Ian Whitehurst

Call 1994


"He thinks outside the box, is tenacious in court, very experienced and has a good breadth of knowledge of serious white-collar crime."

Chambers and Partners 2019
Photo of Ian Whitehurst


Ian is an experienced criminal barrister. He defends in a wide range of serious criminal matters including homicide and serious sexual offences, as well as prosecuting and defending in serious organised crime, notably in gang related homicide, large scale drugs and firearms conspiracies, corruption cases and armed robberies.

He is experienced in all matters relating to fraud and other financial misconduct in particular MTIC Vat Fraud, Direct and Indirect Tax Fraud, Money Laundering and False Accounting. He also has a detailed knowledge of all aspects of confiscation law and has advised individuals, companies and prosecuting authorities (the Police, the CPS, SFO and BIS) in this area as well as lecturing and writing articles in this field.

Ian has developed a niche practice in the areas of cyber crime and data protection. He is instructed on a regular basis to advise and represent a wide range of clients (individuals, directors, companies) in relation to criminal and civil investigations by the industry regulator (the ICO); advisory and compliance issues and the developing area of civil litigation.

Furthermore, he has a developing practice in the field of data breach claims for individuals and companies whom have had their personal and sensitive data breached by third parties.

He has developed an extensive knowledge of disclosure, covert surveillance, jurisdictional issues and an intimate knowledge of the principles surrounding the court’s discretionary powers to exclude evidence and stay proceedings.

Criminal Cases

Illustrative cases include:

Serious and General Crime

  • R v LH – instructed as Leading Counsel for the main defendant in a £9 million conspiracy to supply Class A drugs throughout the North of England and Scotland.
  • R v DS – instructed as Leading Counsel to prosecute a multi handed fraud case involving substantial breaches of trust by former employees and the managing director of the company. Sums involved in excess of £1 million.
  • R v MH – instructed to represent a defendant in relation to the supply of Class A drugs throughout the North West of England.
  • R v CS – instructed to prosecute a defendant accused of possessing a substantial quantity of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) connected to criminal gang activity.
  • R v RC – instructed as junior counsel alone to advise on historical murder case relating to issues surrounding joint enterprise
  • R v FM – defended a family member of a former deputy police commissioner accused of sexual assaults committed upon police officers
  • R v SK – instructed to defend in a case where drones are being used to bring drugs into prison

Serious Organised Crime

  • R v J instructed for the defence in large scale conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and money laundering offences in the North East of England.
  • R v G – major investigation by National Crime Agency (NCA) into organised crime group (OCG) based in Merseyside involved in nationwide supply of Class A drugs. The case involves extensive covert intrusive surveillance against the OCG.
  • R v LT – instructed as prosecuting leading junior to prosecute large scale drugs conspiracy based extensively on telephony evidence.
  • R v H) – instructed by the defence in relation to multi kilo importation of Class B drugs from the Far East.
  • R v M – instructed to represent defendant in large scale conspiracy to supply class A drugs brought by the National Crime Agency in the North West of England.


  • R v HP – instructed as Leading Junior Counsel to represent a defendant involved in a £33 million MTIC fraud.
  • R v MM – instructed as Junior Counsel to represent a defendant accused of involvement in an £8 million indirect tax fraud
  • R v AM – instructed to represent a company and its director of allegations concerning false accounting arising from a trading standards investigation into the misuse of a government backed energy saving scheme. Defendant was acquitted.
  • R v ML – instructed to represent a defendant accused of large scale conspiracy to defraud car finance companies. Defendant was acquitted.

Financial Regulation

  • Re CO – instructed to represent a financial professional in relation to a historical investigation conducted by the Financial Ombudsman concerning allegations of pension mis-selling.
  • Re X – instructed to advise several off shore based financial professionals in relation to money laundering compliance issues and the impact upon their business of provisions in the Criminal Finances Act
  • Re Z – instructed to advise a company and its directors in relation to ongoing tax investigation and compliance issues relating to allegations surrounding them of overseas investment fraud.


  • R v DD – instructed to represent an intervening third party in contested confiscation proceedings arising out of a large scale drugs conspiracy in the Crown Court.
  • R v SP – instructed to represent a defendant in relation to historical confiscation proceedings whereby the prosecution have returned to the original confiscation order and are now seeking more money from the defendant due to his changed personal circumstances.
  • R v AT – representing a former solicitor in confiscation proceedings arising from his conviction for stealing clients monies and addressing third party issues in relation to the overall available amount recoverable from the defendant.
  • R v DM – instructed to prosecute a large scale hidden assets confiscation case arising from a multi handed drugs conspiracy which involved the sale of in excess of £2 million worth of drugs.
  • R v RF – instructed to represent a defendant in his restraint and confiscation proceedings arising from the Vantis tax avoidance litigation.
  • R v WG – instructed as Led Junior for the defence in a £250 million investment fraud arising from the Imperial Consolidated prosecution.

Cyber Crime

  • R v JA – represented a defendant charged with money laundering offences arising from a trading standards prosecution into the sale of live streaming kodi boxes over the internet. The prosecution was predicated upon the commission of trade mark offences being committed via the sale of the boxes to customers which then allowed the prosecution to allege that the proceeds of the sales was criminal property. The defendant received a suspended sentence of imprisonment.
  • R v JL – representing a company and its director in relation to securing the return of property and goods seized by the police under a warrant after the prosecution indicated that charges would not be forthcoming. The complicating factor is that a third party may well initiate a private prosecution and this issue as well as the continued lawfulness of the detention of goods is subject to ongoing litigation.
  • R v TG – successfully represented a former employee accused of hacking into the email accounts of his former employer and stealing copyright protected material. The defendant was formally acquitted of all charges under the Computer Misuse Act.
  • R v GM) – represented a defendant accused of selling malware over the internet commercially to bring down websites based here in the U.K. and the United States. The defendant was prosecuted by the National Crime Agency and received a suspended sentence of imprisonment.

Data Protection

  • Advised a major financial institution and its in-house legal team in relation to civil enforcement proceedings brought against them by the ICO in relation to purchasing data from a third party without the requisite consent
  • Instructed to advise and represent a claimant in mediation proceedings in an ongoing data protection dispute with a national broadcaster
  • Instructed to advise on the use and admissibility of telematic data by a major insurance company in relation to personal injury litigation
  • Instructed to advise a claimant in a case against her local authority employer for breaching her personal data and which adversely affected her employment rights
  • Successfully advised a Human Resources company in avoiding a criminal prosecution by the ICO in relation to allegedly purchasing confidential information from an employee of an existing client
  • Instructed to advise a claimant in relation to a data breach by a government department (DWP) which adversely affected a disabled person’s employment status
  • Advising a gambling organisation based in Malta on purchasing third party data and compliance with the GDPR
  • Instructed to advise a claimant in relation to two ongoing cases against a government department (MOD) for breach of his personal data related to ongoing civil litigation
  • Instructed to advise a barrister in relation to a data protection breach affecting the loss of sensitive personal data of clients
  • Instructed to advise a family in relation to a claim against a school academy for breaching sensitive data of a child
  • Advising on a potential data breach by a firm of stockbrokers which adversely affected the estate of a deceased client