The "Del Boy" partner of a top legal firm was cautioned by his boss after holding hands with a junior lawyer who accused him of a sex assault two months later, a disciplinary tribunal was told.

Married Ryan Beckwith was warned to be "careful" and told "I think she likes you" by his boss following a works do which began with lunch at Raymond Blanc's Michelin starred Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons.

Beckwith, 41, claimed the senior partner wagged his finger at him on the night to stop him kissing the woman in her 20s after they were "inseparable" and seen holding hands.

But two months later, the woman alleged Beckwith groped her after he went to her flat with her in a taxi while she was "exceptionally drunk" from another works drinks.

She claims she woke naked in bed to find the partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP - one of the City's so-called Magic Circle of legal firms - telling her she had "nice tits" and asking for a condom before leaving after a call from his wife at 4am in July 2, 2016.

The father-of-one denied kissing the woman after an earlier "lavish" works bash at the world famous restaurant in Oxfordshire a few months prior to the other incident.

Mr Beckwith, who was born and grew up in Basildon, told the tribunal: "When I received that allegation and it was discussed as part of the firm's investigation, I racked my brain as to what they might mean and the only thing I could come up with is that I've a vague recollection of bending down as if to kiss her on the top of the head in a completely innocent way, as I do with friends and acquaintances and family members and have done that for years.

"The only thing I'm sure about is that I didn't kiss her on the top of the head in that way and I don't think she saw me going to kiss her on the head because there was no reaction to it.

"I certainly did not kiss her or go to kiss her or kiss her on the lips in the way she suggests."

Describing the "lavish" bash in Oxford, he said the team were celebrating a major project finishing and drank champagne from 11am on a hired private coach said to be used by Championship League football teams.

He said he stopped himself kissing her on the head after a more senior partner on his team, referred to as CM, "wagged his finger" at him after the group had gone to a London bar that night.

Asked why by his barrister Alisdair Williamson QC, he said: "I recall at some point in the evening CM, looking at me and wagging his finger and shaking his head and I've wondered if that registered with me that I needed to talk to him about something.

"I called him the next day and said I remember you wagging the finger and shaking the head and he said that Person A and I were spending a lot of time with each other.

"He said we were inseparable at the bar and said it's nothing to worry about so you just need to be a little but careful.

"I think I remember him saying at one stage we were walking ahead of us and holding hands, 'so you need to be aware that I think she likes you'."

He denied the woman's claims that he was so drunk he fell asleep at the bar, got into an "altercation" in a bathroom and she and her colleagues dumped him in the footwell of a black cab to go home that night.

Beckwith answered "no idea" when Mr Williamson asked him if he knew where his wife was that night, but claimed: "None of my colleagues know my home address.

"It's actually on the Knowledge which I understand is within a certain miles radius of Charing Cross and it's within that but it's on the outskirts. Very rarely do I find a cab driver who doesn't need some kind of direction to get to my specific road."

Confirming he had drunk Pina Coladas earlier that day at Raymond Blanc's hotel, he said: "It's a long standing joke that I have an Essex accent and Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses can only drink Pina Coladas so that's a drink that I would sometime have.

"Plus I actually love the taste of Pina Coladas."

Earlier Beckwith claimed the woman had made "untruthful and malicious" claims that he sexually assaulted her in her flat after accusing him of blocking her for promotion, which he said was "ridiculous".

He denied there was a "hard-core drinking" culture at his team. He admits having sexual activity with the woman in the July incident but has branded her allegation of sexual assault a "complete fabrication".

The woman has admitted she was "disappointed" about not being promoted to a higher pay grade in her first year after qualifying as an associate years before the alleged assaults.

Beckwith said: "It's ridiculous. I was a good appraisal partner and if my appraisees had concerns I would make sure I would listen to those concerns.

"I don't recognise at all the suggestion that I was somehow underprepared for appraisals meetings or I was blocking promotion or whatever else that's being alleged.

"I took the role seriously and I took the view that I was a good at the role. The bottom line is my thoughts about promotion and non-promotion were one of six partners in the team.

"Actually as the youngest partner in the team, it was arguable that my view on someone was slightly less relevant than the more senior partners.

"I will use that word, it's ridiculous."

He told the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal that the pay rise she wanted was "rare" a year after qualifying as an associate and that his team in the firm had a "very collegiate" culture.

He said: "Although it's possible for a newly qualified associate to work for a year and move up the gradings and be promoted, it's rare."

Beckwith denies breaching professional standards of failing to act with integrity and behaving in a way that brings his profession into public disrepute.

Giving her emotional account of what happened, the woman told the tribunal, she denied she had "instigated" the incident, in July 1, 2016 by Riel Karmy-Jones QC, representing the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.

Barely able to speak, the woman said: "I was too drunk to know what was going on and decide what I wanted. I really regret being that drunk obviously, because this awful thing happened to me but it's true, I'm telling the truth."

The tribunal was told that in November of that year, she sent an email to Beckwith saying he "took advantage" of her when she had too much to drink.

It stated: "It must have been obvious that I was too drunk, I could hardly walk, I couldn't open my front door.

"The fact that you still in the circumstances thought that it was okay to have sex with me is genuinely troubling.

"I'm worried that you had done it before and you might do it again.

"I don't remember that detail of what happened which in itself is very difficult for me."

Beckwith, who has admitted sexual activity took place in the July incident, is currently on indefinite leave from the chambers after an internal investigation by the firm saw him receive a final written warning.

Dad-of-one Beckwith has branded her allegations a "complete fabrication" and denies breaching professional standards of failing to act with integrity and behaviour that brings his profession into disrepute.

The hearing was adjourned.

The next witness is expected to the be the woman's flatmate.

The hearing continues...