Law Society presidential candidate Robert Sayer admits branding his opponent David Keating “a pillock” and his backer Martin Mears “a piece of dog turd” was “five seconds of indiscretion” but is refusing to apologise for the remarks.
Sayer made his controversial comments in an interview with The Lawyer (7 June).
He now says: “It was five seconds of indiscretion but I stand by the fact that [Keating] standing is wrong and foolish and will do damage.
“[The remarks] are not that shocking – it is not as if I swore or blasphemed. I am not a horrible person.”
Mears says Sayer, who is currently vice-president, may have damaged his chances.
“When the campaign started, Sayer was the favourite but I would say now that Keating will win.
“I think it will be a disgrace for the profession to elect someone like this,” he says.
Polling slips were sent to nearly 95,000 members on 16 June and have to be returned by 8 July.
The new president will be announced at the Law Society annual general meeting on 15 July.
Sayer expects voting to be “dismal because last year the profession made it clear that it did not want elections for elections' sake”.
In 1998, the presidential elections attracted 22,458 votes. Michael Napier narrowly lost out to Michael Mathews by 1,358 votes. David Keating lost out in the race for deputy vice-president to Kamlesh Bahl, who won by 3,088 votes.
This year, Napier is standing for vice-president against Essex-based practitioner Trevor Murray.