When I started to blog, I intended to write about things of general or objective importance. I intended to avoid the personal and subjective. Above all, I wished to avoid mixing the objective and the subjective. However, I think that some of my personal reminiscences and thoughts might be of interest to others. I also consider that objective conclusions can be drawn about UK society from some of my experiences.
Many of those who are reading this will be aware that I was disbarred in late 2016. That happened after a group of Jew-Zionists calling themselves “UK Lawyers for Israel” (some of whom, probably many, also belong to the so-called “Campaign Against Anti-Semitism”) made official complaint (in 2014) about a number (at first, several dozen) of tweets which I had posted on Twitter. Eventually, the number of tweets comprising the subject-matter of the charge was reduced to seven. Seven (7) tweets (reduced to 5 at Tribunal) out of, at the time, at least 150,000.
Now, though I may blog in detail about the manifold injustices around my own case at a later date, my purpose today is to compare the overall “justice” I received with that meted out to another Bar defaulter recently, in order to illustrate wider points.
Now the bare bones of my own situation were that:
- I ceased Bar practice in 2008 and last appeared in court in December 2007;
- I did not hold a Practice Certificate after 2008;
- I joined Twitter in 2010 and started to tweet in 2011 or 2012;
- My Twitter profile and picture never made any reference to my being or having been a barrister (whether practising, non-practising or employed);
- Only a tiny handful of the 155,000-200,000 tweets I had posted made any mention of the fact that I had, years before, been a practising barrister; none of the supposedly “offensive” tweets did so;
- The tweets I posted (whether complained of or not) were all posted as part of my “personal or private life”, I having had no professional life after 2008 anyway.
It should be said (without getting too technical) that the Bar Code of Conduct was once a slim volume but has expanded into a fairly lengthy and complex code. Suffice to say that the now-usual “race and religion”, “diversity” etc stuff is now included (and I think that we can be sure what kind of persons drafted those clauses…).
In the past, a barrister’s private life was not justiciable under the Code except in a few carefully-drawn exceptions, the main one being where a barrister had been convicted of a (serious) criminal offence (parking, speeding etc excluded). The new Code, in force for a number of years, kept those boundaries but, crucially, made them advisory only, taking away the cast-iron defence that whatever was complained of had been done in the course of the barrister’s personal or private life.
At the same time, the old and sensible distinction between barristers who are in practice, or who are employed as barristers, as against those not practising, or not employed as barristers, was removed in relation to “Core Duty 5”, i.e. in effect “bringing the Bar into disrepute”.
In short, I was, in effect, “bringing the Bar into disrepute”, or so decided a Bar Tribunal panel of 5 chaired by a retired Circuit judge, when (6+ years AFTER having given up Bar practice) I tweeted the seven “offensive” tweets (on my Twitter account that made no mention in its profile etc that I had ever been a barrister).
I should say that the presiding judge made the point in his summation and sentencing that I had had an unblemished record at the Bar throughout the years since I was Called in 1991.
Other barristers had and have Twitter accounts. Some post obscene comments, such as the “lady” QC whose every sentence contained a swear word. Many have pictures of themselves in wig and gown, or advertise their practices via website links etc (which is now OK but would have been a serious Bar offence only 20 years or so ago). None of those who have used obscene language etc (including telling people to “fuck off” etc) has ever been hauled before a Bar Tribunal, despite their proclaiming their professional status, despite having photos of themselves in Bar clothing in some cases, despite their being in practice at the Bar and talking about it and the law constantly. The presiding judge at my 5-person Tribunal called my case “unprecedented”.
There are so many examples today of barristers doing things which would have meant disbarment decades ago but which are now laughed at and even applauded. We see, for example, the Jewish barrister known to the public as “Judge Rinder” (not in fact any kind of judge) on TV, the show aping that of (also Jewish) “Judge Judy” in the USA. The barrister who plays the role of “Judge Rinder” is acting entirely within the ambit of what is now tolerated by the Bar regulators, but one could not imagine such a show on TV in, say, 1967 or even 1987.
That is even leaving aside the vulgar advertizing and self-promotion undertaken by members of the Bar in practice. That was not permitted until the 1990s. The following example of a Bar defaulter was also one of the most shameless self-promoters.
Now let us look at how the Bar treated so-called “celebrity barrister” Henry Hendron, who, despite being a horrible little bastard –from what I have heard on radio and read in newspapers (I have never met him, admittedly)–, was treated very leniently by the Bar Tribunal, certainly as contrasted with my case.
Hendron supplied so-called “chemsex” drugs, apparently used in gay orgies, to his 18-y-o foreign boyfriend, who died as a result.
Hendron was ALSO found guilty, on his own admission, of failing to administer properly his chambers (which he headed as Head of Chambers) and in respect of that was fined £2,000, a trivial sum for someone who made hundreds of thousands of pounds in a year.
So the Bar Standards Board and a Bar Tribunal think that a barrister and indeed head of chambers who was convicted at the Central Criminal Court of supplying illegal drugs for immoral purposes, and that supply having resulted in death (within the Temple itself at that!) AND failing to run his chambers properly should get suspended from practice for three years (in fact only two, because time was ruled to run from 2016!) and get a modest fine, whereas I, “found guilty” of having tweeted five (reduced at hearing from seven charged) supposedly “offensive” tweets about Jews, and not a practising or employed barrister at all, had to be disbarred! You really could not make it up.
This is what the Bar Standards Board official , Sara Jagger, Director of Professional Conduct, said about the Hendron case:
“A conviction for supplying illegal drugs is a serious matter. In this case, it had tragic consequences. Mr Hendron failed to meet one of the core duties of a barrister, which is to uphold public trust and confidence. The suspension imposed by the tribunal reflects this.”
This is what the same woman said about my case:
“The use of such offensive language is incompatible with the standards expected of barristers. The Tribunal rightly found that such behaviour diminishes the trust and confidence the public places in the profession and the decision to disbar Mr Millard reflects this.”
The Board’s press statement (still on its website today) also repeated the lie that my Twitter account “made it clear that” I was a barrister. An out and out lie.
Who, I wonder, would the public think less properly able to reflect the standards expected of a barrister? A snivelling, drug-taking degenerate, convicted of illegal drug supply resulting in death, and who also ran his chambers improperly, OR someone who, as part of his non-professional life and indeed post-professional life, posted seven supposedly “offensive” tweets (taking them as described by the Bar Tribunal)?
Postscriptum: The BBC Radio 4 “PM” programme interviewed Henry Hendron in a very sympathetic way recently; the popular Press handled the story with a relatively light touch. Contrast that with the day or three of msm storm around my case last year! We can see the way society is going: downhill, fast.