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“Enjoy the festive season with the peace of mind that you have taken the necessary office party precautions!” So ended Pinsent Masons’ employment law guide to having a trouble-free office Christmas party, issued in 2010.
The firm may want to dust off that crib sheet and score out the word Christmas. Today, former Pinsent Masons solicitor Edward Lowdell finds out if he will be jailed for putting a firm trainee in a headlock and repeatedly punching him on the head after an office party in March 2011.
Lowdell pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm at Blackfriars Crown Court on 1 August and is due to be sentenced at 2pm today.
To be fair to Pinsents, the fracas actually occurred after the firm’s office party, which was put on to celebrate moving to a new HQ in London’s Crown Place. Lowdell, trainee Ross Knight and several others left at around 11pm to carry on drinking at another pub. It was when Lowdell and Knight were walking home after the pub, at around 1:40am, that the attack occurred. Both have since left the firm.
Knight is now employed as a solicitor at a construction company but his counsel has told The Lawyer that he is now “considering the circumstances surrounding Knight’s departure”, meaning Pinsent Masons could face a civil action.
Inappropriate secret Santa gifts may now be the least of the firm’s worries.