A barrister awaiting sentencing after admitting stealing £81,500 from his former chambers represented a client two days ago in Bradford Crown Court, Legal Cheek can exclusively reveal.
Earlier this month, on Thursday 12 January, David Friesner (pictured) was told by a judge to expect a “substantial” prison sentence, and handed unconditional bail until 10 February. Yet on Wednesday Friesner represented Jack Henry – a businessman who duped householders into paying to cut their council tax bills – in a sentencing hearing at Bradford Crown Court.
Despite Friesner pleading guilty to the main charge against him at his trial on 12 January, the Bar Standards Board (BSB) has delayed commencing its disciplinary procedures against him until his prosecution has been fully concluded, leaving the disgraced barrister free to continue practising as a sole-practitioner until he is sentenced.
Friesner has operated in this way since leaving Nine St John Street Chambers in 2009 amid the allegations of theft. The police investigation against him began in July 2010, with Friesner first appearing before magistrates to face charges in March 2011. A spokesperson for the BSB said: “It is standard procedure to delay commencing our disciplinary procedures until the final verdict in a case has been issued by the criminal courts.”
Friesner’s decision to continue practising in the run-up to his sentencing next month is believed to be unusual for a barrister convicted of a crime, and may lead to questions as to why the BSB failed to invoke an interim suspension order against him.