A man dressed in court attire to impersonate a lawyer so he could represent a friend he met while in prison, a court has heard.
David Sydney Evans was rumbled when he appeared at Plymouth Crown Court in August 2010 on behalf of cannabis producer Terry Moss - who had twice sacked his legal teams. The 57-year-old, who also gained access to cells at the court, appeared at the hearing wearing a barrister's wig and a solicitor's gown, arousing the suspicion of real lawyers and the judge.
Bristol Crown Court heard Evans allegedly submitted official documents on headed paper stating he was representing Moss and outlining defence applications. He later appeared before Judge Stephen Wildblood QC who was due to oversee a confiscation order relating to the drugs produced by Moss.
Moss was jailed for four-and-a-half years after he admitted growing £68,000 worth of cannabis at his home in Cornwall.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Kenneth Bell told a jury of five men and seven women Evans was not a qualified barrister or solicitor but that was what he was "pretending to be".
Mr Bell said: "He knew perfectly well that he was not entitled to go to court, put on a solicitor's gown, put the collar and 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."
Mr Bell told the court the hearing on August 17 2010 had started but "it didn't take long" before Judge Wildblood had some "misgivings about Mr Evans".
It was after this that Evans was exposed but he was allowed to stay in court to represent Moss as a "McKenzie friend" - somebody who can assist a defendant in representing themselves in court.
Evans, of Culver Close, Penarth, south Wales, denies one count of carrying out a reserved legal activity when not entitled to do so and a count of wilfully pretending to be a person with a right of audience.
It is an offence to hold a "right of audience" - the right to appear before and address a court, including the right to call and examine witnesses - unless entitled to do so. The jury heard Moss was eventually ordered to pay £70,000 at a hearing in October 2010 - which was not attended by Evans, as he had already been arrested by police.