Discussing UK law. Links: swarb.co.uk | law-index | Acts | Members Image galleries

Legal v Moral Duty

For the law, regulation, and practice of the various professions and those heading out to join up.

Legal v Moral Duty

Postby shootist » Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:59 am

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4655556/Lawyer-forced-resign-helping-catch-killer.html

Stephen Chittenden was key to solving the murder of a teenage girl, stabbed to death by a canal as she walked home.
But the lawyer, 66, says he has now been forced out of his profession for helping to nail the killer and for preventing a miscarriage of justice.
He handed over crucial information which led to the conviction of Michael Brooks for killing Lynn Siddons, in Barrow-on-Trent, Derbyshire, in 1978.
But in doing so, Mr Chittenden breached client confidentiality, prompting an inquiry by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – which has now accused him of ‘utterly unacceptable’ conduct.
He has agreed to remove his name from the official roll of solicitors to avoid being struck off – even though no one has made a complaint about what he did so many years ago.


Interesting to me as I bumped heads with Steve Chittenden several times in court, regrettably before I began to fully understand the role of defence solicitors. I dealt with Michael Brooks when one of Lynn Siddons family had, allegedly, been threatening him, and met Flo Siddons several times, a truly grand old lady.

I posted this as I would be interested in the views here on both the lawyer's actions, and the belated result. Personally, I think he helped overcome a massive injustice, and helped, eventually, to bring a murderer to justice but, like anyone who breaks such rules, he has to accept the consequences, which it seems he does.
"I do not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death my right to be offended by it."
User avatar
shootist
 
Posts: 3321
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:40 pm

Re: Legal v Moral Duty

Postby atticus » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:56 pm

Well, I am glad I have never been in that position.

However, he did it. But having done it, why did he tell all those years later? There are aspects of the confessional on all sides of this story.

And why tell now? Was he ready to retire?
User avatar
atticus
 
Posts: 19040
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:27 pm
Location: E&W

Re: Legal v Moral Duty

Postby Goldensyrup » Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:22 am

The confidentiality surely lies only with the client and not the Solicitor. What if the client lifts the right to LPP?
Goldensyrup
 
Posts: 223
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:52 pm

Re: Legal v Moral Duty

Postby shootist » Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:08 pm

Goldensyrup wrote:The confidentiality surely lies only with the client and not the Solicitor. What if the client lifts the right to LPP?


Unlikely to happen if it would lead to the client's conviction for murder.
"I do not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death my right to be offended by it."
User avatar
shootist
 
Posts: 3321
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:40 pm

Re: Legal v Moral Duty

Postby atticus » Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:24 pm

I think it is clear that in this case the disclosure was not authorised by the solicitor's client.
User avatar
atticus
 
Posts: 19040
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:27 pm
Location: E&W

Re: Legal v Moral Duty

Postby dls » Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:40 pm

He made a choice. He put his moral duty before his professional career. I see no sign of him complaining.
David Swarbrick (Admin) dswarb@gmail.com - 0795 457 9992
User avatar
dls
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11930
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:35 pm
Location: Brighouse, West Yorkshire

Re: Legal v Moral Duty

Postby Hairyloon » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:14 pm

dls wrote:He put his moral duty before his professional career.

Are we all agreed on that?
Isn't a client's confidentiality also a moral duty? It is certainly an important fundamental principle; though I am not convinced those are the same.
I fear it is too simplistic to say the moral duty is to shop the murderer, and I'm struggling to construct the counter-argument, but I think it needs to be made because what has happened here appears to be very wrong, and if it is so wrong, then perhaps something should be changed.

I'll come back to that thought: I've just noticed that the lawyer in question appears to have commented on the report: I think I'll have a read...
Take me to your lizard...
User avatar
Hairyloon
 
Posts: 9573
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:12 pm
Location: From there to here and here to there... Funny things are everywhere.

Re: Legal v Moral Duty

Postby Russell » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:29 pm

So what could he have done to to remain within his professional duty to both his client and courts?
If you can't talk about the problem, how are you ever going to even start talking about the solution?
Russell
 
Posts: 1503
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:47 pm

Re: Legal v Moral Duty

Postby shootist » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:10 pm

dls wrote:He made a choice. He put his moral duty before his professional career. I see no sign of him complaining.


Indeed. And I suspect he can sleep somewhat easier for the making.
"I do not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death my right to be offended by it."
User avatar
shootist
 
Posts: 3321
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:40 pm

Re: Legal v Moral Duty

Postby Hairyloon » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:37 pm

Stephen Chittenden wrote:The full story is remarkable if ever told. I take no issue with the sra and I accepted their offer of an administrative settlement. Maybe I should have " kept my gob shut" as one contributor helpfully stated,but my wife and I now have closure on it. My health has suffered and I have,indeed, retired. It had to end some way. It has haunted me for nearly 40 years. Love to all,even my detractors.
Take me to your lizard...
User avatar
Hairyloon
 
Posts: 9573
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 3:12 pm
Location: From there to here and here to there... Funny things are everywhere.

Next

Return to Professions, Legal and Other. and their Students

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest