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The 36 Group

Work 020 7421 8000
Fax 020 7421 8035
360 LDE
London, Singapore

Mary Prior

Work 020 7421 8000
The 36 Group (The 36 Group)


Mary practises exclusively in crime. She is a jury advocate. Sexual offences: Mary predominantly practises in the defence of offences of rape and serious sexual assaults. She regularly lectures on this area of law. Defence work demands through preparation and the confidence of the accused in counsel and in the difficult decisions that must be made. Nowadays investigative work is often essential to success. Mary is instructed in difficult cases, sometimes described as hopeless cases, but has a high success rate. Mary is regularly instructed where effective cross examination of a victim who is particularly vulnerable due either to mental disability or age is required. She specialises in cases where allegations are made many years after the event, where witnesses suffer from mental health or learning difficulties and instances of ‘recovered memory’. Mary is also instructed in allegations of rape or sexual abuse by parents, carers, spiritual leaders, teachers and hospital staff. Mary is instructed by the prosecution in complex cases of historical and multiple victim and defendant rapes, cruelty and sexual assault. Violence Mary also has substantial experience in cases where a child dies and the parents or carers are accused of murder or cruelty. Mary is acutely aware of the need for careful examination of social services records and medical expert reports. She is also instructed generally cases of murder and manslaughter. Conspiracy: Mary is also instructed to defend in cases which require detailed examination of large amounts of documentary, surveillance and telephone evidence. Her experience ranges from fraud, people smuggling to importation of drugs and other illegal substances Mary was a senior crown prosecutor until 1996 with particular responsibility for child abuse and fraud/serious corruption. She is instructed to prosecute cases which require care with vulnerable witnesses. R v H C (2010) lengthy defence trial. Prosecuted by Yvonne Coen QC defence of one of a large number of Asian males accused of the rape, assault and detention of a number of white and mixed race young girls who were looked after via the care system. Allegations were that they were drugged, repeatedly raped and that the rapes were filmed. Defendant was a university student and was positively identified as an attacker. Acquitted following half time submission. Issues: a) Bad character. b) Disclosure of social services records. c) Surveillance evidence and probes. d) Careful cross-examination of a vulnerable teenage girl. Solicitors Sakhi Solicitors, Leicester (Raza Sakhi). R v M Tocher and Others (2010) Defence of one of four accused of attempted murder. MT was the instigator and organiser of an attack which involved a violent assault and an attempt to set fire to the victim after he had been doused in petrol. Guilty plea to conspiracy to commit assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Sentence appealed without success. R v Marie Amanda Tocher [2010] EWCA Crim 3195. Solicitors Sakhi Solicitors, Leicester (Raza Sakhi). R v Whitlock (2010) defence of a male with mental health difficulties who was indicted with his girlfriend. He was found by the jury to have caused his baby daughter to sustain multiple fractures of the skull and permanent brain injury. Issues: a) Causation. b) Medical expert evidence. c) Social services and medical disclosure. Solicitors ZMS Solicitors, Leicester (Sunita Ruperall) R v P McGuire (2010) defence of an uncle accused of significant penetrative abuse of his 19 years old niece throughout her teens and sexual abuse of her 13 years old sister. Defence was that sexual activity with the 19 years old niece had only occurred when she was 16 years and above and that it was consensual and that no activity had occurred with the younger girl. There was also a suspicion of financial motive for the complaints. Acquitted. Solicitors Cartwright King, Leicester (Imogen Cox) R v K Vaghela (2011) defence of shopkeeper accused of rape of a customer following a drinking session. Issue consent. No comment interview. Defendant did not give evidence. Acquitted. Solicitors ZMS Solicitors, Leicester (Amar Mehta).


Called 1990; Gray’s Inn.


Anglia Ruskin University (LLB (Hons)); Inns of Court School of Law (BVC (Very Competent)).

Regional Bar : Midland Circuit


Within: Crime – Leading silks

Mary Prior QC - The 36 GroupVery experienced in handling cases involving vulnerable witnesses.

Within: Crime

London-based set The 36 Group houses members who practice across the Midland Circuit in cases involving cybercrime, human trafficking, homicide and serious sexual offences. In 2017 Mary Prior QC represented one of the defendants in R v Pendery and Crane regarding the murder of Carl Pask, who was beaten to death in his home.

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