Headbutt that cost top property lawyer his career: Solicitor is struck off for attacking EastEnders star’s father inside the Royal Courts of Justice
- Philip Saunders, 69, assaulted Mohammad Reza Ghadami, 63, after hearing
- Mr Ghadami required treatment after incident at the Royal Courts of Justice
- Saunders, a top property lawyer, has now been struck off following tribunal
Philip Saunders, 69, launched a violent attack on Mohammad Ghadami, 63, a developer, whose son Davood appears in the BBC soap EastEnders
A top property lawyer who was caught on CCTV headbutting a property developer during a £100m legal battle at the High Court has been struck off.
Philip Saunders, 69, assaulted Mohammad Reza Ghadami, 63, after a hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice, London, leaving him with a fractured nose.
Mr Ghadami, whose son Davood plays Kush in the BBC soap EastEnders, required treatment under general anaesthetic after the incident on the first floor landing of the Rolls Building at the Royal Courts of Justice.
Saunders, a leading property conveyance solicitor who has worked on multi-million pound property deals during his 43-year career, claimed he lost his temper after Mr Ghadami made a ‘vile antisemitic comment’ but did not give further details of the exact words used.
He told the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal: ‘I am an observant religious Jew. I have a high moral standard.
‘I completely lost all self-control as a result of this comment he made. I am bitterly ashamed that I lost my temper. I am not trying to justify my actions but to put them into perspective.
‘I cannot see how my behaviour on that day in the face of a raw anti-Semitic comment negates the way I behaved and behave since.’
Mr Ghadami suffered a broken nose after the shocking incident in the Royal Courts of Justice
After a three-hour hearing Edward Nelly, chair of the disciplinary panel, said the panel found he had failed to act with integrity.
He said: ‘You were convicted for a criminal assault. We have reflected on that and the initial unhappy context – as an unwise engagement with Mr Ghadami in the Rolls Building about the subject of costs.
‘We have considered carefully what the behaviour of Mr Saunders demonstrates, on that unhappy day, and we accept the submissions of both persons that a single act may constitute a lack of integrity.
‘We are sorry to find that allegation proved, while fully understanding the explanation Mr Saunders has offered. We must not conflate mitigation with fact.’
Mr Ghadami, whose son Davood plays Kush on EastEnders, had his nose broken and his eye injured
Saunders was given an 18 month suspended prison sentence after being convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm at Inner London Crown on 31 January 2017.
CCTV of the clash showed the property lawyer being stopped from passing by Mr Ghadami during an exchange inside the court in April 2016.
He then swung his case between Saunders’ legs, prompting Saunders to lunge forwards and headbutt him, breaking his nose.
The pair had both been involved on opposing sides in an ongoing land dispute being heard at the court.
Mr Ghadami said the headbutting came ‘out of the blue’.
Both men attended the misconduct hearing at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal in London.
Saunders, who has been a solicitor for 43 years, said he had stopped practising immediately after the incident.
He admitted failing to uphold the law and failing to maintain public trust and confidence in the profession but denied failing to act with integrity.
Saunders, from Maida Vale, west London, was struck off the roll of solicitors and ordered to pay £4,611 in costs.
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