About Estelle Thornber
Estelle is a measured and effective advocate, regularly appearing in both the Crown Court and the Magistrates’ Court. Estelle’s friendly and compassionate approach with clients, teamed with her robust and fearless style in the courtroom has allowed her to develop an impressive criminal junior practice.
Prior to commencing her pupillage, Estelle worked as a paralegal in the Crown Court department of a busy Criminal Law Firm in Central London and in the Catastrophic Injury Team of a Leading City Law Firm; Estelle appreciates the demands placed upon instructing solicitors in modern-day practice and the importance of clear communication and impeccable client-care.
Estelle recently completed a 9-week trial involving 12 Defendants at Leicester Crown Court and she is currently acting as Independent Disclosure Counsel for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Estelle also successfully stated a case for the opinion of the High Court in April 2018; the case was subsequently reported on every major legal forum and is considered by Criminal Law Weekly and Crimeline as an important decision on the admissibility of hearsay evidence in the Criminal Courts.
Estelle is a Grade 1 Prosecutor.
BPP Leeds: BPTC – Very Competent
Newcastle University: LLB – 2.1
ADR Accredited Civil and Commercial Mediator
Inner Temple Otto & Sadie Rix Prize 2016
Inner Temple Trans-Pennine Mooting Competition Winner 2012
Modern Hebrew (Fluent)
EXPERIENCE AND INSTRUCTIONS
RECENT CASES OF NOTE ACTING AS DEFENCE COUNSEL:
Andrew Randell v DPP  EWHC 1048 (Admin) – Successful application to state a case for the opinion of the High Court. The client’s convictions for Arson and Theft were subsequently quashed and no re-trial was ordered; this case reaffirmed the principle that a witness’ best evidence is given live, where it can be open to challenge. This case further confirmed that statutory provisions, not the Criminal Procedure Rules, determine the admissibility of Hearsay Evidence.
The Crown Court
R v O and Others [February 2018 – May 2018] – Leicester Crown Court: Estelle acted as Junior Counsel in this 9-week trial involving 12 Defendants accused of charges ranging from Attempted Murder to multiple Conspiracies to Commit Violent Disorder.
R v I [February 2018] – Luton Crown Court: Estelle’s client was unanimously acquitted of a knifepoint robbery following a 4-day trial.
R v C [January 2018] – Cambridge Crown Court: A custodial sentence imposed in respect of Possession with Intent to Supply Class A Drugs (MDMA) was suspended following mitigation; the Judge accepted the Defence’s submissions that the case fell outside the usual applicable bracket of the Sentencing Guidelines.
R v CU [November 2017] – Stafford Crown Court: Not guilty verdicts recorded following a two-day trial in respect of one Count of section 18 Grievous Bodily Harm with intent, contrary to the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. The allegation involved a stabbing using improvised weapons and pouring of boiling water over the victim.
R v CO [August 2017] – Wolverhampton Crown Court: Client unanimously acquitted by a jury following a trial in respect of two Counts of dwelling burglary.
The Magistrates’ Court and Youth Court
R v G [June 2018] – Croydon Magistrates’ Court: Estelle’s client was acquitted of two charges involving assault, including an alleged assault upon his child. The evidence against the Defendant included body worn footage of injuries to the Complainant and the child immediately following the alleged assault.
R v H [January 2018] – Luton Magistrates’ Court: The Defendant was acquitted in respect of one charge of Causing Unnecessary Suffering to an Animal, contrary to s.4(1) of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The trial involved independent witnesses for the Crown and legal submissions on behalf of the Defence.
R v N (A Youth) [December 2018]- Croydon Youth Court: Successful application inviting the recusal of a District Judge following a two-day youth trial. This application was made by Estelle after her 12-year-old client’s previous convictions were introduced by the Co-Defendant’s representative without notice. The matter was listed for legal arguments to be heard; despite the usual position that as Judges of fact and law, District Judges are able to put hearsay and bad character ‘out of their minds’, the Judge accepted Estelle’s submissions and recused himself.
R v S [October 2017] – Bromley Magistrates’ Court: Estelle successfully argued mitigating circumstances (‘Exceptional Hardship’), allowing her client to avoid mandatory disqualification and to continue driving with 15 points on their licence.