Top government lawyer who 'upskirted' woman on Tube avoids being struck off after blaming stress of Brexit
A SENIOR Government lawyer who 'upskirted' a woman on the Tube has avoided being sacked after blaming his actions on stress caused by Brexit.
Married barrister Daren Timson Hunt was caught using his phone to film up a female passenger's skirt – and was one of the first people convicted of the crime in Britain.
But the Government lawyer, from Thurrock, Essex, has escaped being banned from the profession after blaming his actions on the pressure of working 80-hour weeks in the run-up to Brexit.
At the time, the 55-year-old was employed at the Department of International Trade – where he worked as head of a European Union legal team.
Now a disciplinary tribunal has decided not to strike him off after accepting his argument that the upskirting was a "heat of the moment" incident resulting from pressure at work.
The tribunal suspended him for six months instead – and ordered him to pay £1,200 in costs within 12 months.
Timson Hunt – who has since lost his job as head of the DIT's EU Exit and Goods legal team – became only the fourth person to be convicted of upskirting when he pleaded guilty to the offence at Westminster Magistrates Court in September last year.
The court was told that the incident took place as he was going up the stairs at Embankment station in June 2019 – but he was spotted by a police officer and apologised to his victim.
He took a sexually gratifying video of the woman's crotch while she made her way to a job interview – and the victim said that the ordeal has deeply impacted her day-to-day life.
She now never wears skirts and avoids public transport, her impact statement said at the court hearing last month.
Following his conviction last year, Timson Hunt was placed on the sex offenders register for five years.
In a judgement published today, the panel said: "(He) pleaded guilty to an offence where he had used his mobile phone to record images underneath a woman's skirt whilst travelling on London Underground.
"(He) was apprehended by a police officer and he accepted his wrong doing at the scene. He apologised to the (woman).
"He pleaded guilty at the magistrates' court and he was sentenced to a community order of 12 months including 60 hours of unpaid work."
In considering punishment, Tribunal chairman Alan Greenwood said: "The offence committed was a serious one if relatively new. It involves filming. It was not touching but nevertheless, it was serious.
"However, in the meaning of the sanctions guidance it is not a serious sexual offence.
"He provided glowing references. It is clear that at the time (he) was working very hard.
"He was working on the goods related aspects of Brexit and he told the Tribunal that it was not uncommon for him to work 80 hours per week.
"His wife was ill at the time and she had still not fully recovered. (He) was subject to domestic pressures.
"This is how he came to commit the offences and in doing so jeopardised his career. He lost his job."
The tribunal heard that Timson Hunt is now doing manual work and his earnings are "limited."
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