'Devil's advocate' faces prison time

By James Barnes

28 March 2013 at 12:15 BST

A self-styled lawyer who assumed the nickname 'Devil's advocate' for defending 'unwinnable' cases despite having no legal qualifications is facing jail time after being found guilty of 25 offences of deception, fraud, money laundering and forgery.

'Devil's advocate' guility of multiple offences

Giovanni Di Stefano, 57, described himself as an ‘avvocato’ despite not being registered in Britain or Italy, and even persuaded a judge to rule that he was a lawyer, reports The Telegraph.
Di Stefano, who represented infamous criminals such timeshare fraudster John 'Goldfinger' Palmer and property tycoon Nicholas Van Hoogstraten, was found guilty by a jury at London’s Southwark Crown Court. The jury found that he used his false qualifications and reputation to steal almost £1million from ten clients.

Represent the Devil

The court was shown a 2004 BBC documentary – ‘Notorious: The Devil's Advocate’ -  in which Di Stefano claimed the conviction of mass murderer Harold Shipman's was ‘absolutely outrageous’ and suggested he would represent Adolf Hitler and the Devil if he could.
Prosecutor David Aaronberg QC said Di Stefano was no more a qualified lawyer than he was a ‘surgeon qualified to perform surgery or pilot qualified to fly an aeroplane’.


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