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"Sexist and misogynistic": Rape Crisis Scotland slams behaviour of top lawyer

This news post is 11 months old

Messages sent by QC Brian McConnachie were investigated by a disciplinary committee from the Faculty of Advocates.

A charity providing support to survivors of rape and sexual violence has condemned derogatory sexual references to its own chief executive by a leading QC - urging Scotland’s independent body of lawyers to urgently address misogyny in its ranks. 

A series of WhatsApp messages sent by QC Brian McConnachie to a woman show the top lawyer claiming he would “s***” Sandy Brindley - chief executive of Rape Crisis Scotland - “just to have something over her”.

As reported by the Daily Record on Tuesday, Mr McConnachie is one of Scotland’s top legal aid earners and has acted in some of the country’s most high-profile cases.

The series of messages, released as evidence for a formal complaint lodged with legal watchdogs regarding Mr McConnachie’s professional conduct, also show that the lawyer sent a sexually explicit photograph of himself from the toilets of a high court building minutes after acting in the defence of a rape case.

The lawyer also made claims of having sex in various legal buildings - including courtrooms and the Crown Office - and at an official party for Scotland’s top law officer, the Lord Advocate, as well as referring to a client as a “lying c***”. 

A disciplinary committee from the Faculty of Advocates - an independent body of lawyers who have been admitted to practise as advocates before the courts of Scotland - has issued a judgement on the complaints but has upheld only a fraction of the allegations as “unsatisfactory professional conduct”.

The Record reported that the committee didn’t regard the behaviour as “serious and reprehensible” enough to meet the bar of the more serious “professional misconduct”.

A spokesperson for Rape Crisis Scotland branded McConnachie’s comments as “unacceptable” and called for the faculty to urgently address misogyny.

They said: “This situation and the unacceptable comments directed towards our Chief Executive expose a culture of misogyny amongst some members of the Faculty of Advocates and lay bare an environment where entitled, arrogant attitudes and behaviours are clearly present.

"We have engaged in good faith with members of the Faculty to try to find common ground to improve the protections and rights of complainers of sexual crimes. For senior members of the Faculty to discuss our staff in such a sexist and demeaning way is deplorable.

"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.

"We are 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.”

Brian McConnachie QC was approached for comment by TFN.



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