And now for something a little less serious, from this week’s Scottish Legal news:
A man with a “grandiose sense of self-importance” who was found guilty of impersonating a lawyer after he appeared in court donning a wig and gown to represent a friend he met in prison has been jailed for 18 months.
David Evans spent time in the advocates’ dressing room and managed to trick his way into the cells to visit his “client”, Terry Moss, a convicted cannabis farmer.
But the 57-year-old was rumbled when he appeared at Plymouth Crown Court in August 2010 wearing a barrister’s wig and a solicitor’s gown and made a series of “hopelessly wrong” legal submissions. The judge then questioned Evans about his legal qualifications and he admitted he had none.
Jailing him, Mrs Justice Laura Cox said: “The planning of this enterprise was entirely yours, it was your decision to style yourself as a senior advocate. You are a complex and clearly intelligent man … you have a grandiose sense of self-importance. You have exhibited no remorse and you have no appreciation that you did anything wrong.”
A jury at Bristol Crown Court had earlier found Evans guilty of “carrying out a reserved legal activity when not entitled” and “wilfully pretending to be a person with a right of audience”, after also hearing he had previous convictions for a similar offence.
He was serving a sentence for obtaining money by deception at Dartmoor prison when he met cannabis producer Terry Moss, the man he tried to represent during a proceeds of crime hearing.
Through his barrister Evans, who did not give evidence during his trial, tried to claim he was representing Moss as “lay counsel”. Having sacked two separate legal teams, Moss was “desperate” for someone to represent him and Evans was simply trying to “help a friend”.
But the court heard that Moss had agreed to pay Evans £1,000 a month plus expenses to represent him. Moss’s relatives bought Evans a solicitor’s gown, barrister’s wig and legal books.
The court was also told that the conman, who had no legal training, had sent a number of headed letters to Truro and Plymouth crown courts while he was still in prison stating he was a “senior advocate” at a London law firm.
However, Judge Stephen Wildblood had some “misgivings about Mr Evans”.
He 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.”
The judge became more concerned having read written submissions from Evans.
He added: “Some of these manifestations were wrong, completely wrong, in an elementary way that worried me. There were three really fundamental and simple points he was trying to advocate that were hopeless.”
Evans had denied both charges against him, but the jury took 30 minutes to convict.
I suppose the question is why would anyone want to impersonate a lawyer??