Saturday 20 December 2014

Well known barrister banned from practising after harassing former girlfriend with texts

* Peter Sefton defended double killer Hazel Stewart
* He was convicted of bombarding his former lover with text messages

Chris Kilpatrick

Published 08/07/2014 | 08:18

Hazel Stewart arriving at Coleraine Court during her March 2011 trial. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
Hazel Stewart arriving at Coleraine Court during her March 2011 trial. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

A disgraced senior barrister has been banned from practising for at least six months after being given a suspended prison sentence for waging a campaign of abuse against an ex-girlfriend.

Peter Sefton – who defended double-killer Hazel Stewart – was convicted of bombarding his former lover with text messages.

The 64-year-old was given a three-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay his victim £3,000 compensation.

He has not been instructed by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) since the matter was reported to police two years ago, the court was previously told.

And yesterday the Bar Council confirmed Sefton had been suspended from working as a barrister for six months with immediate effect.

In a statement, the Bar Council added: "Subject to compliance with a programme of ongoing treatment and recovery to a satisfactory level, to be confirmed by his medical experts at the conclusion of the six-month period, the (disciplinary) committee will then review the suspension.

"As one of the most serious sanctions available, suspension marks the gravity of the actions involved and clearly demonstrates that any such conduct by a member of the Bar of Northern Ireland is unacceptable."

It is not yet known if he will appeal the judgment.

Sefton was convicted at Craigavon Magistrates Court in March. The lawyer and the woman, who was half his age, met through their work at the courts.

They began a relationship in March 2012, but by May it began to peter out.

It was then that spurned Sefton began to send her a series of "worrying texts", the court was told.

He also told her to log onto his Instagram account and when she did, she found a picture of herself and another of his former partners with the caption 'stunning lady, great f***'. A 600-page file of the messages sent was presented to the judge.

Peter Sefton is one of Northern Ireland's most high-profile criminal barristers. As well as defending double murderer Hazel Stewart, he also prosecuted so-called Black Widow Jackie Crymble, who was jailed in 2007 for killing her husband.

His parents, retired RUC reservist James Sefton (65) and Ellen Sefton (66), were murdered in an IRA car bomb attack at their home in 1990.

Belfast Telegraph

Promoted articles

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News