Crime Team Update – October 2017

19 October 2017

Garden Court North Chambers’ Crime Team continues to be busy and successful. Our members are regularly instructed throughout the North of England and beyond in serious sex cases and murder as well as more general crime. In addition, and in keeping with Chambers’ ethos, we continue to be heavily involved in protest cases, particularly around protests against fracking.

In the last few months Brigid Baillie has enjoyed a run of successful defences in serious sex cases, including acquittals in a re-trial at Northampton Crown Court involving historic sex allegations and at York Crown Court where the historic sex allegations involved a brother and sister. In a section 18 case she successfully represented a man who had defended himself and his girlfriend after being assaulted by an off duty police officer in a bar. Despite there being five cameras in the bar the police told the court that there was no CCTV footage available.

Nina Grahame was led by Mark George QC in a murder trial where several men killed a housemate and buried him in a concrete tomb they had constructed in a garden shed. The body had been undisturbed for four years before one of the killers confessed and led the police to the grave.

Nina is due to be led by Pete Weatherby QC defending a man charged along with his partner in the murder of their young child.

Pete recently spoke at Manchester University with Paddy Hill and Robert Brown on the ‘Say I am Innocent’ tour, showcasing the plight of those exonerated in serious miscarriage cases.  Pete currently has a number of CCRC cases on the go and is leading Matt Stanbury in the Supreme Court on a Confiscation Order case in December 2017.

Earlier this year Mark represented a man who had already been convicted of section 18 GBH with intent and received a long sentence before the victim died.  At his subsequent trial for murder the defendant admitted that he had lied to the first jury through fear which he said had prevented him from presenting the defence he had wanted to.  He was acquitted of murder and convicted of manslaughter.

Mark recently gave a lecture to law students at Manchester University on the application of the European Convention on Human Rights in criminal cases. He also spoke to the Young Legal Aid Lawyers group about Joint Enterprise after R v Jogee.

Mark is currently instructed in a lengthy sexual exploitation trial at Oxford Crown Court where he represents the principle defendant.

Richard Brigden has built up a great deal of expertise in protest law and particularly as it relates to protests about fracking operations.  Andy Fitzpatrick also has a wealth of public order experience.  Andy is currently supporting Richard in a number of fracking cases in Lancashire and Derbyshire. They have achieved some success, including a recent successfully overturned conviction in the Preston Crown Court.   Winning cases in the Magistrates’ Court is always an uphill battle, with most cases listed in front of resident DJs. Andy and Richard have been challenging restrictions on the right to protest under Article 10 and 11 of the ECHR. They have also raised interesting arguments on Necessity under the Criminal Law Act.

Matt has significant experience of defending in serious sex cases, and he has recently been involved in two child sex exploitation trials resulting from a major investigation in Newcastle. He is currently involved in a number of appeals, including fresh evidence appeals, and is acting alone in a joint enterprise murder appeal about the impact of an autism diagnosis on the applicant’s ability to have formed the intent. Matt has a particular interest and specialism in dealing with vulnerable defendants.

Mark George QC is a barrister and Head of Chambers at Garden Court North Chambers.

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