brian qc

"Yes, yes, I'm listening."


A Scottish barrister joked that he'd like to "shag" the head of a rape charity "just to have something over her", it has emerged.

In October 2020, Brian McConnachie QC sent a text claiming that another advocate had confided in him that they wanted to have sex with the Chief Executive of Rape Crisis Scotland, Sandy Brindley. McConnachie added in his text, "I might shag her, just to have something over her, but I wouldn’t enjoy it", reported the Daily Record.

A woman to whom he sent his WhatsApp messages complained to the Scottish Legal Complaints Commission, and the matter was referred to a disciplinary committee convened by the Faculty of Advocates.

The committee concluded that because it was a "private" communication and only related to McConnachie’s "feelings and wishes" about "hypothetical sexual activity that he might engage in", McConnachie's comment was not "serious and reprehensible" enough to comprise professional misconduct.

However, he was found guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct for passing on the "distasteful and base" comment reportedly made by the other QC, who was only identified in proceedings as 'Mr A' and described as a "high profile criminal advocate". The Faculty said McConnachie demonstrated "disloyalty" to his fellow QC by sharing the remark, which could have harmed the reputation of Mr A and the Faculty if it had been circulated, and which Mr A may not have actually made.

The Faculty also cleared McConnachie of several other complaints. On the same day McConnachie texted about Brindley, he also sent a sexually explicit photo from the toilets of Livingston’s High Court to a woman, telling her that he was aroused.  

McConnachie had just finished defending a rape accused when he sent the picture, but told the committee it was a private matter which it had no authority to investigate. The committee dismissed the complaint against the advocate, agreeing with McConnachie that because the picture was sent at 4.01pm, a minute after the court day ended, he had not been sexting while still engaged with client business.

The Faculty also dismissed complaints about texts in which McConnachie boasted that he had engaged in sexual activity around various court buildings with seven different colleagues, including a trainee and several barristers, accepting McConnachie’s defence that "the claims were fantasy and that the sexual acts described did not actually happen".

However, the committee did find the QC guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct for calling a client a "lying cunt", reported the Record. The Committee decided that insulting a client in such crude terms was beneath the standard expected of "reputable advocates".

The Faculty’s judgment was slammed by the complainant, who said "Their priority has been to protect their own", and indicated she would appeal.

Rape Crisis Scotland is also furious. A spokesperson said the comments "directed towards our Chief Executive" were "unacceptable", and "expose a culture of misogyny amongst some members of the Faculty of Advocates", laying bare "an environment where entitled, arrogant attitudes and behaviours are clearly present".

"For senior members of the Faculty to discuss our staff in such a sexist and demeaning way is deplorable", said the charity. "Sexist attitudes like these should have no place within the legal profession. If senior QCs are comfortable conversing about someone they have held a professional external relationship with then this raises serious concerns about how they will behave towards other women they encounter, including women entering the profession, or women that they cross examine in sexual offence cases".

Rape Crisis Scotland said it was "calling on the Faculty and other legal professional bodies on Scotland to commit to taking urgent action to address the misogynistic attitudes which clearly exist within the profession".

RollOnFriday has learned that the judgment was leaked, and was only intended to be made public once any sentence imposed by the Faculty had been made. A Faculty spokesperson told RollOnFriday, "As the process is ongoing it would not be appropriate for Faculty to comment on this matter, beyond confirming it is correct to say that a finding of Unsatisfactory Professional Conduct had been determined regarding Brian McConnachie QC".

McConnachie did not respond to a request for comment.


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Comments

Anonymous 13 May 22 08:03

Unpleasant remarks, but the disciplinary committee likely reached the right decision as while offensive, these were private 'jokes'. It will be interesting to see how any appeal goes, if it is appealed.

Anonymous 13 May 22 09:15

I don’t know about Scotland, but in England barristers have a duty not to act in such a way as to diminish trust and confidence in the profession.  The comment about Brindley certainly does that in my opinion; how can you retain confidence in a QC who acts in matters relating to sex crimes when he himself jokes about using sex as some kind of weapon/powerplay? However, I guess his career is over either way.

Anonymous 13 May 22 09:40

"The Faculty said McConnachie demonstrated "disloyalty" to his fellow QC by sharing the remark"

Which, let's be honest, is the thing that the Old Boys Of Scotland Club is really upset about.

It's not really the sexism that upsets them, it's making one of their chums look bad.

Anonymous 13 May 22 09:41

Was this a transphobic incident? Or am I thinking of the head of another Scottish rape counselling/welfare service?

Ugh 13 May 22 09:45

There's a mistake three words into this article, seeing as we don't have barristers in Scotland and this chap doesn't appear to have called to the English and Welsh Bar.

 

I know we're all a complete afterthought to the rest of the profession up here (as evidenced by the fact our employers pay us substantially less than people in their English regional offers who bill them less because reasons), but at least a little effort to appear like you might at least think about treating us as your colleagues and equals wouldn't go amiss once in a while.

Not telling 13 May 22 09:51

Good god.  What litigator hasn’t called their client a lying c**t? It’s just venting and surely a defence of truth………

Anonymous 13 May 22 10:53

I doubt that the decision would have been any different in England given that the messages were sent in private and outside of work and were found to be jokes.

Anonymous 13 May 22 12:23

"I know we're all a complete afterthought to the rest of the profession up here"

All part and parcel of having your own separate legal system which quite literally sets you apart from the majority of legal practice which goes on across the rest of the island.

You can hardly complain that having insisted on running on your own provincial rule set, that you are then treated as if you were the very kind of provincial anomaly that you have chosen to be.

You aren't being locked out. You are free to join us at any time (individually or as a nation). But please don't stand carping on the sideline as if anyone other than you is keeping you there. 

Vinegar Drunkard 13 May 22 12:43

What is really distasteful is these weasels constantly trying to put private conversations forward as "public" misdeeds.

Anon 13 May 22 13:12

What is really distasteful is these weasels constantly trying to suggest that these conversations are not worthy of professional censure.

Anonymous 13 May 22 14:53

"@12.20 - comments talking about misogyny and not misandry. Let us know if you need more."

What about comments that talk about misogyny and misandry but not about Transphobia?

Anonymous 13 May 22 14:58

"@13.12 - what other private conversations do you think are worthy of professional censure?"

This is not an exhaustive list, but:

1. Any dialogue, whether conducted verbally or in writing, in which the genitalia of an antipodean citizen is compared, in unfavourable terms, to a pork product of modest dimensions and in which that individual's ability to offer a pleasurable erotic experience to members of the opposite sex is cast into doubt.

End of list.

Anonymous 13 May 22 15:01

@14:03 - absolutely right. I have both of my thumbs up. As well as my two largest toes. Were my pelvic floor muscles stronger then I would also have raised my member to add, in a symbolic way, a further raised digit in support of your proposition.

Anon 13 May 22 15:05

Anonymous 13 May 22 14:03: an obvious example would be a private conversation during which racist comments were made.

Anonymous 13 May 22 15:21

Anon at 13:32, does that logic mean that comments talking only about homophobia, when commenting on a story about someone making homophobic comments, are also steeped in prejudice against heterosexual people? What complete and utter nonsense. That doesn't even vaguely make sense.

Your insistence on talking about prejudice against men when commenting on a story about clearly misogynistic behaviour speaks volumes about your own attitudes.

Anonymous 13 May 22 15:25

"Your insistence on talking about prejudice against men when commenting on a story about clearly misogynistic behaviour speaks volumes about your own attitudes."

I can't help but notice that you are being VERY quiet about the rampant transphobia in this industry.

Anything to say for yourself?

Anonymous 13 May 22 15:27

"Anonymous 13 May 22 14:03: an obvious example would be a private conversation during which racist comments were made."

What if the speaker was being racist about themselves?

Anonymous 13 May 22 16:10

@Ugh 13 May 22 15:05

Last week it was the Singaporeans that got it in the neck. This week it is the Scots' turn.

Anonymous 13 May 22 16:27

@14.58:

This is not an exhaustive list, but:

1. Any dialogue, whether conducted verbally or in writing, in which the genitalia of an antipodean citizen is compared, in unfavourable terms, to a pork product of modest dimensions and in which that individual's ability to offer a pleasurable erotic experience to members of the opposite sex is cast into doubt.

End of list.

So, an exhaustive list then.

Anonymous 13 May 22 16:55

Anonymous 13 May 22 15:05 - so according to you the racist comment at @8.19 is an obvious example of a comment worthy of professional censure?

Anonymous 13 May 22 17:34

@15.21 - but prejudice against women doesn't justify prejudice against men. Your turning a blind eye to misandric comments speaks volumes.

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