David Evans allegedly wore a wig and gown to pose as 'senior advocate' in Plymouth crown court
A man donned a wig and gown to pose as a barrister and represent a friend in a drugs case though he had no legal qualifications, a court was told.
David Evans, 57, appeared at Plymouth crown court in Devon and told officials he was a "senior advocate" at a London law firm and was acting for cannabis farmer Terry Moss.
But the judge, Stephen Wildblood, became suspicious after Evans allegedly made a series of legal blunders. Wildblood asked Evans about his qualifications only be told he had none, it was alleged.
Evans is appearing at another crown court, Bristol, this time in the dock accused of impersonating a barrister.
Called by the prosecution, Wildblood told the court Evans's appearance struck him immediately as strange. 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."
The hearing centred on a proceeds of crime application against Moss, who had been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for growing ?68,000 worth of cannabis at his home in Cornwall.
Evans, from Penarth in south Wales, 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."
He added it was also "hopelessly wrong" that Evans had tried to suggest the conviction of Moss was invalid because the plants were not properly defined as cannabis.
Appearing in court in a blue suit rather than his gown and wig, 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 Evans.
When the hearing reconvened, he quizzed 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.
He 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 of audience". He denies both charges.
The court was told that Evans and Moss met while in prison.
Kenneth Bell, prosecuting, told the jury 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 he could not conduct litigation on the part of Mr Moss.
"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."
The trial continues.