John is an experienced specialist in all forms of fraud and ancillary issues such as confiscation proceeds of crime and money laundering. His serious fraud practice includes work prosecuted by the SFO, CPS and HMRC and he is currently retained in several multi-million pound city insider dealings and aggressive tax avoidance/evasion cases. He has a detailed knowledge of the issues of restraint and confiscation, as well as specialist experience F.C.I.B and U.M.B.S related issues. He has successfully defended in cases brought forward by the SFO which have required specialist expertise of insider dealer and computer fraud, aggressive tax avoidance schemes and duty evasions. These include recent successes in aggressive tax avoidance schemes and D.O.T.A.S. issues prosecuted as conspiracies to cheat and fraudulent evasion.
He has extensive experience of prosecuting and defending matters of serious crime including manslaughter, sexual offences, drugs and terrorism related offences. John also deals with cases involving mental health issues and has been involved in a number of notorious, innovative cases, such as the Gonzalez case, which raised a significant number of issues concerning the distinction between motivation and illness, true mental illness and self-induced mental illness caused by illicit drugs. He has been briefed in ‘shaken baby’ cases and other cases involving non-accidental injuries to children.
Notable high profile cases include R v Ben Doyle, an allegation of Murder arising out of a drive by shooting and R v Azzizi, a terrorist case involving the dissemination of terrorist material and the recruitment of others to the cause of the so called Islamic State Group. John is instructed in ongoing high profile cases involving alleged corruption and misfeasance in public office, Revenue Fraud by the importation of material from China in alleged breach of EU sanctions and the leading EncroChat case known as Embossed 2.
John has conducted many historic sex abuse cases on behalf of both the prosecution and defence. Due to the complexities facing a defendant in such circumstances, the foundation of sound preparation akin to the presentation in fraud work is beneficial for these types of cases.
He is an incisive advocate known for his formidable ability in the courtroom. He 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.
John is consistently recognised as a Leading Silk in both Chambers and Partners UK & The Legal 500 Guide for his expertise in Crime.
R v Zhang – A case to be heard in May 2024 concerning the alleged fraudulent evasion of anti-dumping duty and VAT on the importation of solar panels allegedly from China in alleged contravention of EU regulations designed to protect the domestic EU and UK markets. The allegation is to the effect that the UK Government have already paid the duty (which in any event is denied to be due and owing) to the EU as part of alleged treaty obligations. The Defence of the defendant is that the solar panels in any event did not originate from China and the duty was not due and therefore the alleged payments have been erroneously made. Value of the alleged fraud said to be in excess of £140 million.
R v Halsall (and others) – A series of two cases of alleged corruption and the receipt of corrupt payments made to the Chief Executives of prominent local authorities in consequence of the outsourcing of various local authority services. Various politicians and personalities of national significance allegedly involved. All offences are denied and no corrupt or other inappropriate payments were received. On the contrary the case is alleged to be a political “witch hunt” of those who did little but save £100 millions of public money on legitimate outsourcing exercises, an exercise now resented by the political opponents of the defendants.
R v Hughes, Bold and Others – Retained by the defence in a case brought by HMRC concerning an alleged fraud involving a film investment and tax avoidance scheme.The scheme involved the investment in films with a tax hedge should the films prove financially unsuccessful. HMRC alleged this was fraudulent. The defence made an application to dismiss before arraignment in consequence of a deficiency in the charges. The application was successful and the case dismissed.
R v Shirley (and others) – Prosecution for money laundering and other offences of dishonesty including mortgage fraud and the acquisition of very high value presitge motor vehicles free of VAT by reason of the exploitation of the abuse of the system to provide vehicles for Wheel chair users. Majority of counts dismissed at the close of the prosecution case.Widespread abuse of the Wheel chair use regulations exposed by nationally reknowned motor dealers who had been supplying vehicles on the same terms
R v Smith (and others) – Conspiracy to import tobacco and cigarettes. Majority of evidence was obtained in consequence of the use of a covert listening device.Challenges to the use of the device and the disclosure proceedures surrounding the same.
R v Batliwala and Others – Retained by the defence in a conspiracy to defraud the revenue by the alleged smuggling of class A and B drugs, as well as tobacco. The case concerned the smuggling of the drugs and tobacco in loads of fresh fruit and vegetables imported via Heathrow and Gatwick airports as well as via various coastal ports. The allegations of class A were dismissed with the defendant being acquitted of the remainder after a re-trial.
R v Ahmed and Others – Retained by the defence in a conspiracy to defraud and launder money. The case concerned the alleged abuse of the Hawala banking system and the laundering of money via a series of money changing bureaux. The case involved the analysis of many thousands of transactions and the tracing of both money and assets. The case was ultimately resolved by the Prosecution offering no evidence upon receipt of arguments for the application for a stay.
R v Emery and Others – Retained by the defence in a conspiracy to defraud. The allegation was essentially a “boiler room” type fraud concerning a share dealing entity in Madrid. There were many victims including elderly and vulnerable victims. The case was complex as it was apparent that some investors had made very considerable profits although they were small in number when compared with the victims.
R v Donnelly and Others – The first trial in the Operation Vex trilogy. Retained for the director and accountant for the group of companies allegedly responsible for the fraud which included a variety of alleged devices including money laundering and MTIC.
R v Knights and Others – Retained by the defence in “the largest mortgage fraud ever prosecuted in the UK” (as opened to the jury by Prosecuting Counsel). Known by the S.F.O. case reference as BMF 01, the case concerned the fraudulent acquisition of approximately £63m from various commercial lenders. The case required detailed cross-examination of experts as to the duties and responsibilities of a solicitor involved in transactions of this type. Case was complex involving both criminal and regulatory breaches. Defendant unanimously acquitted after a five month trial.
R v Cahill and Others – Retained by the defence in a prosecution by the SFO of Defendant’s charged with conspiracies and fraudulent trading. A case of the utmost complexity and difficulty. Successful plea bargain resulted in a non-custodial sentence.
R v Gosling and Others – Retained by the defence in a prosecution by the SFO into the notorious “buy to let” fraud concerning the activities of P.P.P. Limited. Described by the S.F.O. as the most significant “buy to let” type fraud involving over £80 million of investor monies of which £65 million provided no prospect of any return. There were ultimately £16 million in investor claims following the collapse.
R v Mawdsley –A serious fraud concerning both criminal and regulatory offences/matters. Case concerned the abuse of trust by a tied agent in the financial services field and the fraudulent trading of an IFA through a series of off-shore companies after the changes brought about by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 had restricted his UK based activities.
R v Brown (and others) –Otherwise known as the “IKEA fraud.” Retained by the defence in a prosecution by the SFO of various defendants allegedly supplying goods to IKEA at a time when these goods were not in fact required by IKEA.Despite their assertions to the contrary the SFO were compelled to accept greatly reduced figures concerning the quantum alleged in respect of various charges including corruption and to abandon the principle allegation of Conspiracy to defraud resulting in the verdicts of Not Guilty.
R v Cox & Others – (also Known as “Operation Divert”). M.T.I.C. fraud of EU exporters. At the time of conviction this was the largest and most complex fraud of its type.
R v Issitt (also Known as “Operation Divert 2”) – M.T.I.C. fraud of EU exporters. (Linked to Cox & Others).
R v Duff – Prosecution of a solicitor accused of money laundering.
R v Sladek – case of alleged murder (tried Spring 2023) of one of a group of men who stormed the house were the defendant was staying in order to execute a revenge attack. The “householder defence” was used and the defendant acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter due to his part in the alleged attack. Others were convicted of murder. 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.
R v Williams – Allegation of murder in a gang/drugs turf war. Deceased was an 18 year old youth beaten and stamped to death in a city centre internet café. The allegation of a turf war was denied with the motive for the attack being the deceased’s alleged threat to a child with a knife. Two knives found on the deceased. His family members had attempted to conceal these before the arrival of the police. Cell siting and CCTV used to place some of the defendants at the scene. Issues of participation, self-defence and joint enterprise.
R v Byrne – Allegation of murder of man alleged to have accosted young girls. Defendants action was to “teach a lesson” concerning this alleged behaviour. Defendant struck the deceased twice but upon falling the deceased struck his head on the pavement. After the defendant left the scene 2 others came and kicked the unconscious man. The cause of death and sequencing of the blows was critical. Defendant pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Prosecution refused to accept the plea. Defendant found not guilty of murder.
R v Taylor – Killing by a defendant of both parents in consequence of a series of psychotic illnesses and a failure in the medication required to stabilise his pre existing paranoid schizophrenia and psychosis. Manslaughter by way of diminished responsibility was ultimately accepted once the defendant was fit to plead. Thereafter complex medical evidence was heard from competing psychiatrists as to the ultimate disposal. The issue being the alternative of a hospital order or Section 45A hybrid order.
R v Doyle – April 2022: Drive by shooting of a rival gang member. Case concerned the recognition of a distinctive electric bike and the defendants involvement with this bike and its alleged camouflage on the day of the shooting. Defendant was a supplier and repairer of bicycles who was allegedly unaware of the purpose for which the electric bike he supplied would be used. His relationship with the alleged gunman was denied.
R v Cookson – January 2022: Murder of vulnerable drug user who had allowed his home to be used for drugs supply. Dispute between two gangs who claimed the house as theirs. Defendant was attacked by a rival gang when he visited the house. Deceased allegedly killed in retribution for this attack. The defendants presence at the scene was proven by the use of a fitness App on his mobile phone which measured the distance to the house in question and allegedly established his presence there at the time of the killing.
R v Robert Child – Murder for gain by a son upon his mother. The defendant had lead a fantasy life during which he had represented himself as being variously a University professor and a coaching scout for a premier league football team. He allegedly killed his mother to gain access to her considerable funds and thereafter had purchased an expensive car before being arrested.
R v Alan Edwards – Alleged murder of Susan Waring who went missing in January 2019 and who has never been seen since. Case of missing body murder. Extremely complex issues as to the extent and scope of the search operation and the potential for the missing person to create and sustain a new identity in what were styled “proof of life enquiries”. Complex forensic evidence linking a potential attack upon the alleged victim to her subsequent disappearance.
R v John O’Brien (and others) – Allegation of murder and arson with intent to endanger life. Case arose out of a county lines drugs supply case where the deceased was suspected of supplying for a rival line. An attack took place where his home was set alight with petrol and the same was sprayed over the deceased who was then ignited causing injuries from which he died. Defendant was present at the scene but denied knowledge of the intention to ignite. Defendant acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter and reckless arson.
R v Darren Taylor – Murder of an elderly and vulnerable man for whom the defendant acted/posed as a carer. Complex factual scenario in consequence of the care package in place for the patient and the inter-action between the care provided and the alleged activities of the defendant. Extremely complex expert evidence concerning the dating of fractures some of which were dated some five months or more prior to the alleged fatal attack. The deceased sustained some 78 fractures in total but the dating of the fractures and the correlation between these dates and the defendant’s access to the patient was a significant issue.
R v Daniel Taylor – Murder involving a father and son as defendants in the alleged attack upon their friend in consequence of an attack following a dispute between the Father and a former partner. The deceased became involved in the defence of his father. Prosecution contended it was a joint attack. Complex issues of joint principals or primary and secondary parties. Inter related issues of joint enterprise ans defence of another.
R v Christopher Wallace – Case said to involve the head of a significant organised crime syndicate involving the supply of Class A drugs, possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives on a massive scale. Complex expert evidence regarding the explosives and the ability to trace the defendant of various alleged supply journeys.
R v Fazal Ilahi (and others) – Allegations of murder and attempted murder arising out of a feud between two families. The feud had been on going for many months and culminated in an attack in which the father of one family was killed and his son was subject to an attempt to murder. Issues of joint enterprise and participation were at the forefront of the trial. Defendants presence was admitted but his knowledge and participation remained contentious.
R v Bernard Pinkney – Allegation of murder. Defendant was pursued by the deceased following altercation concerning the presence of the defendant as an uninvited guest at a party at the home of the deceased. The Defendant was pursued by the deceased who was carrying 1 possibly 2 knives. Defendant was initially unarmed. After a successful pursuit of the defendant a struggle ensued in consequence of which the deceased was stabbed twice. The Defendants self defence went beyond what was reasonable and defendant pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
R v Dylan Slater – Allegation of murder of a professional cage fighter during an altercation following a wrestling fight when the defendant defeated the deceased who took exception to being defeated by “an amateur”. Cage fighter attacked the defendant with a knife who thereafter defended himself. Self defence went beyond what was initially reasonable and the defendant pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
R v Deborah Andrews (and one other) – Charge of murder of old and vulnerable victim with a subsequent dismembering (by burning) of the body. Complex case due to covert surveillance of the defendants whilst in custody.
R v Booth (and others) – Allegation of murder subsequently reduced to manslaughter following a series of fights and disturbances in various bars and public houses. Allegation of manslaughter on basis of joint enterprise.
R v McNally (and one other) – Allegation for attempted murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Victim was vulnerable individual who was regarded by the defendants as a source of money. Attack allegedly took place upon their requests being refused.
R v Lauren Coyle (and others). – Charge of manslaughter of a 19 month old child by her mother. The child had allegedly been restrained in a cot with makeshift sides made to resemble a cage. Allegations that the child had been further restrained by ligatures. Complex medical issues concerning the cause of death and the underlying mechanism causing the death. Defendant acquitted of the manslaughter charge but convicted of offences of child cruelty.
R v Leighton Holt – Charge of murder following an incident in the St Helens town Centre when altercation developed between the defendant and several bouncers/door staff. CCTV evidence showed defendant was pursued by the door staff and thereafter surrounded. Defendant produced a knife and used the same in self defence. Verdict of not guilty after two juries failed to agree.
R v Bulhan – Multiple counts of murder and attempted murder following an attack in Russell Square in Central London when the defendant indiscriminately attacked members of the public with a large knife. The defendant was suffering from a significant mental illness. Complex medical issues resulted in hospital orders being made.
R v Johnson – Allegation of murder by two brothers of a man who was allegedly a troublesome neighbour to their mother. Case involved issues of joint enterprise as the defendant was said to be present and to have been involved in the attack. Submission of no case upheld due to close analysis of CCTV in conjunction with telephone evidence which demonstrated that the defendant was not in the close vicinity of the attack at the material time.
R v Alom – Allegation of murder following an incident in the defendants home when he was alleged to be the victim of bullying. Complex issues following the defendants use of a knife in self defence.
R v Richardson – Unprovoked and indiscriminate attack on New Years day of a Chinese national visiting his family in the UK.
R v Mutekedza – Allegation of Murder by a soldier and member of the Territorial Army of a girlfriend in consequence of her alleged infidelity. The killing was admitted but the defence of loss of control was advanced due to the fear of violence at the hands of the deceased and her new lover/boyfriend. Complex issues as the new boyfriend and “other man” was a Zimbabwean national who refused to return to the U.K. to testify. Cross examination was via video link to Harare. Defendant had served with the Army and had volunteered for duty in Afghanistan.
R v Ewing and Dewhurst – Abduction and Murder of young girl, Paige Chivers. Paige went missing in 2007 and has never been seen since nor has her body been recovered. Allegation was that Paige was murdered by Ewing and the body disposed of by Dewhurst who thereafter perverted the course of Justice. Proof of life evidence and probe material of covert recordings of the defendants comprised the majority of the prosecution case.
R v Ullah – Murder of a cannabis grower by men posing as purchasers of the drugs. Defendant was the person who allegedly put the “deal” together with the co-accused being the man with possession of the weapon. Significant “cut throat” defence between the defendants concerning the acquisition, possession and disposal of the weapon. Complex issues of bad character material revealed in the unused material to be deployed against the co-defendant.
R v Gonzales – Central Criminal Court. The Defence of a serial killer who engaged in 4 random killings and two attempted murders over a two day period. Whole life terms were imposed upon conviction. The Defendant was described by staff at Broadmoor Hospital as the most difficult and dangerous of those in their care. The case involved a significant mental health issues induced by a prolonged period of illicit substance abuse.
R v Kabir –Case involved the ritual killing of a 10-month-old baby in a bakery and
again involved issues of cultural differences set against a long history of mental health problems.
R v Oladapo – Central Criminal Court. Allegation of murder following an alleged vigilante attack following the activities of a notorious gang member. Case involved intrusive covert Surveillance methods and alleged covert confessions. Defendant acquitted of murder.
R v Duffeal – Central Criminal Court. Allegation of murder in a gang attack on a group including a 14 year old boy. Defendant and the co-accused were members of the notorious “London Fields Boys” gang. The case involved complex areas of joint enterprise and related issues. The case was extremely sensitive due to the age of the deceased and the issues of knife crime amongst inner city teenage gangs.
R v Anthony Greenwood – Defence of a teenager involved in the events surrounding the murder of the Liverpool teenager and cadet soldier Joseph Lappin. A case where the principle issue was joint enterprise where the Prosecution ultimately accepted guilty pleas to lesser offences.
R v – Stephen Brighouse – Defence of a man accused of manslaughter of a supermarket employee following her attempted apprehension of him as he attempted to leave the store. In consequence of a rapid rise in blood pressure during the chase an undiagnosed and unknown aneurysm ruptured causing her death. Complex medical and causational issues were raised. The case was ultimately withdrawn from the Jury upon a submission of no case being upheld.
HISTORIC SEX ABUSE
R v Khubaib – Retained by the defence in the Peterborough grooming case. Allegations of grooming of young and vulnerable girls aged between 12 and 15 years. Allegations over a significant period and for a large number of complainants Defendant was alleged to be the principal and in charge of others. All witnesses were vulnerable and required cross examination within the new regime and tool kits”. Complex legal issues concerning cross admissibility.
R v Anthony Briggs – Retained by the defence in an historic sex abuse case. Allegations concerned the alleged abuse by a variety of complainants over a significant period spanning many years. Complaints were made up to 20 years after the alleged incidents had taken place and were from both family and non-family members. Abuse covered all aspects of sexual behaviour. Defendant acquitted on all 25 counts in two indictments.
R v Andrews – Defence of the Senior Director of Social Services involved in serious allegations of rape and indecent assault (male and female) on children within local authority care. Complex interdepartmental disclosure issues were raised in the case along with the Local Authority’s reluctance to co-operate. Case was of a historic nature as the complainants were all now adults complaining of alleged conduct that had occurred many years before when they were children in the care of the local authority. Defendant was in a position of control and trust, both in regard to the victims and the local authority he served, neither of whom can be named in this profile for legal reasons. Defendant was acquitted of all save one charge out of 34 counts.
R v Azzizi – Distribution and dissemination of very disturbing terrorist material by a man alleged to be a senior recruitment officer for the so called Islamic State group. Material had been distributed to others by a defendant who was trafficked into the UK for this purpose and to recruit others. Defendant was politically active and had attended demonstrations in London against the Iranian regime.
R v Girma & Others – Defence of alleged terrorist charged with rendering assistance to those in the attempted bombings of the London Tube system on the 21st July 2005.
R v Shaykh Asif Hussain Forooqui – An eminent Muslim cleric released without charge following his arrest and investigation for involvement in alleged terrorist offences. Pre-charge advice on disclosure, seizure and related matters given.