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- The British lawyer was fined 25,000 pounds for contempt of court
- Judge says lawyer did opposite of what his duties required
(Reuters) – A former Jones Day partner was fined for contempt of court by a London judge on Wednesday for ordering the destruction of his client’s secure communications system after learning of a search order.
Judge Adam Johnson of the High Court said British lawyer Raymond McKeeve did “exactly the opposite of what … his professional duties required” and fined him 25,000 British pounds ($28,190). Johnson called McKeeve’s actions a “serious matter,” but said they did not warrant a custodial sentence.
A representative for McKeeve declined to comment. Jones Day did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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McKeeve had been advising Jonathan Faiman, co-founder of British online grocery business Ocado, on his plans to set up a competitor when he gave the order to “burn” the contents of the 3CX platform after Faiman was served with the search order at a London hotels in July 2019.
Faiman’s Project Today Holdings Limited had agreed to a partnership with supermarket chain Waitrose shortly before Ocado obtained the order against Faiman, former Ocado executive Jonathan Hillary and Project Today. Ocado’s litigation against the trio was settled last year.
McKeeve told Project Today’s IT manager to “burn it,” referring to the 3CX app, just minutes after he was informed of the impending search in what Johnson described in an earlier ruling as a “spontaneous act of colossal stupidity.”
The 50-year-old had told the court that he was a “deal lawyer” and said that when he first heard about the search order from another lawyer: “I did not know what he was talking about.”