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London - Watching pornography at work is not an activity many would even consider … let alone risk carrying out.

But one high-flying City lawyer thought he could get away with it in the privacy of his office.

However, what he didn’t take into account was the neighbouring legal firm, which was just 30ft away on the other side of a narrow lane.

The small gap between the top law firms’ swanky offices apparently gives occupants a front-row view of whatever their rivals are doing.

With his back to the window, the senior lawyer was unaware that his private viewing choice was in fact very public and obvious to a rival at the other legal firm.

The second man had a clear view of the desk and work computer screen of the partner at Hogan Lovells. He used a mobile phone to film his rival’s activity and reported it.

On Friday the unseemly affair had sparked a war of words after the partner, earning a six-figure salary, was suspended for watching an "adult" film and will face an investigation.

However, the actions of the lawyer at rivals Irwin Mitchell in tipping off the HR department situated just across Shoe Lane, central London, have attracted as much – if not more – outrage.

According to legal news website RollOnFriday: "On Monday morning, a lawyer with Irwin Mitchell, whose London office is separated from Hogan Lovells by a narrow lane, looked out of their window and straight into the partner’s office.

"Sources told RollOnFriday that the Irwin Mitchell lawyer was shocked to see the Hogan Lovells partner watching porn at his desk, with his back to the window.

"The Irwin Mitchell lawyer filmed the absorbed partner on a mobile phone, sources told RollOnFriday, and sent the footage to Hogan Lovells’ lawyers. It then made its way to the firm’s HR."

But among legal eagles commenting on the story online yesterday, sympathies were more with the suspended lawyer. One wrote: "I am more concerned that Irwin Mitchell lawyers think it’s OK to snoop into the office on another solicitor and that they could see the computer screen!"

Another wrote: "A silly thing to do, but the one who reported him and possibly cost him his career is the bigger t***er."

Hogan Lovells said: "We were made aware of an individual in our office misusing their computer to watch adult material.

"Such behaviour is unacceptable and we have suspended them pending a full internal investigation."

Asked how the partner avoided the firm’s internet firewall, the spokesman added: "We didn’t block access to websites unless they represented a cybersecurity risk, for example they have malware on them.

"The nature of our work for clients sometimes means we need to carry out investigations in areas which require us to have flexible access."

Irwin Mitchell has declined to comment.