David Sherborne: the star lawyer of “Wagatha Christie” followed by a celebrity | Straight

Perhaps the closest UK courtroom came to the film’s famous last act some good men – “I want the truth!” “You can’t handle the truth!” — was on a late February afternoon during the 2012 Leveson survey of press standards. In the role of Tom Cruise – the arrogant, overpaid, hypersexual and overeducated lawyer – was “star lawyer” David Sherborne. Taking on the role of Jack Nicholson’s grizzled Colonel, was the explosive furious Daily Mail publisher Paul Dacre.

Sherborne, then 43, boyish, tanned and sporting metropolitan bouffant hair, clearly represented everything Dacre despised. The lawyer asked the publisher to talk about two To post stories involving the private life of his client, Hugh Grant – and to insinuate the surest issue to bring Dacre closer to a coronary: the idea, still fiercely denied, that his journalists were involved in phone hacks. As Sherborne pressed his point, with as much stubborn insubordination as he could muster, Dacre grew increasingly apoplectic, fists clenched, teeth gritting, apparently doing all he could to contain one of the swear-laden rants that her colleagues liked to call “the vagina monologues.” “: “I’m not going to speculate! hissed the editor. “I’m not going to be taken in by your insinuations, Mr. Sherborne!” I have clarified my position and I will not deviate from it!

Sherborne with Sienna Miller outside the Leveson Inquiry in 2011.
Sherborne with Sienna Miller outside the Leveson Inquiry in 2011. Photography: Shutterstock

Neither of the two men has forgotten this meeting. In the months following the publication of Lord Leveson’s report, the Daily Mail conducted one of its trademark inquiries into Sherborne’s private life. The “Loveson Inquiry” reported that the “twice-divorced” lawyer was in a relationship with the junior lawyer acting for Leveson – Carine Patry Hoskins (“the thinking man Pippa Middleton”) – who had left her husband, a QC.

The couple denied their relationship began during the investigation, which could have raised conflict of interest issues, despite vacationing in Santorini together. Dacre To post the editorial was not convinced. “Frankly, this case shows how incestuous, self-righteous and hypocritical the legal profession can be… [the] Draconian judge-led privacy laws, super injunctions, defamation rules that make Britain the defamation capital of the world, and the explosion of the culture of compensation without gain or cost can all be put on their doorstep.

By the time of Leveson, Sherborne had already become a richly rewarded beast black of the tabloid press, helping, as a junior, win the landmark 2003 confidentiality case for Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones against Good morning! and acting in Max Mosley’s successful 2008 lawsuit against the World News. The publicity surrounding the “Loverson” case – from the paparazzi to the attorney’s doorstep – seemed to convince celebrities and Hollywood clients that he was one of them.

Sherborne’s client list includes Elton John, Harry Styles, Kate Moss and Sienna Miller. During his unsuccessful libel suit against the Sun in 2020, more austere colleagues apparently took a dim view of Sherborne client Johnny Depp greeting him with a man hug on the court steps.

Yet when Coleen Rooney was forced to defend herself in court in Rebekah Vardy’s horribly misguided “Wagatha Christie” libel suit, there was only one man she was likely to call. Watching Vardy’s cross-examination by Sherborne over three days in Court 13 of the High Court, London, was witnessing the best and worst of his style, which fellow lawyers describe as a blend of “undoubted charm “, “showboating” and “frequently pissing”. away from the judge.

Johnny Depp kisses Sherborne outside the Royal Courts of Justice in 2020.
Johnny Depp kisses Sherborne outside the Royal Courts of Justice in 2020. Photography: James Veysey/REX/Shutterstock

If you listened to it with your eyes closed, which became more tempting as the proceedings progressed, it often sounded dangerously close to parody. peep showby David Mitchell, in one of his craziest tirades. Still, you can see why actors like Grant and Depp admire his talents. He can deliver a killer line. Although ostensibly in favor of confidentiality, Sherborne rarely seemed troubled in providing easy tabloid headlines.

He kicked off his dismantling of Vardy’s belief that only communicating “her truth” mattered, asking, about an interview she gave, “Do you [therefore] is particularly convinced that the size of [Peter Andre’s] manhood should be made public? At some point on Thursday, he paused for a moment in examining the semantics of Vardy’s Whatsapp messages to give due weight to his documented reaction when she found out Rooney had blocked her on Instagram. . “Wow,” he quoted saying, in his most clipped tones. “What a jerk”.

Sherborne, the son of a criminal QC, privately educated in Hampstead (at the same school as scholarship holder Dacre) and Oxford, can play the fusty Rumpole card: “What does FFS stand for?” he asked Vardy at one point, sounding taken aback by the ways of the modern world when she spelled it.

A few times, like when Vardy was reduced to tears as she contemplated the self-destructive folly of taking this case to court, you wondered who exactly were the more theatrical elements of Sherborne’s performance for. There is no jury to flatter and amuse. The judge, Mrs Justice Steyn, showed about as much willingness to smile at her punchlines as the Queen faced Jimmy Carr at the end of an overly long Royal Variety Show. The only straighter face in court belonged to Wayne Rooney, who has so far pulled off the admirable feat of staring halfway while deciding whether to button or unbutton his too-tight jacket.

The business – tearful, ridiculous, lucrative – continues.

Leave a Comment