Man jailed for impersonating a barrister

 

A man with a "grandiose sense of self-importance" has been jailed for impersonating a qualified barrister at crown court after he donned a wig and robe to represent a friend he met in prison.

David Evans strolled into Plymouth Crown Court dressed in court attire, gained access to the advocates' dressing room and visited his "client" in the cells.

However the 57-year-old was rumbled by the judge because of discrepancies in his clothing and a series of "hopelessly wrong" legal submissions.

A jury at Bristol Crown Court found Evans unanimously guilty of carrying out a reserved legal activity when not entitled and wilfully pretending to be a person with a right of audience.

Appearing at the same court, Mrs Justice Laura Cox DBE sentenced Evans to 18 months imprisonment after also hearing he had previous convictions for a similar offence.

Speaking directly to Evans, who works as an entertainer, the judge said: "You were convicted of two offences which reflected your sustained, deliberate and dishonest actions over the course of several months.

"You carried on the conduct of litigation on behalf of Terry Moss, appearing as an advocate on his behalf at the crown court when you were not qualified or authorised to do so.

"What you did was very serious and furthermore these offences are seriously aggravated by your previous conviction in 2005 when you falsely claimed to be a clinical psychiatrist."

It was while Evans was serving a sentence for obtaining money by deception at Dartmoor prison that he met cannabis producer Terry Moss, who he would go on to try to represent during a preliminary hearing for a proceeds of crime application.

"The evidence showed you manipulated him," Mrs Justice Cox said.

"The planning of this enterprise was entirely yours, it was your decision to style yourself as a senior advocate.

"You took advantage of Mr Moss who thought you were a genuine person.

"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."

Evans, of Culver Close, Penarth, South Wales, dressed in a grey suit, blue shirt and striped tie, and showed no emotion as he was taken down to the cells.

In mitigation Huw Evans, defending, said Mr Moss, having sacked two separate legal teams, was "desperate" for someone to represent him and Evans was simply trying to help a friend.

"Whatever psychological motives he (Evans) might have had, this was a man with an intellectual ability that was greater than those around him who was using his time to help them," Mr Evans said.

However the court heard that between 1978 and 2005 Evans had been convicted of 16 offences involving theft and fraud.

In 2005 he dishonestly obtained services from Werndale Hospital, near Carmarthen in Mid Wales, where he held eight consultations with four different patients pretending to be a clinical psychologist.

He had previously submitted a CV to the hospital stating he had nine GCSEs, a masters degree in psychology and previous employment with North Devon District Council.

While purporting to represent Mr Moss, a written agreement was made between the men stating Mr Moss would pay Evans £1,000 a month for his expenses and overheads.

Mrs Justice Cox said she was "satisfied" financial gain had formed part of Evans motivation for trying to represent Mr Moss in court.

Evans, 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".

In one letter he claimed his office would be "closed" until July 12 2010 - the date he was due to be released from Dartmoor prison.

Evans made several legal applications, asking for time extensions and adjournments and also sent a skeleton legal argument to the prosecution.

He even went to the length of getting Mr Moss's relatives to buy him a solicitor's gown, barrister's wig and legal books, before appearing in front of Judge Stephen Wildblood QC on August 17 2010.

During the trial Kenneth Bell, prosecuting, said Evans was "not naive" and had repeatedly pretended to the court that he was a trained barrister.

"He knew perfectly well that he was not entitled to go to court, put on a solicitor's gown, put the collar and the bands on, put the wig on and stand in court to represent Mr Moss but he did so," Mr Bell said.

Giving evidence, Judge Wildblood told the court Evans had made a series of legal assertions which were "wrong in an elementary way".

The judge, who sits in Truro, Plymouth and Exeter crown courts, went on to make inquiries of the Law Society and the Bar Council, which covers barristers, but found no record of Evans.

When he asked the man before him what his legal qualifications were, the judge told the court he was "stunned" when Evans admitted he had "none".

It was after this that Evans was exposed and subsequently arrested by police.

PA

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