Drystone Chambers is 'an excellent set with a variety of counsel', with a number members active in both prosecution and defence work, primarily in the Wessex part of the circuit. Robert Bryan prosecuted a couple who filmed themselves sexually abusing a child, in which expert evidence was used to identify the defendants from their hands. The 'tenacious and hardworking' Rebecca Fairbairn is an expert in both prosecuting and defending rape and serious sexual offences and highlighted for her handling of vulnerable parties. As a former officer in the Royal Navy, rising star Helen Easterbrook maintains strong military links via the Royal Naval Reserve and regularly defends before the Courts-Martial in addition to prosecuting and defending across the full range of criminal law matters.
Crime (general and fraud) in Regional Bar
In Plymouth, KBG Chambers is a 'very good set, with strong junior base'. Ali Rafati is particularly sought after to appear in cases involving serious sexual or violent offending. In recent instructions of note, Rafati defended a man with learning disabilities who has been in formal care arrangement for three decades, and who was prosecuted for engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and breach of a sexual harm prevention order. Also of note, Nicholas Lewin recently appeared in the Court of Appeal on a pro bono basis in R v Sarah Gotham; the defendant had been convicted of sexually assaulting a child and livestreaming the abuse. Following on from his former career in the Royal Navy, Lewin also represents defendants at Court-Martial both at home and abroad.
3PB 'is one of the forefront chambers in Western Circuit and a has a well-deserved reputation for quality representation for both prosecution and defence'. In recent instructions of note, Adam Feest QC prosecuted former Southampton FC youth coach Bob Higgins, who was convicted in a 2019 retrial of sexually abused youth players over two decades, involving issues of hearsay applications and new complainants. Among the set's juniors, Nicholas Cotter represented a man who was acquitted of murder after the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence after forensics suggested the defendant may have stabbed the deceased in self-defence. Turning to the fraud arena, Timothy Bradbury prosecuted an eight-week, multi-defendant cheating the public revenue case concerning phoenix fraud.
'All you could ever need across the whole spectrum of crime and more', Guildhall Chambers is 'impressive and the go-to team for serious cases'. In recent instructions of note, Christopher Quinlan QC prosecuted grime musician Solo 45, who was convicted of trapping and raping four women over a period of two years. Among the set's juniors, James Haskell defended a man who was acquitted of rape in a case where, despite forensic evidence of sexual activity, a successful application to admit evidence of a previous false rape complaint by the accuser; Greg Gordon represented a vulnerable young defendant, who was acquitted of assault by penetration which was alleged to have taken place at an army cadet base on an overnight fieldcraft exercise.
Pump Court Chambers in Winchester is 'an excellent set with a ready supply of high-quality barristers' for both prosecution and defence work. James Newton-Price QC prosecuted a gay couple who were charged with the rape of several boys in a case with issues as to hearsay evidence and defence accusations of collusion between the police and victims to plant evidence. Among the set's juniors, Mark Ruffell prosecuted in a nineteen-defendant drugs-dealing case with issues of hearsay evidence; Peter Asteris represented a woman who received a non-custodial sentence for attempting to blackmail a footballer; Tim Akers represented a vulnerable autistic man in an appeal of a restriction order imposed under section 41 of the Mental Health Act.
Albion Chambers has 'good depth in general crime barristers and a number of rising stars'. Kate Brunner QC recently prosecuted a couple who abused a 15-month-old baby; the abuse involved multiple fractures to the child. Brunner QC also prosecuted a man who was convicted of murder after strangling his wife, and placing a note to stop his children entering the room where he left her body. At the junior end, David Sapiecha was the leading counsel prosecuting 28 counts of rape, sexual assault, and voyeurism by a photographer who had set up a fake modelling agency. He also defended in a drugs conspiracy regarding the importation of 1,500kg of cocaine. Edward Hetherington acted in a seven-week trial of five defendants prosecuted by the NHS Anti-Fraud Unit with allegations against former directors of a hospice charity and their building contractors. The defendants were said to have dishonestly inflated bids for charitable funds and then diverted surplus funds into unauthorised spending.
Plymouth's Devon Chambers, has both a strong presence in its eponymous county as well as on the other side of the Tamar, handling some of Cornwall's most serious criminal cases. Joanna Martin QC represented a trustee of the Lake Community Gardens in the Isle of Wight, who entered a guilty plea to murder after attacking a fellow trustee and former councillor with a chainsaw. As far as the set's juniors are concerned, in addition to a prosecution practice, Piers Norsworthy defended a woman who supplied her prescription opiates to her son and another boy, killing her son.
Queen Square Chambers
Queen Square Chambers is 'a long-established set with a broad range of counsel to choose from varying in experience and with sufficient breadth to cover all criminal cases'. In recent work of note, Charles Row represented a building contractor who was acquitted on charges of defrauding the NHS concerning supposed fake invoices generated for work to hospices and care homes in Taunton and Yeovil. Elsewhere, James Tucker represented the lead defendant in the trial of a group of metal detectorists who failed to declare a hoard of hundreds of Anglo-Saxons coins looted from near Berrington Hall.