Nina is a superb KC with an extraordinary eye for detail.

Overview

Nina Grahame KC defends in the most serious Crown Court cases and has a busy appellate practice with a particular focus on out-of-time ‘miscarriage of justice’ appeals. She is regularly instructed to defend in cases of the most extreme complexity, particularly those involving contested medical and psychiatric evidence, issues relating to statutory and 3rd party disclosure, the use/misuse of cutting edge technology and evidence of gang affiliation.

Nina has represented numerous members of Organised Crime Groups and territorial gangs operating throughout the North West and nationally. These cases typically involve gang-related murders as well as international drug supply networks and other serious violence and the supply/ possession/use of firearms.

Nina frequently represents parents and carers accused of serious offences against children or vulnerable adults. She is highly respected for her expertise in representing defendants with complex mental health needs in cases involving defences of insanity, loss of control and diminished responsibility and is frequently instructed in cases involving vulnerable witnesses and complainants.

Nina has specialist expertise in linked Criminal and Family Court/Court of Protection cases. She has advised parties on specific issues of potential criminality arising in Court of Protection cases.

Nina lectures on a variety of topics, most notably cross-jurisdictional disclosure, joint enterprise and vulnerable defendants. She is a mentor with the Association of Women Barristers.

Nina is described in The Legal 500, 2024 as 'meticulous' and as bringing a 'nuanced approach to each case, and a deep sense of trust within her team knowing that important and crucial details have not been missed'. In Chambers & Partners 2023 Nina is listed as 'a superb KC with an extraordinary eye for detail' and 'a marvellous advocate', in 2021 as 'Absolutely superb...a formidable barrister.'

Crime and Protest Rights

Nina’s very busy criminal defence practice reflects her reputation for impressively detailed preparation and persuasive presentation of defence cases at trial in the most serious cases. She has a formidable reputation for her ability to forensically demolish prejudicial preconceptions and circumstantial evidence relating to race, gender, musical/lyrical expression and other ‘background’ issues alleging motive.

Nina has a commitment to representing defendants considered ‘vulnerable’. In addition, a large proportion of her cases relate to criminal prosecutions where defendants are also party to linked concurrent proceedings in the Family Court or Court of Protection and she regularly lectures and writes about the complexity of cross-disclosure between these vastly different jurisdictions.

Nina has also published articles on the subject of vulnerable witnesses and defendants and has been extensively interviewed by national and local media.

General Crime

Nina’s very busy criminal defence practice reflects her reputation for impressively detailed preparation and persuasive presentation of defence cases at trial in the most serious cases. She has a formidable reputation for her ability to forensically demolish prejudicial preconceptions and circumstantial evidence relating to race, gender, musical/lyrical expression and other ‘background’ issues alleging motive.

Nina has a commitment to representing defendants considered ‘vulnerable’. In addition, a large proportion of her cases relate to criminal prosecutions where defendants are also party to linked concurrent proceedings in the Family Court or Court of Protection and she regularly lectures and writes about the complexity of cross-disclosure between these vastly different jurisdictions.

Nina has also published articles on the subject of vulnerable witnesses and defendants and has been extensively interviewed by national and local media.

Notable cases

R v Steele and others (2023)  The defendant was one of five charged with murder by stabbing on a residential Blackpool street. The location of the incident gave rise to significant local and national coverage. In the context of evidential issues relating to substantial drug and alcohol abuse by all parties, legal issues of character featured large in the case, these being multi-layered as between the prosecution and each of the defendants, the defendants themselves, and also as it related to eyewitnesses.

https://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/23345124.two-men-two-women-found-guilty-blackpool-murder/

R v White and others (2023)  The defendant was acquitted following trial. He was a 20-year-old of good character alleged, with his older cousin and uncle, to have murdered the deceased against the background of a long running feud between families during which a member of each had been killed. The defendant’s cousin and uncle were convicted of murder and manslaughter, respectively. The complexities of the case included admissibility issues relating to absent eyewitness hearsay evidence and bad character as between defendants. The case developed further complexities as it became a ‘cutthroat’ trial as between this defendant and his cousin (convicted of murder).

https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/stoke-on-trent-news/killers-fled-stoke-trent-after-8987241

character as between defendants. The case developed further complexities as it became a ‘cutthroat’ trial as between this defendant and his cousin Ryan (convicted of murder).

R v O’Pray (2023)  This case attracted significant media and public attention – the deceased victim was the cousin of heavyweight boxing champion, Tyson Fury, who made public statements on the case and knife crime in general. The defendant was a young man with a number of complex vulnerabilities, all relevant to the defence of self-defence/defence of another. The potential interrelated effects of drug use and PTSD were also crucial issues in the case. Complex legal issues related to extensive interlinked evidence of bad character and hearsay. The defendant’s mental health issues required sensitive care in case preparation. Sentencing issues were also extremely complex; in addition to his vulnerabilities, age/lack of maturity were central issues (Sentencing Council General Guideline; Overarching Principles October 2019).

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/breaking-liam-opray-jailed-life-27458137

R v Yeomans (2023)  Alleged murder of her partner by a young mother of two. A legally and factually unusual case. Extensive preparation and legal submissions by the defence culminated in an acceptable guilty plea to ‘loss of control‘ manslaughter (entered the day before trial).

Complex medical evidence confirmed that the defendant was of low intelligence, had been the victim of significant parental and partner abuse since childhood and suffered from Complex PTSD (& associated disorders). The defence ultimately succeeded in persuading the prosecution and the High Court Judge that (a) in contrast to the earlier equivalent common law, a plea founded on the statutory defence of loss of control could be accepted without the need for jury trial, and (b) that evidence of mental disorders was admissible in relation to the statutory defence.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-67356994

R v Walker & others [2022] EWCA Crim 1488 Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)  Leading counsel for the first defendant in this multi-handed, joint enterprise murder trial. Having been given leave to appeal her client’s murder conviction, she was then instructed by The Registrar of Criminal Appeals to appear as leading counsel representing all four appellants on the appeal.

The appeal concerned the unusual and chaotic methods pursued by the prosecution in attempting to secure the attendance at trial of the only eyewitness to the murder. The witness was reluctant, not hostile, but had never provided a formal statement. The case now stands as clear authority addressing the potential methods and safeguards required when obtaining and presenting evidence from reluctant witnesses, from taking depositions at the Magistrates Court (an underused route) to witness handling at the Crown Court.

R v Thorne (2022)  Leading counsel successfully defended a young man on trial for alleged participation in a conspiracy to murder in the context of gang feuding which had previously led to the death of the defendants’ friend. The jury found the defendant guilty only of the lesser count of conspiracy to cause GBH, having been persuaded to reject the prosecution inference that drill rap lyrics and images of gang affiliation demonstrated a greater intention to kill. Nina led Dan Travers of Exchange Chambers, Manchester.

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/jailed-violent-gang-fixated-revenge-24378018

R v Nuttall (2021-2)  Leading counsel representing a schoolboy accused of the joint enterprise murder by stabbing of a 15 year old boy. Both young defendants required various special measures to assist them throughout the trial. The co-defendant was convicted of murder but, accepting the defence submissions that Nuttall did not share a specific intention to kill or cause really serious harm, he was acquitted of murder and convicted of the lesser offence of manslaughter. Nina led Clare Ashcroft of GCN Chambers.

https://www.gmp.police.uk/cy-GB/news/greater-manchester/news/news/2022/february/two-teenagers-jailed-following-the-fatal-stabbing-of-reece-tansey-have-been-named-for-the-first-time/

R v Raja and others (2021) Leading counsel to represent this defendant, one of nine co-defendants tried before Mr Justice Turner on a single count of murder. This tragic case was founded on an alleged joint enterprise resulting in the transferred malice shooting of an innocent passer-by. The victim, a 19-year-old law undergraduate, was shot dead as she walked to the shops on a Sunday afternoon. The intended victim, party to an ongoing feud, was standing on a garage forecourt as Nina’s client drove past with the gunman firing from the rear seat of the car. The victim was walking on the pavement between these two and died within minutes of being shot.

R v Ennis (2021)  Leading counsel representing the driver of a vehicle in a ‘drive-by’ shooting which resulted in the death of a young law student, an innocent passer-by, caught in the line of fire. Nina led Adrian Farrow of Exchange Chambers, Manchester.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-58087826

R v Reid (2021)  Leading counsel successfully defended a young man on trial for an alleged joint enterprise murder in the context of gang feuding in Moss Side. The jury found the defendant guilty of the lesser count of manslaughter, having been persuaded to reject the prosecution inference that drill rap lyrics and images of gang affiliation demonstrated a specific intention to kill or cause really serious harm. The custodial sentence imposed for manslaughter was reduced following a successful appeal. Nina led Sarah Johnston of Exchange Chambers, Manchester.

R v Hulme (2020)  Leading counsel defending a young mother acquitted of the murder and manslaughter of her partner. The successful defence of self-defence was advanced on the basis that the deceased had, in fact, stabbed himself following a heated domestic dispute. The defence involved extensive challenges to non-conviction evidence of bad character and detailed pathological analysis of the method of injury. Nina led Dan Gaskell of Tuckers Solicitors.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10824201/Mother-two-falsely-accused-murdering-ex-partner-stabbed-her.html?ito=email_share_article-floatingBar

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/wrongly-accused-murdering-fianc-23989800

R v KG (2020)  Leading counsel in a case involving the fatal stabbing of young father. “Exceptionally”, a plea to manslaughter on basis of loss of control was accepted by the prosecution following  assessment of the defendant by a total of 6 experts analysing features relating to the apprehension of violence in light of PTSD and a learning disability. Determinate sentence imposed. Intermediary granted for entire proceedings. Nina led Rebecca Filletti of GCN.

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/kelly-gray-david-gavin-rochdale-19032846

R v DA (2020)  Leading counsel defended a father acquitted of the murder of his 14 month old daughter. Complex case involved a total of 15 specialist expert witnesses, including neuropathologists, osteo-articular pathologists, odontologists, neuroradiologists, ophthalmologists, paediatric radiologists and psychiatrists. Nina led Clare Ashcroft of GCN.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-51641833

R v GC (2020)  Alleged murder of elderly man within 24 hours of defendant’s release from a lengthy custodial sentence where defendant stole vehicles, burgled properties, threatened young children and kidnapped a care worker prior to the killing.  Accepted by the prosecution to be floridly psychotic at the time, the contested issue was whether this resulted from schizo-affective disorder or effect of potent synthetic cannabinoids (“Spice”). Allegations of negligent psychiatric care by the prison authorities were also central to the defence, pursued with what the trial judge referred to as “characteristic courage” and aided by extensive disclosure of medical and inmate records. Nina Led Richard Brigden of GCN.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-53256378)

R v SC (2019)  Joint enterprise murder; brothers accused of the knifepoint murder of a Birkenhead woman alleged to be motivated by homophobia. Case involved complex factual analysis of DNA and blood distribution evidence.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-48092027

Other notable cases 2018-2019

R v LT (2019)  In a final case as a senior junior represented a psychiatric staff nurse accused, with others, of the wilful neglect of an inpatient which led to her death and perverting the course of justice in the related Coroner’s Court proceedings. The ‘whistleblower’ in the case was extensively cross-examined by Nina using crucial, late-disclosed unused material, following which the case was discontinued by the prosecution and verdicts of not guilty recorded against all defendants.

https://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/17686084.neglect-trial-collapses-disclosure-failure/

R v DB (2019)  Defendant acquitted of OAP s.18 allegation of slashing wife’s new lover with a glass causing extensive facial injuries and partial loss of an ear.

R v PP (2018)  Led by Sasha Wass KC, represented 80 year old defendant facing historical allegations of rape and false imprisonment in 1972. Defendant had previous convictions for similar offending in the 1960s and for the manslaughter of a 14 year old in 1972; had been detained in secure psychiatric hospitals continuously for past 46 years. Particularly complex 3rd party disclosure issues in a challenging case where the defendant attended trial by videolink throughout.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/20/beast-of-wombwell-peter-pickering-guilty-of-1972-rape

Publications and seminars

  • Criminal Law Friendly Society Conference 2016;
  • Criminal Law Friendly Society Conference 2015;
  • Criminal Law Friendly Society Conference 2014;
  • 8/2/13 “Recent Statutory and Common Law Developments Relating to Criminal Culpability for Murder” – guest lecture for St Catharine’s Law Society, Cambridge University;
  • 6/1/14 Speaking at a rally in Manchester protesting against Criminal Legal Aid cuts; and
  • 3/5/11 Advocacy: How to Handle Vulnerable Witnesses – LexisNexis Current Awareness.

Memberships

  • Criminal Bar Association Justice
  • Howard League for Penal Reform; and
  • Association of Lawyers for Animal Welfare.

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Recommendations

Nina is meticulous in all aspects of her case preparation, always demonstrating that she takes a deep-dive approach, down to its finest detail. Because of this, Nina brings a nuanced approach to each case, and a deep sense of trust within her team knowing that important and crucial details have not been missed.The Legal 500, 2024
Nina is a superb KC with an extraordinary eye for detail.Chambers and Partners 2023
She communicates very effectively and is very authoritative.Chambers and Partners 2023
She is a marvellous advocate, very effective and great with clients.Chambers and Partners 2023
Nina thinks outside the box and makes excellent legal arguments.Chambers and Partners 2023
She has a strong court presence.Chambers and Partners 2023
Absolutely superb - she is very careful and considered, prepares extremely thoroughly, and is very personable in court. She is also very good in communications with clients, especially those in difficulty. She's a formidable barrister."Chambers and Partners 2021
A brilliant advocate who persuades by calm, reasonable but ferociously intelligent argument.Legal 500 2021 (Crime)
Defends some of the most significant matters in the Crown Court and also has a busy practice in the appellate courts. She is regularly instructed for the defence in cases concerning murder, national drug supply, serious sexual offences and child cruelty. She also represents professionals including lecturers and teachers accused of abusive behaviour. "She is amazing - very hard-working and a tenacious advocate." Recent work: Acted in R v Hughes, which concerned the alleged activities of a large organised crime group in Liverpool who traded in huge quantities of class A and class B drugs. Chambers and Partners 2019
She combines excellent legal knowledge with incisive legal analysis and fearless advocacy.The UK Legal 500 2019
Defends some of the most significant matters in the Crown Court and also has a busy practice in the appeals courts. Regularly instructed for the defence in cases concerning murder, national drug supply, serious sexual offences and child cruelty. Also represents professionals including lecturers and teachers accused of abusive behaviour. Strengths: "She takes an extremely robust and thorough approach." "She is an eloquent and experienced advocate." Recent work: Acted in R v Adams, a case concerning an alleged planned assassination.Chambers and Partners 2018
An excellent barrister.The UK Legal 500 2017
Considerable experience defending in Court of Appeal cases.The UK Legal 500 2016
Utilises pre-trial protocols on disclosure effectively to the benefit of clients.The UK Legal 500 2015
An extremely able defence practitioner.The UK Legal 500 2014
Recommended as a criminal practitioner whose "preparation work is most comprehensive". The UK Legal 500 2011
... a conscientious, capable and committed defender.The UK Legal 500 2010
...conscientious and ahead of the game.The UK Legal 500 2007
Nina Grahame is a charismatic and persuasive advocate whose success in court comes from a profound understanding of the law, rigorous preparation and a commitment to the welfare of every client.Nicky Hall, Clifford Johnson Solicitors
Hardworking, robust and conscientious; Nina's quality of preparation and delivery is of the highest quality. The ‘go to' to counsel for all serious criminal matters. Helen White, Howells Solicitors

 

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