idiot but we all do shit when we're drunk', I don't know what crowds some of you lot hang around with but it sure as hell isn't normal to start sexually slapping and squeezing strangers' bottoms just because you've necked a few shots down.

What do you expect them to say to the people involved, 'sorry luv he touched you sexually without consent but he was drunk and we all do stupid stuff when we're drunk, se let's just move on ye?'. 

anon 17 June 22 13:17

Jamie Hamilton 17 June 22 12:05: Or maybe don't bother, Mole. Maybe Jamie will then have to get a proper job.

Support 17 June 22 13:34

At risk of stating the obvious, professionals have a very long track record of doing stupid things at stupid times, particularly when alcohol is thrown into high pressure work environments. It NEVER excuses behaviour which harms others, but one rarely knows in these kind of articles (which will probably be picked up in one tabloid or other) what other personal issues have lead to such self-destructive behaviour. I really hope everyone involved - including the idiot trainee - has had, and continues to have, the right support. Often it comes too late.

What's yer name, MacFuck? 17 June 22 16:02

I for one thank the good Lord that I was a trainee and junior lawyer before the Interweb and smartphone cameras...

Anonymous 17 June 22 19:15

I've never understood why Christmas and summer parties and other alcohol fuelled social events are considered important aspects of work.

I don't like drinking, I don't like socialising, frankly I don't like most people.  Doesn't affect my ability to do my job.  I don't know why it's de rigeur to attend these things but a lot of careers have been messed up at work parties and there's no need for it.

I thank God I never have to go to them now but I'm sure I'm not the only one who would rather have a £25 hamper than an invite to spend an evening with a bunch of people that I spend 5 days a week with and already struggle to look at without the numbing haze of strong drink.

Anonymous 17 June 22 20:18

What “mole” has reported is correct. Btw the solicitor who was stabbed and didn’t report his boss to the police or the SRA has recently been promoted to head of corporate 

Anonymous 18 June 22 06:38

@Mole - what evidence do you have to support your allegations about the work fight and the stabbing?

Chris M 18 June 22 09:46

Sometimes I feel that the “victim” needs to recognise that the slapping/groping might not have done with malice or ill intention, particularly when the old chap was intoxicated at the time. 

People are taking things too seriously these days. The “victims” need to grow up and stop the “tell the teachers” mindset. Talk to the chap if you aren’t happy, so that the behaviour can cease immediately. Reporting to the firm/regulatory authority is excessive and disproportionate. 

Anonymous 18 June 22 09:53

Someone got stabbed??!!!! 

The issue isn't drinking work events. It's idiots who can't hold their drinks and ruin it for the rest of us.

If you can't have a couple of lagers and not sexually assault someone, don't have a couple of lagers. Especially not at work. 

But social events bond teams - it's a thing. See every successful sports team ever.

Anonymous 18 June 22 17:19

Why do people compare sports teams with corporations?  You don't train together, you don't practice practice tactics together, you don't play matches.  It's self-indulgent nonsense from people who want to pretend working in an office isn't thankless, repetitive drudge.

Well it is.  And it's no wonder that some people, when confronted with a free bar and room full of acquaintances with whom they have ill-defined and transactional relationships, go a bit potty.

"Can't hold their drink" is the same sort of macho wanksticks that compares being beasted at all hours of the night by frustrated senior associate with running around on the pitch in front of 40,000 cheering fans every Saturday afternoon.  People drink too much because they feel awkward and uncomfortable having to pretend to be friends and make conversation with people they barely know and have nothing in common with.  Or maybe they're raging and their terrible employees or spitefui, petty colleagues.

Face it, office work is shite and if you died in your char they'd have replaced you and forgotten your name within the fornight.

Je Suis Monty Don l’Autobus 18 June 22 21:17

The semi-literate impudent little (wo)men in horsehair of the SRA continuing to misuse the term “lack of integrity” to mean “anything we may from time to time feel like getting our billowing knickers in a twist about”, I see.

His conduct may well have been deserving of censure, but there was no lack of “integrity” as that word is understood by, well( literally everyone who doesn’t sit on an SRA panel.

Please God free us from “regulation” by these idiots so we can be an honest trade at last, and not in hock to harrumphing has-been who don’t know what words mean.

Anonymous 19 June 22 13:10

If it was really an assault the police would have been involved and he would have been convicted. It is not for the firm or the SRA to take the place of the courts.

Anonymous 19 June 22 18:31

"I don't like drinking, I don't like socialising, frankly I don't like most people."

 

Yes. As a complete weirdo I too struggle to understand why normal people like normal things.

It's one of the things that makes me such a weirdo.

Acronym 19 June 22 19:32

I know I will be disbelieved, but once in a very crowded bar I was shoved into a young lady in front of me, with my hand stuck in am embarrassing place. In dragging my hand away I probably exacerbated the situation. 
I was entirely innocent but that was not how the lady saw things.

This was long before MeToo.

I reckon now I’d have no chance of establishing my innocence 

Anonymous 20 June 22 08:33

The problem is that there's a substantial minority of people who don't know how to have just one or just a couple.  Maybe they don't have an alcohol problem but somehow they've internalised the idea that the point of drinking alcohol is to get drunk.

I used to be like that.  I could never drink one or a couple.  I'd go till the bottle or my wallet was empty and hate myself the next day and then, next time I'd do it again.

Now in my fifties, and I have no idea why I've changed, I drink like a grown up (one or two is enough) but after a few embarrassing evenings in my 20s and 30s I decided to go teetotal at work dos and leave after half an hour, even if I had to say I was feeling ill to get away.

Given the efforts to be inclusive in just about every other area of life isn't it time we made some provisions for idiot pissheads?  God knows there's enough of them (us).

Chris M 20 June 22 23:12

@Anonymous 20 June 22 12:47: So true. It is saddening to see how the so-called “victims” can causally accused someone of committing sexual harassment and destroy an innocent (but reckless) person’s career. I reiterate the importance of ascertaining whether the act was done with malice. People can jump to conclusions way too early without using common sense.

If Conrad touched the “victim” repeatedly or flashed, I would say he deserved it. A one off (and while being legless)? No. 

I also feel that it’s lazy to sack someone for some allegations that aren’t objectively severe. At least my firm (MC) would have done a much better job. 

Legal Beagle 21 June 22 06:58

I haven't read a criminal law book in 20 years, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but if a defendant is utterly pi$$ed to a point to where they don't know what they are doing, isn't that a mitigating factor, even a defence, to a crime?

I'm not dismissing this chap's behaviour, and there is an argument to suggest that a lawyer who gets so publicly hammered (to a point where they are out of control), is in of itself a breach of the current SRA guidelines, however, should the SRA not be taking the lead from statue and case, as opposed to making comments such as '...Despite recognising the mitigating factors, the SRA said being drunk was no excuse'?

Anonymous 21 June 22 17:21

@6.09 - disagree. Persons A and B may or may not be burpetrators, but Conway is a victim of sexual harassment.

Anon 23 June 22 06:16

Anonymous 18 June 22 17:14: no evidence that A and B were enebriated. And Conway’s drunkenness was relevant to the defence and mitigation case which he ran.

Anon 23 June 22 06:20

Anonymous 19 June 22 13:10: the firm and the SRA are not taking the place of the courts. Remember that, under the professional regulatory regime, the same facts which could found a criminal charge and conviction can give rise to a regulatory charge and conviction. And each regime can operate by itself or conjointly.

Anonymous 23 June 22 11:23

22nd @ 16.58 - absolutely wrong

@16.59 - his (sexual) harassers

@17.01 - it isn't because he was sexually harassed by virtue of his being named and shamed. Look up the definition of sexual harassment.

[redacted]

@6.20 - the firm and the SRA did take the place of the courts as they attempted to pass judgement on allegations of sexual assault, which is a criminal matter. These are serious allegations and shouldn't be investigated by amateurs with a low burden of proof. That's why the findings of the firm and rather SRA have no proper basis and why the case is treated as a joke.

MC Question Man 23 June 22 12:44

Yo!

Bodies shakin' booties quakin'

Question man the rhymes he makin'

Feminists they lies they fakin'

Wake up the people now that's amazin'!

Question Man like a lady with a booty enormous,

He don't care 'bout her weight bro but about her performance!

Slap cheeks with a crack like AK's in the air,

Gone in morning Q-Man like he was never there.

Word to my Thursday Afternoon Cru!

 

anon 23 June 22 15:50

Anonymous 23 June 22 11:23:

22nd @ 16.58 - absolutely wrong.

In fact, absolutely right. But then again, you know that, and you are deliberately taking a bad faith position.

@16.59 - his (sexual) harassers.

But who do you say are his sexual harassers? You know there are none, which is why you refuse to name them; but then again, you know that, and you are deliberately taking a bad faith position.

@17.01 - it isn't because he was sexually harassed by virtue of his being named and shamed. Look up the definition of sexual harassment.

You are wrong. The reporting of an incident which, in law, amounts or could amount to sexual harassment or which, whilst falling short of sexual harassment, amounts to behaviour worthy of professional sanction, does not amount to sexual harassment. But then again, you know that, and you are deliberately taking a bad faith position.

What evidence? You know there is none, which is why you have not provided it, but then again, you are deliberately taking a bad faith position.

@6.20 - the firm and the SRA did take the place of the courts as they attempted to pass judgement on allegations of sexual assault, which is a criminal matter. These are serious allegations and shouldn't be investigated by amateurs with a low burden of proof. That's why the findings of the firm and rather SRA have no proper basis and why the case is treated as a joke.

You are wrong. They did not attempt to pass judgment on allegations of sexual assault. They had no jurisdiction to determine whether a sexual assault had occured and made no such determination. Their remit was to determine whether the conduct, which was admitted, amounted to professional misconduct. He could still face a trial for sexual harassment. And the case was obviously not treated as a joke, whether by Conway (who showed appropriate contrition) or by the SRA (who found professional misconduct). You know all this, but then again, you are deliberately taking a bad faith position.

anon 23 June 22 16:01

MC Question Man 23 June 22 12:44: perfectly captures everyone's favourite sociopath. He is out in force in this commentary.

Anonymous 23 June 22 16:57

Why would anyone feel the need to pronounce comments on an internet article as wrong and right?

Are you okay hun?

Does the comment section make you feel a bit uindermined?

Do you experience a sense of loss of control when people post things that you disagree with?

Have you considered not reading the comments under the articles?

How do you think you would feel if instead of responding to every comment you just read them and didn't respond to any of them?

No Answer Woman 23 June 22 17:24

@12.44 - your Al Jolson impression needs some work!

@16.01 - your Al Jolson impression is terrible, but that doesn’t make you a sociopath.

Chris M 23 June 22 19:20

@anon 23 June 22 15:50: Conway was, under the influence of alcohol, a little inappropriate but wasn’t “touchy-touchy” that warrants a fine or accusation of sexual harassment. I assume that he had no intent to cause harm. I’m not condoning any such behaviour but if Conway didn’t slap the arses with ill-intention then the penalty seems disproportionate. It’s sort of like you hug your female colleagues like how you’d normally do in a social setting and they then assert that you sexually harassed them. Am I missing something here or should I get a brain lobotomy?

Anon 23 June 22 20:21

Anonymous 23 June 22 19:09:

@15.50 - none of the comments are in bad faith, and even if they were, that doesn't excuse you having no answers to them.

It is “none is”, rather then “none are”. But even your incorrect sytanx cannot disguise your bad faith.

1) Nope, still absolutely wrong.

In fact, absolutely right. 

2) His sexual harassers were the people who sexually harassed him. There weren't none because he was sexually harassed.

Who sexually harassed him? Telling that you cannot name the alleged perpetrator(s).

3) Naming and shaming someone so that they end up sexually humiliated is sexual harassment. Again, look up the definition of sexual harassment. Seems you haven't done this yet.

Wrong. Seems you still don’t know what you are talking about. The reporting of an incident which, in law, amounts or could amount to sexual harassment or which, whilst falling short of sexual harassment, amounts to behaviour worthy of professional sanction, does not amount to sexual harassment. 

[redacted]

5) 'They had no jurisdiction to determine whether a sexual assault had occured' - first time you've ever been right. Ever. The case was obviously treated as a joke given the picture, the article, and the vast majority of the comments, including your own.

So you agree with me that the SRA were not taking the place of the courts. Thank you. First time you have been right. Ever. Not treated as a joke by anyone who matters, including by the tribunal or Conway. 

Anon 23 June 22 20:24

Chris M 23 June 22 19:20: you definitely need that lobotomy, lad. Giving someone the sort of hug you’d give in a social setting, and smacking and pinching someone’s bum, are obviously very different.

anon 23 June 22 20:26

That is total genius, MC Question Man 23 June 22 12:44. 

Question Man needs help from a mental health professional.

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