Adam Feest QC > Chambers of David Berkley QC > Winchester, England > Lawyer Profile
Chambers of David Berkley QC Offices
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Adam Feest QC
Crime; Public and Regulatory;
Specialising in criminal law and associated quasi-criminal areas, Adam’s practice covers the whole spectrum of criminal cases. His expertise and reputation have led to him being instructed to deal with complex and important cases all over the country, including the Central Criminal Court, the Midlands, Winchester, Bristol, South Wales and the West Country. He also appears in the Court of Appeal.
His advocacy, advisory and case presentation skills were publicly recognized by his appointment as Queen’s Counsel in 2016.
In his first few years in Silk, Adam has established himself as one of the leading criminal silks on the Western Circuit. Appearing for both the Defence and Prosecution, he has conducted cases involving complex expert medical and scientific evidence, particularly those involving the deaths of very young children, murders involving firearms and difficult issues of joint enterprise, and cases requiring sensitive handling of both vulnerable witnesses and defendants. His thorough preparation and detailed knowledge of the factual and legal aspects of the case in hand, coupled with his personable yet tenacious style in court, ensure that his case is put fairly, forcefully and to maximum effect.
Adam spent much of this year leading Berenice Mulvanny in prosecuting the case of Bob Higgins, the ex Southampton FC youth coach, for sexually abusing 24 boys over a period of 2 ½ decades. Arising from widespread media coverage of sexual abuse in football and sport generally, this prosecution attracted sustained national TV, newspaper and online coverage. Convictions were secured after an eight week re-trial (after a first Jury had been unable to agree verdicts on all but 2 of the 50 counts) which involved the extensive use of pre-recorded evidence, issues relating to hearsay after one of the victims had died before the re-trial and the calling of evidence which had been the subject of an unsuccessful prosecution of the Defendant in a 1991 trial.
Other recent cases of note include:
- Operation Endorse, where Adam led Jodie Mittell in a case of a drug-related revenge shooting where the surviving victim and only other eye witness named two innocent local men as the culprits. Despite this, and in the face of significant challenge from the Defence (including Michael Mansfield QC) as to the way in which the case could be put to the Jury, Adam successfully secured the convictions of three London-based drug dealers – convictions which were subsequently upheld in the Court of Appeal.
- Operation River, in which Adam represented the alleged gunman from a gang of burglars who shot a householder during a break in. This case involved detailed, complex and disputed cell site and other telephone evidence.
- Operation Manner, involving the death of a 77 year old who was run down by a car fleeing the scene of an earlier road traffic accident. Leading Gemma White, Adam had to deal with a series of abuse of process arguments alleging corruption and bad faith against the Police and CPS. Overcoming these both pre-trial and during the case itself, Adam was able to present the evidence in such a way that the Defendant pleaded before the end of the Crown’s case.
- R v Phillips and Skinner, where a 16 year old father caused fatal head and other injuries to his six week old son, in a situation partially caused, and then aggravated, by the neglectful actions of the child’s young mother.
In his earlier months in silk, Adam successfully prosecuted in a case involving the traumatic death of a toddler at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend, and a gross negligence manslaughter revolving around the duty of care owed by one partner to the other during and after extreme consensual sexual activity. Both cases attracted national media coverage. He has also defended in cases involving serious and historical sexual allegations in combination with more recent predatory sexual assaults, and in a rape which copied internet pornography downloaded by the Defendant.
Prior to taking silk, as a junior Adam spent most of his time involved in cases consisting of serious violence and public order, rape and serious sexual allegations (against both adults and children), multiple defendants, drugs, fraud and deception. He has also acted as junior counsel in murder cases. He was regularly instructed as a leading junior in complex, multi-handed cases, and in the last few years was instructed in a case involving the supply of cocaine and money laundering charges against 11 defendants, a 16-handed Vietnamese cannabis growing and money laundering conspiracy, a nationwide heroin supply conspiracy involving undercover officers, and 8-handed conspiracy to steal and burgle.
In the year or so prior to taking Silk, Adam was involved in a number of cases involving allegations of serious sexual assaults and rape, often involving vulnerable and young victims, as well as historical complaints. This allowed him to use the expertise he has acquired in this regard due to his involvement with the Western Circuit and ATC training programme teaching advocates how best to deal with such witnesses. Adam has also been involved in cases which involved allegations of murder by running down with a speed boat, gang-related attempted murder and other firearms offences, a single blow manslaughter dealing with causation issues, and a three-handed murder by members of the travelling community. He was also instructed in a case involving allegations of section 18 and false imprisonment within a relationship where the victim was too scared to make a complaint, and a serious aggravated burglary by an organised gang.
Of particular note, Adam was instructed as the prosecution junior in Operation Waterloo, a complex multi-cut throat murder with four defendants. Involving difficult hearsay issues relating to a main witness, wide-ranging pathological and forensic evidence, and a large volume of CCTV and telephone evidence. At a trial lasting 6 weeks in 2012 and 11 weeks in 2013, Adam conducted much of the case himself and successfully resisted the appeals against conviction in the Court of Appeal, appearing against four leading QCs.
In April 2010, Adam dealt with a three-month case which involved allegations of neglect of mentally incapacitated adults who were resident in a home at the time. In what is believed to be the first prosecution of its kind nationally. Complex medical, psychiatric, social care and other technical evidence had to be presented to a Jury in relation to a total of sixteen residents who it was said had been neglected. As well as dealing with criminal offences under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, this case also dealt with Health and Safety and regulatory issues. As a result of his involvement in this case, Adam was asked to speak at a multi-agency conference organised by Hampshire CPS dealing with the protection and prosecution of this type of offence, a seminar which was attended by representatives from CPS nationally, social services, local authorities, regulatory bodies and the police.
Being involved in Operation Orr in Hampshire, dealing with cases involving indecent images of children downloaded from the internet, he has acquired particular knowledge and expertise in relation to computer and internet evidence and its presentation to a court.
Recent Cases of Note include:
As Queen’s Counsel
- Operation Manner (2019) – A murder allegation involving the running down of the victim by a car
- Operation Quantum (2018/19) – The nationally reported case of Bob Higgins, an ex- Southampton FC youth team coach, prosecuted for decades of sexual abuse of 24 different victims
- Operation Rosette (2019) – A case involving two brothers stabbing another man to death
- R v Harvey (2019) – A murder case involving the defendant breaking into a house and stabbing the deceased (a man unknown to him), and then sexually assaulting a girl in a nearby house
- R v Phillips and Skinner (2018) – Murder of a 6 week old baby by his very young father, and neglect of the child by his young mother
- Operation Endorse (2018) – Attempted murder by a London based drug dealing gang of those thought to be from a rival gang in Portsmouth, where the victims wrongly named others as being the perpetrators
- R v Downton and others (2017/18) – A case involving the shooting during a planned burglary of a householder.
- R v Adams (2017) – Gross negligence manslaughter arising out of extreme consensual sexual activity
- R v Eke (2017) – The murder of a toddler by the infliction of catastrophic abdominal injuries
- R v Boyle (2017) – The attempted murder of a complete stranger with a knife
- R v Napier (2016) – The murder by stabbing of her partner by the Defendant
- R v Darvill (2016) – The stabbing of an intruder into a house by one of the householders
- R v Lester (2016) – Multiple historical rape and sexual assaults against young girls, with first generation indecent images, as well as recent aggravated burglary and sexual assault of a 9 year old
As Junior Counsel
- R v J… (2016) – Historical sexual offences going back 40 years on close family members
- R v D….(2016) – Multiple complainants of historical rape and sexual offences
- R v Y.. (2016) – Instructed by NCA in case involving the alleged ordering of gun parts from abroad on the dark web
- Operation Mohican (2015-16) – Leading Junior in multi-handed drug and money laundering conspiracy
- Operation Sheraton (2015-16) – Leading Junior in multi-handed conspiracy to steal and burgle by an organized crime group across Southern England
- R v Wilson and Dennis (2015-16) – Large scale conspiracy to import drugs, from mainland Europe, involving probe and other internationally obtained evidence
- R v Purvis (2015) – Sexual assaults and distribution of indecent images by a convicted sex offender
- R v P (2015) – Child cruelty by a mother on her own child
- R v Doughty (2015) – Aggravated burglaries of vulnerable, elderly victims by a masked gang
Having spent over twenty years dealing with cases involving sexual allegations, Adam has amassed a wealth of experience and knowledge in this particularly difficult and sensitive area of the criminal law. His attention to detail, sound knowledge of the law and sensitive yet effective way he deals with witnesses led to Adam receiving regular instructions to defend and prosecute such offences when a junior. Since taking silk in 2016, Adam’s reputation in this area has ensured that he continues to be instructed to deal with sexual offence cases of the highest magnitude, often involving the consideration of life sentences and attracting national media interest. He sits as a Crown Court Recorder in sexual offence cases and is one of the lead trainers for the Western Circuit in relation to vulnerable witness training.
Adam’s experience in this specialist field covers both contact and non-contact offences, such as grooming and indecent images. As one of only three Counsel selected to prosecute the Operation Orr cases in Hampshire in the mid 2000’s, he acquired particular knowledge and expertise in relation to the investigation, interrogation and presentation at trial of computer and internet related material. His high level of understanding of such complex and technical evidence has been regularly maintained by involvement in cases involving computer related material and training on the subject.
During 2017 and 2018, Adam was one of the lead trainers for the Western Circuit in its roll out of the nationally approved vulnerable witness training course. This involved organising, supervising and assisting with the training at a number of courses designed to ensure all advocates were aware of and could use the toolkits from the Advocates’ Gateway and other material relating to the questioning of vulnerable witnesses.
Examples of recent cases include:
R v Higgins (ongoing) – A case attracting national media interest, Adam is involved (leading Berenice Mulvanny) in a case involving alleged indecent assaults against teenage boys by ex-premier league youth team coach. The allegations stretch over 25 years and go back to the early 1970s, covering a wide range of alleged abuse to 24 different complainants. The case will be the subject of a documentary due to be broadcast in 2020.
R v F (2017) – Leading Counsel in a case involving the copycat abduction and rape of one victim, and the online grooming, meeting and sexual assault of others. Having watched violent videos of such acts, the Defendant acted out the scenes with a teenage girl he had met online, abducting her, taking her to a remote location and raping her. This followed other similar behaviour with other victims. Following a plea of guilty, a life sentence resulted.
R v L (2016) – An aggravated burglary involving the sexual assault of a 9-year-old boy and assault of his mother led to the Defendant being arrested and investigated. Analysis of his computer showed first generation movies and images of the Defendant sexually abusing three young female victims ten years previously, and a vast number of indecent images of children and non-indecent but voyeuristic photographs of local children taken by the Defendant. Other complainants came forward before the trial, which lasted nearly five weeks. Two separate life sentences were imposed.
R v C (2016-2017) – A case involving historical allegations going back over forty years against stepfather of two girls. Adam was instructed as a junior but conducted the case in silk. Following partial acquittals at the first trial, a retrial involved the added complication of the Defendant becoming unfit to plead due to ongoing dementia.
R v D (2016) – Historical allegations of rape, indecent assault and other sexual abuse made against a family member by five complainants, some known to each other and others not.
FRAUD, BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL CRIME
During his career as a junior and now Leading Counsel, Adam has regularly undertaken work which relates to fraud, deceptions, money-laundering and other financial offences. With a good head for figures, accounts and financial documents, and a widely-regarded ability to pay attention to detail in cases involving high volumes of material (electronic and otherwise), Adam is able to navigate through complicated financial scenarios in order to give clear and sensible advice.
His detailed case preparation and presentation enables him to put his client’s case effectively and efficiently, thereby achieving good results even under often challenging circumstances. Dealing with ancillary orders in such cases in the same meticulous way allows Adam to reliably achieve fair and manageable monetary settlements.
His expertise in this area has led to him being entrusted to deal with high value tax and other frauds when sitting as a Recorder, and well as regularly being asked to make and review Proceeds of Crime Act orders.
Examples of cases include:
R v Carter – A case involving multiple false/fraudulent mortgage applications, partly financed by other illegal and dishonest activity on the Defendant’s part, and partly financed by defaulting on earlier (also fraudulent) mortgages. This case was split into three separate trials due to the disparate and voluminous nature of the material involved, one of which lasted over two months. Adam provided advice to the client throughout the case, helped present the case at court and dealt with the financial orders post-trial.
R v Tee – A multi-defendant fraud orchestrated by a financial advisor “arranging” for multiple clients to delay/cease payments on debts by various means. Involving large amounts of financial paperwork and correspondence, Adam successfully dealt with the case in the Crown Court and at the Court of Appeal.
R v M, Op. Mohican, Op. Hollow – All cases involving significant money-laundering activities arising out of illegal drug dealing conspiracies. Each case required the tracing of assets, analysis of bank and other financial documents, and a good understanding of accounting and financial processes.
PUBLIC AND REGULATORY
Having spent over 25 years at the Bar, the last four being in Silk, Adam is an extremely experienced and effective advocate. His reputation for thorough case preparation and attention to detail, and his persuasive and effective court room advocacy have led to him being instructed to lead in complex, multi-defendant and multi-agency cases. He has sat as a Crown Court Recorder for 11 years hearing all levels of criminal cases, including those involving forfeiture, restraint and other financial orders, and spent many years as a legal assessor for the GMC and NMC. The Court of Appeal recently described him as acting with “patience and wisdom”.
Prosecuting and defending, Adam has been involved in significant cases on behalf of the CPS and other agencies, such as the Borders Agency, which cover fraud, importation, murder, gross negligence manslaughter and serious sexual offences. He prosecuted one of the first large scale nursing home ill-treatment/negligence cases in the country, a task which led to instructions nationwide in similar cases and an invitation to take part in a multi-agency conference on the subject. Last year he successfully led the prosecution of a former youth coach with Southampton Football Club for the serious and prolonged sexual abuse of 25 victims, a task which involved liaising with local authorities, the FA and other safeguarding bodies.
Adam is often instructed early in cases so that he is able to give clear written advice as to the law and evidence, and to enable him to lead conferences with different teams and experts so that a coherent and unified approach is made to complex and diverse issues. His calm manner, both in and out of court, and his inclusive approach to leading a team have enhanced his reputation for someone who can deal effectively with cases involving difficult legal issues, complex factual situations and vulnerable parties.
As well as being Head of the 3PB Crime Group, Adam is heavily involved in Western Circuit training of pupils, pupil supervisors and the Bar generally. He is the local coordinator for vulnerable witness training.
Called 1994; Inner. Silk: 2016.
- Bar Vocational Course, 1992-93
- Called to the Bar (Inner Temple), February 1994
- Pupil Supervisor since 2003
- Appointed to Attorney General’s List of Special Advocates 2005
- Recorder 2009, authorised to try cases involving serious sexual allegations 2014
- Tutor Judge for the Judicial College 2016
- GMC legal assessor 2010-2018
- NMC legal assessor 2010-2016
- Western Circuit
- Criminal Bar Association
BA(Hons) in Jurisprudence, Keble College, Oxford University 1989-92
Lawyer Rankings(Leading Silks) Ranked: Tier 1
3PB is praised by clients as a ‘go-to set‘ for both prosecution and defence instructions work across the western circuit, with ‘excellent strength in depth‘. The set is instructed on all manner of cases, including serious violent, sexual, or drug-related crime, as well as more specialist areas including fraud and court-martials. Timothy Bradbury prosecuted a British Army officer, who was alleged to have raped a United States Air Force captain. Adam Feest QC prosecuted a former Southampton FC youth coach for multiple historical sexual offences against 24 complainants.