A trainee solicitor at Berwin Leighton Paisner has been reported to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) by ‘Save Leyton Marshes’ protesters who claim that he posed as an Evening Standard journalist to obtain information from them.
Stuart Stock, who is part of the Berwin Leighton Paisner team acting for the Olympic Development Authority (ODA), is alleged to have approached the activists at a campsite on the marshes claiming to be a journalist. The protesters also say that he attended a meeting where they discussed what arguments they would present in court in their fight against a training centre being built on Leyton Marshes.
But later, Stock is said to have appeared at the High Court as part of a legal team hired by the ODA to seek an injunction to remove the protesters.
Stock denies the claim. He told Legal Cheek:
“We believe there may be a case of mistaken identity. I will have to refer you to the firm’s communications team. I have no further comment.”
Caroline Day, the protester who reported Stock to the SRA, said:
“It’s actually bordering on being criminal. It’s extremely worrying. What we did was peaceful and lawful protest and that was criminalised through the courts, while its law team behaves in an underhand manner. It seems to be one rule for them and another for us.”
Berwin Leighton Paisner is backing Stock. A spokesperson for the firm said: “There is no truth whatsoever to the allegation that our employee held himself out as a journalist and if a complaint to the Law Society has been made we will cooperate fully with any investigation into our employee’s conduct so that this can be independently verified.”