And finally… winging it

An aircraft pilot who posed as a lawyer because he wanted a career change has been fined more than €2,700.

During a short-lived fake legal career, Nathaniel Whitehall appeared in court, signed documents describing himself as a solicitor and prepared wills for clients.

The 55-year-old from New South Wales, Australia, embarked on the bizarre con after his 20-year career flying for Qantas Airlines ended in disgrace in relation to drug use allegations.

Sydney Downing Centre Local Court heard that, at one point, Mr Whitehall told a magistrate that he had a practising certificate, but when pressed on the matter, admitted: “I guess I don’t then.”

He was convicted of eight offences after a trial in which he represented himself, and has now been fined a total of $4,500 AUD (around €2,700 or £2,300) and sentenced to a 12-month community correction order.

In a statement, the Law Society of New South Wales said: “The sentence imposed on Mr Whitehall today by the Local Court should serve as a deterrent to people tempted to falsely hold themselves out as being a lawyer and as a reminder of the consequences of such conduct.

“The Law Society of NSW will act wherever necessary in order to protect the public and clients of legal practices from conduct that undermines confidence in the law and legal process and falls below the high standards expected of the legal profession in this state.”

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