Solicitor struck off for smuggling drugs into prison
PUBLISHED June 30, 2014
A solicitor jailed for smuggling drugs and mobiles phones into prisons for inmates has been struck off, the Solicitors Regulation Authority announced today.
Ritesh Brahmbhatt wore shoes three sizes too big to sneak items into Pentonville and Winchester prisons in 2009 but was caught after sniffer dogs alerted guards to drugs. He was jailed for six years in March 2012 for two offences of taking contraband into prisons.
In a case brought by the SRA, the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal agreed that Brahmbhatt, who worked for London firm Mordi & Co at the time, had failed to uphold the rule of law, failed to act with integrity and had behaved in a way that was likely to diminish the trust the public placed in him or in the legal profession.
As well as striking Brahmbhatt from the roll, the tribunal ordered him to pay £2,149 costs at a hearing in London on Tuesday.
At his trial at Blackfriars Crown Court in September 2011, Brahmbhatt admitted two cases of smuggling contraband into prison. Judge Deva Pillay said he had shown 'arrogance and contempt for the rules of law'.
Gordon Ramsay, SRA director of legal and enforcement, said: 'It is worth echoing the words of the sentencing judge. Solicitors occupy positions of trust, and also have a duty to uphold the rule of law.?
'Mr Brahmbhatt abused the trust placed in him and failed to uphold his professional obligations, so striking him off and ensuring he cannot work as a solicitor when he is released is a wholly appropriate punishment.'
Brahmbhatt has 21 days from the SDT's publication of the judgment to appeal.