A MAN who posed as a solicitor so he could bluff his way past officers at a police station has been jailed.
James Mangan showed no identification when he managed to dupe officers at Abingdon police station into believing he was legally representing a man detained on suspicion of domestic violence.
The 40-year-old and his friend John Evans, who were both intoxicated, were then given passes and strolled to the custody suite where they were allowed to speak to the arrested man, Keith Bailey.
Mangan admitted the charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice and being an unqualified person pretending to be a solicitor.
He appeared for sentencing at Oxford Crown Court yesterday.
Judge Patrick Eccles sentenced him to seven months in jail and banned him from driving for 12 months for other offences.
Tomas Quinn, prosecuting, said Mangan and 43-year-old Mr Evans had gone to the police station after Mr Bailey’s father told them he had been arrested on August 4 last year.
“Mr Mangan approached the counter and said Keith Bailey had been arrested and he was there to represent him,” said Mr Quinn.
“He said he was a solicitor from Mangan Solicitors and the person with him, Mr Evans, was a person who was in training (to be a solicitor).
“Passes were issued and they were taken to the custody suite where they had a conversation with the detained person.
“Officers became suspicious as they believed the detained person had not asked for a solicitor,” said the prosecutor.
Only then did the officers ask Mangan and Mr Evans for identification, which they could not produce, the hearing was told.
The entire episode was captured on CCTV with Mangan clearly telling officers he was a solicitor, said Mr Quinn.
The pair, both of Blue Mountains, Wallingford, drove to the nearby address of the complainant Gemma Brant, with Mangan attempting to use emotional pressure to get her to withdraw her complainant. Mr Evans and Mangan then drove her to the station, the hearing was told.
She gave evidence at a trial against Mr Bailey, who was later acquitted following a trial at Oxford Magistrates’ Court in January.
Graham Bennett, defending Mangan, said his client had not set out to evade the law and had gone to the police station because he knew Mr Bailey and Miss Brant.
“This was misguided loyalty and naivety,” he said.
Mangan also admitted a string of driving-related offences, including driving without a licence and insurance. He denied he had driven a vehicle without a test certificate. That matter will now be passed back to magistrates to decide what action, if any, should be taken.
The case against Mr Evans has been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.