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John Vander Luit

Editor, Solicitors Journal

Leigh Day solicitor admits 'mistake' in destroying document

Leigh Day solicitor admits 'mistake' in destroying document


Junior lawyer says disposal of OMS list could have happened to anyone in her position

The most junior of the three Leigh Day solicitors hauled up before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal gave evidence last week and admitted she had made a ‘mistake’ in destroying a document.

Anna Crowther faces four charges in relation to the infamous Office of the Martyr al-Sadr (OMS) document. The OMS contained a list of detainees and revealed that the clients whose cases the firm was taking against the British Army were not civilians, but members of an Iraqi militia.

It is alleged that Crowther destroyed a handwritten English translation of the Arabic document and, with the other two accused, failed to disclose its existence to the Al-Sweady Inquiry into the treatment of Iraqis by British troops during the Iraq war, and to others.

Crowther told the tribunal that she has typed up the document from the handwritten translation and then disposed of the handwritten version.

The original Arabic document, along with a typed up English translation of the document, was submitted to the inquiry.

Crowther admitted the disposal had been a ‘mistake’ which she ‘massively’ regrets, but said it was one that could have been made by others in her position.

Co-founder of Leigh Day Martyn Day and a partner, Sapna Malik, also face numerous allegations arising from their conduct of the cases relating to the Iraq war. All three deny wrongdoing. The hearing, which is now in its fifth week, continues.

Catherine Baksi is a freelance legal journalist