Today in the House of Commons, Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland will call for the closing of a “ridiculous loophole” – exclusively revealed by Legal Cheek on Friday – that allowed a barrister who is awaiting sentencing for theft to represent a client in court
Avid Legal Cheek reader Mulholland told his local paper: “I was astonished when I found that a barrister had been allowed to carry on defending people having been convicted of a serious criminal offence. This is a ridiculous loophole that must be closed.”
Meanwhile, it has emerged that Bar Standards Board (BSB) chair Baroness Ruth Deech also loves to wile away her free time reading Legal Cheek.
Deech told the aforementioned local paper, which tried to pass off our story as their “exclusive”, that: “The Bar Standards Board is aware that David Friesner has continued to represent clients despite a recent criminal conviction and we share the concerns raised by barristers and the public.”
She added: “Whilst our rules do not allow us to comment on the actions we are taking with regard to individual cases, I can confirm we are acting within the procedures set down by our code of conduct having taken into account the presumption of innocence prior to conviction.”
Earlier this month, David Friesner was told by a judge to expect a “substantial” prison sentence, and handed unconditional bail until 10 February. Yet last Wednesday he 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 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.