Human rights lawyer Phil Shiner struck off after 'dishonestly' bringing charges against British soldiers

Solicitor faces disciplinary panel over 2008 claims UK troops unlawfully killed, tortured and mistreated civilians in Iraq War

Scott d'Arcy
Thursday 02 February 2017 14:15
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Phil Shiner did not attend the hearing because he was unwell and could not afford a defence lawyer
Phil Shiner did not attend the hearing because he was unwell and could not afford a defence lawyer

A controversial human rights lawyer has been struck off after being found to have acted dishonestly in bringing murder and torture claims against British Iraq War veterans.

Phil Shiner, a solicitor who worked for the now-defunct Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), had 12 charges of misconduct found proved against him by a panel of the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.

In five charges he was found to have acted dishonestly, including agreeing to pay “sweeteners” to a fixer, understood to be Abu Jamal, to persuade him to change his evidence to the £31m Al-Sweady Inquiry.

Mr Shiner previously admitted nine allegations of acting without integrity, including that he made “unsolicited direct approaches” to potential clients.

He did not attend the hearing, having written to the tribunal to say he was unwell and could not afford to pay for a defence lawyer.

Mr Shiner was struck off the roll of solicitors.

The tribunal heard in December the lawyer accepted he would be struck off as a result of the case, thought to be one of the most expensive ever brought by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Nicola Lucking, chairwoman of the panel, said: “We have come to the conclusion the appropriate sanction is a strike off.”

The hearing finished earlier than expected as a result of Mr Shiner’s absence and Andrew Tabachnik, representing the SRA, accused him of being “in a state of avoidance” to prevent proceedings from going ahead in full.

The tribunal heard the effects of his involvement on British military personnel in “cold-calling” the family members of alleged Iraqi victims.

Army Colonel James Coote, who was a major stationed in Basra, said the false claims made against British troops at the Battle of Danny Boy in 2004 had been “extremely stressful and demoralising”.

Mr Shiner had admitted acting recklessly by claiming at a press conference in February 2008 that the British Army had unlawfully killed, tortured and mistreated Iraqi civilians during the Iraq War battle.

Mr Shiner agreed to pay Jamal, named only as “Z” in SRA papers, thousands of pounds for referrals, which is prohibited.

As a team leader at PIL, Mr Shiner authorised and procured payments and fee-sharing agreements with the agent between 2007 and 2010.

One of those payments was for £25,000 on 30 March 2009, which he admitted but had denied related to a publicly funded case as the SRA alleged.

PA

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