Crime in London Bar
The Crime (general crime) section covers criminal work that would typically come under the banner of violent and sexual offences, such as murder and rape at the most serious end, but also covers all manner of non-financial offending, such as modern slavery offences, the full range of terrorism offences, and significant drug and firearms supply conspiracies. This section includes both defence and prosecution work, as well as both privately and publicly funded work. It does not cover criminal fraud or corruption and sanctions-type offences: please see the Crime: fraud and Business and regulatory crime sections for coverage of those specialisms. International crime and extradition and POCA and asset forfeiture are also covered separately. That said, many barristers are likely to have practices that do not neatly fit within these boxes and so may be ranked in more than one practice area
Viewed as 'a first-class set of criminal chambers', 2 Bedford Row has 'strength in depth at all levels' and houses 'highly skilled and dedicated barristers'. Chambers is well known for prosecuting and defending in complex, high-profile criminal cases. Kieran Vaughan QC defended Yosef Ahmed, an 18-year-old man who was charged, alongside 22-year-old Kamal Hussain, with the murder of Zahir Visiter; the defendants attempted to evade arrest by hiding inside London Central Mosque in Regent's Park. Ahmed was acquitted of both murder and manslaughter, while Hussain was acquitted of murder but received a conviction for manslaughter. In another high-profile case, Louise Sweet QC and Alastair Smith defended a 16-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man, respectively, who were acquitted of the murder of 17-year-old Jodie Chesney. 2020 was a busy year for the set: Stan Reiz QC and Samuel Magee QC both took silk; Nick James joined the set from Furnival Chambers; William Clegg QC retired from practice.
2 Hare Court 'is an excellent chambers with a fine reputation in criminal law'. The set has established expertise in handling a range of prosecution instructions, and in the words of one client, 'its private prosecutions group is market-leading'. Recent instructions include Oliver Glasgow QC representing the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in R v Kirill Belorusov, in which the defendant was convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend and burying her body in the garden of her home. Turning to the juniors' unled work, Nneka Akudolu successfully represented Gheorghe Mihai, one of three defendants who was charged with gang rape. In recent news, March 2020 saw Leon Kazakos QC elevated to silk, while in September Kate Blackwell QC joined chambers.
25 Bedford Row is 'unrivalled as a criminal defence set', housing 'counsel with vast talent' and a track record of handling prominent publicly-funded cases, alongside a range of privately funded matters. In a recent highlight for the set, Diana Ellis QC, Adrian Eissa QC and Lisa Wilson defended a family charged with manslaughter, false imprisonment, and causing the death of a vulnerable adult, who died after being restrained and undergoing an exorcism; the family was acquitted of all charges. In recent chambers news, Melanie Simpson QC was elevated to silk in March 2020.
'A powerhouse of criminal advocacy', 6KBW College Hill is well known as 'a premier division prosecution set' with 'first-class counsel', but is also noted for its capabilities in handling defence instructions. Terrorism cases remain prominent in the team's caseload; Duncan Penny QC successfully prosecuted Hashem Abedi, who was convicted of 22 counts of murder in respect of the bombing at the Manchester Arena in 2017. In another matter, Duncan Atkinson QC and Ben Lloyd acted for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in the prosecution of Stephen Waterson and Adrian Hoare following the death of Hoare's three-year-old son from asphyxiation, allegedly due to being crushed by Waterson's car seat; Waterson was convicted of manslaughter, while Hoare received a two-year sentence for child cruelty. Also of note, Alistair Richardson, unled, prosecuted Tristan Morgan, a neo-Nazi who attempted to burn down Exeter Synagogue. Dorian Lovell-Pank QC retired from practice in January 2020.
'Outstanding set' QEB Hollis Whiteman 'is a class act, boasting a wealth of very strong talent' and possesses 'a deserved reputation in relation to both prosecution and defence'. In one high-profile case, Crispin Aylett QC prosecuted in R v Petrović and others, where four defendants were on trial for the murder of 17-year-old Jodie Chesney. Sexual offence cases are prominent in the team's caseload: Jocelyn Ledward and Orla Daly acted in R v Fingleton, where a film director was acquitted of the sexual assault of an actress in her home. Also of note, Eleanor Laws QC is representing the actor Johnny Depp in his libel action against News Group Newspapers and The Sun’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, for publication of an article in 2018 referring to Depp as a "wife-beater". In recent chambers news, Paul Raudnitz QC took silk in March 2020.
The 'superb' Red Lion Chambers 'is a top quality criminal set' with 'excellent barristers at every level'. The set reports an uptick in drugs and homicide cases, and continues to handle a high number of modern slavery, human trafficking and sexual offences matters. Riel Karmy-Jones QC defended Kelly King, the sole female defendant in a multi-defendant trial for the drugs-related murder of Courtney Valentine-Brown; King was acquitted of murder but received a conviction for manslaughter. Among the juniors, Serena Gates prosecuted members of a county lines drugs conspiracy, which involved the trafficking of children to supply drugs.
Doughty Street Chambers is 'an excellent set' with 'a huge range of very talented barristers'. Defence work is a core pillar of strength for the set, alongside its established capabilities in criminal appeals and terrorism cases. Katy Thorne QC led Kate O’Raghallaigh in defending Adrian Hoare against charges of manslaughter after her three-year-old son died from asphyxiation after being allegedly crushed to death behind a car seat; Hoare was acquitted of manslaughter but received a two-year sentence for child cruelty. Emma Goodall acted for Sajid Idris, who pled guilty to four counts of distributing terrorist material; he received a suspended sentence. Liam Walker and Benjamin Newton represented Alice Cutter and Mark Jones, respectively, who were convicted of being members of proscribed neo-Nazi group National Action in a retrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict in an earlier trial.
'Excellent set' Garden Court Chambers is noted for housing 'notable heavyweights in the Court of Appeal', and has established strength in defending in complex terrorism, sex offence and murder cases, particularly those involving vulnerable defendants. In a prominent case highlight, David Emanuel QC and Owen Greenhall represented Justin Lawrance in an appeal against convictions for rape due to lying about having a vasectomy. The Court of Appeal quashed those specific convictions on the grounds that lies about fertility were incapable of negating consent to sex; however, Lawrance will continue to serve sentences for other convictions for rape. In another matter before the Court of Appeal, Judy Khan QC represented Sterling Christie, Winston Trew, and George Griffiths, three members of the 'Oval Four' who were convicted in 1972 for alleged theft; their convictions were quashed after the court heard that the senior investigating officer in the case was found to be corrupt.
'Very strong set' Three Raymond Buildings is 'engaged in work of the highest calibre' and has 'a stellar line up of counsel'. Chambers is well known for its particular strength in defending police officers in criminal cases; in this space, Kevin Baumber represented a police officer who was acquitted on corruption charges following a large scale investigation and undercover surveillance. On the prosecution side, William Emlyn Jones prosecuted Gerald Matovu (who formerly sold drugs to convicted serial killer Stephen Port) and Brandan Dunbar, whose modus operandi was to meet men via gay dating apps, drug them and then steal from them; one victim was given a fatal overdose of the drug GHB, leading to Matovu's conviction for murder and Dunbar's conviction for fraud and assault, among other charges.
'A good set with quality counsel', 23 Essex Street prosecutes and defends across a wide spectrum of criminal work; recent instructions include drugs conspiracies, people trafficking, and murders. Mark Fenhalls QC successfully prosecuted Shofael Israel who was convicted of the murder of Joy Morgan, following Morgan's disappearance in 2018. On the defence side, Lisa Wilding QC acted for RAF pilot Tim Barry, who was acquitted of the alleged attempted murder of his girlfriend, instead receiving an 18-month community order for assault. Rossano Scamardella QC and Tom Godfrey represented Henry Long in a multi-defendant trial concerning the death of PC Andrew Harper in August 2019; Long pleaded guilty to manslaughter but was acquitted of murder in July 2020. Ahmed Hossain QC was elevated to silk in March 2020.
5 Paper Buildings is a 'very strong set, with excellent advocates at all levels'. Clients comment that 'the fact that their skill base covers most forms of regulatory work, as well as crime, means we have been able to turn to various different advocates for advice in areas outside our natural comfort zone'. Chambers continues to handle a range of matters, including high-profile cases, for both the defence and prosecution. In a recent highlight for the set, Deanna Heer prosecuted Jonty Bravery, who was convicted of attempted murder after he threw a 6-year-old boy from the tenth floor of the Tate Modern.
'A class outfit', 5KBW garners praise for its 'considerable strength in depth' and 'strong mix of prosecution and defence practitioners'. In a prominent highlight for the set, Sarah Forshaw QC and Natasha Wong QC represented Manuel Petrović and Aaron Isaacs, two of four defendants on trial for the murder of 17-year-old Jodie Chesney; Petrović was acquitted, while Isaacs received an 18-year sentence. Among the juniors, Louise Oakley (a recent arrival from 2 Bedford Row) acted as junior prosecution counsel in the “Lady in the Lake” Court of Appeal case, and Jonathan Polnay is acting for CPS Thames Valley in prosecuting four defendants for the alleged murder of PC Andrew Harper; three defendants were convicted of manslaughter in July 2020. In 2020 Charlotte Newell QC was elevated to silk. Clients highlight that she brings more to the table than any other barrister when it comes to representing youths charged with murder: 'She is able to explain the complexities of the evidence in a way that young clients can understand the first time.'
Furnival Chambers is 'a very solid criminal set' with 'talented individuals', who mostly defend but also handle complex prosecution cases. Stephen Moses QC and Ben Gordon represented two police officers who were accused of the gross negligence manslaughter after a female prisoner died by suicide whilst they were on duty; both defendants were acquitted. On the prosecution side, Shannon Revel was instructed as junior counsel by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to prosecute seven members of the Hell's Angels and Red Devils motorcycle clubs in Slough for the premeditated attack on a rival club; all defendants were convicted. In 2020, Frida Hussain QC took silk.
Matrix Chambers 'is an excellent set', housing a team of 'incredibly bright barristers'. Clare Montgomery QC and protest law specialist Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh are representing all members of the "Stansted 15", a group of activists who were convicted of an aviation security offence for breaking into Stansted airport and chaining themselves to a Boeing 767 to halt a deportation charter flight; the group were granted permission to appeal their convictions in August 2019. Richard Whittam QC has joined from 2 Bedford Row.
15 New Bridge Street is 'an excellent set' with 'expertise in all areas of criminal law' and houses 'very experienced counsel', who prosecute and defend across a diverse range of cases. Martin Rutherford QC and Simon Smith acted in R v KB, where the defendant was convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend and burying her body in the garden of her home. In another high-profile case, Patrick Maggs represented the defendant in R v Gemma Watts, where 21-year-old Watts used the alias of "Jake Watton", a 16-year-old-boy, to groom young girls on social media; she received an 8-year sentence for sexual offences.
187 Fleet Street Chambers is 'an excellent set', housing 'extremely able criminal barristers'. Chambers prosecute and defend across a broad range of matters; recent examples include Mozammel Hossain QC representing Haroon Akram in a multi-defendant trial for the murder of a bouncer – Akram was convicted of manslaughter. On the junior end, Brian Reece defended a transgender man who was acquitted on allegations of two cases of sexual misconduct that allegedly took place 15 years apart, following a successful application for the severance of the indictment.
'A solid criminal set', 3 Temple Gardens has a track record of high-profile defence work. Nicholas Whitehorn acted for Charlotte Walker, who was charged with conspiring with others to cause her own abortion by ingesting mifepristone and misoprostol. The charges against Walker were dismissed, while the other co-defendants – the father of Walker's child and his two friends – were convicted of conspiring to administer a poison to Walker to cause a miscarriage. Elsewhere, Tim Forte represented Stephen Bishop in the long-running Operation Eelcatcher case, involving a plot to blow up a mosque using homemade explosives; Bishop received a four-year sentence.
'A polished and professional set', 9 Bedford Row has a strong reputation for handling prominent defence instructions, but is equally adept at prosecuting; chambers is well known for its expertise in acting in courts-martial and terrorism cases. Peter Glenser QC, leading Sean Sullivan, prosecuted a seafood salesman, who was convicted of illegally importing and exporting critically endangered European eels (with a total aggregate value of £53m) to East Asia over a two-year period.
'Very well run, full of exceptional barristers and QCs', Carmelite Chambers is viewed by instructing solicitors as 'a strong set' for criminal work, with notable strength in handling a range of defence instructions. Members are also well versed in advising on private prosecutions.
Farringdon Chambers is 'an up-and-coming set' with 'very experienced and talented barristers', who prosecute and defend in a range of serious cases including modern slavery matters, violent crime, murder, sexual offences and drugs conspiracies. Ian Henderson QC represented the defendant in R v SC, who was convicted of murder by setting fire to his house in order to kill his mother-in-law as an act of revenge against his wife. At the junior end, Molly Pinkus and Ioana Nedelcu successfully defended Viorel Lupu against allegations of modern slavery involving trafficking people from Romania into the UK; Lupu was acquitted after successful submissions of no case to answer.
'A strong criminal set', Foundry Chambers' workload includes prosecution and defence instructions involving serious sexual offences, murder, drugs and people trafficking, among other areas. Alexandra Healy QC was instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service for the prosecution in a two-handed murder case, where the victim was both stabbed and beaten with a baseball bat. Richard Jory QC is described as an 'excellent leader who knows the difference between strategy and tactics; he has a forensic eye with an ability to deal with the trees and woods'. Turning to the juniors, David Harounoff represented a woman who was convicted of the murder of her ex-husband, after she allegedly arranged a "medieval duel to the death" between her ex-husband and her lover.
Six Pump Court is well known for its strength in handling serious prosecution work, notably, cases of sexual offending and homicide. In recent news, Richard Barraclough QC and Danny Moore prosecuted four defendants charged with pre-meditated murder concerning an ongoing conflict over the control of illegal drug supplies in Maidstone; all four were convicted. In another high-profile matter, 'modern and forward-thinking silk' Oliver Saxby QC prosecuted in the "Maids Moreton Murder" trial, where Benjamin Field, a 28-year-old churchwarden, was convicted of the murder of 69-year-old Peter Farquhar.