Jurors see ‘Devil’s Advocate’ documentary

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An ITALIAN man who posed as a top lawyer and became known as The Devil’s Advocate for taking on “unwinnable” cases told a BBC documentary he would represent Hitler if he had the chance, a court heard yesterday.

Giovanni di Stefano, 57, who moved to Britain when he was five, also described Saddam Hussein as a “nice guy” and boasted of being asked to defend notorious killers such as Harold Shipman, Kenneth Noye and Linda Calvey in the programme, which was broadcast in January 2004.

Jurors at London’s Southwark Crown Court, where he is on trial accused of deception, fraud and money laundering, were shown the documentary which opens by describing him as the “scourge of the British legal establishment, hero of the British criminal establishment”.

“We enter Giovanni’s world for three months to discover why a man worth hundreds of millions would suddenly dedicate his life to emptying British prisons of their most notorious prisoners,” the narrator says.

One of his clients, controversial property tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten, who was serving ten years for the manslaughter of one of his associates at the time the documentary was made, is described by di Stefano as a childhood “idol”.