Victor Stockinger, 61, made a series of racist and sexist remarks at a lawyers’ function
A solicitor who blamed ‘wokeism’ after he was hauled before his governing body for making a series of racist and sexist remarks at a lawyers’ function has since been struck off.
New Zealander Victor Stockinger, 61, told an Afghan human rights lawyer she should ‘return to Afghanistan to educate the Taliban on terrorism’.
He also told a director of procurement at a top company that Africans ‘were no good at business and never ever will be’ and that it was ‘Indians and Europeans who made the Congo civil.’
Stockinger later questioned a Jewish lawyer about whether she really was Jewish at all.
Stockinger, who has worked extensively in African and Afghanistan, said he had simply made innocent remarks as ‘icebreakers’ at the High Court function held by the Solicitors’ Association of Higher Court Advocates in 2019.
He claimed the partner of one of the women held a grudge against him and taking revenge by ‘ambushing’ him at the do by getting the three women to complain about him.
But the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal found all the witnesses who gave evidence against him were ‘entirely sincere’ and Stockinger has now been struck off.
Tribunal chair Mr Paul Housego said solicitors must conduct themselves in a way ‘which reflects everyone’s personal characteristics’.
‘This is not wokeism as Mr Stockinger suggests. The depth of hurt, humiliation and anger felt, even two years later by the young and diverse legal professionals to whom Mr Stockinger misspoke at that meeting was plain by their evidence to us, which we found entirely sincere,’ he said.
‘People should not be expected to tolerate this on the basis that in the past people did so or stood up for themselves.’
Mr Housego said solicitors should ’embrace the qualities of equality, diversity and inclusion’ but Stockinger had made ‘stereotypical assumptions and been patronising’.
Stockinger, who has worked extensively in African and Afghanistan, said he had simply made innocent remarks as ‘icebreakers’ at the High Court (pictured) function held by the Solicitors’ Association of Higher Court Advocates in 2019
The lawyer was also found guilty of the more serious allegation of dishonesty by misleading his regulatory body over a client complaint.
The lawyer told the Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority in a letter there was an appeal against a court decision when there was none.
‘It can only be dishonest to tell the regulator something that you know not to be true about a material fact relevant to an allegation,’ said Mr Housego.
Stockinger appeared to be on the verge of tears as the charges were proved against him and gasped: ‘I’m traumatised.’
He was also hit with a costs bill for £41,850.
Nimi Bruce, for the SRA, said his remarks at the function were racially, ethically, and religiously motivated.
Stockinger also told shocked guests that ‘the definition of a successful woman is one that can afford to spend anything she likes, the definition of a successful man is one who can afford such a woman’.
The offended procurement boss, who has African heritage, told the hearing she felt ‘scared and victimised’ when Stockinger made his remarks about the Belgian Congo.
‘I was one of the only non-legal persons at the event,’ she explained.
‘I didn’t know whether he had victimised me in particular. I was one of the only people of colour at the event. I felt that the conversation would not have been had with anyone else.
‘I thought the conversation was being held with me because of my ancestry. I was aghast. I felt quite scared to do anything about it.’
She said Stockinger’s words were ‘horrific, racist and misogynist’.
Stockinger had previously been in dispute with an organiser, known only as ‘Person G’ who was the partner of the procurement director.
He claimed the organiser used the women who complained to conspire against him.
‘This person had a axe to grind against me. He has got long standing issues and grievances with me,’ said Stockinger.
‘He has concocted a cabal of people who needed to make a complaint. They were all connected with eac hother. They were out on a mission that night.
‘Why is it that these people who were all connected with Person G were all offended?’
Stockinger, of Bloomsbury, central London, denied making racially, ethnically, or religiously motivated statements, and failing to comply with an SRA investigation.
The sole practitioner, admitted to the profession in 1990, also denied failing to comply with orders ‘made in proceedings requiring him to make costs payments to other parties’.
The charges were found proven and he was struck off.