Martha Tryers posted the following as a comment on my post about Mr Di Stefano. Her detailed look at the trial deserves a post of its own, so here it is.
Many thanks Martha.
I attended much of di Stefano’s trial at Southwark Crown Court as a paralegal Researcher. Fortunately for him he got a fair and compassionate Judge who took pains to ignore the criticisms/bad feelings and rumours that circulated daily about di Stefano, and afforded him every courtesy and protection in Law throughout the 7 week trial.
Another Judge might well have allowed the daily gamut di Stefano had to run from media and victims alike, but Judge Alistair McCreath ruled against any intimidatory interference or media reference from the start.
In his summing up McCreath put ‘both’ sides of each charge to the jury: prosecution and defence. He is a clear, self-effacing, balanced and communicative judge who patronizes no-one but respects everyone.
If you read through his sentencing narrative you find that great weight was put on the innocent victims of di Stefano’s consistent and flagrant ‘cons’; people such as Robert Brown ( who lost not only all his money but his home and employment), Joyce Musgrove, ( a Pensioner who gave di Stefano her entire life savings of £75k for the purchase of her son-in-law’s home,) and the young man who lost his arm in a coach crash while on holiday in Argentina and whose insurance claim was unfortunately ( and fraudulently) taken up by di Stefano who pocketed the £150k paid by the Insurance Company for the loss of the limb.
At no point throughout his protracted trial did di Stefano show any regret, remorse or apology for any of his crimes. Throughout the trial he was on bail and frequently asked for days off for hospital/medical appointments. One such ‘hospital appointment’ was spent in an Internet cafe with his son in Camden! One can only speculate as to what they were doing.
While di Stefano remained ‘in role’ throughout his own trial and sentencing, ” I’m much obliged, my Lord!” – he has much to actually fear while incarcerated from the families and friends of many of his jailed clients, such as Paul Bush, whom di Stefano ripped off on false promises of representation at Appeals where no Appeals were forthcoming, after stiffing them for £1,000′s.
A person who finds themselves convicted of a serious crime has the right to an Appeal, whether actually guilty or innocent. Wrongly convicted people see that Appeal as their hope of justice and without it they face years of imprisonment, ruin and the disintegration of their family life. Rightfully convicted people see that Appeal as another bite at the cherry which might successfully lead to a reduction in sentence – but what have they got to lose by asking for an Appeal anyhow? So the right to seek an Appeal is there for everyone. Ironically in most instances, criminal Appeals are legally funded! But di Stefano doesn’t do pro bono work! His modus operandii was to promise, impress, assure victory, take as much money off the Appelant’s family as quickly as possible before disappearing. He has a catalogue of vicious threats in the form of emails, letters and texts to anyone daring to ask for their money back. He claimed he had judges in his pocket, decisions agreed behind closed doors, influence with the Appeal Court itself etc., and desperate people believed him.
The jury sat for the sentencing and listened to the two new charges put to di Stefano before sentencing; the Brown case and the Insurance theft case. In a plea bargain, di Stefano pled Guilty to both from the dock. The jury literally had their breath taken away at his audacity; his Guilty pleas to these two charges earned him a 1/3rd reduction in sentence were he to have been found guilty of each charge at a further trial. He had wasted weeks denying every one of the 25 charges he was guilty of. He has left 100′s of ordinary, innocent people ruined emotionally and financially, and made enemies both inside and outside prison.
Hopefully more of his victims will now have the courage to come forward and lets see what di Stefano comes up with at his inevitable Appeal. Its easy to say he’s a nutcase and lives in a fantasy and cannot see the reality of what he is doing. His self absorption with his self appointed role indicates a psychopathic personality which makes him far more dangerous than many of those people whom he (mis) represented in the past. His access to Twitter and such like while in prison affords him privileges many do not share! As for his victims – they are still awaiting their privilege and right to Justice.
Sadly, there are many such deluded and dangerous ‘lawyers’ operating the same sort of scan, though at lower profile levels than the di Stefano ego. I can only urge victims to come forward bravely and help get these bogus psychopaths off the streets.
It took the City of London Police 7 years to track down 25 charges against di Stefano across Europe. Everyone in Southwark Crown Court was left with the feeling last week that that’s just ‘the tip of the iceberg’. Victims feel ‘stupid’ for having been taken in by di Stefano, or simply cannot believe they have been so duped so completely.
His ‘Proceeds of Crime’ assessment is in process but no doubt he has assets and other victims in the pipeline. That is the nature of the man.
Anyone who thinks the sentence is funny or unjust – try to put yourself in the position of the young man who lost his arm, or Mrs Musgrove who lost her life savings, or Mr Brown who lost his home, job and savings. Couldn’t happen to you?
Posted by Martha Tryers