University Student Avoids Expulsion for Alleged Misconduct
Associate Solicitor Richard Etherington successfully defended his client during a misconduct investigation brought against him by his university.
Richard’s client, a student at a prestigious London university, was accused of several acts amounting to sexual misconduct, including the putting pressure on a fellow student to have sexual intercourse. He was also accused of an act akin to ‘stealthing’ i.e the removal of a condom in the middle of sexual intercourse without the consent of the other party. He vehemently denied all the misconduct alleged.
At the time the alleged misconduct occurred, the complainant was not a student at the same institution as our client. She disclosed these incidents a while after they are alleged to occur, once she was also studying at the same University.
A quick turnaround was needed from our instruction to the initial date scheduled for the client’s disciplinary hearing. Upon instruction Richard Etherington contacted the University to reschedule the hearing whilst Ben Shellard met with the client immediately to take his full proof of evidence.
Richard Etherington spoke with the client regarding issues in the case papers. The client had a desire to remain with an unblemished record and to move to another institute to complete his studies. It was decided that representations could be made to the University about potentially discontinuing the process.
Following a further meeting with the client, Richard drafted the relevant representations and submitted these to the University, Ben took further information from the client to update his statement.
As the case neared the rescheduled hearing date, the client detailed witnesses that could be beneficial to his case. Richard and Ben went about contacting these witnesses to take statements. These statements, along with our client’s statement, were submitted to the misconduct panel for consideration during the hearing.
The Institution denied the client representation at the hearing. As such, he attended without a lawyer to represent him.
Following the panel meeting, client was unfortunately found to be liable for the alleged misconduct. Despite this finding he was allowed to remain at the institution to continue his studies with conditions. Despite this, the student in question sought an alternative establishment to conclude his studies.
Reflecting on the case, Richard Etherington said, “On the face of it the allegation against our client was extremely serious and ordinarily a finding against a student for sexual misconduct would result in expulsion from the university. However, on this occasion due to robust representations and thorough reflection on the part of the client the institution was persuaded to take a sensible view by allowing our client to continue his studies whilst putting in protective measures to safeguard the complainant.”