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Convicted lawyer working in courts

A barrister has continued to represent clients as he waits to be jailed for stealing thousands of pounds from his own chambers.

One MP has pledged to raise the case of David Friesner in Parliament. Friesner, 46, appeared on January 12 at Leeds Crown Court, where he admitted stealing £81,500 from his own chambers. He will be sentenced on February 10 when he is likely to be jailed.

In the meantime, he was granted bail and was back in his gown and wig last week to represent a defendant who charged customers up to £155 in return for council tax reductions that often failed to materialise.

The 45-year-old was defended by Friesner at Bradford Crown Court where he admitted 14 consumer crimes. It was reported he was given a suspended nine-month prison sentence, 150 hours of community work and told to pay nearly £13,000 in court costs and refunds.

Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland will call for the loophole that allowed one criminal to represent another to be closed. He will raise the matter in the House of Commons.

In Friesner's case, he admitted taking the cash from 9 St John Street Chambers, Manchester, between October 1 2008 and November 25 2009. He denied a further count of stealing £13,453.75 from the Crown Prosecution Service but Simon Kealey, prosecuting, said these pleas were acceptable.

Manchester-based Friesner was the deputy head of the 9 St John Street Chambers in the city, when he left in 2009 following the allegations. He had been at the chambers for more than 14 years and was well known for his work in serious criminal cases at the city's two crown courts, especially as a prosecutor.

One of his areas of expertise was fraud and money laundering and he prosecuted a number of high profile fraud cases in the North West.

Baroness Deech, chair of the Bar Standards Board (BSB), said: "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."

Simon Lofthouse QC, chair of the Professional Conduct Committee added: "The BSB takes the most serious view of dishonesty, as reference to the published sentencing guidelines demonstrate. Our rules set out the procedures we can adopt in respect of such types of complaints which allow for due process in their application."

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