Calls for closer scrutiny of crown prosecutors’ social media accounts

Lawyers have called for closer monitoring of crown prosecutors’ media accounts after one of them was rebuked for sharing Britain First posts on Facebook.

Kim Kendall, a senior lawyer at the Yorkshire and Humberside CPS, based in the organisation’s Hull office, shared a petition from the far-right group Britain First calling for the statue of Nelson Mandela to be torn down. It accuses Mandela of being “a communist and terrorist mass murderer” who should be “consigned to the dustbin of history”.

Other posts which appeared on her timeline and were referred for investigation included one originally posted by another Facebook user about the murder of the soldier Lee Rigby, dicho: “I don’t remember the UK rioting after 2 black immigrants hacked to death a white British soldier in broad daylight … Just saying!"

Kendall shared the messages at the height of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

Lawyers who raised concerns about the case when the posts emerged welcomed the decision by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to issue a formal rebuke to her this week after investigating the matter.

Attiq Malik, secretary of the Society of Asian Lawyers, said he and colleagues were calling for more monitoring of the social media accounts of lawyers such as Kendall.

“The fact that the SRA has upheld this complaint sends a strong message which is needed to instil public confidence in the profession.”

Ash Mahmood of Drummond Solicitors, one of the lawyers who complained about Kendall’s social media posts, also welcomed the sanction for Kendall.

“Lawyers in positions of power should be held accountable for posts like this. The CPS should definitely be monitoring these social media accounts more closely.”

The Solicitors Regulation Authority ruled that Kendall had shared inappropriate posts on her social media account which caused offence to others and undermined the trust placed in her and in the provision of legal services, and did not encourage equality, diversity or inclusion.

The ruling added that she had failed to act in a way that upholds public trust and confidence in the solicitors’ profession and in the legal services provided by authorised persons and failed to act in a way that encourages equality, diversity and inclusion.

She was issued with a rebuke and ordered to pay costs of £600.

CPS guidance states that employees should ensure that any statement they make in public forums, regardless of whether this is done in their own time and in a private capacity, does not contravene their professional obligations under the CPS code of conduct.

A CPS spokesperson said that the organisation did not comment on individual cases and would not confirm whether or not Kendall was still employed by the CPS.

Sanctions against solicitors by the SRA for social media posts are rare but not unprecedented. The solicitor Mark Lewis was fined £2,500 along with substantial costs in 2018 for sending “offensive and profane” messages on Twitter and Facebook.

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