Ian Whitehurst

Call 1994


“A real fighter who makes really incisive legal points.”

Chambers and Partners 2020
Photo of Ian Whitehurst


Ian is a highly regarded and sought after Leading Junior in Crime and has been recognised as such for several years in Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500.

He advises clients at all stages of criminal proceedings, from pre charge to the appellate stage, has an extensive advisory practice and is a skilled advocate before juries, tribunals and the appellate courts.

He defends as well as prosecutes in a wide range of serious criminal matters including gang related homicide, serious sexual offences, large scale drugs and firearms conspiracies, corruption cases and armed robberies.

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

Ian has developed a specialist practice in appellate work and concentrates on appeals in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division), the Administrative Court and the Upper Tribunals focusing upon in particular organised crime, confiscation law and regulatory matters.

Criminal Cases

Serious and Organised Crime

Current Cases:

  • Acting for the Defence in a large scale importation of firearms from the Netherlands into the UK
  • Acting for the Defence in a “county lines” drugs conspiracy relating to the supply of Class A drugs from the North West to East Anglia
  • Prosecuting multi handed drugs conspiracy based in Cheshire
  • Acting for the Defence in a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs from Merseyside to Cumbria
  • Acting for a solicitor accused of serious criminal and professional misconduct
  • Prosecuting an OCG involved in the kidnap and torture of an individual

Recent Cases:

  • Acting as Led Junior for the Defence in a murder involving complicated medics issues concerning the cause of death
  • Acting for the defendant in an attempted murder against a serving police officer (Crown Court and Court of Appeal)
  • Acting as Led Junior for the Defence in a murder involving issues surrounding joint enterprise
  • Acting for the Defendant in a historical sexual abuse case involving three complainants
  • Acting for the same Defendant in three large scale drugs conspiracies

Cases of Note:

  • R v RS – Acting as Led Junior for the Defence in the murder of a policeman
  • 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. Sus involved in excess of £1 million.
  • 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 G – Acting for the Defence in a 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 drug dealing activity in South Liverpool
  • 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 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.

Criminal and Regulatory Appeals

  • R v C – instructed as sole junior counsel [not trial counsel] to advise on the prospects of an appeal against a historical murder conviction.
  • R v T – instructed as Led Junior Counsel to advise on the prospects of an appeal against conviction in relation to a murder involving issues surrounding the role of a “secondary party” and the appropriate legal directions to be given to the jury.
  • R v M – instructed to challenge via case stated to the Administrative Court a decision by the Magistrates Court to convict a defendant in his absence of violence offences.
  • R v X – instructed as sole junior counsel to conduct an appeal against conviction in relation to an offence of wounding based on the inadequacies of the former advocate at trial.
  • R v Z – instructed to challenge via judicial review the conditions a prisoner was held in whilst serving his sentence.
  • R v M – instructed as sole junior counsel (not trial counsel) to seek to challenge a conviction for attempted rape on the basis of a “lurking doubt” in the evidence. Conviction quashed and re – trial ordered.
  • R v D – instructed to represent a defendant in relation to a judicial review and subsequently case stated proceedings arising from a firearms certificate appeal.
  • R v S – instructed as sole junior counsel to conduct an appeal against the imposition of a revised confiscation order which involved issues surrounding Public Interest Immunity (PII) due to the importance of the case it is a reported decision and can be found at R v S [2019] EWCA Crim 569, [2019] All ER (D) 44 (Apr).