Lawyer's court date over fund theft

By Jonathan Kalmus, February 18, 2011

A top lawyer is to face two charges of theft totalling £95,000.

David Friesner, one of Manchester's most highly regarded barristers, will appear before Leeds Magistrates' Court over £81,500 of missing funds at his former St John Street Chambers in Manchester.

He also faces a separate charge of stealing £13,500 which was paid to him by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The 45-year-old, who lives on Bury New Road in Prestwich, was questioned by officers from Greater Manchester Police's Economic Crime Unit in July last year but was not arrested or charged. The inquiry came after he was asked to leave his chambers following its own internal investigation.

Police were also passed a report of inconsistencies in Mr Friesner's chambers' funds during the time he was its deputy head. Now, after a year-long investigation, Greater Manchester Police have confirmed that Mr Friesner has been handed a court summons over the allegations.

In a statement, police said: "David Friesner, of Bury New Road, Prestwich, has been summonsed to appear before Leeds Magistrates' Court on March 3 2011 on two counts of theft, totalling around £95,000. In December 2009 the police received a report of financial irregularities at St John Street Chambers that was subsequently investigated by fraud investigators from the Economic Crime Section."

Mr Friesner has handled some of the north-west's most high-profile cases. His website says he is a specialist in cases of confiscation and asset recovery, complex fraud and money-laundering.

Last updated: 10:41am, February 18 2011