Bogus Barrister, David Evans, Exposed After Walking Into Court In Wrong Robes
The friend of a crown court defendant donned a wig and gown to pose as his barrister - but was exposed by a series of "hopelessly wrong" legal submissions, a court heard.
David Evans, 57, brazenly strolled into Plymouth Crown Court and told the judge he was representing cannabis farmer Terry Moss in a Proceeds of Crime hearing, it was said.
He allegedly donned a long gown and wig, gained access to the advocates' dressing room and even visited his 'client' in the cells.
But Evans, who has no legal training, aroused the suspicions of Judge Stephen Wildblood, QC, because he was wearing the wrong robes.
Judge Wildblood, who has 34 years legal experience, grilled Evans after he made a serious legal assertions which were "wrong in an elementary way".
He asked Evans on his legal qualifications - and was stunned when the 'barrister' admitted he had "none", it is alleged.
Evans was later arrested and charged with "carrying out reserved legal activities when not entitled to" and "wilfully pretending to be a person with the right over audience".
Yesterday (Thurs) Evans - who denies both charges - appeared in the dock at Bristol Crown Court.
Kenneth Bell, prosecuting, told a jury of seven women and five men that Evans was "not naive" and had repeatedly pretended to the court that he was a trained barrister.
He said: "Mr Evans is not naive by any stretch of the imagination.
"He knew perfectly well that he was not entitled to go to court, put on a solicitors gown, put the collar and the bands on, put the wig on and stand in court to represent Mr Moss but he did so.
"At no time did Judge Wildblood know that Mr Evans was unqualified, he only found out after persistently asking Mr Evans to tell him about his qualifications."
Bristol Crown Court was told Evans pretended to be the 'legal representative' of Terry Moss after the cannabis farmer - who he met in prison - twice sacked his legal team.
Evans first wrote to Truro Crown Court on April 15 2010, describing himself as a "pro bono" member of counsel for Moss, the court was told.
He is said to have written again on May 20, giving a name of 'Criminal and Civil Defence Advocates', listing himself as a 'senior advocate'.
Evans then appeared with Moss at Plymouth Crown Court on August 17 2010, for a preliminary hearing.
He allegedly dressed in a barrister's gown and wig and used a fake business card to gain access to the cells to meet Moss.
His Honour Judge Wildblood told the jury how his suspicions were immediately aroused by Evans' dress.
He said: "I came in to see Mr Beal [prosecutor Jason Beal] robed as counsel and Mr Evans wearing what I thought was a solicitor's gown and a barrister's wig.
"Although there might be circumstances in which a solicitor may wear a wig, it struck me immediately as strange.
"I thought he was a barrister and I was therefore surprised that there was a conflict of court dress."
The hearing was adjourned and during the break, the judge contacted the Law Society and the Bar Council to see if they had a David Sydney Evans on their books.
They replied that they did not and Judge Wildblood decided to quiz Evans on his legal qualifications when the court re-convened.
He questioned Evans' submission that Moss could not have a hearing because he had been convicted of cannabis growing.
Evans also maintained that Moss' conviction was wrong because the 956 plants were simply "vegetation" and they had been weighed wet rather than dry, it is claimed.
Judge Wildblood told the jury: "These manifestations were wrong, completely wrong in an elementary way. It concerned me that points of that simplicity were being advanced."
The judge asked Evans what qualifications he had and was left "shocked" when he replied "none", the court was told.
Evans was asked to produce the law meaning he could represent Moss but allegedly said he could not because he was "embarrassed" he had forgotten his law book.
The hearing was adjourned until October 1 2010, when Moss appeared for his Proceeds of Crime hearing and had #70,000 removed from his assets.
Evans, of Penarth, South Wales, did not attend the hearing. He was later arrested by police when the judge called police.
In interview, Evans insisted Judge Wildblood "knew that he did not have any qualifications" and was "lying" if he suggested otherwise, it was claimed.
He denies the two charges against him and his trial continues.