Exchange Chambers’ Silk Profile: John Jones KC

April 15, 2024

John Jones KC has over 40 years’ experience at the Bar, 22 of which have been in Silk.

He is widely acknowledged as a ‘go-to’ advocate for major heavyweight criminal cases and is recommended year after year in Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500, where he is described as a “superb jury advocate”.

John is currently ranked for Financial Crime and Crime in Chambers and Partners, and ranked Tier 1 for Crime and also ranked for Business and Regulatory Crime including Health and Safety in The Legal 500.

In recent years, John has focused his criminal practice on defence work, covering all areas of serious crime including murder, manslaughter, historic sex abuse, drugs and terrorism related offences.

Working with a wide-range of instructing solicitors, John has an outstanding track record – last year alone he secured two high-profile murder acquittals.

Acting on behalf of defendant Anthony Sladek, 39, at Leeds Crown Court, John successfully put forward the “householder defence” – enacted by section 76(5A) and (8A) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 – for his client who was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter due to his part in the alleged attack. Others on trial were convicted of murder. This was a complex case both factually and legally in consequence of the interaction of self-defence and the householder defence which were to be assessed by the jury.

The Sladek acquittal followed on from John securing an acquittal for his client in a murder trial at Liverpool Crown Court. Joseph Byrne was accused of murdering Christopher Molloy during an attack. The prosecution’s case was that Mr Molloy was murdered to “teach him a lesson” after he was alleged to have accosted young girls on a street in Liverpool at night. The defendant struck the deceased twice but upon falling, the deceased struck his head on the pavement. After the defendant left the scene, two others including his brother and a 16-year-old boy came and kicked the unconscious man. The cause of death and sequencing of the blows was critical. The defendant pleaded guilty to manslaughter but the prosecution refused to accept the plea. He was found not guilty of murder following John’s submissions to the jury.

From the foundations of a successful criminal practice, John has also developed a strong professional disciplinary and regulatory practice, with particular expertise in health and safety and environmental work.

An incisive advocate known for his formidable ability in the courtroom, John is equally at home with detailed cross examination as he is in ensuring the jury fully understands with complete clarity, the issue he is raising. He is a calm, yet persuasive presence who, through years of heavyweight, hard-hitting advocacy is widely respected by opponents, juries and judges alike.