Piracy row solicitor suspended and fined
19th January 2012
A solicitor has been found guilty on six counts of using his professional status to extort money from the public and of acting inappropriately when there was a conflict of interest. Andrew Crossley, who was the only registered solicitor with ACS:Law before the company was wound up in February 2011, has been fined £76,000 and suspended from working as a solicitor for two years.
Crossley, who was judged twice previously as having acted improperly by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, was convicted of unlawfully demanding £500 payments from thousands of people accused of illegally downloading music and other peer-to-peer content – many of whom have consistently denied the allegations since they were made in 2009.
Although there is widespread relief and satisfaction at the verdict, there has also been some concern over how long the case took to be resolved. Several leading figures from the industry have commented on how those in London lawyer jobs and elsewhere have seen their reputations unfairly tarnished by the actions of one rogue solicitor.