An architect has been suspended from the ARB register for 18 months after he completed a prison sentence for ‘making indecent photographs or pseudo photographs’ of a child.
Stephen Charles Manship faced a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) hearing last Thursday (3 March) in which lawyers debated whether it was the role of the board to punish him.
Last year the architect was sentenced to eight months in jail after being found guilty of the offences. He served a four-month term.
Manship - who is understood to be in his 30s - spent the majority of his professional life working for London-based Peter Wood and Partners, a practice specialising in extensions and renovations of listed buildings in the Kensington and Westminster areas.
The PCC chairman Michael Williams said it was important to avoid punishing Manship twice for his crimes but added that it was also the role of his committee to protect the reputation of the profession.
However, the committee ‘recognised that the skills and input of an architect were different from those of other professions’, concluding that Manship would not, as a result of his conviction, give a poorer service as an architect at any time in the future.
‘What we are seeking to do is to protect the reputation of the profession and the way in which we do this is to impose a penalty that, in our own view and in our judgment, from the diverse nature of the members of this tribunal, we believe to be the appropriate penalty, ’ the PCC judgment says.
Peter Wood, founding partner of Peter Wood and Partners, said Manship’s arrest had come as a ‘horrible surprise’ to the practice.
‘He is an ex-employee of mine who resigned in February of last year and this is a very unfortunate incident, ’ Wood told the AJ. ’When he worked for me, he was something of a computer expert and had been responsible for setting up our CAD-drafting system.
‘This came as a complete surprise to me and the practice, ’ he added. ‘When you work with someone for 10 years, you feel you know someone pretty well. This was clearly not the case.’