Belfast Telegraph

Barrister Peter Sefton who represented double-killer Stewart to be struck off over bombarding ex-girlfriend with vile texts

By Chris Kilpatrick

A disgraced senior barrister is expected to be struck off within weeks after 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 harrowing 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 almost two years ago, the court was told.

A PPS spokeswoman yesterday said he remains suspended.

He is free to defend clients if he chooses, pending the outcome of the inquiry by the Bar Council.

Gary Potter, chairman of the Professional Conduct Committee of the Bar Council, said the committee would "undertake a formal disciplinary investigation" on the back of the conviction.

He added: "In line with his professional responsibilities under the Bar Code of Conduct, Mr Sefton formally notified the Professional Conduct Committee of the Bar regarding the criminal proceedings arising from his personal circumstances.

"As required, the Professional Conduct Committee have awaited the outcome of these criminal proceedings.

"The committee will now undertake a formal disciplinary investigation, the outcome of which will be available in due course."

Mr Potter declined to comment further, but it is believed the investigation will be concluded within weeks.

Sources within the legal profession said it was widely expected Sefton would be disbarred.

The barrister was convicted at Craigavon Magistrates Court on Monday.

Sefton and the woman, who was half his age, met through their work at the courts.

The social worker and barrister 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.

Among them, Sefton told the woman she was 'one f******-up lady'.

He also told her, 'if I were a betting man, I would bet that you were sexually abused by the father or uncle'.

He was also said to have taken to driving past her home, where he parked for hours at times.

On June 15 of that year, police served him a former police inquiry notice because of his behaviour.

The court was told that while targeting the woman, Sefton was already the subject of a restraining order over another former partner.

Marking his plea in mitigation, solicitor Richard Monteith said Sefton, from the Long Rig Road, Nutts Corner, Crumlin, faced further potential sanctions from the Bar Council's disciplinary board.

PROFILE

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

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph