A senior solicitor at Hampshire County Council has been charged with perverting the course of justice.
Jeremy Penny has been stopped from ‘undertaking any legal case work’ at the council ahead of his appearance before magistrates next month.
The 47-year-old is accused in relation to an alleged incident reported to Hampshire police in August 2014.
The experienced lawyer, who has been a solicitor for nearly 19 years, is charged with perverting the course of justice by informing police that a non-molestation order was still in existence allegedly while knowing it was not, court officials confirmed.
It’s understood to relate to a previous court case in Portsmouth.
A non-molestation order can be imposed by a court to ban a person from contacting someone involved in legal proceedings.
Breaching a non-molestation order is a criminal offence, with police able to arrest anyone who does so. Courts can impose up to five years in prison for breaching an order, or an unlimited fine.
Mr Penny, of Ash Vale, Surrey, is listed as a team leader in the adult safeguarding and education team on the county council’s website.
It said the team’s ‘specialist lawyers advise Hampshire County Council’s adult’s health and care department in respect of the safeguarding of adults and its children’s services department in respect of education’.
Mr Penny’s council profile added: ‘Jeremy is primarily responsible for advising senior members of Hampshire County Council’s children’s services department to ensure that they continue to meet their overriding statutory responsibilities for the safeguarding of children whilst also advising the adult services department in respect of the safeguarding of adults.
‘Jeremy previously worked in private practice as a family law solicitor before joining the council in 2001.’
A Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘A man will appear in court to face a charge of perverting the course of justice following postal requisition.
‘This follows an investigation into an alleged incident relating to a report made to police on August 20, 2014.’
Mr Penny is due before Basingstoke magistrates at 10am on July 24.
A spokeswoman for the county council said: ‘Mr Penny continues to be employed by the county council.
‘However until the matter is resolved, he will not be undertaking any legal case work.
‘As this matter is subject to legal proceedings, we will not be making any further comment.’