Probe as violence flares at law firm's weekend

Started by Newshound, June 11, 2004, 21:07:32

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Probe as violence flares at law firm's weekend

ONE of Edinburgh's most prestigious legal firms has launched an investigation after trouble flared during a corporate weekend at a luxury timeshare development.

It is believed two senior legal staff at top corporate lawyers Dickson Minto have been suspended following a fracas last weekend at the up-market Langdale resort in the Lake District.

Among the allegations being investigated are that two members of the legal firm's staff were physically assaulted by colleagues attending the corporate event.

Other employees have complained that drinks were thrown over them and that they were verbally abused.

Another senior Dickson Minto staff member was fished out of the hotel's ornamental pond in the early hours of the morning after a marathon drinks session. Hotel workers offered to escort him to his room but he insisted on returning to the party.

More than 100 guests from Edinburgh and London were invited on the luxury weekend by the Charlotte Square-based firm, which specialises in international deal-making.

The break was held at the 35-acre Langdale timeshare estate near Ambleside which specialises in activity breaks offering clay pigeon shooting, hot air ballooning and sailing. Trouble flared in the early hours of Saturday morning after a dinner and drinks session at the £100-a-night hotel and lodge complex.

Two senior members of the legal firm began arguing and others became involved.

It is claimed by those present that during a series of incidents one male member of staff was headbutted and another punched.

The Evening News has been told that a female employee was slapped on the face and another had drink thrown over her. Others complained of being verbally abused. Despite complaints, police were not called to investigate the incidents.

A spokesman for the timeshare development confirmed there had been a series of incidents during the two-day trip.

He said: "We had a group from Dickson Minto staying with us at the weekend. A lot of people got very drunk and there was some trouble in the early hours of Saturday morning.

"Two people were fighting, although it's not very clear what it was all about. The only sign of damage was some broken glasses.

"One guest who was very drunk was standing on the edge of our pond at around 6am when he apparently slipped and fell in.

"A towel was fetched for him and he was wrapped in it. He refused to go back to his room and wanted to rejoin the party.

"The police were not called. We were not asked to.

"They held a barbecue the following night but it passed very peacefully."

A company source who was present at the weekend event said: "A lot of people were very upset about what had taken place. They were very angry that people had been headbutted and punched and that no action had been taken at the time.

"Several female staff members were very upset at the verbal abuse they were given by two employees.

"As a result of the weekend, two lawyers were suspended from duty on Tuesday while the firm investigates."

Dickson Minto was formed in 1985 but has rapidly grown to become one of Scotland's most highly regarded corporate law firms.

The practice has won several industry awards for its services and boasts of having handled more than £20 billion of private equity deals.

A spokesman for the legal firm said: "We are making no comment whatsoever."

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