Barrister reprimanded for “offensive” tweets aimed at colleague

Bennett: £500 fine

A barrister has been reprimanded for allowing a Twitter account with which he was associated to send “inappropriate and offensive” tweets to a colleague at the same chambers.

Daniel Bennett has also been fined £500 for seven tweets directed at Adam Wagner over nine months in 2018-19.

Mr Bennett – a solicitor turned barrister who specialises in personal injury – resigned from high-profile London set Doughty Street Chambers in 2019 after his role in the @arrytuttle account was uncovered.

Known as Harry Tuttle, the name of a character played by Robert De Niro in the film Brazil, the now-deleted account was apparently characterised by aggressive support for Jeremy Corbyn and attacks on Jewish people questioning antisemitism in the Labour Party.

As well as Mr Wagner, a fellow Doughty Street tenant, the account went after other prominent Jewish barristers David Wolfson QC of One Essex Court – who subsequently became Lord Wolfson when he was appointed a minister at the Ministry of Justice – and Simon Myerson QC of St Pauls Chambers in Leeds.

Other targets were David Collier, a blogger, researcher and campaigner against antisemitism, TV presenter Rachel Riley, and actress Tracy Ann Oberman.

Those three sued Mr Bennett, claiming they were each the victim of a campaign of defamation and harassment conducted by the operator of the account. As part of that, in 2020 the High Court ordered Mr Bennett to hand over details of who else had access to the @arrytuttle account. The case has since settled on a confidential basis.

The full ruling of the Bar Tribunal & Adjudication Service has not yet been published but a Bar Standards Board summary said Mr Bennett “allowed to be tweeted, inappropriate and offensive tweets towards AW, another barrister, from the Twitter account ‘@arrytuttle’”.

The tweets included that Mr Wagner was “a lying propagandist who brings shame on our entire community with his smears” – Mr Bennett himself is Jewish – and that all of his “antisemtism (sic) stories are fraudulent. And he knows it”.

Another tweet, responding to one from Mr Wagner, said: “Every day platformed jews from the self-appointed ‘mainstream’ direct hatred at leftist Jews. Every day they misrepresented facts. Every day they pretend that leftist jews are antisemitic. All this for factional political gain. It’s the vilest and sickest trait in modern politics.”

There was also one that described Mr Wagner as “an absolute danger and a hater of leftist jews. Would not go near him with a barge pole”.

Mr Wagner tweeted on Friday: “This has all been incredibly stressful as you might imagine so I’m not going to say anything more about it for now.” But he urged others not to direct any personal abuse at Mr Bennett. “Two wrongs don’t make a right, and neither do three or four.”

The tribunal decision remains open to appeal. Mr Bennett’s LinkedIn profile simply describes him as “self-employed”.

    Readers Comments

  • Nicholas O'Brien says:

    Another long delay for a decision by BTAS
    A simple case to decide.
    3 years to wait for a decision, even if Covid-19 caused further delay

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