Bakers trainee joins Twitter joke trial team

A Baker & McKenzie trainee solicitor has come on board Paul Chambers’ legal team in the so-called ‘Twitter Joke Trial’.

Victoria Dockrell, who is only in her second seat in Bakers’ IP group, is handling the work pro bono and has joined leading human rights barrister Ben Emmerson QC of Matrix Chambers who is leading a three-strong legal team as the case goes to appeal.

Bakers partner Tom Cassels, who has provided the defence with pro bono expert assistance, said: “She [Victoria] jumped at the chance to do it. It’s not often a trainee gets to work with people such as David [Allen Green], Ben Emmerson and Stephen [Ferguson] and have the opportunity to learn key skills from them.”

“It will be phenomenal experience, enormous fun, and so exciting to work on something that is as cutting edge in terms of law; it is an important case and has so much public attention,” added Cassels . “There is nothing more interesting than seeing the consequence of your work on the front pages.”

As reported on TheLawyer.com (30 September), several City media lawyers have also provided the defence with pro bono expert assistance, most notably Andrew Sharpe at Charles Russell (himself a leading Twitterer), and Ted Mercer at Edwin Coe.  Libel lawyers and free speech campaigners Robert Dougans of Bryan Cave and Joanne Cash of One Brick Court are also helping the defence behind the scenes, including as trustees of the support fund.

Former Bakers trainee and head of media law at Preiskel & Co, David Allen Green, who has been instructed on the case was responsible for asking the City firm for some trainee resource.

Dockrell is regularly involved in the firm’s pro bono work and is helping with Bakers’ charity events run by its Make A Difference Committee. She is also a member of the social committee and graduate recruitment development liaison committee.

Chambers’ case, a former accounts manager in motor trade, convicted of ‘menace’ for threatening to blow up an airport in a Twitter joke, was originally brought by Doncaster Magistrates’ Court this summer.

Chambers’ appeal to Doncaster Crown Court last month failed but he reserved a decision on a further appeal after the rebuff at Doncaster in part because of the cost.

In addition to Emmerson, Chambers is also receiving advice from Stephen Ferguson of 2 Bedford Row who took on the Doncaster appeal and 2 Hare Court barrister Sarah Przybylska who appeared at the Crown Court hearing.