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ICAEW Disciplinary?

reaction to outside of work event

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I was out with some friends whereby I was subject to very grotesque homphobic comments.

I asked the party of people involved to keep their opinions to themselves and this escalated into an arguement and I swore at them. The argument then escalated into one of the party trying to hit me and knock my phone out of my hand (i did not react) and he was pulled away.

I was with no work people, no business name etc but everything has been caught on camera and there was about 20 people in the pub to witness.

I have been reading on the ICAEW disciplinary forum that an accountant received a £9,500 fine and reprimand because he swore at someone in public under breach of professional behaviour.

Now I am worried that if i persue this with the police (which i am being told i should do) then a complaint will be brought against me (i assume if he finds out im an accountant and files a complaint) or would i have to report what i have done anyway? Just because i swore at him in reaction to his comments when he subsequently told me his comments were fine.

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By paul.benny
17th Feb 2020 08:54

Have you considered contacting CABA for advice?

(Note - if you respond to comments you will lose your anonymity. To prevent this, you can edit your OP, but if you do this, please clearly mark your changes as edits so that we can see your further remarks)

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Replying to paul.benny:
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
17th Feb 2020 18:21

Quote:

(Note - if you respond to comments you will lose your anonymity. To prevent this, you can edit your OP, but if you do this, please clearly mark your changes as edits so that we can see your further remarks)

Good advice, well done

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David Winch
By David Winch
17th Feb 2020 09:31

Extract from the disciplinary case report:-

The defendant had previously undertaken accountancy work for Mr ‘B’. He had also acted as an expert witness in proceedings in the family court between Mrs ‘A’ and her ex-husband.
The fees charged by the defendant for acting as an expert witness had become the subject of a dispute between himself and the solicitors acting for Mrs ‘A’.
On the evening of 27 June 2015 Mrs ‘A’ and Mr ‘B’ were standing outside a public house in Sheffield having a drink with friends. The defendant, who by coincidence was at the same pub, approached Mr ‘B’. A conversation ensued during which the defendant said to Mr ‘B’ ‘I am going to f****** have you with what I know about you’. The defendant pointed at Mrs ‘A’ and said ‘and you can f*** off and all’ and he also said ‘I am also suing that f****** solicitor'.

So in this case (1) the accountant approached his (ex) client outside the pub, (2) their heated discussion concerned the accountant's previous professional work in relation to these people, (3) the accountant threatened to use information he had obtained about the client against him.

So, I suggest, it was for these reasons the ICAEW considered this to be a matter which brought the profession into disrepute.

Getting into an argument with a stranger is, I would suggest, a different scenario.
David

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Replying to davidwinch:
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By Maslins
17th Feb 2020 12:10

Quote:

So, I suggest, it was for these reasons the ICAEW considered this to be a matter which brought the profession into disrepute.

Getting into an argument with a stranger is, I would suggest, a different scenario.
David


^This.

Another example, an accountant friend of mine got busted for drink driving about a decade ago. After umming and ahhing for a while, he decided to voluntarily report it to the ICAEW. Whilst of course they did not in any way condone his actions, their attitude was it had no relevance to his accounting work, so no punishment from them.

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Replying to Maslins:
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By Wanderer
17th Feb 2020 13:13

Not their current thinking. October's Economia shows a couple of reprimands for exactly this.

There was a previous one in the last year or so when the individual didn't voluntarily disclose or left it many years. Think the Order was much more punitive.

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Replying to Wanderer:
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By carnmores
17th Feb 2020 13:55

do you have a link please Wanderer?

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Replying to carnmores:
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By Wanderer
17th Feb 2020 14:15

For the ones reported in October's Economia:-
https://www.icaew.com/-/media/corporate/files/about-icaew/what-we-do/pro...
Cases 7. & 8.

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Replying to Wanderer:
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By Maslins
17th Feb 2020 14:30

Interesting, thanks. I wonder if there were anything specific to the circumstances of those, or whether it's a general trend by ICAEW. Doesn't seem to mention amounts of penalty for those, but it does seem to suggest they were in response to a complaint (to best of my knowledge there was no complaint lodged against my friend many moons ago, he just worried it would appear on his record formally somewhere, and better he mentioned it to ICAEW first, rather than them find out and think he was deliberately trying to hide it from them).

I still think the OP should be safe. A drink driver I can't imagine there are realistically any extenuating circumstances that make it ok. Sounds like the OP was the victim of what probably counts as a hate crime, and was reasonably restrained relative to the other party.

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Replying to Maslins:
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By carnmores
17th Feb 2020 14:36

i agree Maslins , these cases are totally irrelevant to the matter. Poster has nothing to worry about what the other person is alleged to have done is treated very seriously by the Police. N

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Replying to Maslins:
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By Wanderer
17th Feb 2020 14:37

Don't think their needs to be a complaint, fairly sure you have to 'self report'. Certainly our F&P declarations require disclosure of any driving offences that results in a ban or prison sentence.

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Replying to Wanderer:
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By Tax Dragon
17th Feb 2020 14:47

I hope that there's a difference between breaking the law and swearing. As in, I hope that swearing is not breaking the law.

Otherwise I'm not the only Awebber that needs to self report on a daily basis.

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Replying to davidwinch:
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By Dib
18th Feb 2020 13:24

"The defendant, who by coincidence was at the same pub, approached Mr ‘B’. A conversation ensued during which the defendant said to Mr ‘B’ ‘I am going to f****** have you with what I know about you’. The defendant pointed at Mrs ‘A’ and said ‘and you can f*** off and all’ and he also said ‘I am also suing that f****** solicitor'."

As I said at the time, that is just friendly banter for Sheffield!

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My photo
By Matrix
17th Feb 2020 09:33

I am sorry I don’t know the answer to the ICAEW question although I would like to think any action would have no bearing on your work life.

If you report this as the victim you would need to check you have anonymity, the problem these days is that you just don’t know what could be out there in the press or social media.

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By Justin Bryant
17th Feb 2020 11:02

In my view you are right to be concerned. Most people who work in the civil service or at regulators are, to be frank, incompetent to the extent that the victim can easily end up as the culprit due to false allegations etc.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
17th Feb 2020 18:02

Good on you. If I have been having a beer with you are the time, I assure you I would have sworn at him too in a range of colourful language too.

I am not sure if I would bother to report them however. The question there is "What are you hoping to achieve?"

Unless you have been physically assaulted i'm not sure the police will be very interested

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By Tax Dragon
17th Feb 2020 11:48

That you have posted here suggests you have been quite badly affected by the incident. You may need to do something, for your own mental health. (The sad truth is that the other guy will already have forgotten all about it; your wounds may well run deep and the damage can last for years. So, first and foremost, look after yourself.)

Help is out there - CABA may be a great shout, but there are other options too.

As an aside (but bear in mind I speak in ignorance on this matter), I would guess that, the longer you leave it before contacting the police, the less interested they will be.

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By carnmores
17th Feb 2020 12:42

it is usually though not always better to initiate an action than respond to a load of cobblers IF that is likely to happen.

BUT as its all on camera the police will nick the other person not you.

ICAEW cannot bypass the law and your rights are enshrined in law, despite my initial comments my advice is to sit tight

if ICAEW decide to do anything other than support you it would be the subject of public ridicule

Nick

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Quack
By Constantly Confused
17th Feb 2020 15:23

I admit I'm a little intrigued what would happen if you wrote to the ICAEW and said "Forgive me Sirs for I have sinnned, I swore at an idiot".

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By Roland195
17th Feb 2020 17:34

If it were me, I know I would not have the fortitude to report. If you think it will help you or others to do so in these circumstances I can only hope the ICAEW would choose to respect that.

I have small experience outside of fiction of how these crimes are investigated & prosecuted but I know that your wishes have little to do with it once reported. The concern would be that a robust defence takes the position that you were the aggressor and convincing evidence is orchestrated accordingly - CCTV shows you approach the other party first, the 20 "witnesses" decline to provide statements and those that do conflict with what they think or say they saw.

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By the_drookit_dug
17th Feb 2020 19:58

I can't see you getting disciplined for swearing at someone in such circumstances. However, the process of defending a professional complaint could be stressful. Are they likely to be aware of your professional body and its complaints procedure?

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By the_drookit_dug
17th Feb 2020 19:59

.

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By the_drookit_dug
17th Feb 2020 19:59

.

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By Duggimon
18th Feb 2020 11:04

I'm not sure the sort of person who issues forth homophobic slurs at strangers in the pub has the wherewithal to determine how to make a complaint to ICAEW, or even that it's an option for them to do so, much less form said complaint into any sort of form that someone would take seriously.

"Dear Sirs, a member of your professional body last night told me to f*ck off after I called him a horrid mincing little p**f and slapped his phone out of his hand. I would be most obliged if you would please censure him for bringing your profession into disrepute."

I can't see it getting them anywhere, or causing you much issue. Personally, as a fellow member of the profession, I am glad you told him to f*ck off or the nearest equivalent, and do not consider myself in any way disreputised by your behaviour.

If you would like me to make said comments in a representation to ICAEW I would be more than happy to do so, should they require member's opinions. I'm in ICAS so I don't know that it would carry much weight, but I daresay a straw poll of my colleagues down south that frequent these forums would elicit a similar result.

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accountant in london
By Accountant in London
18th Feb 2020 11:44

I can relate to the poster that it's difficult to let go of homophobic comments/attitudes towards oneself. Although we very well know that the formal complaint to a relevant body i.e. Police in this case (and HMRC in my case) may not really go anywhere and all you may get is 'we are sorry' and life goes on, nothing really changes in terms of their internal procedures on issues like this.

In my case, I am told the staff against whom I have complained will continue with the inquiry as usual once the complaint is resolved...(!!!)

But I do feel better now that I have at least said something.
It's entirely a different matter on how it is handled.

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By maasrw
18th Feb 2020 11:48

The issue isn't swearing as such. It is did it bring the accountancy profession into disrepute? A few choice words are unlikely to have done so; a 10 minute loud tirade that embarrassed everyone else in the pub might well have done.

If it was the former you should not be deterred from going to the police. if it was the latter you should consider self reporting. Not only does that give you the opportunity to explain the circumstances but it counts strongly in your favour.

Robert Maas

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By sammerchant
18th Feb 2020 12:03

Very many years ago, I heard a story (probably apocryphal) about an accountant who committed adultery with a client's wife. When the client complained to the ICAEW, he was told that, as the accountant had not committed any fiscal crime, this misdemeanour was not part of their purview. I understand that he was also told than an accountant was not like a medical doctor!

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By Rgab1947
18th Feb 2020 12:06

If the ICAEW concerns itself with someone reacting to homophobic abuse its lost the plot big time.

Good on you. I would have been a bit more aggressive.

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By Julian Stafford
18th Feb 2020 12:26

The ICAEW disciplinary regulations state at 4.1(a) that a member is liable to disciplinary action if (inter alia) "they have committed misconduct; by committing any act or default, whether in the course of carrying out professional work or otherwise, likely to bring discredit on themselves, ICAEW or the profession of accountancy, or so as to fall significantly short of the standards reasonably expected of a member...."

It is a question of fact whether this has occurred or whether a defence of provocation/self defence etc would apply.

I can't see anything which would require self-reporting. No offence has been committed by the member and no complaint has been made. A complaint would be needed before any disciplinary action was brought.

The member will have to assess whether bringing criminal proceedings might increase the likelihood of a professional complaint. This may be influenced by whether the person is a) convicted b) Charged but acquitted or c) not charged. The latter will depend on the evidence and whether there is a realistic prospect of conviction. I can't see the Disciplinary Committee taking action if he police formed the view that there was sufficient evidence to bring the person to trial, even if subsequently acquitted, though this might depend on the reasons for the acquittal. It might also depend on whether any normal person would regard the member's actions as a proportionate response to the insults suffered.

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By David Gordon FCCA
18th Feb 2020 12:35

Life is too short.
I am Jewish, I am an accountant, and I am short and fat.
If I reported every rude remark to the police I would live in the police station.

Of course it hurts. Nevertheless it ain't worth a fight in the pub.
Just make a note of the matter.
One of the best answers I read was:
I tried hard to see your point of view, but the keeper told me it was cruel and perverse to put my head that far up the elephant's bottom.

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By Comptable
18th Feb 2020 15:26

Do you think that any of the 20 or so people in the pub - or any of those who may have watched the CCTV (most of which is never watched by anyone) thought , either at the time, or since "Oh look at that Chartered Accountant behaving badly (and thereby bringing his/her profession into disrepute).
Given what you have said about no business names etc - I assume that the answer is probably none.

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