Steven Swift

Call 1991

Photo of Steven Swift


Steven was called to the Bar of England and Wales by Inner Temple in November 1991, and has over 25 years of experience practising in criminal law.

He completed his pupillage and joined chambers in Liverpool, developing a common law practice with particular emphasis on criminal work. Steven has extensive experience of preparing and presenting cases at all levels of criminal courts.

He has a diverse caseload, including grave and complex cases including:

  • Murder/manslaughter
  • Armed robbery and serious offences of violence
  • Importation and supplying of Class A and B drugs.
  • Rape and sexual offences (recent and non-recent)

Steven has extensive experience in the cross-examination of young and vulnerable witnesses. He has conducted many cases within the ambit of “Section 28” pre-recorded cross-examination.

He has presented a workshop to the Police, Social Service representatives and academics in relation to the use of pre-recorded cross-examination.

He has also represented clients facing serious fraud matters, HMRC restraint hearings and Proceeds of Crime Act determinations.

Steven also undertakes professional regulatory work, appearing before the General Medical Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council.


Notable Cases:

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 Smedley.

Representing the former Dean of Edge Hill University facing multiple allegations of systematic fraud.

R v Smalley.

Leading junior representing a defendant who faced multiple counts of rape and serious sexual offences dating back over forty years against eleven complainants. This was a six week trial necessitating sensitive extensive and detailed cross-examination of vulnerable witnesses, three of whom fell within the ambit of the Section 28 provisions giving rise to pre-recorded cross-examination.

R v Chiu.

Conspiracy concerning the importation of the largest volume of “legal highs” to be prosecuted. Offences committed via online sales , importing drugs from China and changing the description of the chemical compounds.

R v Keane.

Defendant charged with murder following an earlier section 18 conviction and subsequent death.

R v Davies.

Defendant facing multiple non-recent rape allegations dating back to the 1980’s. The defendant was suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Legal arguments in respect of the defendant’s ability to have a “fair trial” resulted in the grant of an intermediary appointed on behalf of the defendant throughout the trial process. Acquitted

R v Amin.

Representation of a lead defendant facing allegations of rape and child sexual offences within a “grooming ring”. Acquitted

Appeared as Leading Counsel for the defendant in the case of Hedgcock & Others 2007 EWCA Crim 3486: point of principle relating “to the correct approach to be taken by a jury in a criminal case to an invitation by the Crown to draw an inference adverse to a defendant from primary facts.” (LJ Laws) .

Cited with approval recently in: Goddard & another 2012 EWCA 1756, Darnly 2012 EWCA Crim 1148.

R v Hill A-G Ref 61 of 2014.

Court of Appeal hearing concerning the principles of imposing suspended sentences in historic sexual offences.

R v Smith – Court of Appeal.

This case resulted in a successful appeal against sentence for a soldier suffering from “combat stress” and post-traumatic stress disorder following deployment in both Iraq and Afghanistan. His sentence of imprisonment for the offence of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered was significantly reduced in light of developing psychological evidence and research into the trauma and stress developed by soldiers in combat zones.

R v Kynaston – Liverpool Crown Court.

The defendant was charged with Death by dangerous driving. The defendant was the driver of a lorry carrying compacted scrap metal which overturned and crushed to death the driver of a car which was travelling alongside the lorry. The case required significant cross-examination and scrutiny of the regulations relating to safe systems of loading and transportation of scrap metals. Expert evidence was called relating to size of load transportation and driving speeds. This case led to a private members bill being backed by the Transport Select Committee to regulate top heavy loads.

R v Harman (E.coli outbreak) – Preston Crown Court.

Butcher facing allegations of breaching food safety regulations following an outbreak of E.coli food poisoning amongst a large number of customers. The case required a detailed understanding of food hygiene regulations, conferences with defence experts and extensive cross-examination of experts called on behalf of the prosecution.

R v Brookhouse – Warrington Crown Court.

Representation of lead defendant in a case concerning multi-million pound drugs importation.

R v Smalley – Liverpool Crown Court.

Leading junior representing a defendant facing multiple historical allegations of rape made by twelve complainants.

R v Holland – Bolton Crown Court.

“Baby shaking” case. Successfully defended a young father facing allegation of inflicting grievous bodily harm against his son.

R v Meighan (& others) – Manchester Crown Court.

Junior counsel – successfully defended a client charged in respect of attempted murder allegation. Contract killing.

R v Balogh – Liverpool Crown Court.

Case concerning attempted murder/attempt infanticide by mother of a newly born baby abandoned at a hospital.