Judge criticises lawyer for 'Harry Potter' appearance
- 29 August 2014
- From the section Wales
A judge has criticised a lawyer for appearing in court looking like "something out of Harry Potter".
Long-haired Alan Blacker appeared with St John Ambulance medals and ribbons on his breast during a trial in Cardiff Crown Court.
Judge David Wynn Morgan also questioned Mr Blacker's right as a solicitor advocate to wear the robes and wig of a barrister.
Mr Blacker said he was "very upset" the judge had questioned his credentials.
He had been defending minibus driver Andrzej Wojcicki, jailed for five years after being found guilty of causing the death of a cyclist by dangerous driving in Caerphilly county.
During the trial, Mr Blacker had used the name Lord Harley, saying it was an Irish peerage inherited from his father.
But Judge Morgan was unimpressed by his appearance and after the trial told him: "If you want to look like something out of Harry Potter you can forget coming to this court ever again."
He added: "I have been practising in these courts since 1978 and I have never seen a barrister or solicitor appear before these courts wearing a medal or with badges sewn onto his gown.
"Here in south Wales we had a barrister, who later became a judge, who had won during the Battle of Normandy the highest order of gallantry in a Victoria Cross.
"Did you ever see him wearing a medal? He would have considered it the height of vulgarity for such a thing to be done.
"If you ever appear before this court again dressed as you are I shall exercise my right to decline to hear you."
'Hurt me deeply'
Speaking after the case, Mr Blacker, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, said: "My qualifications, status and offices were brought into disrepute and I was personally very upset by the comments made towards me.
"I am shocked to the core that my position has been questioned - which is I feel reflective of the sacrifice of thousands of men who have died for the freedoms that are referred to in the title of Lord Harley for almost 1,100 years.
"For His Honour to have criticised me in such a way has hurt me deeply.
"I cannot say any more for legal reasons but I am deeply upset for what I consider were baseless and unjustified comments.
"I asked to see the judge in his chambers afterwards and he declined and now I have to take advice on the matter.
"My bona fides are beyond any reproach."
However, St John in Wales said Lord Harley is not a member of the Order of St John and it had contacted the police over the issue.
Chief executive Keith Dunn said: "He is not entitled to say that he is a Knight of the Order of St John and the dignities that appertain to membership.
"We have asked the chief constable for South Wales Police to investigate this matter and St John will be taking legal action if necessary."