IRAQ HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER ACCUSED OF HOUNDING BRITISH TROOPS ‘THOUGHT HE WAS ABOVE THE RULES’

IRAQ

(The Telegraph newspaper) A lawyer accused of hounding British troops with baseless allegations of torture and abuses in Iraq thought he was above the rules and the ends justified his means, a disciplinary hearing has been told.

Phil Shiner made a series of “fundamental and basic failings” when he brought some of the most serious accusations of abuses faced by British troops since the Second World War.

The allegations of murder, mutilation and torture against Iraqi civilians led to a five-year-long, £25m public inquiry with scores of troops made to testify.

But the claims proved to be based on “deliberate and calculated lies” from Iraqis, while many of the innocent troops wrongly accused found the process exacerbated their mental problems stemming from the war.

The Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal today (MON), heard Mr Shiner admitted he would be struck off for his misconduct, but had refused to attend proceedings and was “manoeuvring” to avoid a hearing.

Mr Shiner has already admitted nine counts of behaving without integrity and a single account of acting recklessly, but faces more serious charges of acting dishonestly.

As a three week hearing began in his absence, Andrew Tabachnik, counsel to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, said: “What is at the heart of Prof Shiner’s professional misconduct is a view on his part that the ends justified the means, that his work in the human rights field was of such moment that he was able to disregard the rules that apply to his fellow solicitors.

“This prosecution is not about stopping solicitors representing unpopular clients. It’s about solicitors who think the ends justify the means and that the rules don’t apply to them.”

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