Criminal law: Man posed as barrister in a friend’s court case

Criminal law: Man posed as barrister in a friend’s court case

After his friend was arrested and charged with growing a huge stash of cannabis, David Evans decided to help him out by posing as a senior barrister, complete with wig and gown, to represent him at Plymouth Crown Court. Mr Evans represented his friend, even though he had no legal qualifications.

Mr Evans arrived at Plymouth Crown Court, and announced to officials that he was a senior advocate at a London law firm. He claimed to have been hired by Mr Terry Moss, who stood accused of running a cannabis farm in Cornwall.

Court clerks had no reason to disbelieve Mr Evans, and he was able to get into wig and gown and go before the judge to represent his friend.

However, the judge in the case, Mr Stephen Wildblood, became suspicious after Mr Evans made a series of blunders. His suspicions were instantly aroused as Mr Evans arrived wearing the gown of a solicitor, but with a barristers’ wig. Eventually, the judge was minded to ask Mr Evans directly what his legal qualifications were, at which time Mr Evans replied ‘none’.

The result of his actions is that now Mr Evans will appear at Bristol Crown Court charged with impersonating a barrister.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Justice Wildblood said:

“Although there may be circumstances in which a solicitor may wear a wig, it struck me immediately as strange. I was surprised to see the confusion of court attire.”

“Some of these manifestations were wrong, completely wrong in an elementary way that worried me,” he said. “There were three really fundamental and simple points he was trying to advocate that were hopeless” he added.

The court case concerned the proceeds of crime application against Mr Moss, who had been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for growing a substantial amount of cannabis at his home in Cornwall.

Mr Justice Wildblood returned to court in a blue suit, rather than his gown and wig to inform the court that he was adjourning proceedings. He then proceeded to investigate Mr Evans on the internet, and by calling the Bar Council and the Law Society. Upon return he decided to quiz Mr Evans in order to ‘flush him out’.

“I asked him to show me where he was taking his law from” said Mr Wildblood.

Mr Evans finally admitted that he had no qualifications. He was then arrested and charged with carrying out legal activities when not entitled to and wilfully pretending to be a person with the right of audience. Mr Evans denies all charges.

Read more on the story (The Guardian)

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