She admits two charges of “professional misconduct”. Counsel John Beggs to continue mitigation.
Tribunal then expected to decide between suspending or disbarring her.
Everyone is present in the tribunal room awaiting the tribunal panel.
There is no sun streaming into the room today. Rain clouds have covered the winter sky...
He repeats that, following Hewson’s article that sparked a “tsunami of abuse”, she was forced to leave her chambers.
He says that overnight they have found two examples…
Lammy called another barrister a “slimy lime wanker” on Twitter. He admits, however, that Lammy did not call him a “cunt”.
Therefore, he says, disbarring Hewson would be “disproportionate”.
He cites the disparaging of the BSB’s then director general. [Hewson called her “c*unty”.]
“She was slowly, but surely – to use the vernacular – losing the plot.”
“She was on the skids.” She stopped practising as a barrister, he says.
BSB counsel says that he cannot think of a case, but that a tribunal has powers to impose practising conditions.
He takes the tribunal to online abuse to which his client was subjected after the Spike Online article, such as being called a “warped old hag”. “It gets more obscene, more disgusting.”
[BSB counsel James Stuart said yesterday that Phillimore was not the complainant in the case, the BSB originated the complaint itself].
And, he says, they benefit from having a political party and lawyers around them, whereas Hewson was no longer in chambers and was isolated.
He implores the tribunal to take that into account when considering what sanction to impose on Hewson.
"People do stupid things through mental illness,” especially under this kind of pressure, he says.
Counsel accepts that the tweets were “ill-judged”.
He tells the tribunal: “At times, you might have a soupcon of sympathy for Ms Hewson.”
Barbara Hewson’s counsel: She should have done, for her mental welfare. “She got addicted to social media,” he adds.
It was a false accusation, he says, as shown by the fact that neither Wiltshire Police nor the Met took any action against his client despite Phillimore’s allegations to them.
“She is not a snowflake, she is not someone who complains of illness.”
“This is the real problem, it is that sentence.”
It was “injudicious, ill-judged”. But he compares it with Sarah Phillimore’s “equally and sometimes more ill-judged attacks upon her, ‘poisonous beast’”.
“She may have shown lack of wisdom; that is not the charge.”
And, he says, Wilmer went on to complain to BSB about her, but that complaint was not progressed.
The panel is considering a sanction that is “serious, but short of disbarment”, he adds.
The tribunal chairman says that, notwithstanding this, such a blog “induces fear”.
She has cut off all contact with media.
She has locked her Twitter account.
Counsel replies that there may be a practical difficulty with not being able to use Twitter at all.
But Barbara Hewson’s counsel replies by saying that it can be increasingly difficult, for example as a way to keep posted about flight changes or road closures.
Barbara Hewson’s counsel says that his client has made clear that she regrets her abuse of the head of her own regulator.
Barbara Hewson’s counsel accepts that, and recognises that she cannot claim the full possible credit, namely a third off.
The panel is concerned solely with sanction, he adds.
“Her means are exceptionally modest… It is someone who is going to struggle… She needs to come back in practice.”
He refers to Barbara Hewson’s tweet about Sarah Phillimore, “This is how women in the family court now operates,” as “an attack related to the Bar”.
Tribunal adjourns for the day.