Accessibility Links

Judge hits out at 'Harry Potter' lawyer

Posted by: Laurence Simons 01/09/14

When a man is in court facing so serious a charge as death by dangerous driving, few would imagine that the focus would be on his lawyer and a childrens' film.

Yet that was the extraordinary situation that emerged when defence solicitor Alan Blacker turned up at Cardiff Crown Court sporting long hair, St John Ambulance medals and ribbons on his chest.

His appearance left Judge David Wynn Morgan fuming. He told Mr Blacker, who has used the inherited title of Lord Harley during the case: "If you want [to] look like something out of Harry Potter, you can forget coming to this court ever again.

"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."

Judge Morgan added that he knew of a Normandy veteran who had won the Victoria Cross before first becoming a barrister and then a judge in South Wales, but would have regarded it as "the height of vulgarity" to have worn his medal in a courtroom.

Mr Blacker/Lord Harley said afterwards that he was particularly "upset to the core" by the criticism and had asked to see the judge in chambers afterwards. However, he added, this request was refused, so he will now "take advice on the matter".

Whether this means seeking some advice on how to cast a spell on the wicked judge Voldemort, sorry, Morgan is unclear.

However, Lord Harley - or, to give him his full title, Dr The Right Honourable The Lord Harley of Counsel of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem - may yet decide to think twice about what to wear the next time he boards a train at platform 9 ¾ to travel to court.

After all, his wizardry did nothing for his client, who was found guilty and jailed for five years.