Married father-of-two barrister, 36, who slapped junior female colleagues’ bottom telling her ‘I really wanted to smack your a**e’ is fined almost £10,000
- Experienced criminal barrister Dominic Woolard fined after disciplinary tribunal
- He held woman around her neck, pulled her onto his lap and slapped her bottom
- Found to have diminished public trust through his ‘unwanted conduct’ in 2018
- Ordered to pay fine of £6,000 and costs of £3,600, full decision to be released
A barrister who slapped a junior female colleague’s bottom telling her ‘I really wanted to smack your a**e’ was fined almost £10,000 by a disciplinary tribunal.
Dominic Woolard, 36, held the unnamed woman around her neck as he made the comments before he pulled her onto his lap and slapped her on the backside, causing her physical pain.
The married father of two and experienced criminal barrister acted in a ‘sexual’ manner without the woman’s consent, the Bar Disciplinary Tribunal ruled.
It found that Woolard, who was in a position of professional seniority, violated the woman’s dignity during the incident in December 2018.
He was found to have diminished public trust in the profession through his ‘unwanted conduct’.
Dominic Woolard held a female colleague around the neck in December 2018 before pulling her onto his lap and slapping her bottom. Pictured: Dominic Woolard, right, and left with woman believed to be his partner
The three-person tribunal ruled Woolard, a practising barrister, acted ‘without integrity and/or did something which could be reasonably seen by the public to undermine his integrity’.
A document detailing the outcome of the tribunal described how Woolard, while in a position of professional seniority, held the woman – referred to as ‘A’, around the neck and ruled that his actions had the effect of ‘violating her dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or otherwise offensive environment’.
It added that Woolard caused the woman ‘physical pain’when he slapped her on the bottom and noted that the touching was ‘intentional’ and ‘sexual’.
‘A did not consent to the touching, and Dominic Woolard did not reasonably believe that A consented to the touching,’ the document continued.
Woolard was reprimanded and ordered to pay a fine of £6,000 and costs of £3,600.
The tribunal’s full decision has not yet been published. It will explain the circumstances of the incident as well as its reasoning for the sanction.
The Bar Disciplinary Tribunal ruled the married father of two and experienced criminal barrister acted in a ‘sexual’ manner. Pictured: Woolard left, with woman believed to be his partner
A three-person tribunal found Woolard (pictured), who was in a position of professional seniority, violated the woman’s dignity during the incident
But some commentators on website Legal Cheek are already suggesting that the sanction is lenient and that Woolard should have been struck off.
One wrote: ‘I am quite surprised that he was only fined for such acts. You see legal professionals having been struck off for much less serious acts, yet this barrister was only fined? This seems completely unjust’.
Another calling themselves an ‘irate solicitor’ said: ‘How on earth have we gotten to such a state where the Bar Standards Board lets this go with a light slap on the wrist?’
Woolard, a graduate of University of Wales, Aberystwyth, was called to the Bar in 2008 and has worked for the CPS as a Crown Court prosecutor on the South East and Midlands circuits.
Woolard, pictured, was found to have diminished public trust in the profession through his ‘unwanted conduct of a sexual nature’
The barrister was ordered to pay a fine of £6,000 and costs of £3,600 and the tribunal’s full decision is yet to be published. Pictured: Woolard with woman believed to be his partner
He has been a tenant of barristers’ chambers in London and Northampton.
An online legal profile says that he is ‘known for his direct and up front approach’ and has the ‘ability to get into the mind of his opponent.’
When not in the courtroom, he is said enjoy playing Sunday league football and ‘likes nothing more than a trip to the theatre’.
The ruling is open to appeal.
Dominic Woolard has been approached for comment.
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