• Monday, June 17, 2024

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Barrister who fell asleep during virtual inquest cleared of misconduct

Barrister Ramya Nagesh has authored a legal academic textbook on the treatment of sleepwalking, blackouts, and hypoglycemia in criminal law. (Photo credit: X/@No5Chambers)

By: Vivek Mishra

Barrister Ramya Nagesh, author of a book on sleepwalking, has been acquitted of professional misconduct charges following an incident where she fell asleep during a coroner’s inquest.

The Bar Standards Board (BSB) failed to demonstrate that Nagesh compromised public trust by nodding off during a virtual court hearing, as reported by The Telegraph.

Accused by the BSB of undermining public trust, Nagesh attributed her lapse to fatigue and excessive sleepiness resulting from a Covid infection, insufficient vitamin D levels, and a sleep disorder.

A disciplinary tribunal accepted Nagesh’s medical evidence, acknowledging that her health conditions impaired cognition, memory, and insight, thereby impeding her full participation in the inquest, according to The Guardian.

The incident took place during a December 2022 inquest at Pontypridd County Court, Wales.

Representing a nurse witness, Nagesh attended virtually from a Stockport hotel. She fell asleep after lunch and reconnected late. Allegedly, she dozed off again during the afternoon, missing some questions.

The BSB contended that her conduct eroded public trust in the legal profession.

Nagesh explained feeling “in a fog” and believed she had slept for 10 minutes, denying moving to her bed.

Her legal representative had previously submitted written evidence detailing her confusion and disorientation during the inquest, which hampered her ability to participate effectively.

However, the BSB argued that her health conditions did not excuse her behaviour, dismissing the medical evidence as “retrospective, vague, somewhat inconclusive.”

Nagesh has previously handled high-profile cases such as the Grenfell Inquiry and the Hillsborough Inquest.

Additionally, she has authored a legal academic textbook on the treatment of sleepwalking, blackouts, and hypoglycemia in criminal law.

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