David Evans, previously jailed for impersonating a psychologist, tried to represent cannabis farmer he befriended in prison
A man who donned a wig and robe to pose as a barrister and represent a friend in a crown court case has been found guilty of impersonating a lawyer.
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.
Evans was caught out because the presiding judge in the confiscation hearing noticed his outfit was not quite right and his legal submissions were "hopelessly wrong". The judge questioned Evans about his legal qualifications and he admitted he had none.
During the trial at Bristol crown court it emerged that Evans, 57, from Penarth, south Wales, had previously impersonated a clinical psychologist and had eight consultations with four patients. He was jailed for that deception and met Moss in Dartmoor prison in Devon.
Later, when Moss was brought before Plymouth crown court for a proceeds of crime application while serving a sentence for growing ?68,000 of cannabis at his Cornish home, Evans appeared to represent him.
Evans told the court he was a "senior advocate" at a London law firm but the judge, Stephen Wildblood, became suspicious after he made a series of legal blunders.
Wildblood told the Bristol court that Evans's appearance struck him immediately as curious. He noticed that Evans appeared to be wearing a solicitor's gown but a barrister's wig.
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. "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."
Evans had tried to suggest no confiscation hearing could take place after conviction. "This is simplistically wrong," Wildblood said. "It is the sort of thing you just look up in a book."
It was also "hopelessly wrong", he said, that Evans had tried to suggest the conviction of Moss was invalid because the plants were not properly defined as cannabis.
Wildblood told the jury he adjourned proceedings and made inquiries about Evans both on the internet and by calling the Bar Council and Law Society, but could find no record of him. When the hearing reconvened, he pressed Evans on his legal knowledge. "I wanted to flush this out," he said. "I asked him to show me where he was taking his law from."
Asked to produce the references to the laws he was relying on, Evans told the judge he was "embarrassed" as he had forgotten his books. He eventually admitted he had no qualifications.
Evans was arrested and charged with "carrying out reserved legal activities when not entitled to" and "wilfully pretending to be a person with the right of audience". He denied both charges but the jury took 30 minutes to convict him. Evans will be sentenced at a later date.