An unregistered barrister who defrauded his grandmother of more than £10,000 has been disbarred. Darren Stapleford, called by Inner Temple in November 2012, was convicted at Chichester Crown Court in 2016 of five counts of fraud. He was sentenced to four years imprisonment on each count to be served concurrently and ordered to pay £8,000 in compensation.
The Bar Tribunals & Adjudication Service found Stapleford had ‘engaged in conduct which was dishonest or otherwise discreditable to a barrister…and/or likely to diminish the trust and confidence in the legal profession’.
Stapleford fraudulently transferred around £11,000 from his grandmother’s bank account to his own, fraudulently used a bank card without his grandmother’s permission, fraudulently used a bank account held in his grandmother’s name without her permission and fraudulently used his grandmother’s bank card to withdraw £4,240 in cash.
Stapleford also used his grandmother’s bank card to pay for online shopping of ‘goods and services’.
The five-person tirbunal disbarred Stapleford and ordered costs of £1,560 to be paid to the BSB. The disciplinary tribunal’s decision is open to appeal.