Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

Fake barrister jailed for fraud

A Teesside man who impersonated a barrister in a string of court cases has been sentenced to prison.

Ian Clegg, 32, of Cambridge Square in Middlesbrough, had earlier admitted taking part in hearings before both county court judges and magistrates.

Durham Crown Court was told he claimed to have been at barrister training college and was setting up a practice. He bought robes and a wig on eBay.

The judge described him as a compulsive liar and jailed him for two years.

He also made Clegg the subject of an Anti-social behaviour order upon his release banning him from claiming that he was legally qualified.

In November he pleaded guilty to two charges of impersonating a barrister and three charges of fraud, between September 2007 and April 2008.

Appear important

The court heard that he defended two people accused of motoring offences before Langbaurgh East Magistrates' Court in Guisborough and several debt cases in the local county court.

During his police interviews Clegg claimed he had completed a year of a law degree at the University of Teesside and was therefore allowed to conduct contract law work.

He told officers: "I am sorry for all the upset and aggravation that I have caused everybody."

Jailing Clegg, Judge Esmond Faulks said: "Over a period of months you pretended to all you knew to be a qualified barrister.

"You made a substantial number of claims and asked for costs and fees and it would appear that you conducted yourself in a very aggressive manner.

"I have read the psychiatric reports and I am satisfied that you are a compulsive liar and that you wanted to appear more important than you are and that's your primary motive rather than trying to feather your own nest."

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