A barrister has stepped down from the Bar Council pending an investigation that could lead to disciplinary proceedings. Russell Coleman, 36, is under investigation by an independent tribunal after he failed to tell the Bar Association's executive committee of his conviction this month for a criminal offence. Association chairman Ronny Tong Ka-wah SC said yesterday he was 'a little upset' after learning of the barrister's conviction by reading about it in the South China Morning Post. 'He told me he was naturally a little embarrassed to reveal the matter to me . . . He thought the conviction wouldn't attract media attention,' Mr Tong said. Mr Coleman is among nine elected members of the Bar Council - the body appointed to uphold standards of professional conduct and discipline among barristers. He confirmed last night that he had not offered to resign but had agreed to step down while the investigation takes place. 'As you know, I have agreed pending the usual processes, not to take part in Bar Council and subcommittee deliberations,' he said. Mr Tong said Mr Coleman only offered to step down after he broached the matter outside the last meeting of the executive committee. 'I learned on the morning of the Friday and I was a little bit unprepared. When it was revealed in the SCMP, the name was Langley Coleman and I was frantically trying to get hold of him to find out what the position was,' he said. 'I think he quite naively thought the matter wouldn't attract attention.' Mr Coleman was fined $4,000 in Western Court on June 3 for helping his domestic helper work as a caretaker - an offence under the Criminal Procedure Ordinance and Immigration Ordinance. The name on the charge sheet was Langley Coleman, Russell Adam. Mr Coleman is known professionally as Russell Coleman but he said Langley was in the full name on his identity card. Under association rules, barristers convicted of a criminal offence involving dishonesty or 'which may bring the profession into disrepute' must report the conviction to the Bar Council. There have been 12 complaints against barristers lodged so far this year and of those, three were referred to the tribunal - an independent panel of three people who investigate and act as prosecutors if necessary.