Barrister – and sleepwalking expert – faces tribunal after falling asleep at inquest

A barrister who wrote a book on sleepwalking is facing a disciplinary tribunal after allegedly falling asleep during a coroner’s inquest.

Ramya Nagesh, a member of commercial chambers in Gray’s Inn Square in London, has been accused by the Bar standards board (BSB) of professional misconduct after falling asleep during a virtual hearing, missing her client giving evidence, the Daily Telegraph first reported.

Nagesh was appearing remotely on behalf of a nurse witness in a coroner’s inquest in Pontypridd county court in Wales in December 2022 from her hotel room in Stockport, where she was taking part in a separate six-week inquest.

The tribunal heard that Nagesh fell asleep shortly after she began eating a baked potato during the inquest’s 45-minute lunch break.

The barrister woke up and returned to the inquest nearly 15 minutes late despite the coroner repeating three times that the case would adjourn at 1.30pm.

The BSB has accused the barrister of failing to provide an adequate explanation or apology for her late appearance.

The tribunal heard that Nagesh, whose camera was turned off during the inquest, fell asleep again during the afternoon session for nearly two hours, the Telegraph reported.

The coroner became aware that she was not fully present after the barrister failed to respond to her invitations for further questions.

The coroner’s court, the clerk, her solicitor and her chambers attempted to locate Nagesh but were unable to reach her by phone, text or email.

Nagesh, who has worked on the Grenfell inquiry and Hillsborough inquest, previously wrote a legal academic textbook on how cases involving sleepwalking, blackouts and hypoglycaemia are treated in criminal law.

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The book – titled A Practical Guide to Insane and Non-Insane Automatism in Criminal Law – Sleepwalking, Blackouts, Hypoglycaemia, and Other Issues – is priced at £49.99 on Amazon.

She has since claimed she was suffering from fatigue and excessive sleepiness caused by a Covid infection, vitamin D insufficiency and a sleep disorder.

The case continues.


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