One of Scotland’s top criminal defence advocates has been found guilty of professional misconduct.
A disciplinary tribunal of the Faculty of Advocates ruled Brian McConnachie KC’s conduct in a series of WhatsApp messages represented a “serious and reprehensible” departure from the expected standard.
The lawyer will now face a hearing at a later date where a decision will be made over what action should be taken against him.
The findings follow a complaint from a woman who received a number of messages from Mr McConnachie.
One, sent from the toilets at the High Court in Livingston on the day he’d been working on a rape trial, was a sexually explicit photograph of himself.
Another said he (McConnachie) might “sh*g Sandy Brindley [the Chief Executive of Rape Crisis Scotland] just to have something over her. But I would not enjoy it”.
The disciplinary panel said of that message: “we regard such conduct, involving the suggestion of a willingness to engage in something amounting to blackmail, as plainly serious and reprehensible.”
And another message saw Mr McConnachie make abusive statements about a client, suggesting that he was a liar.
The panel viewed that as a breach of the basic duty of confidentiality between an advocate and client.
Its ruling said: “When all of the actions complained about are taken together, we are of the opinion that the respondent’s conduct must be considered professional misconduct.”
Brian McConnachie has been one of the most high-profile legal figures in Scotland for decades, appearing in many high profile criminal trials.
He has been contacted for comment.