Lawyer who was dubbed the ‘bolshiest barrister on Twitter’ and called for age of consent to be lowered to 13 'made death threats' to law student
- Barbara Hewson, 55, has been issued a harassment warning from the Met Police
- Nottingham law student Mehul Desai said he suffered 'death threats and abuse'
- Lawyer Sarah Phillimore also claims to have been harassed on social media
Pictured: Leading barrister Barbara Hewson
Police have issued a harassment warning to a top barrister amid allegations she made ‘death threats’ to a law student.
Barbara Hewson, 55, who was once dubbed ‘the bolshiest barrister on Twitter’ and sparked controversy after calling for the age of consent to be substantially lowered, is also accused of abuse by another lawyer.
She has been the subject of at least three complaints with the Bar Standards Board, according to The Times.
In a 22-page complaint Mehul Desai, a student at Nottingham University law school, claimed that he had ‘received death threats and abuse over the phone’ from Miss Hewson.
He said the barrister had sent him ‘a picture of my address, my ex-partner’s details and a picture of my daughter’s head’.
The student has been left so distressed that his exams may be jeopardised, it is claimed.
He alleged that the lawyer pestered him so incessantly with nuisance phone calls that he was left ‘feeling frightened, alarmed, distressed and anxious’.
It is reported that the dispute allegedly grew out of Mr Desai’s support for Sarah Phillimore, a family law barrister at St John’s Chambers in Bristol.
Both Miss Phillimore and Miss Hewson have clashed on social media over their opinions on investigations into historical child abuse.
Pictured: Sarah Phillimore told The Times that after ‘months’ of harassment she reported Miss Hewson to the police
Mr Desai alleges that Miss Hewson contacted him in an attempt to dig up ‘dirt’ on Miss Phillimore. When he refused to help her, he claims he was subject to an onslaught of online and other abuse.
According to the file submitted to the regulator, Miss Hewson has directed a slew of abusive language at Miss Phillimore including calling her a ‘Nazi’ and referring to her sympathisers as ‘sociopathic bunny boilers’.
Miss Phillimore told The Times that after ‘months’ of harassment she reported the barrister to the police, who then issued Miss Hewson with a harassment warning.
It has also emerged that Miss Hewson, who is a Court of Protection and human rights specialist, has left her chambers at 1 Gray’s Inn Square, London within the past few weeks.
The chambers, which is also home to the civil liberties lawyer Michael Mansfield, QC, declined to comment on her departure, apart from saying she had left ‘for personal reasons’.
The standards board said it would not comment ‘as to whether or not individual barristers are the subject of a complaint or a disciplinary investigation’. It would also not comment on whether a police harassment warning would automatically trigger disciplinary proceedings against a barrister.
It is not the first time Miss Hewson has aroused controversy.
She caused outrage after the Jimmy Savile abuse allegations when she called for the age of consent to be lowered to 13 and for an end to the ‘persecution of old men’.
She has also questioned whether rape victims are ‘utterly innocent’ and suggested that they can have a ‘moral responsibility for the crime’.
Miss Hewson has previously won a Barrister of the Year award from the Lawyer magazine after she fought for the rights of pregnant women against compulsory treatment.
The Chambers UK guide has variously described her as ‘bright, committed and passionate’, ‘well-respected’, ‘highly diplomatic’ and ‘a tough opponent’.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: 'On 2 February an allegation of malicious communications was transferred to the Metropolitan Police from another force.
'The victim, a 46-year-old woman, alleged she had been harassed via a social media network (Twitter) between August 2016 and January 2017.
'The allegation was passed to officers in Islington to investigate.
'On 1 March the alleged suspect, a 55-year-old woman, was issued a harassment warning. The victim was informed of this outcome.'
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