Michael Mather-Lees QC Announced as New Head of Chambers

Church Court Chambers are pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Mather-Lees QC as Head of Chambers with effect from Monday 9th May 2022. Michael follows Kerim Fuad QC who ends his eight year tenure as Head of Chambers and remains a full member of Chambers. 

Commenting on this appointment, Michael observes: “I would like to extend my thanks to Kerim for his hard work, dedication and unwavering passionate commitment to Chambers during his eight-year term. In Chambers our strength does not simply come from our members’ talent but from Chambers’ character and our story thus far. I am honoured that Chambers has passed onto me Kerim’s pen and I look forward to writing the next chapter.”

Kerim led Chambers for eight years and under his stewardship, supported by Members, the Clerks and Staff, Chambers has grown to become a leading London Chambers. Kerim oversaw Chambers’ measured expansion, including the lateral hires of six Queen’s Counsel. 

During his tenure Chambers relocated from the Inns to modern, progressive, accessible, and design-led premises in our current home at the Old Patent Office, Chancery Lane. Kerim led Chambers through the pandemic with strength, stability, a clear long-term vision and much needed humour and compassion. 

During his term, Kerim was also appointed Leader of the South Eastern Circuit and successfully balanced a highly demanding practice, including countless Old Bailey murder trials with his unwavering commitment to leading Chambers and trying to provide a brighter future for the whole Bar. Kerim notes: “it’s been an honour to lead Chambers for the last eight years. I have been immensely proud to see Chambers go from strength to strength. I would like to thank all the Members, Clerks and staff of Chambers for their support, especially the various Management Committees over the past years. After 28 years serving continuously on various committees, including the CBA Executive, Chair of a Mess and Leader of the Circuit, I very much look forward to fewer weekend calls, less Zoom backgrounds and no more agendas – although as everyone who knows me knows, my door always has been and always will remain open. I wish Michael and the Team well and I very much look forward to sharing in Chambers’ continued success.” 

George Hepburne Scott Instructed in Landmark High Court Case Defining the Post-Brexit UK-EU Extradition Arrangements

On 4 May 2022, judgment was handed down in the case of Lucian Florin Badea v Romanian Judicial Authority [2022] EWHC 1025 (Admin).  This judgment provides a thorough analysis of the effect of the specific provisions of the Trade and Co-Operation Agreement between the UK and the EU within extradition law in the UK. The Appellant submitted that the effect of this international instrument was analogous to the preceding EU Framework Decisions concerning the European Arrest Warrants (EAW’s). Fordham J considered the case in light of the following authorities: Konecny v Czech Republic [2019] UKSC 8, 1 WLR 1586; Polakowski v Westminster Magistrates’ Court [2021] EWHC 53 (Admin) 1 WLR 2521 & Saptelei v Romania [2021] EWHC 66 (Admin) [2021] RTR 484.

George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors.

A link to the judgment can be found here

Lewis Power QC Appears in High Profile Sabina Nessa Murder Case

Lewis represented the Defendant, Koci Selamaj, who pleaded guilty to the murder of primary school teacher, Sabina Nessa. The Defendant, who drove to London in order to attack a stranger, has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 36 years.

A Whole Life order was avoided. The case is one of national importance, alongside the recent case of Sarah Everard. The safety of women as they go about their daily business has once again been thrust into the spotlight and, once again, it’s because a woman has been killed in apparently “safe” conditions.



George Hepburne Scott Successfully Defends British Soldier in Extradition Proceedings

On 6 April 2022, George’s client was discharged from extradition proceedings by a district judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court following the successful deployment of an Article 8 objection to extradition on the grounds of private and family life.

The requested person (RP) was 30 years old. The extradition request made by the French Republic related to an incident in January 2014, at a ski-resort in France where the then 22 year old RP was stationed as a member of the British Paratroop Regiment attached to NATO. 

A snowball fight had broken out outside a nightclub in the early hours and a local man became upset that his girlfriend had been hit by a snowball. He attacked the group of paratroopers including the RP. He was kicked and punched and suffered injuries. The RP and another solider were questioned the next day by French police and claimed self-defence. They were then released.

A short while later, the RP and his co-defendant both returned with their unit to the U.K. Unbeknownst to them, in February 2021, they were tried and convicted in their absence by the local French Court. They were both sentenced to 12 months immediate custody. The French authorities had apparently made attempts to contact the RP through the relevant British authorities to no avail. The RP was blissfully unaware of the ongoing investigation and proceedings. Following the conviction and sentence in absence, in October 2021, a French prosecutor issued an international extradition arrest warrant and the RP was arrested on this warrant at his home address in November 2021.

Interestingly, in December 2021 the RP’s co-defendant, appealed his sentence to the French Court of Appeal who had quashed the sentence of 12 months immediate custody and replaced it with a 3 month suspended sentence. The French CA had stated its reasons for doing this as being, inter alia: (i) the aggrieved started the violence, (ii) the context was an argument at 3am outside a nightclub when all had consumed alcohol and (iii) the paratroopers had used minimum force (ie they were trained to kill and had ‘only’ broken his cheekbone). This judgement was adduced by the defence in the extradition proceedings.

George invited the district judge to take this into account and to also take account of the age of the RP at the time, his lack of offending since, his ignorance of the proceedings (ie his lack of fugitive status), the passage of 8 years and the fact that his fiancé was now expecting their first child. 

In the circumstances, the judge was persuaded that extradition would constitute a disproportionate interference in the Article 8 rights of the RP and his fiancé.

The RP was discharged.

George was instructed by Giovanna Fiorentino of Lansbury Worthington Solicitors

Olympian’s Appeal before the Court of Arbitration Of Sports

Yasin Patel will represent a leading International Athlete at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) proceedings in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The charges from the International Olympic Committee are based upon alleged Anti-doping Rule violations at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

Despite the Olympics having been completed many months ago, the proceedings will be heard by the highest Sports Appeal Tribunal in the World with leading experts and professionals due to give evidence in relation to the charges brought by the IOC and defended by the Athlete.

Yasin Patel is a barrister and Arbitrator at Church Court Chambers and a Director of SLAM, who deals with all aspects of Sports Law including Anti-Doping, Commercial Rights, Anti-Corruption and contracts and represents some of the leading International athletes, clubs and organisations.

Kerim Fuad QC Defends in High Profile, Sensitive Old Bailey Murder Case, Described as “Shocking” and “Complex” 

Mr Fuad QC represented Donovan Miller, in a highly sensitive case, where it was alleged that in March 2021 he murdered his grandmother, and thereafter defiled the corpse. He faced counts of murder and offences contrary to section 70(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

In what was a highly unusual, disturbing and sensitive case which was initially set down for a murder trial, the Crown were able to agree a plea to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. 

Difficult legal issues arose as to the extent to which the defendant’s voluntary large consumption of cocaine led to the offences and therefore whether diminished responsibility was available at all to the defendant as a partial defence to murder. 

Mr Fuad QC relied on his considerable expertise in mental health homicide cases in liaising with the psychiatrists for over a year. There was much consideration not only to whether diminished responsibility was available but whether a standard custodial sentence or a S.45A MHA 1983 Hybrid order was a more suitable sentence, allowing for treatment and then a punitive lengthy term of custody to follow.

After a lengthy hearing with psychiatrists called to give evidence, the Recorder of London imposed a Hospital/Restriction order

Kerim Fuad QC was instructed by Ebenezer Madeinlo of Hanson Woods Solicitors.

The Mirror

Daily Mail

Lewis Power QC Secures Acquittal in Lincoln Murder Trial

Lewis Power was acquitted on all counts in this Lincoln murder trial in which 2 members of the Romany Travelling community had sought to settle their differences with a traditional fist fight. This, however, had ended tragically with one of them hitting the back of his head against a concrete plinth and losing his life shortly thereafter.

Lewis was instructed by Lisa French and Duncan Frost of Foxes Solicitors

Zayd Ahmed Successful in s18 Grievous Bodily Harm Case

Zayd Ahmed, having considered the Crowns case, drafted a detailed basis of plea for a client charged with wounding with intent.  It was alleged by the Crown that the defendant, with others, stabbed the complainant unprovoked.

This basis of plea resulted in the Crown offering no evidence on the charge of wounding with intent.

The client  subsequently pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding and after thorough mitigation, received a suspended sentence of 18 months.

Zayd was instructed by Andreas Yiannaki of Stuart Miller Solicitors.

George Hepburne Scott Recent Extradition Successes’

THAILAND V N.R. – Successfully defeated Thai request for the extradition of British business man for alleged global financial crimes

JAPAN V J.C. – Successfully defeated Japanese extradition request for British man accused of involvement in a £1M Tokyo jewellery robbery

SPAIN V P.B. – Successfully defeated a Spanish extradition request for a British accountant accused of masterminding a global multi-£M money-laundering scheme

ROMANIA V A.E.E. – Successfully defeated a Romanian extradition request for a British / Egyptian man convicted of cultivation of cannabis and sentenced to 5 years.

Michael Mather-Lees QC and Colin Witcher Secure Dismissal in Complex Baby-Shaking Case

In a sensitive and complex case Michael Mather-Lees QC and Colin Witcher of Chambers’ Crime and Regulatory Team carefully conducted a thorough review of the prosecution evidence, including reviewing over 3000 pages of unused medical notes, where several experts had been instructed. That review culminated in a focused, forensic application to dismiss.

The Crown conceded, upon considering the defence skeleton argument and conducting a thorough review of the case, that there was no realistic prospect of conviction in respect to any count faced by the defendant, or any potential alternative.

Michael and Colin have extensive knowledge and experience in this unique area of criminal law. They have recently lectured together to both prosecution and defence lawyers on the effective preparation and presentation of medico-legal cases.

Counsel were instructed by Rebecca Higgins of Credence Solicitors. 

Michael Polak wins the 2021 IBA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award

Michael Polak wins the “2021 IBA Outstanding Young Lawyer Award” for his commitment to defending human rights across the globe through his professional practice and personal endeavours. 

Described by his nominator as ‘relentless in the pursuit of justice’, Mr Polak has worked on a number of high-profile criminal and human rights cases over the course of his career to date.

Most recently, he represented a young British woman in her appeal against a conviction for public mischief after reporting a gang rape in Cyprus. In a statement from January 2020, Mr Polak said that if the convictions against the woman were not overturned, ‘this matter will go all the way up to the European Court of Human Rights and European Court of Justice’.

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Yasin Patel Instructed As Counsel In Football Club Purchase

Yasin Patel has been instructed as counsel in the sale of a leading Professional Football Club in the UK.

Yasin is to represent the interests of potential buyers of the club ensuring that all of the necessary steps and criteria are met for the purchase of the club as well as the drafting of the shareholder purchase agreement, review of the club’s assets, property, corporate structures, as well as the personnel meeting the Owners and Directors test of the Governing body.   

The successful purchase of the club and the change of ownership could have huge beneficial effects for the club, its supporters, the staff, the players and management in light of the club’s current position.

Yasin Patel is a barrister at Church Court Chambers and a Director of SLAM: he deals with all aspects of Sports Law as well as other legal topics.

Colin Witcher Appointed Deputy District Judge

Chambers are delighted to announce that Colin Witcher of Chambers’ Crime and Regulatory Team has been appointed as a Deputy District Judge by the Lord Chief Justice upon the recommendation of the Judicial Appointments Commission. The same follows an open competition.

Head of Chambers Kerim Fuad QC observes:  “Chambers congratulations Colin on his well deserved appointment. This is a particularly special moment for Chambers in that this is our first home-grown appointment to the Bench, Colin having been my first Pupil in Silk. We have a fantastic selection of Recorders and DDJs in Chambers and a new addition to that group is wonderful news”

Colin will sit several weeks a year as a Deputy District Judge: his busy practice otherwise remains unaffected. 

Amjad Malik QC was Instructed to Defend Ian Stewart in this Complicated Murder Trial.

Amjad Malik QC was instructed to defend Ian Stewart in his murder trial, transferred from the Central Criminal Court to Huntingdon Crown Court before Mr. Justice Bryan.

The defendant now faced a second murder allegation, re-investigated immediately upon his conviction in 2017 for the murder of his then fiancé, the famous Children’s author, Helen Bailey. The Defendant received a life sentence with a minimum term of 34 years imprisonment for that previous conviction.

The Defendant’s wife of 24 years, Diane Stewart, a diagnosed epileptic, had died in 2010 in unwitnessed circumstances. Mr. Stewart called emergency services and his wife was found to be lifeless. The Coronial post-mortem findings found the cause of her death to be SUDEP (sudden unexplained death in epilepsy). The Defendant then consented to his wife’s brain being retained for research and as a result was available after his subsequent conviction for the murder of Helen Bailey.

The brain was examined by a Consultant neuro-pathologist and showed changes consistent with restriction of blood/oxygen supply to the brain of 35 minutes to an hour. The Prosecution allegation was the Defendant had asphyxiated his wife by placing a plastic bag over her head and left her to die for up to an hour before calling for an ambulance.

The case had an array of defence medical experts in the area of SUDEP and the trial lasted some four weeks. The Defendant was convicted and received a whole life order for the murder of Diane Stewart.

Amjad Malik QC was said to have conducted the defence of Mr. Stewart with great composure, skill and ensured that the jury considered the case with meticulous care.




Zayd Ahmed Secures Acquittal in Record Time for an Offence of Violence During a Football Match

Zayd Ahmed secures acquittal in record time for an offence of violence during a football match which caused the complainants teeth to fall out requiring surgery.

Zayd Ahmed successfully argued self defence in a trial at Maidstone Crown Court where 11 witnesses were called to give evidence of a “vicious and deliberate assault” during a football game.

Zayd argued the accused held an honest and genuine belief he was going to be attacked and struck the complainant causing the injuries including a tooth falling out and another tooth being dislodged.

The jury found the accused not guilty after only 19 minutes.

Lewis Power QC & Michael Polak Achieve Spectacular International Success In Supreme Court of Cyprus in Landmark Case of Teenager Rape Appeal.

On Monday the Supreme Court of Cyprus allowed the appeal of the young British teen who now has had her conviction for ‘lying’ about Cyprus gang rape by 12 Israeli students overturned. This young girl, 18, was thrown in jail for five weeks while her alleged attackers were freed to a heroes’ welcome as prosecutors instead charged the girl with lying to officers. Following a harrowing trial, of which it is now accepted was materially flawed and outrageously unfair rendering the conviction unsafe, the young woman was given a four-month suspended sentence for public mischief last year but the Cyprus Supreme Court has now overturned that ruling, after hearing, inter alia, that the judge ignored expert evidence and did not allow her to present her case. The arguments of the defence, put forward by the crack team of Church Court Barristers ( instructed by Justice Abroad) and their Cypriot Lawyer Counterparts, Nicoletta Charalambidou and Ritsa Pekri, were successful in virtually all their pleaded grounds of appeal.

Lewis Power, QC, states: ‘The Supreme Court of Cyprus have handed down their landmark decision and allowed the appeal of this young woman. In doing so they have quite properly recognised the serious flaws in the investigative and trial process and her unjust treatment. This was the most deplorable of cases in which a myth was created denying the existence of gang rape, a myth which justified the rapists’ behaviour, shifting the blame on to the victim. This is not just a victory and total vindication for the Appellant but for all those woman around the globe who have been both denied and wronged in justice. This case in my view has highlighted the injustice of justice.’

Commenting on the girl’s ordeal, Lewis Power QC added:’ This young lady has had to deal with the most ghastly sexual ordeal, a shoddy Police investigation, an over-bearing trial Judge, imprisonment and strict bail confinement in Cyprus. She has been vilified in social media, yet she has stood firm in her pursuit of justice. Her fortitude, bravery and strength over these past few years has been quite remarkable. Her resilience has been exemplary and she has shown true grit, determination and an unbelievable inner strength and we celebrate her courage. She has had to endure the victim blaming attitude which has oft become entrenched in society and indeed has become institutionalised within many criminal justice jurisdictions.

‘Throughout this case, the old adage came to mind ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced’. This is what this woman has adhered to.

‘We hope today that this ground-breaking decision will send out seismic waves across the world, which we hope will lead to radical legal reform in sexual assault cases and will eradicate injustice where there has been silencing and exclusion.’

Michael Polak has commented to the International Press that the teenager and her female lawyers had been shouted at and “treated with contempt” during the trial. He said : “We have always maintained that our client was not given a fair trial and today the Supreme Court of Cyprus has agreed with us ; Important fair trial provisions, which are in place to prevent miscarriages of justice, were totally disregarded in this case. A young and vulnerable woman was not only mistreated when she reported the rape to the police, but then she was just put through a trial process that was manifestly unfair, as the Supreme Court has recognised.”The defence team are now considering the consequences of this acquittal by the Supreme Court which includes manifestly the failure of the authorities to effectively investigate the rape claims. This is what we will now pursue.

Church Court Chambers : 2022 Recruitment

Pupillage (12 months)  

Church Court Chambers are delighted to announce that we are recruiting two pupils to commence pupillage in September 2022.  Application is by way of an application form, available from Chambers’ Website which must be received by Chambers by 13.59 on 9th February 2022. Please email the completed form to: j.sharpling@churchcourtchambers.co.uk. Furthermore could you please include “Pupilage Application 2022” within the email subject

Please see link to form here

Church Court Chambers is a leading multi-disciplinary set with a proud reputation in Crime (both Prosecution and Defence) together with Regulatory, Family and Immigration law. Our Members, including seven eminent Queen’s Counsel and 43 juniors, enjoy busy and varied practices; collectively they have an enviable back catalogue of high-profile and complex matters. Individually they are all highly regarded and respected by their peers and the judiciary  

We remain committed to recruiting the best and most able pupils offering a structured and effective transition between academia and practice. Chambers considers the development and expansion of Chambers as being inherently linked to our pupillage programme. Applicants should demonstrate an interest in developing a criminal practice together with a willingness to engage with the broad spectrum of potential work available in Chambers.
We look for academic ability, outstanding advocacy skills, evidence of commitment to life at the independent Bar, and hallmarks of character which are reflective of not simply a Member of the Bar, but a barrister who wishes to become in due course a Member of Church Court Chambers.   

Chambers is committed to equal opportunities and acts in accordance with the Bar Council’s Code of Conduct and the Equality Code for the Bar. We do not discriminate, or permit discrimination, by reference to sex, race, ethnic origin, national origin, nationality or citizenship, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, religion, political persuasion, disability or age.

Fixed Term Tenancy  

Chambers are also delighted to offer fixed term tenancies (six-months) for those candidates who have completed pupillage at other-sets or in-house.  Our fixed-term tenants do not pay Chambers’ Rent and are provided with a monthly travel grant to ease financial pressure. Application is by way of CV and Covering Letter to c.witcher@churchcourtchambers.co.uk    

Church Court’s Michael Polak Begins Term as Chair of the Young Bar

Church Court Chambers’ Michael Polak has begun his term as the Chair of the Bar Council’s Young Barristers’ Committee (“YBC”) for 2022. Michael was elected as Vice-Chair of the Young Bar in 2020, a position which results in a term as Chair in the following year.  

The YBC represents the interests of barrister pupils and new practitioners within 7 years post-pupillage and is mandated to: take such steps as seem likely to promote the interests of the Young Bar having regard to the interests of the Bar as whole; advise the representative committees of the Bar Council on all matters which are of particular concern to young barristers, or upon which advice is sought by other representative committees of the Bar Council; and to support the strategic aims of the Bar Council, as published.

For all matters in regard to his role as Chair of the Young Barristers’’ Committee, Michael can be contacted by email (YBC@BarCouncil.org.uk)

Yasin Patel Represents Olympic Athlete At Cas

Yasin Patel has been instructed to represent a leading International Athlete in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) Proceedings.

The charges from the International Olympic Committee are based upon alleged Anti-doping Rule violations at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

The matter is due to be heard at the CAS later this year as the question of whether there has been the presence of prohibited substances in the Athletes sample, analysis will be determined by arbitrators.

Yasin Patel is a barrister at Church Court Chambers and a Director of SLAM who deals with all aspects of Sports Law.

Another Important Extradition Victory for George Hepburne Scott

On 17 January 2022, George’s client was discharged by a District Judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court; his extradition having been requested by Romania where he had been sentenced in his absence to 5 1/2 years custody for cultivation and supply of cannabis.

The full extradition hearing had taken place in December 2021. It was a very interesting case where the requested person was a qualified medical doctor who suffered from severe mental illness including PTSD which was attributed to an ‘undisclosed incident‘ that he suffered within a Romanian prison. The requested person was unwilling to go into the details of this horrific incident due to its nature. However, the expert consultant psychiatrist called on his behalf at the hearing gave evidence, that was entirely accepted by the District Judge, that this PTSD was severe and would worsen if the requested person were extradited.

This was a highly unusual case and the District Judge indicated that it was the longest judgment he had ever written.  Ultimately, the requested person was discharged on the grounds that to extradite would be “oppressive” within the mearing of s.25 of the Extradition Act 2003 and also, relatedly, disproportionate in terms of Article 8 of the ECHR.

The client, was, understandably, overjoyed and stated that the judgment had ‘given him his life back.’

George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co

Kerim Fuad QC’s Outstanding Murder Acquittal Rate Continues.

Mr Kerim Fuad QC’s client was a 16 year old defendant who was on trial both for the Murder of a 19 year old, and the S.18 attack of the deceased’s father.

On 14th January 2022, after a 10 week, 4 handed trial, which began in November 2021, Mr Fuad QC’s client was unanimously acquitted of Murder and S.18

Two defendants were convicted of Murder.

Mr Fuad QC’s client and one other were convicted of manslaughter/S.20.  

The prosecution case was that his client had participated with 3 other defendants in 2 separate attacks on vans on successive days in February 2021. Both attacks involved tailing the target van for some distance into the same Close and then running out to use machetes and bats, to damage the vehicles and on the second occasion the front passenger was stabbed to death with a machete and the driver had his arm broken by a baseball bat. One defendant attempted to run a cutthroat defence against his client.

Mr Fuad’s client was alleged to have participated in wealding a large machete, which two independent eye witnesses saw, claiming that he sheathed and hid the machete as he ran away. He was captured on CCTV. He was wearing a mask, his DNA was found all over the series of weapons including machetes, knives and sheathes which were all later found. The blood of the deceased was found on his jacket. He had later got rid of his mobile telephone. He answered ‘no comment’ in interview and did not give evidence.

Mr Fuad QC’s incisive and sensitive cross examination, supreme mastery of both the CCTV and telephone material, combined with his trademark opening speech was something from which the prosecution case never recovered. His meticulous cross examination of the crown’s scientific expert shook the foundation of the crown’s case.

Mr Fuad QC led the extremely able Kim Preston of 4 KBW. He was instructed by Heather Howe and Adonis Daniel of “Andrew Storch Solicitors” who put in an equally hard and committed shift.

Glenn Harris Secures Acquittal for Talented Drill Musician

Glenn Harris was instructed by a top defence firm of Solicitors VHS Fletchers in Nottingham and secured an acquittal for an talented drill musician as opposed how he was portrayed by the prosecution – as an alleged gang member charged with conspiracy to supply a firearm with intent to endanger life.

Glenn Harris secured a memorable and much lauded acquittal of a supposed gang member by advancing a defence which included adducing ‘drill music’ which seemed counter-intuitive and contrary to the judges ruling preventing the prosecution from adducing such evidence.

By use of an expert in drill music and adroit cross-examination of the officer in the case, Glenn was able to demonstrate an ignorant and un-objective police investigation. This was relevant to this case and to explain a previous conviction for a similar matter (denied by defendant – for a case before Glenn was instructed) which the prosecution were allowed to adduce in evidence.

By demonstrating that the police had potentially erroneously mistook ‘gang’ membership with lawful involvement  in drill music, and by advancing an alternative explanation for the telephone communication Glenn secured a unanimous acquittal and was able to question whether the defendant was in fact guilty of the earlier conviction.

Jibreel Tramboo Secures Judgment for Defendant in Football Personal Injury Case in Claim Valued up to £150,000

In a Judgement handed down on 7th January 2022 at the Central London County Court by Her Honour Judge Baucher, Jibreel secured Judgment for the Defendant.

In a case concerning a friendly 11 a side game at Middlesex Stadium in 2016, the Defendant accidentally injured the Claimant (resulting in an unfortunate leg break) with a sliding challenge in an attempt to prevent the Claimant scoring a goal.

Amongst other submissions, Jibreel maintained that the tackle was committed late but nothing more than an error of judgment and relied upon case law reinforcing that position. Jibreel further emphasised that the timing of the challenge was crucial in determining the Defendant’s error of judgment.

Her Honour Judge Baucher concluded that [at 74]:

“I am satisfied that this was a late tackle but late in the context of a fast moving football match. I am not persuaded that in acting as he did that the Defendant was reckless or negligent. It was an unfortunate error of judgment and no more.”

Jibreel was instructed by Naresh Kapoor of Kingsfields Solicitors.

Daily Mail

Michael Polak, Submits IOC Ethics Complaint in Regard to the Behaviour of IOC Chief Following the Sexual Assault Allegation by Tennis Player Peng Shuai and Her Subsequent Disappearance.

Church Court Chambers’ international human rights barrister Michael Polak, drafted a formal written complaint which has been submitted to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Ethics Commission through the Ethics and Compliance Officer alleging breaches of the Olympic movement’s ethical principles. Michael was instructed by the NGO Safeguard Defenders.

The submission argued that the actions of IOC President Mr. Tomas Bach, Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission Ms. Emma Terho, and IOC Member in China Ms. Li Lingwei, in taking part in a virtual meeting set up by the Chinese authorities with the tennis player Peng Shuai, who appears to be subject to a routine form of Chinese Residential Detention, whilst failing to call for an investigation into her sexual abuse allegation against Chinese ex State Council Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli or for her to be able to leave China or speak freely, is a breach of the ethical principles under the IOC’s Code of Ethics.

It was submitted that the IOC’s actions increased the immediate danger that Peng Shuai faces and it was noted that the continued use of Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location, and Residential Surveillance, and forced confessions/retractions used by the Chinese authorities are breaches of international law.  Therefore, the participation of Mr. Bach, Ms. Terho, and Ms. Lin Lingwei, a previous National People’s Congress delegate, was a breach of their duty to uphold the IOC’s Code of Ethics and to “use due care and diligence in fulfilling their mission”, to respect “universal fundamental ethical principles” and to respect “international conventions on protecting human rights”. The complaint also submitted that  Mr. Bach, in failing to call for a proper and full investigation of the sexual abuse allegations, had also breached the duty to reject “all forms of harassment and abuse, be it physical, professional or sexual, and any physical or mental injuries”.

Safeguard Defenders Director, Peter Dahlin, who was once himself subject to arbitrary detention and forced confession in China, stated in a recent open letter that, ‘Peng Shuai’s abrupt disappearance, her inability to engage in her regular life, and the string of ever stranger public statements and/or appearances, indicates beyond doubt that she is under police control’ and that ‘it is likely that Peng is either kept… [under] house arrest, Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location or placed under control outside of any legal measures’. The open letter went on to note that ‘Peng Shuai’s undisclosed video-calls heralded by IOC executives in international media were like clockwork, as they responded to international criticism’ and that ‘everything indicates she is and will remain under strict control […] to ensure her #metoo allegations do not take hold, as such allegations are considered a threat to the CCP’s hold on power.’

Upon submission, Michael Polak stated that, ‘It is clear that the way Mr Bach and the IOC leadership have behaved in relation to the censoring of Peng Shuai and the terrible situation she is in under the control of the Chinese authorities, has fallen below the standard one would expect of an international organisation. The IOC should be safeguarding the rights of athletes rather than purely focusing on seeking to salvage the Beijing 2022 Olympics from being a PR disaster. The Ethics Commission is supposed to hold IOC members and its executive to account. If they are unwilling to do this, then states around the world must call for a proper independent body to do so.’

Michael Polak is available to be instructed for international law and human rights matters by contacting the clerks room on +44 20 7936 3637 or by email clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk 

George Hepburne Scott Defeats Thai Extradition Request in Landmark Case

On 2 December 2021, George’s client, N.R. was discharged by a district judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. 

This followed a 4-day extradition hearing in September when evidence was led by the defence as to Thai corruption, prison conditions, abuse of process, no prima facie case, no dual-criminality and passage of time.

However, the district judge ultimately discharged N.R. on Article 3 grounds on the basis of the Thai prison conditions. The Thai government had, at the end of the extradition hearing, sought to persuade the judge to request further information regarding prison conditions and further assurances in this regard. This was strongly resisted by the defence and the judge ruled in the defence favour. Evidence in this regard had included evidence called by the defence of previous breaches of prison assurances by the Thai government, detailed reports from authoritative international bodies and other expert evidence regarding the conditions in Thai prisons.

Therefore, N.R. was discharged; constituting yet another landmark extradition victory for George Hepburne Scott.

George was led by Mark Summers, QC of Matrix and both were instructed by Giovanna Fiorentino of Lansbury Worthington

Yasin Patel Instructed by International Cricketers in Cricket Racism “Tsunami”

Yasin Patel of Chambers has been asked to advise and assist a number of International and County Cricketers who have come forward with complaints of racism from clubs, coaches, players and persons in authority.  The players, all of black and Asian origin, have highlighted issues and examples from the 1990’s and up to the current time of what they have experienced at all levels of the Sport and beyond including verbal abuse, institutional racism, direct and indirect discrimination, unfair bias, prejudice, unlawful employment practices etc. 

With a background of advising Government Departments, International Bodies and agencies leading Anti-Racism Initiatives and Projects including Pressure Groups, Premier League Football Clubs, European Football Governing Bodies and International organisations, Yasin has a track-record in relation to Anti-Racism and Equality work and cases.  To contact Yasin, e-mail, y.patel@churchcourtchambers.co.uk or phone 077 0740 7707.

Michael Polak Speaks at World Uyghur Congress 7th General Assembly Panel in Prague on ‘Uyghur Genocide: Avenues Towards Accountability’

On the 12th November 2021, Church Court Chambers’ Michael Polak spoke at the World Uyghur Congress General Assembly panel in regard to the domestic law provisions which may be used to protect individuals from intense repression, such as that faced by the Uyghur people by the Chinese regime and to punish those directly responsible or complicit in such international crimes.  

The World Uyghur Congress is the democratically elected body representing the interests of the Uyghur people. Michael is regularly instructed by the WUC in cases seeking to protect the Uyghur people and other Turkic minorities in the Uyghur Region. Further details of this work can be found here, here, and here.

Michael carries out a wide range of public international and human rights work on behalf of organisations and individuals.  He can be instructed by contacting the clerks room by email clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk or phone +44 20 7936 3637

Martial Arts World Champion Cleared of Wrongdoing

Jackson Sousa, the World-wide Jiu Jitsu celebrity and distinguished Martial Artist has, been cleared of allegations of misconduct before an Independent Safeguarding Review Committee.  Advised and represented by Yasin Patel, the decorated fighter had been “tried by social media” after accusations and allegations had been circulated and aired on various social media platforms globally leading to loss of sponsors, fights and promotions. 

However, before a Disciplinary Committee in London, the investigators came to the conclusion that Mr Sousa was Not Guilty of any wrong doing after he challenged the accusations against him as false and without merit.  In giving his evidence, he gave a full account to the body. 

Mr Sousa’s barrister, Yasin Patel, made it clear that “Mr Sousa will now endeavour to clear his name before all of the bodies where he has been suspended” as the fighter aims to continue his comeback to the top of his profession.

Michael Polak Wins International Bar Association Outstanding Young Lawyer of 2021 Award

Today, Church Court Chambers barrister Michael Polak was awarded the prestigious International Bar Association Outstanding Young Lawyer Award for 2021.

The award is presented to ‘a young lawyer who has shown not only excellence in their work and achievements in their career to date, but also a commitment to professional and ethical standards as well as a commitment to the larger community.’ 

Michael was recognised for his international and domestic legal work, which has encompassed some of the most important and high profile cases such as the Cyprus Rape Case (see here) work for the World Uyghur Congress, his work for the Somalia Journalists Syndicate, his work making submission for ‘Magnitsky’ sanctions, and his representation in serious criminal trials as well as his charitable work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Michael Polak acceptance speech video can be viewed here.

Michael Polak can be instructed in criminal and human rights matters both internationally and within England and Wales by contacting Church Court Chambers’ clerking team by phone on 020 7936 3637 or email clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk

Lewis Power QC and Michael Polak Secure a Retrial Acquittal for Alleged £20m Tobacco Fraud Mastermind

Church Court Chambers’ Lewis Power QC and Michael Polak appeared at Kingston Crown Court for a four-week retrial for the alleged mastermind of a £20 million tobacco duty fraud. Their defendant, the first on the indictment, was the only one out of 8 who was not convicted of the fraud at the original trial in the summer of 2019.

During the retrial, the jury heard evidence about the importation of 75 tonnes of raw tobacco into the United Kingdom, which the prosecution stated was then transferred to buffer companies who turned it into hand rolling tobacco without paying the duty that was due at that point. Power and Polak’s defence included detailed documentary evidence in regard to the provenance and use of large amounts of money that was transferred between several entities in the United Kingdom and abroad along with the cross-examination of tax fraud experts. After just over a day’s deliberation, which was short given the complexities of the case, the jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict resulting Power and Polak’s defendant being the only 1 out of 8 defendants to escape conviction.

Lewis and Michael worked alongside top criminal solicitor Dr Tahir Wasti and were instructed by Lloyds PR Solicitors.

Lewis Power QC and Michael Polak can be instructed in complex criminal, regulatory, and international law matters.

Permission for Judicial Review Granted on Article 8 Human Rights Grounds

On 8 October 2021, Jibreel Tramboo appeared at the Upper Tribunal before Judge Smith in a claim for Judicial Review (JR) for permission to bring JR proceedings against a decision of the respondent dated 11 February 2021 to refuse the applicant’s asylum, humanitarian protection and human rights claim and certify it as ‘clearly unfounded’ under section 94 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. Permission was refused on the papers by Upper Tribunal Judge (UTJ) Sheridan on 29 June 2021.

In a renewed oral application at the Upper Tribunal, Jibreel argued on 4 grounds in the claim. However, in submissions, Jibreel emphasised particularly on the human rights ground and that the comprehensive evidence submitted by the applicant illustrated his residence within the United Kingdom for 20 years. UTJ Smith expressed that when reviewing a certification under section 94 of the 2002 Act, an applicant’s case must be taken at its highest. As such, Jibreel argued that the applicant could succeed in a human rights claim based on meeting the criteria contained in paragraph 276ADE(1)(iii) of the Immigration Rules.

To that extent, the Court granted permission on the applicant’s human rights grounds.

Jibreel Tramboo was instructed by MT UK Solicitors, Twickenham

Benjamin Aina QC and Maria Karaiskos conclude their 10 week trial at Southwark Crown Court

Benjamin Aina QC and Maria Karaiskos conclude their 10 week trial at Southwark Crown Court, prosecuting the Crossharbour stabbings. The jury unanimously convicted the defendant of murdering a 19 year old man and stabbing an 18 year old with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm.

The trial was presided over by Her Honour Judge Cahill QC and sentence has been adjourned to October 2021. Benjamin Aina QC and Maria Karaiskos were instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service; the British Transport Police investigated the case.

Ciara McElvogue Represents the British Horseracing Authority at Inquiry Involving High Profile Jockey

Ciara McElvogue was instructed to represent the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) at an inquiry before the Judicial Panel of the BHA on 16 September 2021.  The Inquiry involved a high profile Jockey who was in breach of the rules of racing following the adverse finding of a banned substance, namely cocaine and metabolites in a hair sample taken from him in March 2021. 

The Judicial Panel, which plays a vital role in upholding the integrity of horseracing in Britain, suspended the jockey for a period of 6 months which is the appropriate penalty for a first breach and a positive finding of cocaine. 

The Jockey must now re-apply for his licence following the ruling of the Independent Disciplinary Panel and satisfy the licensing committee of the British Horseracing Authority that he remains a fit and proper person to hold a licence. 

Lewis Power QC and Michael Polak take the Landmark Cyprus Rape Case to the Supreme Court of Cyprus

On Thursday 16 September 2021, the appeal hearing was held in the Supreme Court of Cyprus in Nicosia.  Lewis Power QC and Michael Polak of Church Court Chambers assisted in bringing the appeal along with Cypriot lawyers Nicoletta Charalambidou and Ritsa Pekri.

During the hearing, the defence team expanded upon their detailed 154-page skeleton argument to explain to the Court why the conviction was unsafe. The main arguments involved submissions that a retractions statement taken from the teenager without a lawyer after over 6 hours in custody whilst suffering with PTSD should not have been admitted into the trial and that the trial judge incorrectly applied the burden and standard of proof and did not approach the consideration of each element of the offence of public mischief with an open mind.

Lewis Power QC and Michael Polak can be instructed to act in international human rights matters by contacting their clerks by email clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk or phone 020 7936 3637

Please see below links to other relevant news articles:



Evening Standard

Michael Polak Chairs Panels at International Conference: ‘The Xinjiang Crisis: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, Justice’ held at Newcastle University

Church Court Chamber’s barrister Michael Polak chaired two panels at the ground-breaking conference hosted by Newcastle University on ‘The Xinjiang Crisis: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, Justice’ organised by Dr Jo Riley. Michael Polak chaired a panel on ‘Pursuing Reparations for Xinjiang Harms’ on 3 Sept 2021. On this panel were Rodney Dixon QC, Marie Martin from Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network,  John Packer from the University of Ottawa, James Goldston from New York University School of Law, and Erin Farrell Rosenberg Senior Fellow at the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights. This session can be viewed here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqP3KRVNOfo

Michael also chaired a session on States’ Responsibility to Protect Before Genocide with Tatyana Eatwell, Luke De Pulford from Coalition for Genocide Response and Coordinator of IPAC, Tim Loughton MP, Kate Ferguson from Protection Approaches, Nury Turkel from the Hudson Institute, and Rushan Abbas from Campaign for Uyghurs. This session can be viewed here  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_u5gock-ao

Michael is available for instructions in international matters by contacting his clerks on clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk or 020 7936 3637

Yasin Patel Represents World Champion

Yasin Patel has been instructed to represent the World Martial Arts Champion in various disciplinary and legal proceedings.

The Word-wide phenomenon has sought Yasin’s advice, expertise and experience to represent him on several legal issues including sports law, disciplinary and governance and other serious matters both nationally and internationally.

The allegations have received a great deal of social media coverage and 100’s of articles in various publications as well as commentary on other media outlets.

Yasin Patel is a barrister at Church Court Chambers and a Director of SLAM.

Guy Williamson Appointed Vice Chairman of the British Boxing Board of Control

We are immensely proud to announce that Guy Williamson BEM QPM of chambers has been appointed as the Vice Chairman to the British Boxing Board of Control. Guy was previously the legal advisor for the board.

The British Boxing Board of Control has been overseeing British professional boxing since 1929.

To learn more please use the following link: bbbofc

Guy Williamson, a former police officer was crowned the ABA Heavyweight and National Super Heavyweight Champion, two times Police Olympic Super Heavyweight gold medalist, Police and Fire World Games Super Heavyweight gold medallist and was also Head Coach of the multiple medal winning British Boxing Team at the 1997 Police & Fire World Championships. His deep knowledge and understanding of the world of boxing and the world of law leave him ideally placed to advise and comment on all boxing related legal matters.

Guy has previously written about the similarities between the ring and the court room and his journey from one arena to another, the article can be read here: Barristers & Boxing – Gladiators in an Alternative Arena

Chambers are Delighted to Welcome Jibreel Tramboo

Jibreel has a broad mixed common law practice bringing added depth and breadth to Chambers’ sports, civil, immigration and family practice groups. Jibreel has a well deserved reputation for strong, robust advocacy coupled with excellent client care and for seeking pragmatic, commercial solutions on behalf of clients. Jibreel spent five years before being called to the Bar (in 2018) working at a solicitor’s firm gaining invaluable experience of the needs and  expectations of professional and lay clients.

Jibreel has a long standing passion for sports, having previously been part of Chelsea’s Elite Training Centre and is a qualified Football coach including currently at the Juventus Academy, London. This leaves him well placed to represent those from the world of sport. Outside of practice, Jibreel has undertaken Human Rights work with a Non-Governmental Organisation on various human rights situations across the world, including Yemen, Kashmir, Alaska, and Palestine.

Head of Chambers Kerim Fuad QC observes: “Jibreel is a perfect fit for Chambers; professional, driven and hardworking with a natural ability to instill trust and confidence. He joins Church Court at an exciting time considering the growth and development of Chambers’ sports team and we are delighted to welcome him as he continues building his already impressive practice”

For further information and to instruct Jibreel, please contact Chambers’ Senior Clerk Daniel Bartlett 

Success In the Court Of Appeal for Maria Karaiskos

Maria Karaiskos is praised by the Court of Appeal for her written and oral submissions as she successfully defends her client’s sentence.

Luton Crown Court had imposed a suspended sentence of imprisonment on DB – a young man of impeccable character, who pleaded guilty to (1) Trespass With Intent to Commit a Sexual Offence and (2) Sexual Assault on his ex-partner. Maria represented DB in the Crown Court and was able to persuade the sentencing Judge there that there was overwhelming mitigation and a very low risk of any re-offending. There was no abuse of trust and the complainant was not particularly vulnerable.

The Solicitor-General referred this sentence to the Court of Appeal on the basis that it was ‘unduly lenient’ under s.36 Criminal Justice Act 1988. The prosecution submitted that the complainant was ‘particularly vulnerable’ within the sentencing guidelines because she was asleep and had taken a sleeping tablet at the time of the offences. 

Maria referred to a plethora of case law which demonstrated that the issue of ‘particular vulnerability’ was determined on a case-by-case basis. Although the complainant here was undoubtedly vulnerable, there was no evidence that she was ‘particularly vulnerable.’ The sentence was not one which was outside the range of sentences which a Judge, applying his/her mind to all relevant factors, could consider reasonably appropriate.

The Vice-President of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division, Lord Justice Fulford, delivered the Court’s ruling. The original sentence was upheld and the prosecution’s application for leave to appeal was refused. His Lordship stated in the judgment:

“We are indebted to Ms Karaiskos for her detailed written and oral submissions, which are to a material extent reflected in our discussion and analysis of this application, to which we now turn.”

The case is reported in full at: [2021] EWCA Crim 896.

Maria was instructed by Angie Deacon of Lawtons Solicitors.

Yasin Patel Helps Secure Acquittal for Teenager Accused of Murder

A young boy has been acquitted of Murder and Manslaughter by a Jury after a 36-day trial at the Old Bailey.

Represented by Sarah Forshaw QC and Yasin Patel, the teenager was accused of murdering a 15-year old.  The tragic event occurred in North Woolwich in December 2020.  CCTV of the incident, showed the incident and all that had occurred in a busy public area in front of eye-witnesses and many passers-by. Although the young boy accepted that he had caused the fatal blow to the deceased, a stab wound to the chest, he had always maintained that he had acted in self-defence.

The investigation in this case involved 8000 hours of CCTV, 1000’s of telephone calls and messages and 100’s of witness statements and was made all the more challenging due to the young age of the defendant: 17-years old at the time of the incident. 

 Yasin Patel was instructed by Max Anwar of McCormacks Solicitors.

Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood Explore the Growing Fraud Under the Furlough Scheme

As the furlough scheme starts to wind down from the start of this month, investigations in fraud under the scheme have started to gain pace. 

In a series of Articles, Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood analyse some of the Key Questions and Answers for those Investigated under the Scheme.

In a follow up article, Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood go on to examine potential criminal offences for anyone found to have made fraudulent claims under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme “CJRS”.

George Hepburne-Scott Achieves Another Extradition Victory in the High Court

George Hepburne-Scott won another case in the High Court on 22 June 2021.

The Appellant in the case of FT v Hungary was discharged on 22 June 2021. The appeal had been lodged in December 2019 and had then been stayed behind various leading cases relating to prison conditions in Hungary. These culminated in the Supreme Court authority of Zabolotnyi v Hungary UKSC 2019/0210. Thereafter the case was listed for a renewal hearing before Cavanagh J on 10 June 2021. At that hearing, George persuaded the Court to allow the appeal in respect of one EAW. Following this hearing, the Hungarian judicial authority conceded the other EAW and the Appellant was completely discharged on 22 June 2021.

George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors

Monumental Extradition Victory in the Divisional Court in Case Involving MI5 and Spanish Intelligence

In the case of PB v Spain, the Appellant had argued no less than nine grounds of appeal.

This was a fascinating case: There was evidence before the Court that the Appellant acted a participating informant over many years for the Spanish intelligence agencies until his cover was accidentally blown in April 2004 and blame for this was attributed to him. 

The Appellant was then arrested in the UK in relation to other criminal matters. At this time, he spoke to Special Branch and MI5, but the Spanish police refused to confirm his status as an informant. After this, the Appellant ceased co-operating with the Spanish authorities.

In April 2007, the Applicant’s status in the Spanish investigation was changed from a prosecution witness to a co-defendant by the examining judge, Judge Garzon. On 29 January 2008 the Applicant was indicted in Spain. He challenged that indictment by way of appeal to the Spanish High Court. On 22 December 2009, the indictment of the Appellant was overturned by the Spanish High Court in Madrid. The extradition request was subsequently made in an attempt to compel the Appellant’s return to Spain to face trial. This was resisted but extradition was ordered at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. The Appellant appealed.

The Appellant’s overriding case was that this was a bad faith prosecution and extradition. It was designed to manipulate a prosecution witness/undercover state agent (the Appellant) into providing evidence against co-accused. It was submitted that the judge (Judge Garzon) who orchestrated it had himself later been disbarred for his conduct in relation to another case.

In the event the Divisional Court (Singh LJ and Steyn J) did not find that any such abuse was a bar to extradition, concluding at para 123 that:

The allegation that the police have been guilty of abuse is not sufficient to conclude that the Applicant’s extradition would be an abuse of process. If the Applicant has evidence that the police were guilty of misconduct in 2001-2004 or at another time, he will be able to make those arguments at his trial in Spain and, if they are accepted and are relevant to the issues in the trial, that will be a matter for the Spanish courts.”

However, the Court upheld the appeal and discharged the Appellant on other grounds relating to s.2(4)(c), s.2(4)(d) and s.2(3) of the Extradition Act 2003.” 

Mr George Hepburne Scott, was led by Mr Mark Summers, QC of Matrix Chambers and was instructed by Mr Keith Wood of Lewis Nedas  Law.

Click below for the published report on the case:


Shaun Esprit Secures Acquittal in Sensitive Attempted Murder Trial

Shaun Esprit of Chambers Crime and Regulatory Team successfully secured the unanimous acquittal of a defendant who stood trial for attempted murder and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

This was a complex and highly sensitive case. The defendant had returned to his family in the UK after working in military prison camps overseas. Having suffered PTSD and psychotic symptoms as a result of his traumatic experiences, he faced trial for stabbing his wife 13 times. Key to the successful defence was the effective cross-examination of the Crown’s internationally renowned consultant psychiatrist. 

Counsel was instructed by Mr Majid Mahmood of City Law Solicitors.

A Hat-trick of Recent extradition victories for George Hepburne Scott

On the 29th April, George secured permission to appeal in an extradition matter which was granted by Chamberlain J at a renewal hearing (C.B. v Portugal). This will now proceed to a full extradition appeal hearing at the High Court in June this year.

On the 1st June, George secured a discharge of a client following a full extradition hearing before District Judge Leong. The case involved a conviction in Sicily for mafia offences and a prison term of 7 years 4 months (Italy v B.T.). The judicial authority (through the CPS) later confirmed it was not appealing the decision.

On the 10th June, George secured permission to appeal at a renewal hearing in an extradition appeal in a case involving a Hungarian conviction for fraud totalling €350,000. On this occasion, Morris J granted permission to appeal and the full extradition appeal hearing shall now proceed before the High Court later in the year.”

Colin Witcher and Claire Anderson Present Sexual Offences and Awareness Seminar at Alleyn’s School.

Colin Witcher of Church Court Chambers was invited to join forces with Claire Anderson of ABV Solicitors to present an open and frank discussion about the law surrounding sexual offences.

The presentation, organised by Alleyn’s School, combined practical real life examples from the perspective of both lawyer and parent through Claire and the legal framework and issues from an academic and practitioner analysis through Colin. The programme formed part of a series of pastural programmes arranged by Alleyn’s School.

Head of Chambers Statement on Joanna Toch’s Tweets

Statement from Head of Chambers Kerim Fuad QC:  “Joanna Toch is not a Member of, nor associated with, Church Court Chambers having left us 3 years ago in July 2018. Her Wikipedia Page is not accurate.

Given that she is not a Member of Chambers or in any way connected to our business or organisation and that there have been references to potentially reporting Ms Toch to the Bar Standards Board we will not be making any comment on her recent tweets. Church Court Chambers pride ourselves on our diverse membership: there is no place for racism in any context anywhere”

Victory in Sicilian Mafia Case for George Hepburne-Scott

George Hepburne-Scott claims a stunning victory in an Extradition case today, 1st June 2021, at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

In the case of Italy v B.T. the defendant was discharged by a District Judge following a fully contested extradition hearing.

The defendant B.T. had been convicted of mafia offences in Sicily in 2000-2003, for which he had received a sentence of 7 years and 10 months.

B.T. had been discovered living in the United Kingdom in 2020 and arrested on a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Sicilian Court. In the hearing that followed, George led the legal team that fought extradition.

On 1 June 2021, a district judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court gave judgment in B.T.’s favour on Article 8 and he was discharged and released from custody.

George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors

Yasin Patel Clears International Cricketer Accused of ‘Fixing’

An International Cricketer who was accused of being one of “Cricket’s Match Fixers” has been cleared of alleged spot-fixing and wrongdoing.  The cricketer was advised and represented by Yasin Patel.

The allegations were broadcast on the Al-Jazeera programme, “Cricket’s Match Fixers”, in May 2018 and alleged that spot-fixing had been present in the Test Matches between India and England in Chennai in December 2016 and also against Australia in Ranchi in 2017.  In a programme aired all over the world and watched by tens of millions, the serious accusations brought many questions in relation to the credibility of International sportsmen and the teams as well alleging that the “fixing” had led to millions of dollars being made by those involved.

The allegations from the documentary were thoroughly investigated by the International Cricket Council and they came to the conclusion that the claims lacked “credibility”. 

Further details of the report can be found on the following links:



Yasin Patel is a Barrister at Church Court Chambers who practices in Sports Law and Criminal Defence.

Michael Polak is Instructed to seek Magnitsky-style Sanctions Against the Bahraini Government Under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime

Michael Polak is instructed by the European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights to seek Magnitsky-style sanctions against the Bahraini Government under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime. Michael leads Annahita Moradi of One Pump Court as Junior Counsel.

This follows the Bahraini Government’s repeated commission of human rights abuses. According to the available evidence, these include enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, inhuman treatment and torture, due process interferences, and extrajudicial executions in a campaign to systematically crack down on freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, opinion and expression.

The aim of the proposed sanctions is to hold the Bahraini Government and its officials accountable for their egregious human rights violations. For further details on this case please visit ECDHR’s website following this link: https://www.ecdhr.org/?p=1108

Church Court Chambers stands with Essex Court and Stands Up for the Rule of Law

Church Court Chambers stands united with Essex Court Chambers and its members, following the decision of the Chinese Government to sanction the Chambers collectively and therefore all its Members. 

The trigger for that sanction? An Opinion provided by four members of that Chambers in regard to alleged international crimes being committed against the Uyghur people.  The opinion, which considered the evidence and applicable law was drafted by a team led by Alison McDonald QC. The Opinion concluded that ‘there is a very credible case that acts carried out by the Chinese government against the Uyghur people in XUAR amount to crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide.’

History has taught us that individuals must be able to speak up when atrocities are taking place. The sanctioning of barristers and their Chambers simply for providing a written opinion, based on evidence, is an attack on the rule of law and an attack upon us all. 

A fiercely independent legal sector is something to which States should aspire, not seek to attack. 

Michael Polak of Chambers’ International Team and who chairs Lawyers for Uyghur Rights, told The Global Legal Post: “It is disgraceful that China is targeting lawyers who have written opinions based on the available evidence which shows that crimes against humanity and genocide are taking place. This attack on the rule of law, which provides that lawyers should be able to act without fear, or retribution, is also likely to be counterproductive”.

Maria Karaiskos Prosecutes a Prison Officer for Sexual Misconduct in Public Office at HMP Swaleside.

Maria Karaiskos prosecutes a prison officer for Misconduct in Public Office at HMP Swaleside. The prison officer had a relationship with an inmate who was serving a life sentence for murder, and subsequently gave birth to their child.

The Judge stated in his sentencing remarks at Maidstone Crown Court:

“This is not a Court of morals, but the acts you performed in a public office which led to sex in a prison, undermining all that was happening in that institution, make that a very  serious crime.”

“There are many in the community who would want to hold you up and throw stones in your direction.”

“This is probably one of the most difficult sentencing exercises I have had to perform in the course of my 18 years as a Judge.”

“This is an extraordinary case which requires an extraordinary sentence.”

“Justice tempered with mercy is not something that just exists in literature, it must be alive and well in the Courts too….”

The defendant received 16 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years.

This case was widely reported across the national press: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9403979/Prison-officer-26-gave-birth-convicted-murderers-baby-spared-jail.html

Yasin Patel Secures Acquittal for Young Defendant in Case Where a Knife was Lodged in a Man’s Face

A teenager on trial for serious violent offences was acquitted by a jury following a trial.  

The incident occurred in the home counties. The victim had an operation on his face after he was attacked with a knife, part of which had broken off and lodged in his face.

Leanne Brown of Cartwright King Solicitors who instructed Yasin Patel stated that she “was delighted with the teenager’s acquittal but that it seems grossly unfair that this young man should be in custody for 15 months awaiting trial.  Young people should not be waiting so long in custody. This is wrong.”

The acquitted young man was released from custody at the court. 

Journalist Detained in Somalia Represented by Michael Polak Freed

The client of Church Court Chambers’ Michael Polak, journalist Kilwe Farah, was released on Monday 22 March 2021. Michael was instructed in this matter by the family of Mr Farah and was working alongside the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and local lawyer Avv. Mustafe Mohamed Jama.

A day after Kilwe reported on anti-inflation rate protests in Garowe on 27 January 2020, Kilwe was unlawfully detained from a hotel in Garowe town centre. He was then held at an undisclosed PISA (security services) detention centre without access to a lawyer or his family for 16 days where he was subjected to torture. On 11 January 2021, after 16 days held incommunicado in unlawful detention Kilwe was transferred to Garowe Central Prison where he was charged with attempted murder despite the authorities never having identified anyone who he was supposed to have attempted to murder.

These charges then changed. During the court hearing on Saturday 27 February 2021, before the first instance Military Court the military prosecutor put forward five charges: Instigation of Delinquency; Instigation to Disobey Laws; Publication or Circulation of False, Exaggerated, or Tendentious News Capable of Disturbing Public Order; Offence against the Authorities by means of Damaging Posters; and Bringing the Nation or the State into Contempt.  Mr Farah was then sentence to three months imprisonment, despite there being no evidence against him, which should have resulted in him being freed immediately to return to his family. However  subsequently, the Military Prosecutor appealed against the sentence and in a farcical hearing within Mr Farah’s gaol cell the appeal was allowed and Mr Farah was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.

After extensive advocacy, in the African media, at the United Nation’s level with submissions to the Working Group and Special Rapporteurs, with Somalia’s international partners, and to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Mr Farah was freed under presidential pardon on Monday.  

Mr Farah stated “I am glad to be freed today. I am doing well and back to my family. I thank SJS and its lawyers Avv. Mustafe Mohamed Jama and barrister Michael Polak for their long efforts to my freedom,” shortly after his release from the Garowe Central Prison.

Michael Polak stated ‘It is fantastic that Kilwe is now free and back with his family. However, it should be remembered that he was seized because of his media work, kept incommunicado in an illegal secret detention centre, then subject to proceedings which were farcical including an appeal which was heard in his prison cell without a lawyer.  Kilwe should not have spent the last three months away from his family in a precarious position and the international community must do more to protect media freedom throughout Somalia.”

The case was covered in the media here:







Michael Polak is available for a range of international law and human rights matters including representation and assistance for journalists and media organisations. Michael can be instructed by contact Church Court’s clerking team on by email clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk or phone +44 020 7936 3637

George Hepburne Scott Secures Yet Another Extradition Victory – This Time Against the Judicial Authority of Poland

On 22 March 2021, George Hepburne Scott’s client, P.T. was discharged by a District Judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court following a contested extradition hearing earlier in the month. At the hearing, the defence team led by George Hepburne Scott had raised issues under the Extradition Act 2003 as follows: s.2 (was Poland to still be considered a judicial authority, s.14 (passage of time), s.20 (trial in absence), and Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Ultimately, the District Judge discharged R.T. purely on Article 8 grounds on the basis on the nature of the offending, the age of the offending (18 years old) and the impact of extradition upon P.T. and his wife.

George Hepburne Scott commented: ‘an incredibly satisfying result which serves to underline the importance of raising every single objection that you properly can in fighting extradition requests.’

George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors

Michael Polak Speaks on Centre for Turkey Studies Panel “Does China’s Ongoing Persecution of the Uighurs Amount to Genocide, and What Can the International Community Do About it?”

On Thursday 18 March 2021 Church Court Chambers’ barrister Michael Polak spoke on the Centre for Turkey Studies’ Panel on “Does China’s Ongoing Persecution of the Uighurs Amount to Genocide, and What Can the International Community Do About it?”. Other speakers in the panel included Stephen Kinnock, Shadow Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Rahima Mahmut, UK Project Director for the World Uyghur Congress, Emily Thornberry, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, and Matthew Turner Chair of the Labour Campaign for Human Rights.

The event was recorded and can be watched here from 9”10.

Michael chairs Lawyers of Uyghur Rights and is on the Advisory Committee of the World Uyghur Congresses’ London Office.  Michael’s work for the WUC has included recent submission in regards to the Beijing 2022 Olympics, work in regards to Huawei 5G tendering, and presenting at their Congress in Washington.

Michael Polak is available for instruction in human rights or international law matters by contacting our clerking team by email clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk or phone +44 020 7936 3637

George Hepburne Scott Wins Extradition Case Against the Government of the United States of America

On 18 March 2021, George Hepburne Scott’s client, B.F, an Antiguan national, was sensationally discharged from his extradition proceedings at Westminster Magistrates Court following a contested case. 

B.F. had been arrested at Gatwick airport on 20th January 2020. He was arrested on provisional warrant issued by the National Crime Agency under s.74(B) of the Extradition Act 2003 pursuant to an Interpol Red Notice issued by the USA. 

The allegation was that B.F. had committed an offence of possession of a firearm (.32 calibre revolver loaded with two .32 calibre rounds), had been bailed in New York and then, 24 January 1991, failed to appear at his hearing.

The extradition proceedings had then commenced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. Upon further examination by the defence team led by George Hepburne Scott, it transpired that the Red Notice was not applied for until 4 February 2015, some 24 years after the US domestic warrant was issued. 

This gave rise to powerful arguments that the passage of time and culpable delay had fundamentally undermined the extradition request: B.K.’s life had profoundly changed in the period; He had led a blameless life including having been employed as a police officer in Antigua. 

The defence therefore made repeated and powerful representations to the relevant US District Attorney in New York through the Crown Prosecution Service International Justice and Organised Crime Division. This persistence finally paid off when the US confirmed on 17 March 2021 that it was no longer pursuing the case against B.F. and he was sensationally discharged and released on 18 March 2021.

George Hepburne Scott commented: “we are delighted with yet another stunning extradition victory and will continue to ruthlessly defend our clients with all reasonable force and utilising all legal means at our disposal“. 

The Solicitor in the case was Giovanna Fiorentino of Lansbury Worthington

Church Court Chambers’ Michael Polak Submits Communication to African Commission on Human Rights for Kilwe Farah, Journalist Detained in Puntland since December Because of his Media Work

Church Court Chambers’ Michael Polak, who is instructed by the family of the journalist Kilwe Farah and is acting with the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) has submitted a complaint to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the “ACHPR”). The complaint concerns the breach of journalistic rights, as Kilwe Farah has has been unlawfully detained and subjected to criminal proceedings simply because of his media activities. 

A day after Kilwe reported on anti-inflation rate protests in Garowe on 27 January 2020, Kilwe was unlawfully detained from a hotel in Garowe town centre. He was then held at an undisclosed PISA (security services) detention centre without access to a lawyer or his family for 16 days where he was subjected to torture. On 11 January 2021, after 16 days held incommunicado in unlawful detention Kilwe was transferred to Garowe Central Prison where he was charged with attempted murder despite the authorities never having identified anyone who he was supposed to have attempted to murder. 

These charges have since changed. During the court hearing on Saturday 27 February 2021, before the first instance Military Court the military prosecutor put forward five charges: Instigation of Delinquency; Instigation to Disobey Laws; Publication or Circulation of False, Exaggerated, or Tendentious News Capable of Disturbing Public Order; Offence against the Authorities by means of Damaging Posters; and Bringing the Nation or the State into Contempt. 

On 4 March 2021, despite no evidence being presented before the Court, the Court found Kilwe guilty of these offences and sentenced him to three months imprisonment in what looked like an attempt to save face for the authorities. This should have resulted in Kilwe being released on Saturday 6 March 2021 however Kilwe’s legal team have found out that the Prosecution are frustrating Kilwe’s release by appealing against the sentence that he was given. It is unclear how long this will take however Kilwe’s family are desperate to have him home after his terrible ordeal. 

Michael Polak, who submitted the communication to the African Commission, stated that: 

‘What has happened to Kilwe is a cautionary tale about the treatment of journalists by oppressive regimes around the world when there are balances on their power. 

The authorities have disappeared Kilwe, held him in illegal detention, charged him with the spurious offence of attempted murder, when the authorities were unable to identify anyone who he attempted to murder, then changed the charges to those clearly related to his work as a journalist. Then the Court, despite there being no evidence against Kilwe on these new charges have found him guilty in order to save face for the authorities. 

We hope that the international submission to the African Commission will shine a spotlight on the repression of journalists such as Kilwe and that shining the spotlight on media freedom in Somalia will improve conditions for the very brave journalists in Somalia who play an important role informing the Somalian people of what is happening in their country.” 

Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) Secretary General, Abdalle Ahmed Mumin said, 

“The Somali Journalists Syndicate is very pleased to have Michael Polak working with us on Kilwe’s case as this is an egregious example of the repression frequently faced by our brave members across Somalia. 

As well as making submissions to the international bodies specially in relation to Kilwe’s case he has also made submission to the United Nations’ bodies based on the evidence in our extensive reports about the widespread attacks on journalists in Somalia including killings, arbitrary detention, the seizure of cameras and other equipment, and the banning of newspapers and broadcast media. We hope that the international community will finally stand up for press freedom in Somalia which is essential for the development of the country and stability in the region.’ 

This case has been reported in the press:




George Hepburne Scott Secures Victory in Extradition Hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court

George Hepburne Scott secures victory in Extradition Hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court.

On Friday 26 February 2021, Mr Hepburne Scott’s client was triumphantly discharged on the European Arrest Warrant that he faced for a historical conviction in Poland.

Following a fully contested hearing and complex legal argument, District Judge Rimmer ruled in favour of Mr Hepburne Scott’s client and rejected Poland’s claim for extradition on Article 8 grounds. The client was naturally overjoyed.

Mr. Hepburne Scott was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors

Successful Applications to Dismiss in Multi-Handed Drug Supply Case

Tomas McGarvey and Yasin Patel of Chambers Crime and Regulatory Team are successful in their respective applications to dismiss in relation to a multi-handed Class A drug supply case. 

Yasin Patel represented a 17 year old schoolboy charged with possession with intent to supply Class A drugs. 

Tomas McGarvey represented an 18 year old university student, also charged with possession with intent to supply Class A drugs. 

The case involved a police search at an address where both defendants were residing at the time. The applications involved a detailed assessment of the evidential value of numerous items seized at the property, which included a significant amount of Class A Drugs, paraphernalia linked to the supply of drugs and mobile telephones. 

The case continues against a third defendant. 

Yasin Patel instructed by McCormacks Solicitors and Tomas McGarvey instructed by Freemans Solicitors.  For more information about instructing Tomas or Yasin, please contact our Senior Clerk, Daniel Bartlett, on 020 7936 3637

Benjamin Aina QC and Maria Karaiskos Conclude an Intense Trial Lasting Almost Four Months at the Old Bailey in Front of The Common Serjeant.

Benjamin Aina QC and Maria Karaiskos conclude an intense trial lasting almost four months at the Old Bailey in front of The Common Serjeant. Four defendants charged with offences arising out of a fatal stabbing in East London in 2019, two of those defendants aged 14 and 16 years old at the time and charged with murder.

Complex evidential issues arose during the trial, which Benjamin and Maria challenged with written and oral submissions at every stage, including:

1- DNA: the reliability and admissibility of Likelihood Ratios based on a mixed profile of four or more contributors; interpretation of statistical match probabilities; relevance of the DNA of a potential female relative to the sample; lengthy cross-examination and s.78 PACE arguments on expert evidence from EuroFins forensic laboratory.

2- Article 8 ECHR: admissibility of electronic tag data inadvertently monitored by curfew units installed at unknown addresses throughout London; Right to Privacy encroached by this intrusive surveillance; defendants subject to tag unaware their movements were being monitored.

3- Bad Character Evidence: admissibility of gang affiliations and previous convictions, s.101(1)(d) Criminal Justice Act 2003

4- Articles 5 and 6 ECHR: custody time limits and listing of trial during the current pandemic; prioritisation of case based on young age of defendants.

Benjamin and Maria were instructed by Emi Puri from Henscott Solicitors. 

Michael Polak, Working with Somali Journalists Syndicate, Acts for Journalist Kilwe and Calls for Puntland Authorities to Drop Charges

MOGADISHU, Somalia/ LONDON, UK 2 February 2021 – Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) and Barrister Michael Polak of Church Court Chambers and Justice Abroad strongly condemn the continued detention of freelance journalist Kilwe Adan Farah by Puntland authorities since 27 December, 2020 over politically motivated charges and calls for his unconditional release.

On the evening of 27 December 2020, officers from PISA (Puntland Intelligence and Security Agency) in Garowe, the capital of Puntland State, detained journalist Kilwe, who reports for Kilwe Media Inc, a Facebook news page he co-founded. The arrest came a day after anti-inflation protest hit Garowe town, which Kilwe covered.  Mr Kilwe’s broadcast of the protests were shared widely and it is believed that this is why he was seized. He was held at an undisclosed PISA detention centre without access to his family or a lawyer in contravention of Article 27 of Puntland’s Constitution which provides that an accused person shall not be detained in a facility that is not legally recognized and that the accused be brought before a court of law within 48 hours.

On Monday 11 January 2021, without the knowledge of his family and without the presence of lawyers, Kilwe was transferred to Garowe central prison and was reportedly charged with “attempted murder” by the Puntland military court. This is a charge which can be punished with the death penalty in Puntland.  Family members said they did not see the charge sheet but that the charges were only read to them by a military court official. Further, no information as to who Kilwe was alleged to have attempted to murder was provided and it is understood that no evidence exists.

According to local defence lawyer Avv. Mustafe Mohamed Jama who is working with Mr Polak and the SJS to push for Kilwe’s release, Kilwe appeared before the military court on Tuesday morning,  2 February 2020, but the Prosecution was not able to provide any evidence in regards to the charges he faces for the court to accept the case. The lawyer also wrote to the military court questioning the court’s jurisdiction over Kilwe case.

According to article 87 of the Puntland Constitution, the military court only has jurisdiction over members of the armed forces and therefore the military court has no jurisdiction over Kilwe’s case as he is a journalist and therefore a civilian.  We have requested the court to give Kilwe’s freedom back,” Lawyer Mustafe Mohamed Jama wrote to the military court on Tuesday morning.

Barrister Michael Polak from Church Court Chambers and Justice Abroad who is working as a team with Mr Jama and the Somali Journalists Syndicate has submitted applications to the United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, the UN Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.   The legal team has also reached out to Somalia’s international partners to raise Kilwe’s plight.

On 1 February 2021, Kilwe was nominated among the 10 Most Urgent Press Freedom cases for February 2021 by the One Free Press Coalition, which is an international coalition of media houses and organizations that stand up for journalists under attack for pursuing the truth worldwide.

Michael Polak of Church Court Chambers and Justice Abroad said:

“It is frightening that someone like Kilwe can be disappeared for 16 days simply for reporting the news. This is in breach of Puntland’s legal provisions as well as the obligations of Somalia under international law. It is imperative that the Puntland Authorities heed the call to release Kilwe so he can return to his wife and children.”

Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, Secretary General of the Somali Journalists Syndicate said:

“Curtailing press freedom through intimidation and false charges is alarming and is against both Federal and Puntland constitutions which guarantee the freedom of the press.  We call for the Puntland authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Kilwe and allow him to freely exercise his journalistic duties without fear or reprisals.”

Success for Alex Balancy Who Secured the Release of His Client In An Honour Based Violent Multi Handed Case.

Alex’s client was arrested together with 2 others for allegations of Conspiring to murder his ex-wife and other offences against her which the Prosecution argued had the hallmark of classic honour based violent crimes. 

He was charged with Attempted Kidnapping, Making Threats to Kill, Assault Causing Actual Bodily Harm and Theft.  The prosecution considered but eventually decided not to add a count of Conspiracy to murder.

Following a jury trial that lasted over a month, Alex’s client was unanimously acquitted of the Attempted Kidnapping and Theft charges. The jury could not reach verdicts on the Making Threats to Kill and ABH charges. The prosecution decided not to have a re-trial on these 2 counts and Alex’s client was immediately released.

Alex Balancy was instructed by Foxes Solicitors.

Kerim Fuad QC features in Sky Documentary

Head of Chambers Kerim Fuad QC features in a documentary to be aired by Sky Crime concerning a high profile and sensitive murder case recently handled by Kerim. The case concerned the artist and grandmother Valerie Graves, who was murdered in a horrific attack just days after Christmas while housesitting a million-pound property. Kerim’s involvement in the documentary was filmed in Chambers’ new premises within Southampton Buildings. 

Kerim is a highly respected Criminal Silk with one of the leading directories observing that; “He has the jury eating out of the palm of his hand”. He is widely recognised as the go-to Silk for complex Murder cases at the Old Bailey. 

For media enquiries or instructions please contact Chambers’ Practice Director, Rod McGurk.

Please see the following link to view the documentary:

“Killer in my Village – Series 4 – Episode 9 – Valerie Graves”

Multi-Million Pound Confiscation Hearing Begins

Following convictions for serious financial offences totalling £60 million, defendants appeared before the Royal Courts of Justice (“RCJ”) in a lengthy confiscation hearing where evidence from live witnesses, experts and defendants started being considered today.  Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood, specifically instructed for the confiscation hearing, represent one of the main defendants.

The proceedings before the RCJ will consider the Prosecution application to confiscate assets that include property, money, land, houses, jewellery and various other items associated with the defendants.  As well as assets in the UK, a great deal of the items are alleged to be hidden and available abroad in a Prosecution case that has taken many years to prepare.  

Yasin Patel and Amy Hazlewood are instructed by Rustem Guardian Solicitors

Success for Michael Polak in Large Scale Drug Importation Trial at Canterbury Crown Court

Church Court Chambers’ barrister Michael Polak secured his client a unanimous acquittal in a trial which finished today at Canterbury Crown Court.  Michael Polak’s client, an Italian national, was stopped when entering the United Kingdom at Dover Port and the van he was driving was found to be carrying 134 kg of high-purity cocaine. At one of the first COVID trials at Canterbury Crown Court in July of this year the jury were unable to reach a verdict and the case was set for a retrial this week which resulted in Michael’s client being found not guilty by the jury.

Michael Polak is available for instruction in any serious criminal matters and has expertise in cases which have an international dimension.  He can be instructed by contact Church Court Chambers’ clerking team on +44 020 7936 3637

Michael was instructed by Davide Cupertino of Consulenti Italiani and Dean Garrett of Liberty Law Solicitors.

Yasin Patel gets client acquittal of Murder Charge after Trial

Yasin Patel, of Chambers Crime and Regulatory team managed to successfully obtain the acquittal of his client of a Murder charge following a 6-week trial.  In a history making case the trial became one of the first in the country where the approach to principal and accessorial liability became all the more important due to the fact that the question of whether causing harm or serious death was an overwhelming supervening act was left to the jury.

Yasin Patel was instructed by JSP Law.

Alex Balancy and Estelle Thornber successfully defend their client in a multi million pound, record drugs seizure case.

Alex Balancy leading Estelle Thornber secured the acquittal of their client on 14 Counts of Conspiracy to Supply and Offer to Supply a variety of class A, B and C Drugs. These included Cocaine, Heroin and the largest seizure of GHB/GBL in London to date. Their client, a young Brazilian National, was also acquitted on 2 Counts of Money Laundering of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The Prosecution alleged that the Defendant was part of a serious Organised Crime Group distributing drugs to order using a fleet of couriers in an ‘Uber for Drugs’ style operation.

Following his arrest with a large quantity of drugs, a large amount of cash and high-tech equipment, the Prosecution maintained that the Defendant had a managerial role in this sophisticated criminal network of Brazilians who ran the drug enterprise along modern business lines, using the latest up to the minute technology. 

Six of the Defendant’s co-accused were convicted. Alex and Estelle’s client was acquitted on all 16 counts following a two months trial.

Alex and Estelle were instructed by Foxes Solicitors.

Success for Glenn Harris and Liam Loughlin following 2 month drugs trial involving London’s largest seizure if Chemsex drugs

Glenn Harris leading Liam Loughlin successfully defended a woman charged with conspiracy in London’s largest seizure of Chemsex drugs. They secured her acquittal after a 2 month trial. The prosecution alleged she was part of a serious organized crime group distributing drugs to order including cocaine and heroin. She was found not guilty on all 14 counts she faced.

Glenn and Liam were instructed by Foxes Solicitors, Beckenham.

George Hepburne Scott Secures Victories in Six Extradition Cases in Less Than Two Months

George Hepburne Scott continues to enjoy a series of successes for his clients in Extradition cases at Westminster Magistrates’ Court:

On 22 October 2020, following lengthy legal argument, in the case of Romania v G-A.P, George secured the discharge and immediate release of his client by successfully opposing the Romanian Judicial Authority’s application to adjourn to secure an assurance re prison conditions. In the absence of that assurance District Judge Bristow discharged the requested person under s.21 of the 2003 Act. George had relied upon the Divisional Court case of Adamescu v Romania [2020] EWHC 2709 (Admin), Article 17 of the European Council Decision re EAW’s, the Criminal Practice Direction 50.A and Criminal Procedure Rules 50.2. George was instructed by Clement Idowu of Criminal Defence Service.

On 12 October 2020, following a full extradition hearing, in the case of Poland v M.N. George’s client was discharged on a Polish EAW alleging possession of amphetamine and cannabis. The client was discharged on the basis of s.21A proportionality following legal submissions at the extradition hearing. George was instructed in this case by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors.

On 11 September 2020, in the case of Belgium v SH, George’s client, an Albanian national, was sensationally discharged on an extradition request from Belgium alleging triple-murder. The client was discharged following complex legal argument regarding reopening the identity issue after the initial hearing.  On this occasion the client was discharged by District Judge Goldspring. George was instructed by Giovanna Fiorentino of Lansbury Worthington Solicitors on this case.

On 4 September 2020, in the case of Greece v RK, George secured the discharge of his client at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on a Greek EAW this one alleging large scale drug trafficking. The client was an Irish National. On this occasion the Deputy Chief Magistrate of England and Wales discharged George’s client. George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors on this case.

On 25 August 2020, in the case of Greece v AS, George secured the discharge of his client at Westminster Magistrates’ Court again on a Greek EAW alleging cannabis cultivation. George’s client was an Albanian national. District Judge Ezzat discharged George’s client on this occasion. George was instructed by Russell Nicholson of Tuckers Solicitors on this case.

On 24 August 2020, in the case of Hungary v TK, George secured a discharge of his client at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on a Hungarian EAW relating to multiple thefts from employer. George’s client was a Hungarian national. District Judge Snow discharged George’s client on this occasion. George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors on this case.

Andrew Taylor Appears on Times Radio tonight at 7:30pm

Tonight at 7:30pm Andrew Taylor shall be on Times Radio talking about the A G References that are currently before the Court of Appeal for Reynhard & Joseph McCann,  where the Solicitor General is arguing that Life Sentences with 30 years minimum terms are unduly lenient, and is asking that whole life terms are merited.

That of itself is highly unusual, but it may be that it is the first time that conjoined appeals of this type are argued.

Click here to redirect to the times radio site, Times Radio

Colin Witcher defends in high-profile 39 counts of manslaughter trial

Colin Witcher of Chambers’ Crime and Regulatory Team led by Alisdair Williamson QC of 3 Raymond Buildings, defend in a case which made international headlines when 39 Vietnamese migrants were found dead inside a trailer in Essex in October last year.

The trial, expected to last 6 weeks, began today at the Central Criminal Court.

Counsel are instructed by Claire Anderson of ABV Solicitors, London

Chambers Members ranked by Legal 500 2021

Six members of Church Court Chambers have been ranked by the 2021 edition of the Legal 500, including our Head of Chambers, Kerim Fuad QC.

The relevant members’ individual entries of the latest edition of the Legal 500 read as follows:

Kerim Fuad QC  ‘Commanding advocate and a great tactician. A very strong strategic thinker. A commanding presence, excellent with clients and exceptionally bright. He has the jury eating out of the palm of his hand.

Ranked: Tier 3

Lewis Power QC ‘Lewis is a force of nature. His amiable charm fills the robing room and the court room alike. He works every character in a case, from the co-defendants’ advocates, to the prosecutor to the judge and, ultimately, the jury, who hang on his every word. His charm underlays a deadly cross examination technique.

Ranked: Tier 2

Amjad Malik QC ‘He has great client empathy.

Ranked: Tier 3

Michael Mather-Lees QC ‘An eloquent silk with particular expertise in cases involving complex medical evidence. Provides pragmatic advice and adopts excellent strategy in the most complex of cases. He possesses a quiet calmness and confidence indicative of a Counsel that is aware of his expertise and skill, with no need to shout about it, incredibly effective in his style of advocacy and yet calm and reassuring manner with clients and their families.

Ranked: Tier 3

Colin Witcher ‘Colin Witcher is incredibly calm and well organised, safe and reassuring with clients, with a superb legal brain which gives great attention to the detail in the most complex of cases.

Ranked: Tier 2

Yasin Patel  ‘Yasin is an extremely hard worker and thorough with his work. Has the ability to develop great rapport with all types of clients regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, cultural backgrounds. A key strength is his ability to handle all types of complex cases.

Ranked: Tier 3

Kerim Fuad QC Speaks on International Weekend Panel about The Future of the Legal Profession in Different Jurisdictions in Light of COVID-19

On Saturday, the Head of Church Court Chambers, Kerim Fuad QC spoke on a panel for International Weekend, an event organised by the European Young Bar Association, the Law Society’s Young Lawyer Division, London Young Lawyers Group, and Middle Temple Young Barristers’ Association which was held online for the first time and attended by hundreds of young lawyers across Europe, the United Kingdom, and North America.

The panel discussion at which Kerim spoke alongside lawyers from Italy and Canada, addressed their respective legal systems response to the COVID crisis as well as how they foresee the future and finished with tips for young lawyers about how to manage/advance themselves in the current difficult legal climate.

Kerim spoke honestly and scathingly; of the shameful lack of financial support from the government for publicly funded barristers and solicitors “who have been left to rot,” the grossly inadequate and hugely delayed response to get jury trials up and running, the fact that the huge backlog for Crown Court trials was in existence long before Covid-19 (eg in December 2019 out of 729 courtrooms, 350 were not sitting only due to the government slashing of court sitting days), refusal of the government to properly engage with leaders of the Bar as to how to remedy the crisis, the disgraceful crumbling state of the whole of the court estate fallen into ruin/not fit for purpose, and the disingenuous use politically of their buzz word of “diversity” which the government scorn in real terms with lack of financial support/reasonable fees which is driving talented people out of the Bar and decimating many sets of chambers, the generally appalling fees paid to both prosecution and defence Barristers who are trying hard to uphold the rule of law and protect victims and the public.

He ended by giving a series of practical tips for those young lawyers seeking to succeed but confessed that unless the government invest in the independent Bar of England and Wales, it looks beyond bleak.

The panel was hosted by Church Court Chambers Michael Polak in his role as President of the Middle Temple Young Barristers’ Association.

Michael Mather-Lees QC and Colin Witcher begin unusual murder trial

Mr Mather-Lees QC and Colin Witcher have begun an unusual and sensitive murder trial, which concerns the death of a victim four years after the initial injuries were sustained. The trial will focus upon intention and causation, and whether or not the manner of medical treatment was the cause of death, with evidence covering neuro-patholology, pathology, clinical care and gastroenterology.

The case is being tried before Mr Justice Johnson and is expected to last two weeks. Given the abolishment of the Year-and-a-Day Rule, the case is prosecuted with the consent of the Attorney General.

Counsel are instructed by Imran Ali of Tuckers Solicitors.

Success for Mike Fullerton in dog breeding licence case in General Regulatory Chamber.

S v Eastleigh Borough Council

Mike Fullerton succeeds in overturning revocation of dog-breeding licence before First Tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber). After negotiations, a week before the hearing, the Local Authority agreed to a Variation of Licence including paying the costs of the Application.

Double success in Extradition Court for George Hepburne-Scott

On 25 August 2020, in the case of Greece v AS, George’s client was discharged on the EAW he faced on Article 3 grounds due to the Greek judicial authority failing to provide adequate assurances regarding the prison/s that the requested person would be sent back to. The Greek judicial authority had sought an adjournment to obtain the information but this was opposed by George on the basis that it had had plenty of time already. District Judge Ezzat, a specialist Extradition Judge at Westminster Magistrate’s Court, agreed and AS, an Albanian national, was discharged and released from all bail conditions.

A directly analogous situation arose in a different case at the same Court on 4 September 2020: In Greece v RK, the advocate for the Greek judicial authority also requested more time which was opposed by George on the client’s behalf. This time the Deputy Chief Magistrate of England and Wales presided and agreed with George that Greece had had long enough, again the client, this time an Irish national, was discharged and released. 

In both cases, expert evidence from Greek lawyers had been obtained and critical reliance had also been placed on the key High Court authority of Marku v Greece [2016] EWHC 1801 (Admin) as well as the recent C.P.T. Report on Greek prisons.

George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors in the case of Greece v RK and by Russell Nicholson of Tuckers Solicitors in the case of Greece v AS.

Acquittal for Michael Mather-Lees QC in case involving multiple attempted murders.

Michael Mather-Lees QC successfully defends a man charged with multiple attempted murders, severely injuring 3 innocent members of the public, by repeatedly stabbing them with a large knife. This was a rare and unusual case of a Defendant successfully pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. The Defendant was seriously mentally ill and found not guilty by the jury.

Michael was instructed by Emily Evans of Allen Hoole Solicitors, Bristol

Colin Witcher succeeds in Gold Bullion confiscation case.

Colin Witcher of Chambers Crime and Regulatory Team represented the first defendant NH at a fully contested hearing, over the course of three days before the Bristol Crown Court. The Crown had sought significant hidden assets against the defendant, said to be large cash withdrawals and the purchase of Gold Bullion. 

The defendant was alleged to be the principle defendant and beneficiary of an audacious fraud. The defendant, who was convicted after trial, together with three others (who all pleaded guilty) directed and arranged the sale of a substantial country property, without the true owner’s knowledge. Thereafter, part of the sale proceeds were withdrawn from a bank account and used to purchase Gold Bullion in London. The defendant, after convicton, instructed new solicitors who retained Mr Witcher to represent the defendant in respect to PoCA proceedings.

During the course of those proceedings the defendant and two of the three other defendants gave evidence. All other defendants placed the leading role on NH and denied that they had benefited from their involvement in the crime save for a little over a £1,000 each. In respect to one of those defendants, he was challenged on NH’s behalf, and a cut throat emerged.  

Mr Witcher further had to deal with issues flowing from the defendant previously having given evidence before the Jury which was rejected, and admitted false PoCA statements served prior to Mr Witcher’s instruction.

After hearing all the evidence and final submissons the Judge, who had also conducted the trial, found favour with Mr Witcher’s submissions in respect to hidden assets. The Judge further found that the second defendant had benefited as alleged by NH. 

The defendant was at risk of a significant default term, which was properly avoided due to careful preparation and case presentation.

Mr Witcher was instructed by Kamal Channa of Brooklyn Solictors, St Martins Le Grand, London.

Michael Polak Acting for Somali Journalist Syndicate Submits UN Communications Concerning Attacks on Journalism in Somalia

Church Court Chambers’ Michael Polak has submitted communications to the Independent Expert on Human Rights in Somalia, the Human Rights Council, and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression on behalf of the Somali Journalist Syndicate, an independent journalists’ trade union set up to highlight and support Somali journalists against ‘a barrage of attacks against the press, predominantly perpetrated by state actors.’  

These Communications allege that the Somali authorities are in breach of both their positive and negative international obligations and in breach of the Constitution through their continuous attack on journalism which has included assaults, disappearances, arbitrary detention, closing down press and broadcast outlets, the seizure of equipment, and generally creating an atmosphere which has resulted in Somalia being one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. 

The submission of the communication was marked by an event held online on 20 August 2020 which was attended by Somali and international journalists, NGO’s focused on the protection of journalists, as well as representatives of the United Nations. 

Michael Polak stated:

 “The freedom of journalists to do their job without having to fear attacks and repression by the authorities is essential for the development of any country. The clear evidence shows that the Somalian Government and Somaliland authorities are failing to comply with their international and domestic legal obligations by continuing to attack, arbitrarily detain, and censure brave hardworking Somalian journalists.  

We hope that these communications to the United Nation’s bodies, which have been set up specifically to protect people in situations where State authorities are refusing to do so, will shine a light on what is taking place against journalists in Somalia and inform the authorities that their actions are being noted both by the Somali people and the international community. 

We call on the international community, including NGO’s and Somalia’s development partners, not to forget the importance of journalism in Somalia and the vulnerability of journalists there. It is our obligation to give them a voice at every opportunity and to demand that the authorities cease to breach their international obligations and the Constitution of Somalia.’ 

Mr Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, Secretary General of the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) stated the following:

“Attacks against the press has dramatically increased leading many journalists to self-censor or face arbitrary arrests. Press freedom and freedom of expression are basic constitutional right entitled to every Somali citizen. These rights must be preserved and protected in order for the journalists and media stations to be able to freely inform the public.

SJS has documented the violations against the press across Somalia round the clock and what we have been witnessing, if not stopped, would put the whole journalism profession in danger.  We call on the Somali federal government, federal member states and Somaliland authorities to stop the gross violations committed by their security forces, police and organs of their administrations.”

The full Press Statement can be found here.  

The submissions and launch event has been covered by the Horn ObserverArlaadi News, and Somali Update.

Michael Polak is available to be instructed for international law and human rights matters by contacting the clerks room on +44 20 7936 3637 or by clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk 

Michael Polak Lodges Written Submissions on behalf of World Uyghur Congress to International Olympic Committee’s Ethical Commission Concerning Beijing 2022

The World Uyghur Congress has instructed Church Court Chambers’ international human rights barrister Michael Polak who also leads Lawyers for Uyghur Rights to draft a formal written complaint which has been submitted to the International Olympic Committee’s Ethics Commission through the Ethics and Compliance Office.

This Complaint, to which the IOC’s Ethics Commission must respond, stated that IOC, its Executive Board, and IOC President Thomas Bach have acted in breach of the Olympic Charter by failing to reconsider holding the 2022 Olympics in Beijing following verifiable evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity taking place against the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims by the People’s Republic of China.  

Evidence submitted along with the Complaint from numerous sources proves that a number of crimes against humanity are taking place such as mass sterilization, arbitrary detention in internment camps, torture, repressive security and surveillance, and forced labour and slavery.

Annexed to the complaint was also a recent report which concluded that the Chinese authorities actions in the Uyghur Region is likely to amount to genocide.

The submissions provide that not only will holding the Olympic in Beijing be seen as support for the extreme repression suffered by the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims but that given the opaque nature of the supply chains in China, especially in regards to textiles and technology, it is likely that the IOC will be directly involved in the international crimes committed against the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim people. This is because the widely documented forced transport and use of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims as slave labour means that it will be impossible for the IOC to ensure that the technology used in Olympic competitions and the hosting of the Games and the textiles used for Olympic merchandise are not tainted by the immense pain of those transported thousands of miles across China to be forced to work in factories because of their religion and race.

Michael Polak stated:

‘I am pleased to have been instructed by Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress to draft this important Complaint.

The IOC, its Executive Board, and its President Thomas Bach are all required to abide by the ethical principles of the Olympic Movement, the Olympic Charter, and the Olympic ideal inspired by Pierre de Coubertin.

It is clear that holding the 2022 Olympics in Beijing whilst China carries out genocide and crimes against humanity against the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim people flies in the face of those principles and is contrary to those parties’ obligation under Article 2 of the Code of Conduct not to ‘act in a manner likely to tarnish the reputation of the Olympic Movement.

We hope that the Ethics Commission will engage with the issues we have put before them and call for the 2022 Olympic to be moved if international crimes continue to be carried out against the Uyghurs. We look forward to the opportunity of calling evidence from first-hand witnesses who have fled the horrors of the camps and systematic repression so the Ethics Commission and Olympic Movement cannot say that they were unaware of what was taking place in the Uyghur Region and across China with the forced movement of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims for use as slave labour.’ 

World Uyghur Congress President Dolkun Isa stated:

‘The IOC can no longer claim ignorance of China’s genocide against the Uyghur people. If the IOC allows China to host the 2022 Winter Games, it is wilfully and intentionally abandoning the values and principles that underpin the Olympic Movement.

These detailed submissions explain the evidence of the international crimes being committed against my people, the Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tajiks, and other Turkic Muslim people and how this clearly conflicts with the ethical principles with which the Olympic family is supposed to comply. Further, it is likely that the technology and merchandising used for the Olympic will be tainted by the well reported forced transportation and slave labour against us.

If the International Olympic Committee allows the Chinese government to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, it will go down as a historically shameful decision.’

Multiple press sources including the New York Times have reported on Michael’s work https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/08/14/sports/olympics/14reuters-olympics-china-uighurs.html?searchResultPosition=5

Michael Polak is available to be instructed for international law and human rights matters by contacting the clerks room on +44 20 7936 3637 or by clerks@churchcourtchambers.co.uk 

Kerim Fuad QC and Maria Karaiskos Secure Sensational Murder and s.18 Acquittals in High Profile and Sensitive Trial at the Old Bailey.

On 10th October 2019 at 3.19 pm, a boy boarded the 241 bus on the way to Stratford wearing a balaclava and armed with a very large hunting knife. He proceeded to knife two 15-year-old schoolboys a total of 4 times, in front of terrified passengers, before running off the bus after B. A. who later died of his stab injuries.

The client of Mr Fuad QC and Maria Karaiskos was also a 15-year-old schoolboy and was carrying an identical hunting knife in his rucksack which he was seen on CCTV to take out on the same bus to inspect. The defendants’ knives had been bought together. He was alleged to have been the look out and the one who “tipped off” his best friend from the top deck via a lengthy phone call, and other phone calls, to know which bus the deceased and his friends were on and pinpointing where the bus was.

There was previous Snapchat talk involving all the boys in which knives were talked about and threats were made, including who was going to “be the first to be on someone’s blade.”

Their client was acquitted of all 4 counts.  

This acquittal adds to Mr Fuad QC’s quite extraordinary record of Murder acquittals, in particular over the last 10 years.

The other defendant was unanimously convicted of the Murder of B. A. He will be sentenced in due course following probationary reports.

This case has been widely reported in the national press, although reporting restrictions apply in respect of child defendants and witnesses.

On a separate note:

Both Mr Fuad QC and Miss Karaiskos are Cypriots who come from each of the island’s communities. The trial was a classic example of the two working as a successful, cohesive and powerful team. 

Mr Fuad QC and Miss Karaiskos both of Church Court Chambers were instructed by Mr Joel Lamptey of Hanson Woods solicitors.

Michael Polak Instructed to Advise in Potential Private Prosecution of Hong Kong Police Officers

Church Court Chambers’ international human rights and criminal law barrister Michael Polak has been instructed to advise in the high-profile potential private prosecution of British national Police Officers working for the Hong Kong Police Force in regards to possible offences of torture contrary to s134 of the Criminal Justice Act which provides universal jurisdiction for this crime before the English courts.  Michael Polak has been instructed by top private prosecution solicitors Edmonds Marshall McMahon who are acting on behalf of human rights activist Luke de Pulford.

Press reports of this case include:




Michael Polak can be instructed for both international and domestic human rights and criminal cases by contacting Church Court Chambers’ clerking team.  

Exceptional Sentence Achieved by Maria Karaiskos Following Plea on £10m Money Laundering Case.

Maria Karaiskos appeared at Southwark Crown Court in a multi-million pound money laundering case. Maria’s client was a ‘cash courier’ who had taken over £10m to Dubai during numerous trips in 2018.

The case was brought by the National Crime Agency who stopped the defendant at Stansted Airport as he attempted to board a flight. In mitigation and in order to assist the judge, Maria provided a detailed, written sentencing note which drew on her excellent knowledge of the ‘Fraud, Bribery and Money Laundering’ Sentencing Guidelines. She argued, successfully, that the principle of totality, and the delay in charging the defendant, meant that it would not be in the interests of justice for his sentence to fall within the Guidelines at all.

The Judge agreed and exceptionally imposed a sentence of two years imprisonment. 

Maria was instructed by Mustafa Ilguy from Haslaw Solicitors in this case.

“Having the Grime of their Lives” WEDNESDAY 5th AUGUST 4.30pm

Church Court Chambers are delighted to announce its second webinar of the summer, following on from the hugely successful “Jury really want to hurt me” our next webinar called “Having the Grime of their Lives: What’s the Matter with Modern Music and Why It Matters in Criminal Law” is via zoom at 4.30pm on Wednesday 5th August.

Please email webinar@churchcourtchambers.co.uk to book your place.

Maria Karaiskos detailed submissions avoid custodial sentence for her client in multi handed football violence case.

Maria Karaiskos was instructed in a large scale Violent Disorder case at Luton Crown Court. The defendant she represented was one of seven defendants who pleaded guilty to using and threatening unlawful violence in Luton Town Centre in August 2018, shortly before a football match started at Luton Town FC. Violence broke out between 30-40 Luton Town FC supporters against the Southend supporters who had travelled to Luton on the train. Punches, kicks and bottles were thrown. The incident was captured on CCTV and body worn cameras worn by the police who attended to contain the scene. 

The prosecution described the incident as ‘blatant football hooliganism in broad daylight’.   

Six defendants were sentenced in November 2019. The majority of them received sentences of immediate imprisonment.


Maria’s defendant was sentenced in June 2020. Maria provided a written Sentencing Note for the Judge. This detailed the new Definitive Sentencing Guideline on Public Order Offences which came into effect in January 2020. Maria made further written submissions on the new Court of Appeal authority – R v Manning – dealing with mitigation arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. Maria made lengthy oral submissions in Court about which sentencing category the offence fell into; which aggravating and mitigating factors were present in the evidence; and what degree of mitigation Covid-19 provided her lay client. Maria also made reference to the Sentencing Guideline on Custodial/Community Sentences and the Sentencing Guideline on Guilty Pleas.

The Judge retired for over 30 minutes before returning to Court and passing a suspended sentence and a five year Football Banning Order. 

Maria was instructed by Lawtons Solicitors in this case. The hearing was conducted remotely via the new Cloud Video Platform – CVP.

Success for Chris Johnston in Court of Appeal, Highlighting Lack of Guidelines for Blackmail.

Chris Johnston successful in the Court of Appeal in appeal against sentence, which highlighted the lack of sentencing guidelines for blackmail. 

The appellant had been sentenced to a total of seven years’ imprisonment for two offences of blackmail and one of possession of a bladed article.  

He’d been in a six years’ relationship with a woman and had become controlling and obsessive in his behaviour towards her. After she ended it, he stalked her online and bombarded her with calls and messages. He then demanded £10,000 from her for monies he’d spent on them and posted a long rambling document on social media about her, her friends and family, ending with a link to an intimate sexual video of her. A month later, with no money paid he tricked her into stopping in a layby on the pretext of handing over some belongings and she let him sit in her car. He suddenly produced a knife and what looked like a sawn-off shotgun in a bag. He locked the doors, snatched her phone and said he’d written their mutual suicide notes and that she would be dead by the morning unless she sent several thousand pounds to his bank account. He detained her for six hours  before he was emotionally overcome and she saw the chance to persuade him to calm down and let her go. Once arrested, police found the makeshift gun-shaped contraption in the boot of his car. His phone revealed the blackmail messages and multiple other harassing messages, some just as before arrest.

He had pleaded guilty at trial receiving limited credit for doing so. He had a caution for harassing his former wife in which he used repeated and abusive communications. The second blackmail was treated as a robbery because of the weapons, threats to kill, the demands for money with menaces and long false imprisonment. Counsel invited the CCA to distinguish the case with the authorities the sentencing judge relied on (R v Casbolt [2016] EWCA Crim 1377 and A.G. Ref No. 36 of 2016 Mincher [2016]EWCA Crim. 152).The court was reminded of the case of R v Manning [2020]EWCA Crim. 592, the need to reflect the current prison circumstances during the pandemic and the psychological effects on vulnerable inmates. The CCA ruled that while the judge was correct to reflect the grave nature of these offences and pass consecutive sentences it accepted appeal submissions and reduced the first blackmail term by half to one of 18 months making the total term reduced from 7 years to 51/2 years.

Chambers return to trials at Reading Crown Court

Michael Fullerton, Kevin Molloy and Michael Polak have all dusted the wig and gown off and returned to Crown Court for the first new trials on the circuit and a 3 day conviction appeal for a youth.

To see their accounts of how the courts have adapted to conduct these cases please follow the links below.

Michael Polak Speaks at World Uyghur Congress Seminar on Human Rights and Huawei

On Friday 29 May 2020 Michael Polak spoke as part of a panel of experts on ‘Huawei’s Role in Mass Surveillance & Repression Against Uyghurs’. This panel discussed the technology used for the mass repression of the Uyghur and other Turkic people in Xinjiang Autonomous Uyghur Region and the legal background in regards to involvement by technology companies in providing and operating such technology. The other members of the panel were Rahima Mahmut, World Uyghur Congress’s London Director and a prominent Uyghur artist, and Dr Aris Georgopoulos, Assistant Professor in European and Public Law at the School of Law of the University of Nottingham and Head of the Research Unit for Strategic and Defence Procurement of the Public Procurement Research Group (PPRG). The recording of this event has been viewed more than 1600 times. 

Michael Polak can be instructed for cases involving human rights and international law for individuals or organisations by contacting the clerks room by email or phone +44 020 7936 3637

Many thanks for attending our webinar

Church Court Chambers would like to thank all those who attended and took part in our first webinar, “Do you really want to hurt me?”.

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we look forward to welcoming you to our next webinar. 

Special thanks to Kerim Fuad QC, Lewis Power QC, Michelle Clarke, Shaun Esprit, Liam Loughlin, Colin Witcher, Tomas McGarvey and Amy Hazlewood. 

The webinar will be available to watch again on our website shortly.

Kevin Molloy secures exceptional result in Firearms case…via Skype!

Kevin Molloy was instructed in a Firearms case at Woodgreen Crown Court. The defendant had ordered a blank firing gun and pepper-spray ammunition from Eastern Europe online. Five months later the Police called at his home and having conducted a search they found the gun and ammunition. The defendant pleaded guilty. The 1968 Firearms Act, having its own peculiarities established that the ammunition and not the gun in this case attracted an automatic minimum term of 5 years immediate imprisonment under s.51A(1)(a)(i) of the Act. Unlike other offences there is no discount for pleading guilty. Fortunately for this defendant s.51A(2) states that the court will impose that sentence “unless the court is of the opinion there are exceptional circumstances relating to the offence or the offender which justifies not doing so”. And so began a lengthy journey in building a case for a finding of “exceptional circumstances”.
Lengthy and detailed written submissions were drafted by counsel with all the relevant authorities cited. Reports from Psychiatrists and others were obtained. With the arrival of Covid19 pandemic counsel was not allowed to attend court in person, however given that custody was likely the defendant had to surrender to court in person and counsel made submissions to the court via Skype!
After lengthy submissions the court eventually agreed to find exceptional circumstances in this case and the defendant was given a suspended sentence. After passing sentence the Learned Judge commented to counsel “it is obvious you have put a lot of work into this case and it is appreciated”. Kevin would like to thank Lawtons Solicitors for instructing him in this case and in particular Stephen Halloran for his hard work. If ever there was a case of counsel and instructing solicitor working as an effective team, this was it.

Gregory Wedge enjoys Court of Appeal success in £1.5 million Class A Drugs conspiracy case.

Gregory Wedge of Chambers’ Crime and Regulatory Team, secured a successful appeal against sentence in respect to a £1.5 million drug conspiracy case. The case concerned the transport of 15kg of cocaine with an 80% purity. The Appellant pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy, to supply class A drugs in his role as a courier.  The sentencing judge departed significantly from the sentencing guidelines in taking a starting point of 14 years for the Appellant.

Mr Wedge submitted that this was not the correct approach considering the role of the Appellant in the conspiracy and therefore the starting point of 14 years and overall sentence of 10 years was manifestly excessive.  Mr  Wedge invited the court in considering the sentencing guidelines to take a starting point of 12 years and to find that there was insufficient basis to depart from the range.  To that end, Mr Wedge argued that although the case concerned a greater amount of cocaine than the 5kg set out as the category 1 starting point, this did not provide in of itself foundation for wholly departing from the range prescribed.

The Court of Appeal agreed with Mr Wedge’s submissions that in all the circumstances of the case the sentence could properly be termed excessive. As such, the Court duly allowed the appeal reducing the starting point by 2 years and thereafter afforded the Appellant 25% credit.

Mr Wedge was instructed by Foxes Solicitors.

Statement from Kerim Fuad QC, Head of Chambers

“Whilst I welcome the statement from the Lord Chancellor on proactive steps to be taken to resume Jury Trials, I wish to make my views as Head of Chambers publically known. 

No Member of Church Court Chambers, from Queen’s Counsel to Pupil, will be required by Chambers to attend Court until it is safe to do so. This will require the Court Estate to be fully compliant with social distancing measures, for there to be drastically improved cleaning regimes and PPE to be readily available for all. Individual Members are of course free to make their own decisions and our hard working clerking team continue to work remotely and safely in order to liaise with instructing solicitors and the Courts. 

I support fully the work of the CBA and the Bar Council. I know that all branches of the profession are working hard together to support the Justice System. I am grateful to you all. 

However, there should be no misunderstanding: as Head of Chambers I will not put lives at risk to help oil the wheels of a broken system. I will fully support any Member of Chambers who does not feel safe travelling to or remaining at Court and any instructing solicitor affected by that position. 

Michael Polak Instructed to Act for British Uyghurs in Challenge to Government Huawei 5G Decision

Church Court Chambers’ international law and human rights barrister Michael Polak has been instructed by two British Uyghurs to challenge the Government’s decision to allow Huawei to contract to provide a 5G network on the basis that it is alleged that there is evidence of the use of slavery within the Huawei supply chain and evidence that Huawei is ‘deeply implicated in the ongoing surveillance, repression and persecution of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minority communities in Xinjiang’ according to the Australian Security Policy Institute’s Report Mapping China’s Technology Giants

This matter has been reported in the international press here:

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/04/29/uighur-rights-group-gearing-up-for-legal-battle-with-uk-over-huawei-and-5g-canada-could-be-next.html; https://bitterwinter.org/huawei-5g-and-human-rights-abuses/


Further information about this case can be found here: https://lawyersforuyghurrights.com/en/press-releases/request-that-government-reconsider-5g-contracting-with-huawei 

This case is being Crowd Funded here https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/challenge-to-huawei-5g/ 

Michael is instructed by Oliver Carter of Irwin Mitchell Solicitors. 

To arrange an interview with Michael Polak or his clients please email m.polak@churchcourtchambers.co.uk or contact us by phone +44 020 7936 3637 

Michael is available for instructions in human rights, international law, and international criminal law matters

Bitcoin International Fraudster to be released on bail

The British businessman Renwick Haddow represented by Yasin Patel has been informed that his bail application has been successful. With worldwide freezing orders against him and accused and wanted for fraud internationally including duping investors in a $37 million bitcoin scam, his release is a significant case for al those in non-violent offences and highlights that prisons and detention centres have a duty to protect those in their care and in custody. Currently incarcerated at a New York City Detention Centre, a federal Judge said he will be released on bail citing the danger the British citizen faces from coronavirus.

Michael Mather-Lees QC and Colin Witcher Instructed to Defend in Unusual and Sensitive Murder Trial

Michael Mather-Lees QC and Colin Witcher, both of Chambers’ Crime and Regulatory Group, are instructed to defend in a highly unusual murder trial where the victim died more than four years after being assaulted. 

The case raises complex issues of law and medical evidence. The case shall be heard before a High Court Judge in September 2020. Counsel are instructed by Imran Ali of Tuckers Solicitors

Pupillage Applications and COVID-19

Church Court Chambers has currently suspended its Pupillage Application Process due to COVID-19.

All recently submitted applications remain valid and candidates will be notified shortly as to whether or not they have been shortlisted for a first round interview.

Those interviews will be arranged when safe to do so for our Members and applicants.

We thank all applicants for their understanding.

Chambers’ Michael Polak Sets Up “Fuel Our Frontline” to Feed NHS Staff During Coronavirus Crisis

In response to the coronavirus crisis and the numerous reports of frontline NHS staff being unable to find groceries after long and gruelling shifts Michael Polak established Fuel Our Frontline. Fuel Our Frontline (www.fuelourfrontline.co.uk) buys groceries from restaurant wholesalers and delivers them to hospitals where they are distributed to frontline staff. This means that they can return home after their shift with food for themselves and their families.

The Fuel Our Frontline team assembled by Michael is made up of people of a range of backgrounds including NHS staff. This team, which is working entirely voluntarily,  has come together to address this problem and their work an immediate impact in supporting those on the frontline fighting the virus. 

For further information please see the website www.fuelourfrontline.co.uk; email contact@justiceabroad.co.uk

https:/twitter.com/fuelfrontline; Instagram.com/fuelourfrontline

If you would like to donate to this initiative please do so here 


Yasin Patel Represents Young Footballers Acquitted of Charges

Yasin Patel assisted in the acquittal of young starlet footballers and their club charged with various offences by the FA.  Involving actions during the football match, the young players were accused of various allegations including those of physical harm and hurt to persons and their families.

The players were acquitted of all charges.  Yasin represents many sports professionals, clubs, administrators and governing bodies involving regulatory matters and investigations both nationally and internationally. 

Church Courts Plans Amidst COVID-19 Outbreak

With the current outbreak of COVID-19, Church Court Chambers has taken precautions and adopted a new plan to help run the business while ensuring the safety of its employees.

We will be operating 3 staff within chambers and 3 staff working remotely. This operation has been conducted so far for 3 weeks with success.

Church Court Chambers will be running at full capacity and this will have no effect on chambers capabilities.

This new procedure will be under constant review and will change relevant to the guidance of the Government and the Bar Council

Benjamin Aina QC and Maria Karaiskos Successfully Prosecute MH and JP at Bristol Crown Court for Fraud.

MH was a senior manager at Great Western Railway and JP was his personal assistant. Over a seven-year period, they were both involved in fraudulently claiming expenses on alcohol from their employer, GWR, by dishonestly concealing the true nature of these expenses.

MH in particular, was responsible for claiming over £10,000 in expenses, including hotel accommodation for him and his wife (a non-employee of GWR), personal items such as dinner suits, social events at Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club, and also a fraudulently awarded payroll amount to another member of staff.

The case arose from a lengthy investigation which started in 2017 following internal complaints at GWR about the conduct of some of the staff.

Please see below for further news articles.

British Transport Police


Devon Live

Swindon Advertiser

Yasin Patel Represents Athlete at CAS in Anti-Doping Case

Yasin Patel is appearing before the top International Sports Court, the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.  Representing a professional sportsman appealing their ban after an alleged anti-doping rule violation, Yasin will appeal to a distinguished Tribunal to try and get the ban overturned.  

The case has drawn international attention and publicity and is being heard in open proceedings after both sided agreed to do so.  Numerous experts from around the world will be giving evidence during the proceedings. 

News Observer

Washington Post

Young Man Not Guilty of Conspiracy to Murder

A young man charged and tried with Conspiracy to Murder, who represented by Michael Mather-Lees QC and Yasin Patel, was found Not Guilty of the charge and a potential life sentence in prison.

In a case that the Prosecution alleged was an organised crime and with meticulous planning and detailed executing of the plan, the defendant faced a trial that included cell-site, forensic, weaponry and CCTV evidence that resulted in him being the number one defendant.  

A sentence just over 11 years was imposed upon the defendant after he pleaded to a lesser charge.

Michael Mather-Lees QC and Maria Karaiskos successfully Prosecute DC at Birmingham Crown Court for Murder

Michael Mather-Lees QC and Maria Karaiskos successfully prosecute DC at Birmingham Crown Court of Murder before the Recorder of Birmingham. This was a complex case involving an in-depth analysis, understanding and presentation of very technical medical issues. DC stabbed her husband with a 7-inch kitchen knife during a domestic argument when both parties were intoxicated. The knife penetrated the left shoulder area of the deceased and punctured the lung.

One of the key issues at trial was causation of death: was there medical negligence by the hospital; did the deceased aspirate the contents of his stomach prior to being stabbed; did the defendant intend to cause serious injury to her husband when she stabbed him. The prosecution carefully examined over 6 medical experts, including leading cardiothoracic surgeons from London, and proved that there was no medical negligence in the treatment and care of the deceased; that the aspiration of the deceased’s gastric contents was caused by the stab wound and it was this stab wound which led to his fatal decline.

Reported in the national press.


Birmingham Live

ITV News

Church Court Chambers are Delighted to Announce that we are Recruiting Two Pupils

Church Court Chambers are Delighted to Announce that we are Recruiting Two Pupils. Those pupillages shall start at the earliest date convenient to the successful applicant and Chambers.

Application is by way of an application form, available from this link which must be received by Chambers by 11.59pm on 14th February 2020. Please email the completed form to: j.sharpling@churchcourtchambers.co.uk

New Authority: Court of Appeal Upholds Competition and Markets Authority Decision in Respect to Online Sales Restrictions

In 2017 the Competition & Markets Authority (“CMA”) found that Ping, a manufacturer of golf clubs, had infringed the prohibition in Chapter I of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In that regard, Ping had entered into agreements with two UK based retailers containing clauses prohibiting those retailers from selling Ping golf clubs online.  Upon considering the same, the CMA found that Ping had been operating an online sales ban, which was not objectively justified. The CMA imposed a financial penalty of £1.45 million on Ping and directed that it brings the online sales ban to an end, and must not impose the same or equivalent terms on other retailers. Ping duly appealed to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”). In a judgment dated 7 September 2018 ([2018] CAT 13) the CAT upheld the finding that the internet sale policy adopted by Ping amounted to a restriction of competition. The CAT however reduced the penalty imposed to £1.25 million. It should be noted that the CMA had accepted that Ping was pursuing a genuine commercial aim of promoting in-store custom fitting in respect to golf clubs, but found that it could have achieved this through less restrictive means.

On the 21st January 2020, the Court of Appeal handed down Judgement in an appeal from the CAT by Ping (available here: https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2020/13.html). The Court rejected Ping’s appeal, and provided a helpful analysis of the European Jurisprudence in this area, assessing competing arguments as to the implications and interpretation of previous case law. The case is being described as a “landmark case” which sends an important signal that attempts by manufacturers to impose absolute bans on selling their products online are unlawful. The maintenance of a prestigious image may, in some situations, justify the restriction of competition arising from the use of a selective distribution system, in particular in relation to luxury goods. Accordingly,  companies may be able to prevent those goods from being sold online by distributors. However, crucially, one must examine the economic and legal context of the operation of any such intended  restriction, before deciding whether it is an object restriction or not and thus permitted. 

As the Chancellor of the High Court observed at para 131 of the Judgement “There are many ways in which Ping’s objective can be substantially fulfilled without imposing a blanket ban on internet sales”. Thus, it appears that the ultimate question a company must ask itself is: “is there another way, other than a prohibition clause, in which we can achieve our objective”. That question should be asked and answered as a matter of urgency, or any restrictive commercial practice, even if arguably well intended, could lead to significant fines and lengthy litigation.

Lewis Power QC & Colin Witcher: Business Crime and Regulatory Group, Church Court Chambers. 

(this case comment does not constitute legal advice).

Pamela Brain Secures an Acquittal in a Child Sexual Exploitation Case.

Pamela Brain secured the only acquittal by the jury in a Child Sexual Exploitation Case in Oxford. The case involved 4 defendants and multiple complainants. It was a complex case involving the expert and sensitive cross examination of complainants and other witnesses. Some of whom were particularly vulnerable witnesses with long standing problems.

There were a variety of challenging legal issues particularly in relation to Bad Character evidence. The trial lasted 3 months and Pamela Brain’s defendant was the only one to be acquitted by the jury.  

Pamela Brain was instructed by Irfan Arif of Ainsley Harris Solicitors.

Kerim Fuad QC and Colin Witcher Secure Another Old Bailey Murder Acquittal

Kerim Fuad QC, Head of Chambers, leading Colin Witcher of Chambers Crime and Regulatory Group, today secured the unanimous acquittal of a young man alleged to have been involved in a “brutal and savage” murder. The trial before HHJ Leonard QC at the Central Criminal Court began on the 2nd December 2019 and lasted four weeks. It was alleged that the victim was stabbed repeatedly to death with a large kitchen knife in front of horrified eye-witnesses in retaliation for being on the “territory” of the three defendants having threatened two of them with a knife. Counsel were instructed on behalf of the first defendant. 

It was the defence case that the defendant together with a friend were being robbed by the victim, in an unprovoked incident, when another male emerged from nearby bushes and murdered the victim. It was advanced that there were, in effect, two separate incidents and thus the absence of a joint enterprise. Eye witnesses were skilfully cross-examined to establish a punctuation in time between the initial start of the incident, namely an altercation between the victim and the defendant said to be a robbery, and the end of the incident, when the stabber emerged from a hiding position and brutally attacked the victim.

This was a highly emotive case involving four young males and brought under the spotlight the issue of joint enterprise post Jogee, and the sheer brutality and prevalence of knife crime. 

The stabber was duly convicted of Murder, and shall be sentenced at a later date. The defendant and his friend were acquitted, however in such sad cases there are never any winners. Counsel were instructed by Mahomed Ismail, Director of MFI Law, London. 

This case was another acquittal for Mr Fuad QC marking number eleven of the most recent and sensitive murder cases in which Mr Fuad QC has successfully defended. It is the third consecutive acquittal for Mr Fuad and Mr Witcher when defending together in such cases. 

Please click here for further reading.

Yasin Patel is one of the Main Speakers at International Sports Conference in New Zealand

Yasin Patel will be addressing an International Audience in Hamilton, New Zealand at an International Sports Law Conference.  Speaking on the subject of Disputes and Discipline: advising on contractual disputes with players, sponsors, governing bodies and players representatives, Yasin will speak about the importance of player and club contracts and the effect of contractual disputes and litigation.  

Attended by International sportsmen, lawyers, Judges, administrators, professionals, cricket test internationals and many others, the Conference will look at the many pressing issues in the World of Sports in the forthcoming 12 months. 

Lewis Power QC receives Homecoming Ambassador Medal

Lewis Power QC has been described by the Belfast International Homecoming Committee as “a World renowned barrister”. He was delighted to receive a Belfast Ambassador Award from Prof Raffi Folli.

Mr Power addressed the audience in a heartfelt, emotive speech which was well received at the award ceremony. Mr Power was one of the 3 keynote speakers alongside the newly appointed MP John Finucane Mayor of Belfast and the Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Church Court Christmas Opening Times

Please see the following schedule regarding the opening times for Church Court Chambers through the month of December and January.

December 23rd: Normal working day.

December 24th: 9am to 1pm.

December 25th: Closed.

December 26th: Closed.

December 27th: Open 9am to 1pm.

December 30th: Open 9am to 1pm.

December 31st: Open 9am to 1pm.

January 1st: Closed.

January 2nd: Normal working day.

Church Court’s Michael Polak Elected as President of Middle Temple Young Barristers’ Association

On the 4th December 2019, Church Court Chambers’ Michael Polak was elected as President of the Middle Temple Young Barristers’ Association (MTYBA) after serving in a number of roles within the organisation. MTYBA represents barristers of Middle Temple up until 7 years post qualification and arranges professional and educational development events as well as opportunities for members to socialise with their peers and to access opportunities to build relationships with solicitors groups and international groups of lawyers.

Michael Polak stated ‘ I look forward to leading MTYBA in 2020 and building upon the great initiatives put in place by the previous committees. I aim to build lasting relationships with other legal representative groups in the United Kingdom and abroad and to run events which enrich the professional lives of our members, bringing them into contact with inspirational people and helping them to develop important skills to enhance their careers. MTYBA gratefully enjoys the strong support of Middle Temple which has a firm belief in the support and development of young barristers which attracts student members to join the Inn.  I invite our members, and members of groups with whom we might collaborate, to get in touch so that we can do everything possible to make the lives of young barristers at Middle Temple as fruitful as possible.’

Glenn Harris Successfully Defends a Woman Charged with Importing over £20 million Worth of Class A Drugs.

Glenn Harris represented a woman, a foreign national, who was charged with importing approximately £21 million of high purity cocaine and methyl-amphetamine. She was arrested following a National Crime Agency operation.

The defendant denied knowing that the contents of an industrial machine she imported contained the drugs. After a 3 week trial, a jury at Kingston Crown Court acquitted the defendant within 2 hours.

A ‘Law Check’ of Conservative Party HQ’s Fake Twitter ‘Fact Check’

For even the most dyed in the wool Conservative voter, Conservative Central Headquarters’ decision to rename their twitter account as factcheckUK during Monday night’s leadership debates would have appeared unedifying.

Michael Polak  and Colin Witcher explore, in their article, the impact of CCH’s decision to rename their twitter account to factcheckUK and the potential this has to mislead the public and how this can be deemed to go beyond party lines.

Please click the following link to view the article: A ‘Law Check’ of Conservative Party HQ’s Fake Twitter ‘Fact Check’

Changes in Practice Statement now Authorises Tribunal Caseworkers First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) to Carry out Functions of a Judicial Nature

A note from Islam Khan; new changes in the “Practice Statement” now give all tribunal caseworkers, working in tribunal cases, a larger proportion of administrative powers rather than the judges.

To read the full Practice Statement from The Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Ryder, please follow the link below

Practice Statement IAC

Colin Witcher Enjoys Back-to-Back Court of Appeal Success.

Colin Witcher, instructed by Lawtons Solictors, appeared successfully before the Court of Appeal in respect to an appeal against sentence. The defendant, a former accounts’ manager had been sentenced for theft following a late change of plea, having previously faced a fraud trial. Colin succesfully argued that the sentence imposed was manifestly excessive; the Court reduced the starting point adopted by the sentencing judge by 12 months. Colin was commended for the quality of his written work and his brevity in oral submissions before the Court.

That appeal followed a successful unrelated appeal against conviction. Colin was instructed on behalf of the Appellant in a case where it was discovered, by fresh evidence, that the drugs within his possession were a legal mix of caffeine and paracetamol, and not heroin as thought by the Appellant who was by his own admission a runner. The case highlights the potential dangers of relying upon field testing by the police when advising clients. To that end, it transpires that if legal drugs have been wrapped in clingfilm which has previously been into contact with an illegal substance, a false positive reading may result at the field test stage irrespective of the contents of the wrap.

The Court of Appeal were minded in all the circumstances to substitute the offence of possession with intent to supply for an attempted act of supply. Thereafter the Court were persuaded by submissions described as “admirably concise” and “made with force” to revisit the sentence. The Court were minded to go further than to simply make a deduction to reflect an attempt, but to revisit the corrrect sentence for the appellant based on role in the light of the fresh evidence. Colin was instructed by Bennett and Co, Solicitors.

Colin Witcher is a member of Chambers’ Criminal Appeal Group.

Kerim Fuad QC Instructed in yet Another High Profile Case Dubbed the “Midsomer Murder”

Kerim Fuad QC, head of Church Court chambers, leads Paul Webb of chambers in the representation of a man who is alleged to have broken into a Waterside house in Bosham, West Sussex late at night in December 2013 with a claw hammer. He is alleged to have used the hammer to attack and kill a grandmother who was house sitting. The injuries in particular to her head are described as “extreme and akin to those seen in a road traffic accident.”

He then fled to Dej, Romania from where he was extradited under a European Arrest Warrant 6 years later. 

The case led to the most extensive police investigation in Sussex history. 9,000 people were interviewed and over 3,000 DNA samples were taken in a police hunt for her killer.

The evidence is he confessed  to his ex partner and his dna was found on the bloodied hammer discarded at the scene.

They are instructed by Sef Mani of Bark and Co Solicitors.

Please see below for related news articles.



Daily Mail

Mike Fullerton Recovers Substantial Damages for the Claimants in an Action of Nuisance

Mike Fullerton recovered substantial damages for the Claimants in an action of Nuisance including a 30% Diminution in Value of Claimants’ property at the Brighton County Court. The claim also recovered significant additional damages for Cost of Moving to an Equivalent Value Property, Personal Injury, Trespass and Aggravated Damages. The Part 36 Offer was successful in securing Indemnity Costs including an Additional Amount under Part 36.17(4)(d).

Applications by the Defendant for permission to appeal both the Assessment of Damages and Award of Indemnity Costs were dismissed by the High Court as being wholly without merit. The case is Faull v Bradley. See article “Neighbour from Hell” for further details of claim and awards.

Islam Khan Successfully Resists an Arguable and Well Prepared Strike Out Claim and Deposit Order

Islam Khan acted pro bono for a vulnerable employee in relation to a constructive dismissal claim against a large elderly care organisation in East London. The hearing was listed at the East London Employment Tribunal on 4.11.19. Other issues are whistle blowing and religious harassment.

The issue was whether the claimant had a real prospect of arguing effective resignation leading to constructive dismissal on the date she claimed, having had a number of inconsistencies, of her resignation date. 

Liam Loughlin Secures Acquittal In Relation to the Supply of 10 Kilos of Cocaine

Liam represented H at trial at Basildon Crown Court in relation to the possession with intent to supply of import quality cocaine with a street value of circa £1 million.

Liam’s client had been under observation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and was alleged to be part of an Organised Criminal Network (OCN) involved in the supply of large quantities of Class A drugs.

Mr H was observed handing over 5 kilos of cocaine by undercover officers from the NCA.  Upon arrest a further kilo of cocaine was found under the seat of H’s car in addition to another five kilos found at the defendant’s address along with cash and imitation firearms.

Liam successfully ran duress at trial, satisfying the evidential burden (unusually placed upon the defence in such cases) and persuaded the jury that the defendant had most likely been the victim of threats of unlawful violence and coercion.

H was acquitted.  His co-defendant, who had been receiving five kilos of cocaine from H at the time of arrest, was convicted by the unanimous verdict of the jury and received seven years imprisonment.

Liam was instructed by Shofna Begum of Stewart Begum Solicitors.  

Yasin Patel gets Acquittals in Serious Cases Including Grenfell Tower like Arson

Continuing the chambers trend of representing vulnerable clients facing the gravest and most serious charges, Yasin Patel obtained acquittals for clients facing charges in arson and Section 18 cases.

In the first case, Yasin’s client was accused of attempting arson in a block of flats which could have led to Grenfell Tower like results.  Due to the Fire brigade’s quick response, a tragedy was avoided.  Yasin’s client was acquitted of all charges.

In the second case, a client who was charged with others on serious violence matters walked away from court whilst his co-defendants were sentenced to imprisonment. 

Chambers are Delighted to Welcome Amy Hazlewood as a Tenant.

Church Court Chambers is delighted to announce that Amy Hazlewood has been offered tenancy with immediate effect.

She enjoyed a successful and busy pupillage with chambers culminating in her tenancy.

Kerim Fuad QC Head of Chambers says:

“Amy mixes hard work, passion for the law with with a down to earth, very approachable and friendly manner. She will have a fine career at the Bar.”

Kerim Fuad QC Returns After a Successful Week in Cyprus With Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou (Founder of EasyJet).

Kerim Fuad QC is proud to be advising Sir Stelios and his wonderful Philanthropic Foundation, on this occasion in Nicosia, Cyprus.

He was engaged in a series of meetings and think tanks with both communities in a bid to further the fantastic work of the Foundation. He enjoyed again meeting with and being impressed with the work of Elizabeth Spehar, Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus.

The aim is to maintain and inspire more bi-communal relationships and events culminating in lasting peace and prosperity for all Cypriots. Mr Fuad QC spoke passionately at the press conference about the need to “not allow politics to suffocate the island” and that its citizens have so very much in common that already unite them, not least; their ability to make friends and communicate naturally, their love of food, family life, wellbeing, the sun, and the desire for a settlement. (To say nothing of their shared poor driving.)

The reception at the Foundation was incredibly well attended which shows the depth of the two communities’ enthusiasm.

He is very proud to work so closely with Marios Eliades (of Eliades and Partners) and Peter Millett, former British High Commissioner of Cyprus. The work  

Mr Fuad QC was touched, but not surprised at all, by the incredibly warm welcome of all the Cypriot people.

Pamela Brain Secures an Acquittal of Consultant accused of NHS Fraud

Pamela Brain secured the acquittal of a consultant accused of defrauding the NHS of approximately £133,000 over a 2-year period following a 23 day trial. She was alleged to have been working in private practice during times she should have been working in the NHS and not paying the time back to the NHS. It was a lengthy and complex trial involving the cross examination of numerous expert witnesses in a number of different field. There was in particular extensive and very detailed cross examination in respect of accounting evidence.

Pamela Brain was instructed by Glen Henry of Cartwright King Solicitors, London.

First Outing For the Church Court Chargers

The Church Court Chargers had their first outing last night on a wonderful 10k charity run along the Thames with over a thousand other people for Teach First.

Dave Selsdon and his son come in joint first (from our team) crossing the line together on a spectacular time of 49.35 minutes.

Tom Horgan came in 2nd  with a brilliant 50.42 minutes.

Chris Johnston finished strong coming in 3rd with 52.05 minutes.

Our Pupils Amy and Caroline ran the 5k in very respectable 37 minutes.

Daniel Bartlett brought up the rear in 1 hour 1 minute.

Daniel Bartlett says “It was a really amazing thing to do, great atmosphere, brilliant route followed by, for those of us who could hang around, a couple of pints and a pizza.”

We are going to look for other similar events and would be good to get more people out for it hopefully for a charity of chambers choice.

Yasin Patel Secures Acquittal for Preachers Son over Serious Criminal Charges

A young man, represented by Yasin Patel was acquitted of serious charges of a Conspiracy to inflict Grievous Bodily Harm following a lengthy trial.

Dating back to an incident in 2015, the son of a leading preacher saw the jury returning a unanimous verdict of Not Guilty. Jurors are still considering the verdicts for other co-defendants.

The background to the matter included allegations of drug-dealing, gang violence, rival gangs and stabbings in the East End of London.

If you wish to instruct Yasin Patel please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Yasin Patel Represents Football Club In FA Appeal

Yasin Patel has been instructed by a Football Club to represent them in their Appeal at the FA. The high profile club has been in a dispute with the League and as a result, the matter has now been lodged with the FA for a Hearing due at Wembley Stadium soon. If unsuccessful, the consequences upon the Club could be very far-reaching.

If you wish to instruct Yasin Patel please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Chris Johnston Secures Acquittal of Brighton Man Accused of Arson with Intent to Endanger Life

Chris Johnston secures acquittal of Brighton man accused of arson with intent to endanger life, arson reckless as to whether life was endangered and arson.

Following a suspicious fire in a tool hire shop beneath residential premises, the Fire Service quickly established that the lighting of a box of equipment together with a suspected accelerant was deliberate and that the accused was the only person in the premises at the time who could have done it. Residents above the premises alerted the accused to the smoke and alarm going off and found him acting suspiciously within the locked shop.

In the face of seemingly incontrovertible scientific and phone evidence that showed his sole participation in setting the fire, the defence was forced to submit that accidental cause could not be ruled out. Following a second trial, when a jury was discharged, the accused was cleared within one hour of jury deliberations. Had he been convicted he would have faced a substantial term of imprisonment.

If you wish to instruct Chris Johnston please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Michael Polak Presents at Washington Conference on Confronting Atrocities in China: The Global Response to the Uyghur Crisis

Church Court Chambers’ Michael Polak was chosen to speak at this high-level conference about the treatment of the Uyghur minority within China which was jointly organised by the World Uyghur Congress, the Uyghur Human Rights Project, the Uyghur American Association, and George Washington University’s Central Asia Program and ran over 6 and 7 June 2019 at the US Capitol Building and George Washington University.

Michael was chosen to speak on a panel on International Legal & Political Perspectives because of his knowledge of international law and his keen interest in helping oppressed people around the world. The conference brought together experts from the political, media, academic, and legal spheres along with Uyghur people who gave evidence about the international crimes committed against them by the Chinese authorities.

If you wish to instruct Michael Polak please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


The Prosecution of Mr Boris Johnson MP by Private Prosecutor Marcus Ball

In the light of media and public enquiries to Chambers, we provide below a copy of the press release from Bankside Commercial Solicitors issued yesterday. There will be no further comments from Counsel or Chambers at this time.

Press Release / Update

In the matter of the Prosecution of Mr Boris Johnson MP by Private Prosecutor Marcus Ball

We issue this press release on behalf of our client, Marcus Ball, in response to media enquiries.

Today, in the above matter, in respect of which Bankside Commercial Solicitors and barristers Lewis Power QC, Colin Witcher and Anthony Eskander of Church Court Chambers are instructed by Marcus Ball, District Judge Coleman delivered judgment in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

District Judge Coleman decided that, having considered all the relevant factors, she was satisfied that this is a proper case in which to issue a summons against Mr Johnson for three counts of misconduct in public office.

The summons should, subject to the Court’s availability, be issued within the next few days, after which it will be served on Mr Johnson.

The charges against Mr Johnson are indictable only, which means that any trial will be in a Crown Court. The summons will specify a date when Mr Johnson must appear before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court. At that first appearance, the case will be sent to the Crown Court.

As stated by District Judge Coleman in her ruling today, the allegations which Mr Johnson faces are unproven accusations. She has not made any findings of fact.

It is important to make clear that at the public hearing on 23 May, Mr Johnson, through his counsel, denied any wrongdoing.

It would, in our view, be improper, leaving aside the need to ensure a fair trial, to comment on the substance of the allegations made against Mr Johnson, or on the evidence in support of them.

Should there be any further questions about this prosecution, please direct them to Bankside Commercial by email to: g.bright@banksidecommercial or f.fenegan@banksidecommercial.com or l.dunsmore@banksidecommercial.com.

If you wish to instruct Lewis Power QC, Colin Witcher or Anthony Eskander please contact the Clerks Room. Their full profiles may be viewed through the following links: Lewis Power QCColin Witcher, Anthony Eskander


Lesley Manley Finds Success in Shrewsbury

Lesley Manley successfully concluded another high profile human trafficking case which concerned 3 defendants. Lesley’s client was acquitted of human trafficking and sexual assault at the conclusion of the trial.

The case was the subject of intense media interest.


Shropshire Star

Lesley was Instructed by Mohammed Afzal Mahfooz of U.K. Law Solicitors

If you wish to instruct Lesley Manley please contact the Clerks Room, her full profile may be viewed here.


Lewis Power QC and Kevin Molloy from Church Court Chambers Secure Acquittal in Murder Trial

In a 26 day long murder trial at Northampton Crown Court, which involved detailed cross-examination of eye witnesses and expert witnesses for the Crown as well as co-defendants “trying to save themselves”.  Lewis Power QC and Kevin Molloy dismantled the Crowns murder allegation, which many had assumed had become stronger after the co-defendants gave their evidence.

Uniquely, it was an all-female jury who considered the evidence and unanimously acquitted their client of murder.

Lewis Power QC and Kevin Molloy were instructed by Rajesh Bhamm of Gordon Shine & Co in London.

If you wish to instruct Lewis Power QC or Kevin Molloy please contact the Clerks Room, their full profiles may be viewed through the following links: Lewis Power QC, Kevin Molloy



Yasin Patel Instructed to Represent International Fraudster in High Profile Case in USA

Yasin Patel has been instructed to represent “alleged Bitcoin Ponzi” Fraudster, Renwick Haddow in proceedings that have been brought by Prosecutors in the United States.

Having been extradited from Morocco to New York, where he has been on remand for several months, Mr. Haddow faces allegations totalling millions of pounds and for which proceedings have been brought in the criminal and civil courts.

Here are a list of articles on the matter:

Finance Feeds

The National

Coin Telegraph

If you wish to instruct Yasin Patel please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Maria Karaiskos Concludes a Four Week Trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court involving the YouTube Drill Artist Young Dizz.

Five members of a Newham gang who kidnapped and tortured a 16-year-old boy were sentenced to over 23 years’ imprisonment at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Maria represented a 14 year old defendant who was unanimously acquitted of being in possession of three firearms after trial. He was convicted of conspiracy to blackmail together with four other defendants. He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to falsely imprison. He was sentenced to a total sentence of 27 months detention in a Young Offenders Institution.

The trial and sentence drew on Maria’s expert knowledge of dealing with children and young offenders in the criminal justice system. For example, the rules and procedures on reporting restrictions, special measures, ‘gang’ bad character, definition of ‘persistent young offender,’ eligibility for a detention and training order and youth rehabilitation order, effect of time served on a s.91 PCC(s)A 2000 grave crimes sentence, the difference between remand to the care of the local authority and remand to youth detention accommodation.

Maria was instructed by Harriet Benson of Henscott Solicitors in Walthamstow

If you wish to instruct  Maria Karaiskos please contact the Clerks Room, her full profile may be viewed here.

Michael Polak Represents Bar of England and Wales at European Young Bar Conference in Chisinau Moldova

Church Court Chambers Michael Polak travelled to Chisinau in Moldova to represent the Bar of England and Wales for the European Young Bar Association (EYBA) conference.

The conference involved a number of sessions with experts on emerging areas of law as well as discussions about the initiatives of the EYBA and further co-operation between the young Bar associations of Europe.

If you wish to instruct Michael Polak please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Andrew Taylor Appeared on BBC Radio London this Morning being Interviewed by Vanessa Feltz

Andrew Taylor of chambers appeared on BBC Radio London at 7:30am today being interviewed by Vanessa Feltz.

He was discussing the plans that the Home Secretary, Sajid Javed, has to reform the way convictions and cautions that people have to disclose under the Disclosure and Barring Service. (DBS) The debate follows a ruling by Lord Sumption in the Supreme Court, which said that a balance has to be achiever between protecting the public and the rehabilitation of offenders.

If you missed the show and wish to listen to the discussion, please click here, the time markings are; 38:18 – 45:53

If you wish to instruct Andrew Taylor please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Colin Witcher Secures Old Bailey Acquittal in Unusual Perverting the Course of Justice Trial.

Colin Witcher secures Old Bailey acquittal in unusual perverting the course of justice trial.

Colin Witcher of Chambers’ Crime and Regulatory Group represented the defendant before the Central Criminal Court where he faced trial, with five others, for the roles they allegedly played in the attempted murder of a young male and the steps taken thereafter to hide evidence from the police. It was alleged that the first three defendants stabbed the victim repeatedly including to the heart, the fourth was said to have orchestrated the intended murder, whilst the fifth and sixth defendant allegedly helped hide incriminating evidence.

Colin represented the sixth defendant who faced a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. It was alleged that Colin’s defendant played a role in a “brazen and audacious” conspiracy which involved an unknown person removing items from a car seized by the police, whilst it was being transported to a police compound. To that end, it was alleged that the defendant drove his vehicle in broad daylight behind a marked police vehicle which was following the seized car, secured on a tow truck. Once the police car turned, it was alleged that the defendant drove immediately behind the tow truck to allow his passenger to access the seized car’s boot and remove incriminating evidence.

The defendant denied being party to any conspiracy in order to assist the fifth defendant who owned the seized vehicle and who had been originally arrested for attempted murder.

Colin Witcher was assisted throughout the trial, which lasted 4 weeks, by Chambers’ Pupil Caroline Skeet.

Colin Witcher was instructed by Imran Ali of Kaim Todner Solicitors.

If you wish to instruct Colin Witcher please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Chambers are Delighted to Welcome Mazharul Mustafa

Church Court Chambers’ field of expertise grows with the arrival of Mazharul Mustafa.

Mazharul specialises in the fields of immigration, nationality and asylum law. His practice encompasses the full spectrum of appeal and judicial review work. He has a particular interest in right of abode, citizenship, family and private life cases.

Prior to joining chambers in, Mazharul was as a solicitor-advocate specialising in immigration, nationality and asylum law with an extensive advocacy and drafting practice. Mazharul has quickly gained experience in the above practice areas through his regular appearances before the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal.

If you wish to instruct Mazharul Mustafa please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Andrew Taylor Appeared on the Breakfast Show this Morning being Interviewed by Petrie Hosken

Andrew Taylor of chambers appeared on the Breakfast Show today at 6am being interviewed by Petrie Hosken on BBC Radio London.

He was discussing the first time sentencing guidelines that will be introduced to deal with Defendants that suffer from mental illness. The time of mental illnesses that the guidelines will consider will range from those with learning difficulties, to those with profound mental illness.

If you missed the show and wish to listen to the discussion, please click here, the time markings are; 2:17:00 – 2:28:18

If you wish to instruct Andrew Taylor please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Lesley Manley at the Advocacy Training Symposium

An approved advocacy trainer at Middle Temple for over 10 years, Lesley is also a facilitator of vulnerable witness training and provide training sessions to the Bar.

The Advocacy Training Symposium hosted by the Inns of Court Advocacy College was held at Lincoln’s Inn on Saturday 6 April 2019. The symposium focused on development and challenges in the provision of advocacy training both nationally and internationally. #ATS19

If you wish to instruct Lesley Manley please contact the Clerks Room, her full profile may be viewed here.


Amjad Malik QC and Glenn Harris Secure an Acquittal of a Young Man Charged with Murder

Amjad Malik QC and Glenn Harris have recently secured the acquittal of a young man charged with murder in Nottingham Crown Court.

They successfully argued that the young man, who accepted stabbing a man, lacked the intent to kill.

If you wish to instruct Amjad Malik QC or Glenn Harris please contact the Clerks Room, their full profiles may be viewed through the following links: Amjad Malik QCGlenn Harris


Andrew Taylor is Appearing on the Jeremy Vine Show Today at 12 on BBC Radio 2

Andrew Taylor of chambers is appearing on the Jeremy Vine Show today at 12 on BBC Radio 2.

He is discussing the comments made by My Justice Hayden in the Court of Protection this week when he said that it was a fundamental right for a man to have sex with his wife, as well as the fundamental right of the State to monitor it, in the context of a woman who has been married for 20 years to her husband, and where her deteriorating health has meant that it is thought that she no longer has capacity to consent.

The judge has attracted criticism for his choice of words, with some accusing him of legitimising rape.

If you missed the show and wish to listen to the debate, please click here, the time markings are; 7:35 – 19:20

If you wish to instruct Andrew Taylor please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Kerim Fuad QC asked by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, to Address Distinguished Gathering in South Kensington, London on 25th March 2019.

Kerim Fuad QC, Head of Church Court Chambers, delivered a short talk on the continuing success of the Cypriot Lawyers’ Society, which he Co-Chairs and the growing positive development of bi communal legal relations.This follows his recent hugely well received trip to Cyprus teaching lawyers from both communities, supported by the British High Commission.

He spoke of the importance of the Rule of Law, the importance of integrity of lawyers and the need to ensure that the man/woman on the street has confidence in the justice system.
Sir Stelios founder of easyJet, easyGroup & the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and Peter Droussiotis, Chairman of the Board of the UK-Cyprus Enterprise Council, invited Kerim back to speak at a canapés & drinks reception at the Foundation’s new headquarters in London, to celebrate 11 years of the Stelios Cyprus Bi-Communal Awards.

Many business people from both the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot expatriate communities in the UK attended this exciting event.

If you wish to instruct Kerim Fuad QC please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Chambers are Delighted to Welcome Patrick Upward QC

Chambers are delighted to announce that our Silk’s Group has been joined by Patrick Upward QC, formally of 9 Bedford Row. Mr Upward QC is a highly experienced practitioner who after years prosecuting high-profile cases involving terrorism and serious fraud, now specialises in defending homicide matters, where he combines a meticulous approach with an ability to put defendants at their ease.

Kerim Fuad QC, Head of Chambers observes: “Patrick is a highly regarded specialist at the Criminal Bar. I am delighted that he has chosen to join Church Court Chambers; he brings with him a wealth of experience and enthusiasm”.

If you wish to instruct Patrick Upward QC please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Michael Polak on Al Jazeera’s Head to Head to Demand Release of Disappeared Barrister

Michael Polak asked a question of the Bangladeshi Foreign Affairs Advisor Mr Gowher Rizvi on Al Jazeera’s Head to Head programme when he was being interview by Mehdi Hassan on whether Bangladesh is a one-party state. Michael’s question was about the barrister Ahmad Bin Quasem who was disappeared by the Bangladesh authorities in August 2016 and has been held incommunicado since then.

Mr Bin Quasem’s disappearance follows a pattern of similar disappearances in Bangladesh which have been reported by both Bangladeshi and international human rights organisations and United Nations’ Human Rights bodies with estimates of hundreds missing under the current regime.

The full programme is available here

Lewis Power QC and Colin Witcher Kick Off Chambers’ Financial Crime Lecture Series

On the 28th February 2019, Lewis Power QC and Colin Witcher of Chambers’ Business Crime and Regulatory Group, presented the first of Chambers’ Financial Crime lectures, which was well received by the audience. The lecture was hosted by Tuckers’ Solicitors at their Central London offices where a number of solicitors firms also joined.

The lecture covered a variety of topics from compounding to confiscation, and the correct approach to dishonesty in respect to cases concerning LIBOR and/or insider-trading. Lewis Power QC and Colin Witcher have vast experience in financial crime; they have advised recently in a multi-million pound claim arising from alleged misconduct by a bank and are currently instructed to defend in a bribery and corruption case arising out of an undercover operation by a national newspaper.

Both Counsel have experience in advising clients based in the Middle East.

If you would like Chambers to present a lecture or training seminar, please do not hesitate to contact Chambers’ Practice Director Rod McGurk



Kerim Fuad QC International Law Visit and Training in Nicosia, Cyprus March 2019

Kerim Fuad QC, Head of Church Court Chambers, has again been invited to Nicosia, Cyprus by the British High Commission to train Cypriot lawyers.

Kerim is presenting seminars on cross examination tips and techniques.

He is meeting and exchanging ideas with both Chief Justices, Narin Sefik and Myron Nicolatos and their judiciaries, and will attend an evening reception on 7th March at the Residence.

This trip follows the recent hugely successful pilot scheme to fund two Cypriot lawyers, Ms Munevver Kasif and Mr Christos Malikkides’s trip to London where they experienced a week seeing the working life at Church Court Chambers, Crown Courts, the Court of Appeal and spent a day with Mr Justice Picken in the Commercial Court.

If you wish to instruct Kerim Fuad QC please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Benjamin Aina QC and Maria Karaiskos Appear In The Court Of Appeal In A Case Involving the Appropriate Discount When Sentencing A Youth Who Turned 18 At The Time Of Trial

The appellant was convicted of manslaughter and acquitted of murder, he appealed against the sentence of 9 years detention in a YOI.

Some time after an argument about whose turn it was to play pool the appellant picked up a chair and either threw or pushed it at the deceased twice in quick succession. He then stamped on his genital area and his throat before running off. The chair leg had penetrated the deceased’s eyeball by three inches, and he died the following day. The appellant handed himself in to the police when he heard about his death and admitted hitting him in the eye with a chair. In interview he claimed self-defence, which was subsequently rejected by the jury.

He was 17 years and 7 months at the time of the offence. The sentencing judge said that but for his age the sentence would have been 12 years, reduced to 9 years to account for it.

The defence argued that the judge had not given adequate weight to the overreaching principles as set out in the guideline for children and young people. The appellant was 18 when he was sentenced but it was submitted that age, maturity and progress of the young offender should be considered even when technically an adult, with which the Court of Appeal agreed. The guideline refers to a reduction of one half to two thirds of the adult sentence, in giving a reduction of 25% it was argued the judge failed to take account of the immaturity and the impact of this on decision making and lack of insight into offending.

Held: the reduction is a rough guide and must not be applied mechanistically, the suggestion that the appellant was “entitled” to a discount of one half to two thirds is misconceived. The sentence was not wrong in principle simply because the judge did not explain why he gave a lesser discount. It is a matter for the sentencing judge as to what, if any, discount is given to a young offender in a particular case. The judge concluded that the nature of the offending and the high culpability of the appellant despite his youth only justified a reduction of 25% from the adult sentence he would have passed. That approach cannot be criticised.

The appeal was dismissed.

If you wish to instruct Benjamin Aina QC or Maria Karaiskos please contact the Clerks Room, their full profiles may be viewed through the following links: Benjamin Aina QCMaria Karaiskos


Mizan Abdulrouf Appointed as Secretary General of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities

Chambers are delighted to announce Mizan Abdulrouf was appointed as Secretary General of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities at the their 10th annual conference held at the United Nations in Vienna.

The International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) has been instrumental in the fight against corruption. It is an independent, non-political, anti-corruption organisation, composed of institutions over 140 Countries responsible for investigation, prosecution and prevention of corruption around the world.

Boris Johnson MP : Private Prosecution Press Statement

In the light of media enquiries, please find below a copy of the Press Statement issued by Marcus J Ball, in respect to the proposed private prosecution of Mr Johnson MP for the offence of misconduct in Public Office.

There will be no comment from Chambers or Prosecution Counsel.

Press Statement:

Today, at Westminster Magistrates Court, I Marcus J Ball, on behalf of the Prosecution, represented by Bankside Commercial Solicitors, and barristers Lewis Power QC, Colin Witcher and Anthony Eskander, have filed an application for a summons against the proposed defendant, Mr Boris Johnson MP. 

The prosecution allege that Mr Johnson has committed 3 counts of misconduct in public office. 

It is alleged that Mr Johnson acting as a Member of Parliament and as the Mayor of London made statements concerning the cost of European Union Membership, which were false, misleading and which abused public trust. 

A District Judge will now consider the application for a summons. If the summons is issued, it will then be served upon Mr Johnson who will be required to appear before the court and indicate a plea of guilty or not guilty to the 3 charges. 

I want to stress that it is for the Court to decide whether to issue a summons.  Mr Johnson MP remains innocent unless proven guilty and I should remind those reporting this case to report it in a way that does not interfere with the proper administration of justice

I should also stress, it is not the intention of this prosecution to stop or delay Brexit on 29th March 2019.  

The prosecution believes that the evidence demonstrates Mr Johnson MP has lied to the British public in his positions as both M.P and Mayor of London and in so doing has abused the public’s trust in these offices. 

If there are any questions for the prosecution, then please direct them to Brexit Justice Ltd or Bankside Commercial who will be happy to try to assist. 

Stephen Bailey Success In Serious County Lines Case

Success for Stephen Bailey in serious county lines case. The defendant stabbed two drug addicts in the stomach. The stabbing and injury of one of the two was described by the crown as a “gutting”.

The crown presented the case as a revenge attack, as a result of the two complainants robbing the defendant’s drugs runner of the defendant’s Class A drugs.

The case originally indicted as an attempt murder, was disposed of after a Hung – Jury [an excellent result in itself] when the crown, accepted pleas of guilty to two counts of section 20 unlawful wounding.

Stephen’s instructing solicitor (a senior partner in the firm) witnessed Stephen’s cross examination of the two complainants’ and a defendant who had turned Queen’s Evidence. He described Stephen’s cross examination as “forensically brilliant” and the outcome and sentence as “simply fantastic.”

But for this outcome, the defendant would have been sentenced under the dangerous provisions of the 2003 Act and received a sentence in excess of 15 years imprisonment with an extended license.

If you wish to instruct Stephen Bailey please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Kevin Molloy Secures “Stunning” Acquittal in Attempted Murder trial at the Old Bailey

Kevin Molloy from Church Court Chambers secured a stunning acquittal at the Old Bailey this week. The defendant was on trial for Attempted Murder, s.18 GBH and Arson. The case arose out of an allegation that the defendant had poured petrol over the complainant in a dispute over an alleged debt and then set him alight. The fire that followed gutted the flat and resulted in two people going to hospital to receive life-saving treatment for burns that covered 40% of their bodies. The complainant gave evidence from his hospital bed and named the defendant as the culprit. The defendant accepted presence at the scene but denied being responsible. The trial lasted nearly 2 weeks and the jury returned not guilty verdicts on all counts.

Kevin was instructed by Tim Edwards from Edwards Vaziraney Solicitors.

If you wish to instruct Kevin Molloy please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Chris Johnston Secures Acquittals on All Counts After Two Trials for Taxi Driver in Sexual Assaults

Chris Johnston secures acquittals on all counts after two trials for taxi driver in sexual assaults on disabled female passengers. Following allegations by two women that the client had sexually assaulted them in their wheelchairs whilst in their respective homes, police launched an investigation into his movements.

The two separate patients of a local MS hospital had each said that the accused had effectively groomed them into allowing him access into their homes where the sexual assaults were allegedly perpetrated.As a result of counsel’s extensive disclosure requests, a section 41 application, a non-defendant bad character application, and further submissions, the Crown was forced to concede that one of the complainants had mimicked the complaint of the other woman and had unresolved psychological issues, rendering her evidence unreliable.None of these features would have been disclosed at the outset and was only brought upon by defence counsel’s persistent pushing. After an aborted first trial the client was unanimously acquitted of the second woman’s allegations and consequently all counts.

If you wish to instruct Chris Johnston please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Kerim Fuad QC Concludes Another High Profile, Evidentially Overwhelming and Sensitive Old Bailey Trial

Mr Fuad QC and Ms Bignall both of Church Court Chambers represented Mr T.P who accused of the Murder of his wife and Arson with intent to endanger his family and an alternate count of reckless Arson.

After a 13 day trial before the Common Serjeant of London, the jury found him guilty of murder, not guilty of Arson with intent, but guilty of reckless arson.
The jury had been 2 days in deliberation.

He was sentenced to a life sentence with a minimum term of 25 years’ imprisonment. He received a 7 year concurrent sentence for the reckless arson.

Their client was alleged to have strangled his wife and forced a flannel deep down the back of her throat whilst she was alive. The prosecution (and pathology evidence) strongly suggested he then dragged her across the floor, removing clumps of her hair (which were found in the hall way and bedroom), locked her in a bedroom and set her body (her head and private parts) and two rooms in the house on fire. Fire experts gave evidence as to it “having to be a deliberate setting of different fires in rooms.”
His three children were prosecution witnesses against him saying he had dragged their mother across the floor from one room to another in which her body was found.

T.P maintained that he was in fact dragging a suitcase not his wife, and the killing and lighting of the three separate fires was an accident. He could not explain why he lit fire so close to her private parts, but said “it was spiritual like a séance.”

When a neighbour, the deceased’s 80 year old parents and the refuse men came to the burning house to assist, he claimed many times over (and was captured on body worn footage) that his wife was not in the house but had “gone for a walk.” He verbally and physically pushed people out of the house refusing to let them into the bedrooms.
He told the police that he had lit candles to “lighten the mood” and that the bite injuries which matched her teeth on his hand (a piece of his skin was later found), putting the flannel deep in her mouth, were caused by their pet dog. Other injuries to his face were caused; “when shaving.”
Three weeks before the killing he had set up life insurance for the maximum payable to him upon his wife’s death of £310,000 and was also to benefit from her pension. The jury also heard of two earlier separate but unproven reports of him assaulting her, once by attempting to strangle her.
He said in evidence that it was “a shame” she was dead.
In evidence he said he was in shock and was attacked by his wife first who had kicked him to his knee, having initially given a “no comment” interview.

Mr Fuad QC and Ms Bignall were instructed by Chanelle Wray of Dexter Henry Solicitors

If you wish to instruct Kerim Fuad QC or Paula Bignall please contact the Clerks Room, their full profile may be viewed through the following links: Kerim Fuad QCPaula Bignall

Related Articles


Birmingham Mail


Liam Loughlin Secures Quashing of Murder Conviction in Uganda

Liam Loughlin of Church Court Chambers successfully quashes murder conviction of NA on appeal in Uganda and NA has now been released.

This represents the culmination of years of hard work on a case that Liam first became involved in when he established the Kigula Mitigation project in Uganda in 2012 (for which he was nominated for the Bar Pro Bono Awards in 2013).

Liam took on this case whilst working on death row, bringing the case to the Court of Appeal and beyond.

Liam was greatly assisted in the matter by the work of EvolveFILA.

If you wish to instruct Liam Loughlin please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Chiara Maddocks Enjoys Success in the Court of Appeal.

Chiara Maddocks represented a client who had pleaded guilty to a historic series of rape and serious sexual assaults against a 13 year old victim. The client had been assessed as a dangerous offender by the lower courts and sentenced to a twelve year extended sentence with an additional three year licence period.

Chiara successfully argued that the sentencing judge had incorrectly assessed the client to be dangerous, and the Court of Appeal agreed to quash the finding. This resulted in a determinative sentence of 12 years concurrent across all seven counts.

Chiara was instructed by Nelson Guest Solicitors.

If you wish to instruct Chiara Maddocks please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Guy Williamson & Michael Polak share Great Success in Kidnapping Trial at Northampton Crown Court

Church Court’s Guy Williamson and Michael Polak successfully defended a wife and husband who were accused of kidnapping a youth. After a 5-day trial at Northampton Crown Court the jury returned unanimous not guilty verdicts. The defendants were ecstatic with the result.

Guy Williamson and Michael Polak were instructed by Sam Wood of Bennett & Co Solicitors.

If you wish to instruct Guy Williamson or Michael Polak please contact the Clerks Room, their full profiles may be viewed here; Guy WilliamsonMichael Polak


Kevin Molloy Secures an Acquittal for “People Smuggling Conspiracy”

Kevin Molloy represented a defendant, a female Polish national who had driven a small van onto a ferry in France, which was bound for Portsmouth.

The van was stopped and searched in Portsmouth harbour and on board in the back of the van were 6 migrants, most of whom originated from Iraq.  The co-defendants were in a car behind the van and when challenged they initially denied knowing anything about the driver or the migrants, before accepting they knew the partner of the driver. At trial the same co-defendants tried to blame the driver and denied all knowledge of the migrants or the conspiracy.

Through relentless cross-examination of the co-defendants their denials proved unsustainable and with careful analysis of phone data Kevin managed to demonstrate how the co-defendants alone were responsible for the criminal conspiracy. The driver was unanimously acquitted on all counts. The co-defendants were all convicted and are now serving custodial sentences.

If you wish to instruct Kevin Molloy please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Colin Witcher secures acquittal in 2kg cocaine distribution conspiracy case

After a trial before Judge and Jury at the Peterborough Crown Court, the alleged organiser of a conspiracy to supply 2kg of cocaine, represented by Colin Witcher, was acquitted by the Jury. The cocaine was consistent with not having been cut and therefore having been recently imported, with a six figure street value. The Jury were told that the courier who had been caught with the drugs had earlier pleaded guilty admitting the existence of the conspiracy. Further, the Jury learned that the defendant had a previous conviction for being concerned in the supply of Class A Drugs, namely 1kg of importation grade cocaine. The defendant stood trial together with a co-defendant. The defendant was the only person to have contact with both the co-defendant and the courier, and said therefore to be the only person capable of organising the deal. To that end, the courier and the co-defendant, who never had phone contact with each other, were both present when the drugs were delivered by another courier, unknown. The Crown presented evidence that the defendant had phone contact with both the courier and the co-defendant (multiple times on the day of the deal) including at the exact time of the deal. Further, the Jury were presented with whatsapp messages that showed that the defendant had previously messaged the courier saying “make sure you test it”.

The courier was sentenced to 5 years and 6 months. The co-defendant, who was convicted after trial, was sentenced to 8 years and 6 months.

Colin was instructed by Angie Deacon of Lawtons Solicitors,

Andrew Taylor will be Discussing the Jack Shepherd Case on BBC Radio London at 7.35am 24th January

At around 7:35am on Thursday 24th January Andrew Taylor will be discussing the case of Jack Shepherd, known as the “Thames Speedboat Killer”, who today handed himself into the police in the Georgian capital.

Andrew will be discussing what is likely to happen to him and how the courts will treat his breach of bail. He has already been sentenced to 6 years in his absence for the offence of Gross Negligence Manslaughter, but is appealing his conviction.


Patrick Canessa ED Secures Conditional Discharges For A Young Teenager Accused Of Assault

Patrick Canessa ED secures conditional discharges at the Magistrates Court yesterday for a young teenager accused of assaulting two carers.

The incident dates back to last year when the child was in care and punched two of his carers. Neither of the carers sustained any injury or bruising as a result but the matter was reported to police and the boy, who was 13 at the time, was later charged with two counts of common assault.

Patrick Canessa successfully argued he should not be criminalised for a minor offence. In mitigation, he quoted from a 2017 report prepared by the UK’s Howard League for Penal Reform.

“The guidance is clear that no child living in a children’s home should be criminalised for behaviour that would not concern the police if it happened in a family home,” Mr Canessa said.
Mr Canessa argued that the boy found himself before the court because he had been in care at the time of incident, adding that no parent would have reported this to the police.

If you wish to instruct Patrick Canessa please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Kevin Molloy Gets Acquittal for Black Cab Driver

Kevin Molloy successfully defended a Black Cab driver who had been charged with Attempted GBH, causing Actual Bodily Harm and Dangerous Driving. The allegation was made by a cyclist who collided with the cab and claimed he had been deliberately targeted by the driver of the Black Cab who allegedly ran him off the road.

The incident was captured on footage recovered from a police car and the Prosecution presented another cyclist as a witness to the incident. Having cross-examined all the Prosecution witnesses counsel for the defence called the defendant himself to give evidence along with another defence witness. The jury unanimously acquitted the defendant of all the charges on the indictment.

If you wish to instruct Kevin Molloy please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Lewis Power QC Secures Unanimous Acquittal In Expenses Fraud Case

Mr G, a senior official from the East Sussex County Council, was unanimously acquitted by the Jury at the Brighton Crown Court on charges of Fraud by False Representation. LPQC was privately instructed by Gerard Maye Legal in this case which stemmed from a huge investigation into expenses claims concerning public money from County Council funds. The allegations concerned a significant breach of trust by a senior employee who had worked for the Council for over 25 years.

If you wish to instruct Lewis Power QC please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Andrew Taylor on BBC Radio Essex today (15th January) at 5:05pm

Today (15th January) at just after 5pm Andrew Taylor shall be talking about how legal aid is available for appeals, and how the Defendant can still mount an appeal in the Charlotte Brown gross negligence manslaughter case. In this case the Defendant did not attend his trial and his lawyers have still obtained leave to appeal conviction from the single judge.


Kerim Fuad QC Wins Again – 10 Acquittals in his Last 11 Homicide Trials.

Kerim Fuad QC maintained his unique and extraordinary run of 10 acquittals in his last 11 homicide trials, at the Old Bailey today.

He led Edward Boateng-Addo, also of Church Court Chambers, successfully representing Mr I who had allegedly played a key role in planning Mr S’s brutal killing with axe handles.  He had followed and passed the deceased’s red car 13 times in a space of a few minutes whilst constantly on the phone for just under half an hour and reporting the movements of the deceased’s car to the driver of another car.

The multi handed trial ran from early November culminating with their client’s acquittal today.

The first 2 defendants were unanimously convicted of murder, another of manslaughter. Another defendant was also acquitted.

Kerim and Edward proved to be a highly effective and persuasive team in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Kerim and Edward were instructed by Ebenezer Madeinlo of Hanson Woods Solicitors.


Kevin Molloy gets Conviction Overturned at the Court of Appeal

Kevin Molloy represented the Applicant before a full court at the Court of Appeal and successfully argued that the Applicant was a victim of Trafficking who should never have been prosecuted. The Court accepted there was a clear nexus between the offending and the Applicant’s trafficked status. Due to the detailed work carried out by both Kevin and his instructing solicitor Philippa Southwell, the Respondent conceded that the Applicant should not have been prosecuted.

The failing by the various agencies and legal representatives to identify the Applicant as a Victim of Trafficking was of concern to the court. It is hoped this case will help increase awareness about future trafficked victims and remind all who may come into contact with such individuals of their obligations to investigate when trafficking indicators are evidenced.

If you wish to instruct Kevin Molloy please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Amjad Malik QC Secures Murder Conviction at Basildon Crown Court

Amjad Malik QC secures murder conviction on a knifeman and manslaughter of his accomplice in a four week trial at Basildon Crown Court. The Defendant stabbed the 19 year oldvictim through his heart when he and the second Defendant attempted to rob him of his car in Southend town centre. He advanced a number of defences including Diminished Responsibility relating to PTSD from a targeted acid attack that he himself was the victim of some 2 years before the murder.



Church Court and the Rule of Law.

The Rule of Law & Anti-Corruption Center organised an interesting discussion on the Rule of Law and Conflict Resolution at the Middle Temple on the 26th November 2018. The event was organised by Mizan Abdulrouf, a member of Church Court Chambers who is currently serving as Legal Counsel in Qatar to the Rule of Law & Anti Corruption Centre. Mizan was assisted in London by Colin Witcher of Chambers

The principle speaker was Senator George Mitchell (Former Northern Ireland and Middle East Peace Envoy) who was introduced by The Hon Mr Justice Robin Knowles CBE. The speakers were joined by;
Dr Ali bin Fetais Al Marri, (UN Special Advocate, President of the Rule of Law & Anti-Corruption Center Qatar, and Attorney General for the State of Qatar).

Drawing on his unrivalled experience in Ireland and the Middle East, Senator George Mitchell examined conflict resolution through the lens of the Rule of Law giving insightful commentary. The audience, including distinguished guests, were invited to consider how the Rule of Law has helped in the past and how those principles can guide resolution in the future of disputes in the world that lead to or risk conflict.

The conversation continued afterwards at a special dinner to honour and mark this historic occassion.

Chambers were honoured to have our Head of Chambers and Leader of the South Eastern Circuit Kerim Fuad QC and Lewis Power QC of Chambers International Crime Group at the event and dinner. They were accompanied by other Members of Chambers at the lecture including Shaun Esprit, Glenn Harris, Yasin Patel and Michael Polak.

Mr Fuad QC and Mr Power QC are pictured below with Senator George Mitchell together with Mizan Abdulrouf and Colin Witcher of Chambers.












Mr Fuad QC and Mr Power QC pictured with Senator George Mitchell and Dr Ali bin Fetais Al Marri, together with Mizan Abdulrouf, Glenn Harris and Michael Polak of Chambers.


Yasin Patel Sits on Snooker Fixing Tribunal

Yasin Patel sat on the panel at recent snooker fixing hearing.  The case involved two professional snooker players accused of match fixing.

A full press release can be viewed here.

See also the article by the BBC

If you wish to instruct Yasin Patel please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.

For more information on our sports law team please click here.











Success for Richard Carey-Hughes QC at the Old Bailey

Richard Carey-Hughes QC sees success as EM was acquitted of a murder charge after a 6 week trial at the Old Bailey before a High Court judge. He had been accused with two others of planning a punishment stabbing at Wormwood Scrubs prison.

If you wish to instruct Richard Carey-Hughes QC please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Chambers are delighted to welcome Maria Karaiskos

Church Court Chambers’ recruitment of top notch counsel continues

Chambers is proud to announce the arrival of Maria Karaiskos.

Maria is a highly experienced barrister and sits as a Recorder. Called 18 years ago, she is a highly regarded barrister who both prosecutes and defends.

She is an accredited grade 3 serious crime and sexual offences prosecutor. Her practice includes cases of homicide, manslaughter, substantial violence, rape and other serious sexual offences (including historic sexual abuse), multi-handed drug conspiracies and drug importations, money laundering, false accounting and the full spectrum of dishonesty offences.

If you wish to instruct Maria Karaiskos please contact the Clerks Room, her full profile may be viewed here.


Chambers are Delighted to Welcome Paul Addison

Paul Addison has joined chambers bringing yet more depth in strength and talent to our membership.

Paul is vastly experienced having conducted some of the most high profile criminal cases in recent times.  He is regularly instructed by the CPS and defence Solicitors on matters involving murder, fraud, confiscation and sexual offences.

Paul also undertakes work involving, Landlord and Tenant, and judicial review, and He has lectured to the Crown Prosecution Service, City of London Police Fraud Section and the Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Agency on a wide range of topics.

If you wish to instruct Paul Addison please contact the Clerks Room, his full profile may be viewed here.


Chambers are delighted to welcome Benjamin Aina QC

Benjamin Aina QC has joined chambers bringing yet more depth in strength and talent to our membership.

Benjamin has vast experience having conducted some of the most high profile criminal cases in recent times.  He is regularly instructed in matters involving murder, commercial fraud and sexual offences.

Benjamin also undertakes work involving personal injury, actions against the police, commercial disputes and judicial review, as well as advising on constitutional issues.

In addition to his obvious talent and legal experience he brings a huge smile, humour and level of  humanity that brightens the room.

To see Benjamins full profile please visit  http://ccc.chcdigital.com/barrister-profiles/benjamin-aina-qc



Success for George Hepburne-Scott in the High Court

George successfully appealed an extradition order in the High Court on 7/11/18: In the case of K v Poland, GJ allowed an appeal against an extradition order made at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. The Appellant is a mother of a young child, she was wanted on a conviction EAW from Poland where a 2 year prison sentence for fraud was outstanding. The appeal was allowed on Article 8 grounds and the mother will not now be separated from her infant son.

George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co


Success for Amjad Malik QC following 6 weeks drugs conspiracy trial at Oxford Crown Court.

Amjad Malik QC successfully prosecutes EM in a six week Conspiracy to supply Cocaine trial at Oxford Crown Court. EM described as the head of the hierarchy of an organised crime gang controlled the supply of Cocaine in the West Midlands and Oxfordshire. The Judge said the sophisticated operation involved the supply of Millions of pounds of Cocaine and passed a sentence of 25 years imprisonment.

Amjad Malik QC was instructed by CPS West Midlands Complex Casework Unit.

Success for Amjad Malik QC following 5 week murder trial at Central Criminal Court

Amjad Malik QC successfully defends RN, an 18 year old, at the Old Bailey in a five defendant joint enterprise Murder trial which lasted 5 weeks. The role of counselling (instigating) the murder of another 18 year old, by four other young men was alleged against the defendant. The defendant was acquitted of murder and manslaughter but the jury convicted all of the other four defendants.

Amjad Malik QC was instructed by Attiq Malik of Liberty Law Solicitors.

Kerim Fuad QC’s extraordinary run of Murder Acquittals continues

On 31st October 2018, after a 7 week trial at his home court, the Old Bailey, Kerim Fuad QC’s client, D.B was unanimously acquitted of Murder.

D was a 17 year old who was clearly captured on cctv running with a large knife in Logan Place W8 in a chasing pack of 20 young men who were chasing down a man, LB who was then, as the crown put it, “butchered” defenceless on the pavement.

His client was also acquitted of manslaughter and violent disorder.

It was the 9th acquittal Mr Fuad QC has secured in his last 10 trials.

He was leading James Hasslacher and instructed by Deborah Spence of Banks and Partners Solicitors ​

Church Court Chambers Members ranked by Legal 500, 2019.

Chambers are delighted to announce that four Queen’s Counsel and one Junior Member have been ranked by Legal 500, 2019.

Kerim Fuad QC, Head of Chambers, is once again ranked as a Leading QC recognised for his expertise in homicide cases. Lewis Power QC’s vast experience in sexual and violent offending together with slavery cases leads to another year as a ranked Queen’s Counsel. Amjad Malik QC is ranked for his vast experience in prosecuting large scale drugs and violence offending, whilst Michael Mather-Lees QC was commended by the Directory for his great courtroom presence. In addition to these four Leading QC rankings, Colin Witcher was also ranked as a Leading Junior commended for being a “very fine advocate”.


George Hepburne Scott achieves a Suspended Sentence for client in a WMD arms dealing case

Following a 5-week trial at Southwark Crown Court, the trial judge, HHJ Grieve, QC, ruled that Mr A had no defence to the charge.

He therefore entered a plea of Guilty on a negotiated basis which was agreed by the Crown. This Basis of Plea, which was negotiated by George on his client’s behalf, effectively spared the client from an immediate prison sentence. The Basis of Plea, plus the powerful mitigation that George advanced, led to the trial judge imposing a 6-month Suspended Sentence for effectively supplying generic aircraft parts that were thought likely destined for Iran’s nuclear program.

Following the Sentence, George was quoted in the national press:



Kerim Fuad QC and Paula Bignall, both of Church Court Chambers instructed in another high profile and sensitive Old Bailey trial

Mr Fuad QC and Ms Bignall represent a man accused of the Murder of his wife and Arson with intent to endanger his family.

Their client is alleged to have strangled his wife, placing a flannel down the back of her throat, dragging her across the floor, locking her in a room and setting her body and the house on fire. His three children are prosecution witnesses against him.

They have been instructed by Chanelle Wray of Dexter Henry Solicitors

City Insurance Broker Represented by Lewis Power QC Cleared of s18

A city insurance broker, who was represented by Lewis Power QC, has had his s18 charge dismissed at Inner London Crown Court this week. The conflict in this case stemmed from sexual comments made to the Defendant’s daughter by a colleague and resulted in the Defendant lashing out when he thought that he was under attack. The Defendant managed to avoid a custodial sentence because of the result in this case receiving only a community penalty for other offence to which he had pleaded earlier after mitigation was submitted by Mr Power QC.

Press about the incident can be found here Daily Mail


Michael Polak Speaks on the Rule of Law at Voice for Bangladesh Meeting held at the House of Lords

On the evening of 17 October 2018 Michael Polak of Church Court Chambers spoke about the serious problems with the rule of law in Bangladesh at a meeting organised by Voice for Bangladesh. Michael was chosen to speak because of his human rights work in Bangladesh and his interest and expertise in rule of law related issues.

Michael Polak is available to undertake international human rights and public law cases and can be instructed by contacting clerks@ccc.chcdigital.com or +44 (0) 20 7936 3637


George Hepburne-Scott Instructed in High-Profile Albanian Murder Extradition Appeal

The case of Albania v H.M. has attracted international publicity. It involves an extradition request from the Republic of Albania brought under part 2 of the Extradition Act 2003. George originally defeated the same extradition request in 2007. The case involves a conviction for Murder in the defendant’s absence in Albania in 2000.

He was sentenced in his absence to 25 years’ imprisonment. The case raises complex issue of international law and George has been instructed to advise on representations to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid and thereafter to represent the defendant in the High Court.

George is available to advise at short notice on any extradition matter. Please contact the Clerks for more details.


Daily Mail

The Times


Church Court Chambers’ Barrister Robert Newcombe Concludes Love Triangle Murder Case with Common Assault Incitement

SB was sentenced to 4 months’ imprisonment for an offence of Incitement to Common Assault after mitigation by her barrister Robert Newcombe. She had been charged with incitement to cause Grievous Bodily Harm in that she encouraged or incited DS to assault ML. DS in fact murdered ML.

The evidence showed that SB had sent an image of herself and ML in flagrante delicto to DS who she knew to be jealous and violent. She also sent DS messages to the effect that he should “smack” ML.

After discussions between Robert Newcombe and the Crown prosecutor, it was accepted that she did not incite Grievous Bodily Harm or Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm. SB fell to be sentenced for inciting common assault, which was the agreed basis of plea.

As with any incitement case the sentence is limited by statute to the maximum for the substantive offence – in this case 6 months’ imprisonment for Common Assault.

HHJ Ashurst sentenced SB, having previously sentenced DS to a life sentence with a minimum of 22 ½ years’ imprisonment.

Robert Newcombe was instructed by Paul Watson & Co, Solicitors, Middlesbrough.

The case has been widely reported.



The Guardian

Daily Mail

The Northern Echo

Sky News

The Sun

The TImes


Diana Constantinide Speaks About the Myanmar Situation with Amnesty International

Diana Constantinide, a member of Church Court Chambers International Criminal and Human Rights team, has been invited by the University of Lausanne (European Lawyers Students’ Association Lausanne branch) to speak about the Myanmar situation along with Mr Alain Bovard, the Advocacy Officer of Amnesty International at the Swiss section.

‘Myanmar human right violation: junction between a lawyer and an activist’s perspective’ was the title of the conference. Mr Bovard referred to the history of Myanmar, the pursuit of amnesty’s international goal and the naming senior military officers responsible for the crimes against humanity. The list of perpetrators, as named by Amnesty International, can be found here.

Diana Constantinide spoke about the steps towards accountability for the atrocities in Myanmar and discussed the statement of ICC prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, on opening a preliminary examination concerning the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh dated 18th September 2018.

Diana Constantinide is available to be instructed in international law matters.


Church Court Chambers is Delighted to Welcome another Quality Barrister, Michelle Clarke

Michelle Clarke a highly experienced criminal defence barrister, joins us this year.
She was called in 1988 and has built up a fine reputation successfully defending in the most difficult of cases.

Kerim Fuad QC says;
“Having known Michelle for 25 years and seen the passion, hard work and down to earth manner she applies to her cases I am thrilled to welcome her to our thriving chambers.”


Kerim Fuad QC leading Kevin Molloy conclude “Snapchat Queen” case

There was mass press coverage when their client was sentenced for Manslaughter on 21st September 2018.
They had earlier managed to secure a “not guilty” conviction for Murder.
FK received a determinate sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment.

Mr Fuad QC and Mr Molloy were instructed by Attiq Malik of Liberty Law Solicitors.

The Independent

The Telegraph

The Times


Stephen Bailey leading Tomas McGarvey are currently representing the second defendant in an 8-handed ‘cash-for-crash’ conspiracy

Stephen Bailey leading Tomas McGarvey are currently instructed to represent the second defendant in an 8-handed ‘cash-for-crash’ conspiracy (involving over 60 RTA) instructed by City Law Chambers. The case has involved detailed and focused requests for disclosure arising from a late development in the prosecution case.

As a team, their attention to detail has produced significant results. Stephen and Tomas have developed a very successful partnership securing acquittals in Operation Evolution earlier this year (a large scale conspiracy to commit violent disorder). Stephen and Tomas continue to build on their success and are attracting instructions as a team, recently described by one instructing managing partner as “an unstoppable team”.


Success for Michael Polak in Unlawful Eviction Private Prosecution

Michael Polak of Church Court Chambers successfully privately prosecuted a landlord of a London property who had changed the locks to a rental property that was being rented to an Italian family who had travelled abroad for a short period with their children.

When the husband returned to London for work he found that he was unable to enter the property and the landlord refused to allow him to do so, threatening to call the Police if any attempt was made to enter. Further to this, the landlord also removed the family’s belongings from the property. The effect of the landlord’s unlawful actions was to break up the family as they could not afford to rent alternative accommodation for the whole family, with the wife and children having to stay in Italy.

After a full day trial at City of London Magistrates’ Court the Defendant landlord was found guilty of two offences, unlawful evictions and doing acts which disturb the quiet enjoyment of the property with intent to make the lawful occupant vacate that property. The Defendant was sentenced to a large fine, to pay compensation to the tenants, and to pay a proportion of the prosecution costs.

Michael Polak was instructed by Davide Cupertino of Consulenti Italiani, a specialist boutique Italian-UK Law firm which deals with criminal and civil matters in both jurisdictions.


Michael Polak acts for top precious metal company and successfully resists application for forfeiture of €42,000

Michael Polak was acting for one of the United Kingdom’s top precious metal merchants in a case which concerned a European antiques dealer who was stopped before entering the Eurotunnel and found to be in possession of €42,000. This amount was said to be a security payment in regard to a large amount of silver, sold to the company, before its true value could be determine by melt and assay.

After a lengthy hearing the Judge decided in favour of the company that Michael was representing and ordered that the money be returned to them. Costs were also ordered in their favour.

Michael was instructed by Wayne Brooks of BH-Mohammed Solicitors.


Diana Constantinide Co-Authors International Law Association Report

Diana Constantinide, a member of Church Court Chambers, who has experience in international law, is a member of the International Law Association’s (ILA) study group titled as ‘use of domestic law principles for the development of international law’ and co-author of the Johannesburg Report initially presented at the Biennial Conference (South Africa 2015) and this year to be presented at the Biennial Conference (Sydney 2018). Chairman of the study group is Professor M H Maurice Mendelson QC and Rapporteur Dr Alejandro Leyda Carballo.

Diana contributed to the Johannesburg Report which comprises of 56 pages and addresses issues arising from international relations, to keep international law moving and its increasing need to borrow principles from the domestic legal systems. Report’s objective is to understand how domestic principles are currently identified and consider whether it could be possible to provide some general guidelines to serve as a practical reference for those involved in the adjudication or other decision-making process, as well as for those concerned with the development of international law.

The link to for the report can be found here.

Diana Constantinide is available to be instructed in international law areas including international criminal law and human rights. Diana is also available for talks/speeches/panel discussions about international law by contacting the clerks at clerks@ccc.chcdigital.com or by calling them at +(0)20 7936 3637


Church Court Chambers is delighted to announce that we are able to recruit two pupils for the 15th October 2018 and 3rd December 2018.

Church Court Chambers is delighted to announce that we are able to recruit two pupils. The first pupillage shall start on the 15th October 2018 and the second on 3rd December 2018.

Applications must be received by Chambers by 11.59pm on Wednesday 29th August 2018. Please use the following link to access the applications.


Statement on the 2nd anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Mr Ahmad Bin Quasem. Michael Polak

It has been two years since Bangladeshi barrister Ahmad Bin Quasem, who has also been called to the Bar of England and Wales, was forcibly abducted from his home by Bangladeshi Government security forces.

Ahmad’s abduction is just one incident in an increasingly concerning tally of human rights abuses perpetrated by the Bangladeshi Government.  The International Community must stand up against the repression by the Bangladeshi regime.

Ahmad Bin Quasem

Ahmad Bin Quasem, or Arman as he is known to friends and family, is a barrister who was representing his father Mir Quasem Ali before the International Crimes Tribunal (“ICT”) which was set up in 2010 by the ruling Awami League and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.  Mir Quasem Ali was convicted by the ICT in 2014 and sentenced to death becoming the seventh opposition leader to be given a capital sentence, amplifying local and international concerns that the ICT has been used to further political objectives.[1] The appeal hearings were ongoing when Arman was abducted by the government.

An associate of Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina confirmed that Mr Bin Quasem’s enforced disappearance by the security services was authorised by the Prime Minister[2] and in secret recordings of a high ranking RAB Officer obtained by Sveriges Radio[3] the Officer explained how enforced disappearances operate and the fact that the fate of those seized is decided by those ‘high up’ within the government.

The abduction

Late on 5 August 2016, a group of around 8 men came to the apartment where Mr Bin Quasem was living with his wife and two young daughters. Four of the men were wearing RAB (Rapid Action Battalion) uniforms. They introduced themselves as members of the RAB and sat with Mr Bin Quasem in the living room where they asked him basic questions about the living arrangements at the apartment and from whom it had been rented.

The abduction occurred at around 11pm on the 9th of August 2016 when a group of 8 or 9 men attended the apartment and demanded that Arman’s wife and sister tell them where he was.  Mr Bin Quasem then went to the door, and the men told him that he had to come with them. They then gave Mr Bin Quasem 5 minutes with his family then began banging on the door again. The man who was in charge of the group gave a hand signal and the other men stormed into the apartment.  Despite Mr Bin Quasem’s wife and sister trying to shield him from the men and prevent them from taking him, the men pulled them away and grabbed him, dragging him to the stairs and out of the house. Mr Bin Quasem was placed in a mini-bus which was driven away. This abduction followed the exact modus operandi of other abductions by the security forces in Bangladesh.

A breach of domestic and international law

Mr Bin Quasem has not been charged with any offence and his abduction and continued detention by the Bangladeshi government is contrary to the Bangladeshi Constitution and Bangladesh’s obligations under international law. Unfortunately, forced disappearances are common in Bangladesh under the current Government and hundreds have been disappeared since 2009.[4]  Human Rights Watch’s report, ‘We Don’t Have Him’: Secret Detentions and Enforced Disappearances in Bangladesh, found that at least 90 people were victims of enforced disappearance in 2016 alone[5] and Bangladeshi human rights group Odhikar, reports that between January 2009 and October 2017, at least 402 persons became victims of enforced disappearances in Bangladesh.


The British legal community have raised their concerns about Mr Bin Quasem’s situation[6] and the international press has reported Mr Bin Quasem’s case and the problems with enforced disappearances in Bangladesh.[7] The European Union’s EEAS has also raised the issue of enforced disappearances with Bangladesh[8] and Mr Bin Quasem’s situation has also been the subject of an official UK Parliamentary question by Shabana Mahmood MP answered on 30 January 2017 by Alok Sharma MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.[9]  Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also spoken out for Arman.[10]

On 24 February 2017, the UNHCHR’s Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances called on Bangladesh to ‘act now to halt an increasing number of enforced disappearances in the country’ and to immediately reveal the whereabouts of Mr Bin Quasem.[11] The Working Group’s message was endorsed by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.

Despite the request from these United Nations bodies, the Bangladeshi Government has refused to respond, viewing itself as being free to operate outside the norms of international law and diplomacy.

Response to Channel 4 News Broadcasts

Channel 4 featured Arman’s case during its news broadcast on 28[12] and 29 November 2017[13] and 13 December 2017[14]. The broadcast of 28 November 2017 showed the Channel 4 reporter asking questions at a public rally on 25 November 2017 to Ms Siddiq MP, the niece of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Labour Member of Parliament for Hampstead and Kilburn, which Ms Siddiq chose not to answer. Before the show was aired on 28 November 2017 Bangladeshi police attended the family property in Dhaka where Arman’s elderly mother, sister, wife, and two young daughters were residing. This was seen as an attempt to intimidate them into calling for the news segment not to be broadcast. On the day following the first broadcast around 20 heavily armed police officers attended the property. After this fact was reported on Twitter they left around an hour later but not before an ominous warning was given by the Officer in charge: ‘This time we are going and leaving you. But we will make sure if there is any such news come next time we will not be good like this time and our face you will not get to see like today.’

Ms Siddiq and her team have refused to comment about this intimidation or do anything to ensure that Arman’s elderly mother, sister, wife, and two young daughters are not threatened by the Bangladeshi security services. Responses from the Labour party, which has in the past had close links with the Awami League and described itself as a sister party have also been unsatisfactory with the Labour Party establishment seeming interested in discussing this matter when there is media focus on it with this interest disappearing rapidly once the media coverage subsides. This behaviour calls into questions the genuineness of the Labour Party’s pledge to ‘put human rights at the heart of foreign policy’. [15]

The Commonwealth

As a member of the Commonwealth, Bangladesh is required to comply with the Commonwealth Charter which expresses the commitment of member states to the development of free and democratic societies, to be committed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to believe in the rule of law as an essential protection for the people of the Commonwealth.[16]

The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) has the power to suspend a country from the Council of the Commonwealth (as it has done on a number of occasions[17]) if they do not comply with Commonwealth’s values. Despite using this power before, the Commonwealth has failed to speak out on enforced disappearances in Bangladesh. As the Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Scotland QC heads of on a trip which includes a visit to Bangladesh[18] it is hoped that she will remedy her past silence and speak out for Arman as a fellow lawyer and Commonwealth citizen.


The last week has involved major turmoil in Bangladesh with a mass student protests against road traffic deaths.[19] Many of those protesting ended up being attacked by government aligned militias whilst law enforcement looked on or actively assisted the militia.[20] Since this time,  many students have been apprehended by the security services and there are fears that they will be subject to torture or disappearance.

Speaking out about the government response to the student protests was the well-known photojournalist Shahidul Alam[21] who commented on Al Jazeera Television[22] about the Government’s repression of the protestors and other heavy-handed actions such as limiting the availability of the internet in an attempt to prevent the dissemination of videos of the attacks on protestors.  He stated ‘I think the Government has miscalculated. It certainly felt that fear was enough, repression would have been enough, but I think you cannot tame an entire nation in this manner.’ In the perfect example of the very repression that he was describing in the interview, shortly afterwards, a large number of Detective Branch Police Officers dragged him from his home and refused to tell his wife where they were taking him.[23] Although Mr Alam has now been brought before the court and charged with making ‘provocative comments’[24] its seems that he may have suffered torture in the interim period.

This attempt to intimidate those who dare to speak out against Bangladeshi government repression is not unique. In July, Mahmudur Rahman, a former newspaper editor was set upon by 100s of ruling party activists[25] after being release on bail in case where he is charged with defamation for making ‘derogatory remarks[26] against the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her niece, Tulip Siddiq MP. This behaviour by the government and those operating on their behalf is part of the same series of intimidatory behaviour suffered by Mr Bin Quasem and his family, with the aim of trying to ensure that nobody challenges the government, the Prime Minister, or her family out of fear for their own safety and the safety of their family.  This unlawful and unconscionable behaviour resulted in Mr Bin Quasem’s enforced disappearance in August 2016 and has left his two young daughters without a father and his wife without her husband. Surely now the time has come for those who claim to believe in human rights and the rule of law, whether that be the Commonwealth, the Labour Party, or other states, to speak out against this repression and to help Mr Bin Quasem, his family, and all others suffering under an increasingly illiberal and vicious regime.

We beseech those with the power to release Mr Bin Quasem or the influence to place pressure on the Bangladesh government to do so to ensure that he is returned to his family unharmed. We respectfully request that a full independent investigation is conducted into the circumstances of Mr Bin Quasem’s abduction, detention, and treatment in custody.

Michael Polak


Church Court Chambers

Toby Cadman                                                            


Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers

Note: Michael Polak and Toby Cadman act as Counsel to Mir Ahmad Bin Quasem and his family and have filed Communications with the UN Special Procedures Branch in Geneva.

Please see www.freearman.com for updates on the campaign.

Media enquiries may be made to m.polak@ccc.chcdigital.com or clerks@guernica37.org

[1] there has been widespread criticism of the ICT for a lack of fairness and due process by groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

[2] https://thewire.in/south-asia/secret-detentions-bangladesh-intelligence-sheikhs-hasina

[3] https://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=83&artikel=6665807

[4] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/disappearances-plague-bangladesh-171208160532558.html; https://www.voanews.com/a/human-rights-group-for-missing-persons-in-bangladesh/4141462.html

[5] https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/07/06/we-dont-have-him/secret-detentions-and-enforced-disappearances-bangladesh

[6] http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/media-centre/news-and-press-releases/2016/august/bhrc-and-bar-council-raise-concerns-over-abduction-of-bangladeshi-lawyer

[7] http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/12/16/bangladesh-is-vanishing-the-opposition/ ; http://ccc.chcdigital.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2389_001-2-2.pdf

[8] https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage/17657/eu-bangladesh-sub-group-good-governance-and-human-rights_en

[9] http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-questions-answers/?page=1&max=20&questiontype=AllQuestions&house=commons%2clords&member=3914

[10] https://www.amnesty.org/en/press-releases/2017/03/bangladesh-man-released-from-long-secret-detention/

[11] http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21220&LangID=E)

[12] https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=E5_jIpcu0_0&app=desktop

[13] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8SklwN-ss8&feature=share&app=desktop

[14] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMUSqjSaSYA


[16] http://thecommonwealth.org/sites/default/files/page/documents/CharteroftheCommonwealth.pdf

[17] http://thecommonwealth.org/sites/default/files/inline/SuspensionHistory.pdf

[18] http://thecommonwealth.org/media/news/commonwealth-secretary-general-visit-bangladesh-brunei-and-sri-lanka

[19] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-45080129

[20] https://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/news/181143/How-BCL-attacks-were-carried-out

[21] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/08/the-guardian-view-on-shahidul-alam-bangladesh-should-let-him-go

[22] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9j3EgLm62Q

[23] https://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2018/08/06/driks-shahidul-alam-detained-by-police-family-claim

[24] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/06/famed-bangladeshi-photographer-held-over-road-protest-comments

[25] https://rsf.org/en/news/bangladeshi-opposition-journalist-nearly-lynched-ruling-party-activists

[26] https://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/news/180209/BCL-men-attack-Mahmudur-Rahman-in-Kushtia

Not guilty verdict for Michael Polak’s client in £350,000 courier fraud conspiracy

Michael Polak, a member of Church Court Chambers Criminal team, successfully represented a Defendant at trial at St Albans Crown Court who was alleged to be a courier in a multi-handed courier fraud conspiracy. This conspiracy involved the defrauding of a number of individuals of over £350 000 by the participants who called them pretending to be from Scotland Yard and misled them into withdrawing large sums of money out of their bank accounts and handing this money to a person sent along to retrieve the money and return it to the criminal gang.

The trial, which lasted for over 4 weeks, included a large amount of telephone cell-site evidence the cross-examination of an expert in this area. The Defendant Michael Polak was representing was one of only two Defendants who were found not guilty after trial.

Michael Polak was instructed by Gias Uddin of Woolfe & Co Solicitors.

Draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill released: Colin Witcher and Fiona McAddy

The draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill sets out provisions to establish a new beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property. The release of the Draft Bill follows the Government’s commitment made at an Anti-Corruption Summit in 2016 to establish such a register, in order to combat money laundering and achieve greater transparency in the UK property market. That register has a wider ambit than the current Register of beneficial ownership (the “People with Significant Control Register) notwithstanding the transposition of the EU’s Fourth Anti Money Laundering Directive into UK law in June 2017.

The effect of the new Bill is that foreign companies owning UK properties will have to reveal their ultimate owners on the world’s first public register. To that end, there has long been concern that the UK’s property market is particularly attractive to those seeking to launder criminal gains. There is currently a perceived lack of transparency around who ultimately owns land in the UK, where the land is registered to an overseas company or other entity. To that end, according to analysis by Transparency International of data from the Land Registry and the Metropolitan Police Proceeds of Corruption Unit, between 2004 and 2014 over £180m worth of property in the UK has been brought under criminal investigation as the suspected proceeds of corruption, and, crucially, three in four of these properties involved the use of off-shore corporate vehicles. Similarly, a World Bank review reported that 150 of the 213 grand corruption cases investigated involved the use of at least one corporate vehicle to hide beneficial ownership and the true source of funds. In these 150 cases, the total proceeds of corruption were approximately $56.4bn

The new Register is described as having the following primary objective: “to prevent and combat the use of land in the UK by overseas entities for the purposes of laundering money or investing illicit funds by increasing transparency in overseas entities engaged in land ownership in the UK”. To support the proposals and structure of the Register and underlying Bill, the government commissioned research aimed at understanding the potential impacts of the proposed register through qualitative interviews with industry stakeholders. The impact assessment makes for interesting reading.

The Bill will require any overseas entity that wishes to own land in the UK to take steps to identify their beneficial owner(s) and to register them. Once registered, an overseas entity will obtain an overseas entity ID and will be required to update their information annually, until such time as it successfully applies to be removed from the live register of overseas entities. In order to comply with the updating duty, the overseas entity will have to annually deliver updated information (or confirm that the information in relation to it on the overseas entities register is up-to-date) and statements required for registration and will have to have taken steps to identify registrable beneficial owners (including sending notices to such beneficial owners). Failure to provide an update on the information held on the register is an offence under the Bill, as is delivering (or causing to be delivered) misleading, false or deceptive information. The same is met with custodial sentences.

As explained in the Governments’ overview document, clauses 1 to 16 of the Bill create the register and the framework through which an overseas entity can apply to be registered. Once registered, an overseas entity is required to update the information annually until such time as it successfully applies to be removed from the register.

The Bill contains five Schedules:-

A. Schedule 1 sets out the information required about an overseas entity, its beneficial owners, and if applicable, its managing officers for the purposes of (i) the application to register as a “registered overseas entity”, and (ii) the updating requirements (set out in clause 7 of the Bill).

B. Schedule 2 sets out who the beneficial owner of an overseas entity is. This is modelled on the PSC regime for UK companies and other UK entities.

C. Schedule 3: Part 1 inserts new provisions (“Schedule 4A”) into the Land Registration Act 2002 (“LRA 2002”). Schedule 4A sets out the circumstances in which overseas entities may apply for registration as proprietor of land, and the restrictions that will be imposed on overseas entities that own land. Part 2 of Schedule 3 provides for a transitional regime for certain overseas entities that own qualifying land when the Bill comes into force. These entities will have 18 months from the commencement date to either provide beneficial ownership and other information to the Registrar as part of an application to register or to dispose of the land if they do not wish to register.

D. Schedule 4 makes provisions equivalent to the provisions in Schedule 4A described above for Scotland, subject to the differences in land registration in Scotland.

E. Schedule 5 makes provisions equivalent to the provisions in Schedule 4A described above for Northern Ireland, subject to the differences in land registration in Northern Ireland. The key difference is that the requirements will only apply to new purchases by overseas entities on or after the commencement date. Existing overseas entities that own land prior to commencement are outside of scope because it is not possible for the Northern Ireland Land Registry to identify them

The Bill demonstrates a wider effort by Government to tackle potential financial wrong doing within the UK. The release of the Bill comes the same week as the first Undeclared Wealth Order is being considered in the High Court.

The consultation for the Draft Bill closes on the 17th September 2018; responses are encouraged.

Colin Witcher and Fiona McAddy are both members of Chambers’ Corporate Crime and Regulatory Team, with experience in financial crime, asset forfeiture and confiscation.

Relevant Links

Overview Document: Draft Registration of Overseas Entities

Register of Overseas Entities

Draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill


Ciara McElvogue secures unanimous acquittal in major perverting the course of justice trial lasting 7 weeks.

This case revolved predominantly, though not exclusively around the activities of a former
employee of EMS Limited, a Ministry of Justice appointed electronic monitoring company.
A total of 30 Defendants were charged, including employees of EMS Limited.

It was alleged that the employees arranged wholly outside of the proper scope of their duties
and/or any legitimate authority to use genuine EMS issued equipment to tamper with electronic
monitoring equipment. The equipment was applied to monitor compliance with legal curfew
requirements imposed on some of the Defendants.

It was alleged that the EMS Limited employees tampered with the equipment in an effort to
evade the practical restrictions which electronic monitoring necessarily involves.
The Crown’s case was that the ‘inside men’ were making money providing an unlawful service
abusing the trust placed in them by virtue of their position, selling the opportunity to those who
were made the subject of strict bail conditions to avoid the restrictions which tagged curfew
necessarily involved and in the process thereby perverting the course of justice.

This case involved many thousands of pages evidence including including a vast amount of raw
scientific data and extremely lengthy cross examination of the Crown’s scientific experts.
The Defendant was unanimously acquitted in week 7 of the trial.

Ciara McElvogue


Kerim Fuad QC and Kevin Molloy of Church Court Chambers conclude remarkable Old Bailey Murder trial, dubbed the “Snapchat Murder”

Kerim Fuad QC and Kevin Molloy of Church Court Chambers conclude remarkable Old Bailey Murder trial, dubbed the “Snapchat Murder”

After a trial before HHJ Topolski QC and two juries (the first having to be discharged) that started in late May 2018 and lasted till 24th July 2018, Miss F. K, a 21 year old woman, was found not guilty of the Murder of Khalid Safi on 1st December 2016. She was found guilty of his manslaughter.

She was alleged to have become fed up of being pestered by her on/off boyfriend Mr Khalid Safi and arranged for a male suitor, R K to come down to North Acton and murder him or at the very least cause him really serious harm. R K came to the scene armed with a knife and proceeded to slash at and repeatedly stab Khalid Safi before fleeing the scene. Most of the incident was captured on CCTV. Earlier that very day she had been herself captured filming the very same area of the pavement outside Costa Coffee.

FK rang R K moments after the attack and spoke for over 4 minutes and then remained in sporadic phone contact with R K for several hours until he vanished and has not been seen since. He remains wanted by the police.
The jury heard evidence of her becoming increasingly frustrated and unhappy with KS, coming to her home and workplace in the weeks before the incident, saw footage of her laughing at him and calling him a “lowlife,” culminating in her using the medium of Snapchat to summon R K down in a taxi to outside Costa Coffee in North Acton to get him to make KS “leave her alone.”
There was evidence of her parents arranging for her to be married to a different man in Qatar.

The jury also heard from a barista at Costa Coffee who noticed that FK had a knife secreted in her handbag.

FK was a Snapchat addict such that as Mr Fuad QC described it;

“She lived her life through the prism of Snapchat not seeing the world with her eyes but seeing it, living it, through the tiny window of her phone, social behaviour that is sadly a blight on our youth of today. She is the Ilford Queen of Snapchat.”

The jury heard evidence of her having over 38,000 photos on just one of her mobile phones.

As Khalid Safi lay bleeding to death and being treated by members of the public, she walked up to him and shocked all there as she started taking a video of him lying in a pool of blood and took a photo of him.

She added the caption;

“That’s what you get when you fuck with me,” which she promptly sent to her Snapchat group.
She did not ring for an ambulance.

She had taken the deceased’s mobile phone from the scene and said her father later threw it away. Accordingly its contents could not be accessed.

Afterwards she sent ‘Whats App’ messages to the deceased’s mobile number 2 months after his death asserting her profound love for him and how much she was missing him. These were claimed by the crown to be false sentiments to throw the police off track.

During the trial and in the middle of her evidence , out of the blue she started producing items from her handbag which she claimed supported her defence but which (easily) proved to be documents that she had forged and a watch she produced which she said she kept as it reminded her of him. It transpired that she had been bought a watch but had lost it. She produced a replacement watch for the jury which she had just bought on the internet during the trial. The ‘whats app’ messages recovered showed dialogue that she did not care about the watch.

Further she claimed that she had a driving lesson on the evening of the murder that she had to get back in time for, so could not have planned the murder. During the trial the jury heard that she had asked her driving instructor to insert a false entry in his work diary to state that she had a lesson an hour after the incident. The driving instructor was called by the crown in rebuttal to give evidence against her.
She also fabricated her own schedule of lessons to suggest she had a lesson that evening.

She claimed to have a tattoo of the deceased’s first name. The invoice she produced in support of this, showed she had in fact forged it (using a phone app to do so) and even misspelt the name of the tattoo shop (“Fantos” instead of “Fantas”). This was another matter disproved with ease in rebuttal by the crown.

Mr Fuad QC made another of his powerful trademark opening speeches which succeeded in diffusing much of the crown’s cross examination of FS and putting the case in context.

Kerim Fuad QC and Kevin Molloy both of Church Court Chambers, London were instructed by Attiq Malik of “Liberty Law” solicitors.

BBC News

Sky News

The Guardian

The Times


Kerim Fuad QC & Kevin Molloy



Chris Johnston secures acquittal in major drugs conspiracy with a street value of £8m.

Chris Johnston secures acquittal in major drugs conspiracy involving one tonne of cannabis and 130,000 Class C tablets with a street value of £8m.

Chris represented a mechanic who, along with others, was charged with an eighteen months’ long conspiracy to import huge quantities of class B & C from Holland on an industrial scale . Officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Command of The Metropolitan Police had been monitoring the movements of an organised criminal gang for several months and unearthed freight shipments via the UK ports from the continent dating back eighteen months. The acquitted defendant was the alleged warehouseman who had stored 14 such shipments in his industrial unit with the assistance of local “fixer” or transport man and an overall manager, based in Cardiff.

The case involved covert surveillance, phone cell siting and detailed analysis of the continuity of the consignments from various locations in Holland. When officers raided his unit in September 2016 they arrested two workers, he’d left minutes earlier, who were caught unloading eight packing crates full of cannabis and class C tablets. These were destined for onward supply within the UK.

The case was further linked to other drugs conspiracies both before and after the indicted period for other class B & C drugs. Following a five weeks’ trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court the jury took less than an hour to clear the client of both conspiracies he faced. In the event of conviction a sentence in double figures was expected, but thankfully avoided.

Chris Johnston


George Hepburne Scott succeeds in landmark Ecuadorean Extradition case

After eighteen months of hearings, the case of Ecuador v D C-V has finally come to a successful end. The client was overjoyed when she was discharged at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 22nd June 2018 following successive and co-ordinated contested legal applications in Court in Ecuador and England.

The case further strengthens our expertise in the field of extradition

George Hepburne Scott


Chambers are delighted to announce the arrival of Mark Harper QC

Church Court Chambers is delighted to welcome Mark Harper QC as a Door Tenant at Chambers joining our Commercial and Business Group. Mark has been involved in some of the largest and most high profile cases to be heard in the Chancery and Mercantile Courts outside of London including his representation of Wayne Rooney in his successful restraint of trade challenge to this Image Rights Representation Agreement and his representation of Sir Bradley Wiggins in defending the claims brought by his former management company following his termination of their retainer. His areas of specialism are Banking & Finance, Civil Fraud, Commercial Litigation, Company, Insolvency, Partnership, Professional Negligence and Sport.

He has been described as the “complete all-rounder” being equally adept at all aspects of the role of the advocate coupled with tactical and strategic acumen and an affable and approachable personality that commends him to his peers, solicitors and clients alike.

Mark has been consistently ranked in Chambers and Partner and Legal 500 for some years.

Mark remains a tenant at Kings Chambers (Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham). He joins Church Court Chambers as his London base.








1st Cypriot Young Lawyer Awards (YLA) 2018 held at Nicosia Hilton on 27 April 2018 a Success

1st Annual Cypriot Young Lawyers Awards

The first Cyrpiot Young Lawyers Awards were held at Nicosia Hilton on 27 April 2018 where the winners of the 9 awards were announced.

The Young Lawyer Awards were established to acknowledge and reward the exceptional work of young lawyers who excel in the face of an ever-increasing competitive legal market. These awards recognised young lawyers within a variety of different legal sectors, such as public sector and private sector.

Sponsors of the YLA

Sponsors of the Young Lawyers Awards were

Bank of Cyprus Youth Supporter


Create Events



Legal News Cy and EM Law Firm.

Proceedings on 27 April 2018

The organising committee, Michael Polak and Diana Constantinide, members of Church Court Chambers and Çagil Özsoy member of the Özsoy Law Firm delivered this bi-communal initiative, which brought together young lawyers from across the island.

The awards included speeches by the Mayor of Morphou Mr Victoras Xatziavraam who welcomed the initiative and highlighted the importance of YLA to become a tradition.

Followed by the President of RIK1 Mr Thanasis Tsokkos who commented on the bi-communal initiative and applauded YLA brining island’s legal communities together.

With a speech by the renowned lawyer Mr Rikkos Mappourides who spoke about the difficulties young lawyers are facing as well as presenting the awards to the winners Best Trainee Lawyer, Best Trainee Lawyer in the Private Sector and Best Trainee Lawyer in the Private Sector.

The large crowd also heard from the founder of LearnX, Mr Shamit Manilal who was one of the sponsors and introduced an online learning platform for the trainee lawyers in Cyprus, called Ixion. The Awards were attended by the British Deputy High Commissioner, Mr Ian Whitting, respected businessman, lawyers, professors and district judges.

The Winners of the Young Lawyers Awards 2018

The awards were decided by a professional panel and given solely based on merit to commend those most deserving for their ingenuity and hard work, distinguishing them from their competition and proving them worthy of recognition. This year Young Lawyers Awards recognized nine categories of winners.

    1. Best Trainee Lawyer: The Winner of this category was Avraam Koutalianos, who won among 7 nominations and is currently undertaking his training at L. Papaphilippou & Co LLC.
    2. Best Trainee Lawyer in the Private Sector: The winner of this category was Christos Skiakallis, who won this award after performing exceptionally in his role as a Trainee Lawyer in Banking and Corporate Law.
    3. Best Trainee Lawyer in the Public Sector: The winner of this category was Kiriakos Tikkas. Kyriako’s active participation as an intern at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Parliament.
    4. Best Young Lawyer: The winner of this category was Alexandros Theodotou who outshone the competition given his work doing including civil and commercial and the fact that he has been running his own law firm since 2015.
    5. Best Young Lawyer in the Public Sector: The winner of this category was Stefani Theodotou who noticed for her loyalty to the public sector.
    6. Best Young Lawyer in the Private Sector: The winner of this category was Koukounis Nikolas who has showed a great commitment in the highly challenging area of construction and building contracts for George Koukounis LLC.
    7. Best Young Public Interest Lawyer: The winner was Zafeiro Kastanou who has multiple engagements with European projects, newspapers and organisations like Red Cross.
    8. Best Cypriot Lawyer Abroad: The winner was Aleksia Solomou who currently works as an Associate Legal Officer at the International Court of Justice and focuses on human rights and arbitration.
  • Best Law Student: The winner of this category was Antonia Michailidou who is a young leader at a Commonwealth level. Her academic interests focus on immigration law and abuse of women and she studies at UCLan Cyprus.


Next year: YLA 2019

We look forward to the 2nd Annual Cypriot Young Lawyers Awards in 2019. Sponsorship opportunities are now open for Young Lawyers Awards 2019, please email us at info@rolesa.org for more information about our sponsorship packages.

We look forward seeing you all next year to celebrate exceptional young lawyers in Cyprus.

Church Court Chambers are delighted to announce our association with Glover Chambers – Mauritius.

Chambers are delighted to announce the launch of its working partnership with Glover Chambers in Mauritius.

Glover Chambers headed by Mr Gavin Glover SC are involved in some of the highest profile legal matters in Mauritius and it surrounding area.

The two chambers have formed a relationship to enable a truly international service and source of legal expertise to our growing client base.

Church Court Chambers now have tenants and associate tenants in The Cayman Islands, Ghana, Gibraltar, Mauritius, Scotland, Qatar and The USA.

Michael Polak Represents British Businessman Incarcerated in Belarus

Michael Polak has been instructed to represent the British businessman Alan Smith who is incarcerated in Belarus. This role has involved communicating with Alan’s family, his Belarussian Lawyer, and the British Embassy in Minsk and seeking to ensure that Alan is not mistreated and that he is returned to the United Kingdom immediately following the end of his sentence. Michael travelled to Belarus in 2017 to attend Alan’s trial in Glubokoye in northern Belarus.

The Ferret, Scottish award-winning investigative journalism platform has written about the case and Michael’s involvement here and Michael can be contracted by emailed about this case or any other matters on m.polak@ccc.chcdigital.com


Lewis Power QC Secures Acquittal In Youth Murder Case

Following a trial at the Hove Crown Court in which a young 16 year old youth had died as a result of a knife attack , Lewis’ s client was the only Defendant acquitted on all charges. A key theme which was at the heart of this case and which is all too prevalent in today’s society was the ever increasing occurrence of youths carrying and using knives which cause fatal injuries. Lewis led Aidan Harvey from Richard Body Solicitors. 

Diana Constantinide speaks at University of Westminster on ‘How to become an international legal practitioner’

On the 4st May 2018, Diana Constantinide, a member of Church Court Chambers, who has experience in international law, was invited by International Law Students Association who has its headquarters in Chicago, to deliver a speech about ‘How to become an international legal practitioner’ which was hosted by the University of Westminster.

The talk joined professors and/or doctors from University of Westminster.

Diana Constantinide is available to be instructed in international law areas including international criminal law and human rights or delivering talks/speeches about international law by contacting the clerks at: clerks@ccc.chcdigital.com or by calling them at +020 7936 3637.


Against the Odds Not Guilty Verdict in Blackmail Trial for Michael Polak at Luton Crown Court

Michael Polak’s client was accused of forcefully gaining entry to a house whilst armed with a knife and threatening that he would return to kill a member of the household if a sum of money was not paid to him. The prosecution called two witnesses who lived at the property who gave evidence of this and they were cross-examined on alleged inconsistencies in their evidence by Michael. After a probing closing speech and despite their being no clear motive for the Crown’s witnesses to fabricate their evidence,  the jury returned after just over half an hour of deliberation with a unanimous not guilty verdict.
Michael was instructed by Mr Andrew Smith of SBS Solicitors


Lesley Manley represented a vulnerable Afghan Refugee accused of the attempted rape and sexual touching of a 13 year old school girl. The complainant was extremely vulnerable and required the assistance of an intermediary and extremely sensitive cross-examination. The defendant was also vulnerable by virtue of being traumatised by war and having a low intellect. He required the assistance of an interpreter. As a result of careful preparation by solicitor and counsel he was able to be taken through his evidence in chief in a coherent and logical manner.

The jury found him not guilty of two attempted rapes and one count of sexual touching.

Instructing Solicitor was Peter Fernando of Londinium Solicitors


In her following trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court Lesley Manley represented an Uber driver who was alleged to have sexually assaulted a male passenger. The Uber driver was a man of good character who had been rendered acutely depressed by this allegation. He had arrived in the country from Afghanistan 20 years ago and was the sole breadwinner for his family. He was of good standing within his community. He maintained that the allegation was fabricated following an altercation with the passenger. He was able to call a number of character witnesses who attested to his loyalty and honesty.

The jury unanimously acquitted him after just under an hour of deliberation.

Instructing Solicitor was Gias Uddin of Liberty Law Solicitors

Acquittal for Fiona McAddy in arson with intent to endanger life trial.

Fiona McAddy represented CM, a 19 year old man accused of arson with intent to endanger life. At trial CM accepted that he had sent a series of threatening text messages to his ex partner in the lead up to the alleged offence, and that in the hours before the fire began he had sent her a text threatening to burn her house down. CM further accepted that he had attended his ex partner’s property in the early hours of the morning when he knew the occupants would be asleep, equipped with a jerry can of petrol which he used to douse the front door before setting fire to the property. 
As a result of a lively, incisive and persuasive closing speech, the jury unanimously acquitted CM.
Fiona McAddy was instructed by Liberty Law Solicitors, Luton. 

Kerim Fuad QC leading Robert Newcombe secure another Acquittal for Murder and Manslaughter

The jury at the Old Bailey unanimously acquitted the client on charges of murder and also manslaughter as a lesser alternative.

The incident arose over a £20 drug debt in Plashett Park in East Ham on 15th October 2017. The defendant’s case was that he threw one punch at a man who he thought was an aggressor and then withdrew from the incident. Another man then stabbed without anyone seeing the fatal blow. The deceased died at the scene from a single wound to the heart.

Messrs Fuad QC and Newcombe were instructed by Mahomed Ismail of MFI Law, Solicitors.

Michael Polak Speaks on Expert Panel about Bangladesh Human Rights hosted at the House of Lords

On 24 April 2018, Michael Polak, a member of Church Court Chambers who has experience in human rights and international law, was part of a panel discussion arranged by Voice for Bangladesh and hosted by Lord Stunnel OBE at the House of Lords.
Michael spoke about his client, Ahmad Bin Quasem, a Bangladeshi barrister disappeared by the Bangladeshi authorities in 2016, and the fact that this case was unfortunately not unique, given that over 400 people have been disappeared between 2009-2016. Enforced disappearances, Michael explained, can amount to a crime against humanity when committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack, and is one of a range of serious breaches of domestic and international law provisions being carried out in Bangladesh at this time.
Joining Michael on the panel were members of the Lords, MPs, human rights experts, and activists.
Michael Polak is available to be instructed in International Law areas including human rights cases by contacting the clerks: clerks@ccc.chcdigital.com  Tel: +44 020 7936 3637

Success for Yasin Patel on Murder at the Old Bailey.

Nathan Charles, who was being represented by Yasin Patel was found Not Guilty of murder and acquitted of all charges at the Old Bailey on the 16th April 2018.  The trial, before Her Honour Judge Joseph, lasted for 31 days following a thorough investigation by officers in an operation called Operation Nunton.

Liam Harman was killed in an execution style murder in July 2017. It was said that he had been stealing drugs from local drug dealers and was targeted because of this.

Mr. Charles was identified by witnesses as being at the scene with medical gloves on and running away from the murder scene. The gloves were recovered not far from the murder scene.

In a cut-throat murder case, Cedric Kiyago was found guilty of murder and is due to be sentenced on the 4th May 2018

Yasin was instructed by JSP Law Luton.




Michael Polak’s Article ‘The Jadhav Case & the Right to Consular Assistance: ‘Confessions’, Spies, and Remedies in International Law’ Published by the Indian Journal of International Law

Michael Polak’s article, , has been published by the Indian Journal of International Law.

The article considers the Jadhav Case between India and Pakistan which is to be heard by the International Court of Justice which concerns the trial of an alleged Indian spy before one of Pakistan’s notorious military courts and the death sentence which was passed without him being provided with access to his Consul as required by Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.  The article focusses on whether the remedies requested by India, that Pakistan be restrained from giving effect to the sentence and to annul the decision of the Military Court or if Pakistan is unable to do this, that the Court restrain Pakistan from giving effect to the sentence or convictions and to direct Pakistan to release Mr Jadhav are available under international law and whether these remedies are likely to be granted.

The article can be accessed here http://rdcu.be/JEID

Michael Polak is available to be instructed in International Law areas including human rights cases by contacting the clerks: clerks@ccc.chcdigital.com  Tel: +44 020 7936 3637



Success for Mike Fullerton and Chiara Maddocks following 8 week trial in Carbon Credit Fraud.

Carbon Credit acquittals; Mike Fullerton, leading Chiara Maddocks, obtained unanimous Acquittals on two counts alleging Conspiracy to Defraud and Conspiracy to Convert Criminal Property following an 8 week trial at Bristol Crown Court.

The trial concerned the sale of carbon credits to investors over a 4 year period and the use of commission derived from such investments. Despite expert evidence asserting otherwise and 240 witnesses in the prosecution case, the jury found there was no intent to defraud investors after reviewing a comprehensive array of exhibits including corporate records, audio recordings of calls to investors, numerous bank accounts and data downloaded from several computers and mobile phones. Five co-Defendants charged with one count were also acquitted.

Mike and Chiara were instructed by Ebenezer Madeinlo of Hanson Woods Solicitors, Ilford.

Michael Polak Speaks on International Law in Parliamentary Launch of Myanmar Report

On Thursday 15 March 2018, Michael Polak from Church Court Chambers’ international team appeared on a panel in a House of Commons Committee room put together for the launch of a report on the situation regarding the Rohingya in Myanmar, They Ran For Their Lives. Michael spoke about the international law on universal jurisdiction and immunities as well as the procedure in England and Wales for the commencement of prosecutions under the universal jurisdiction provisions in English law.

The event was hosted by Stephen Gethins MP, and Michael was joined on the panel by human rights activist Yvonne Ridley, head of the International Relief Organisation Mamdooh Badawi, and Myanmar expert Dr Maung Zarni.

Michael is available for instructions in international matters by contacting Church Court’s clerking team on clerks@ccc.chcdigital.com
or Tel:+44 (0)20 7936 3637.

Church Court Trio Spearhead Efforts to Bring Accountability for Situation in Myanmar

On Saturday evening, Lewis Power QC, Michael Polak, and Diana Constantinide of Church Court Chambers’ International Team were guests of honour at the Universal Peace Federation where they spoke about the situation in Myanmar and the Myanmar Inquiry, an independent mechanism which they are establishing in order to achieve justice and accountability for any international crimes committed in Myanmar in recent times.  The event was attended by community leaders, Rohingya activists, human rights champions, and media representatives.

The Myanmar Inquiry will consider whether there is prima facie evidence that international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes have been committed if it finds that there is such evidence, will consider the individual responsibility for the commission of these crimes under international law.

The outcomes of the Inquiry will be to:

  • produce a report identifying whether there is evidence of responsibility for international crimes based upon which any perpetrators could be brought to justice before international or domestic forums;
  • provide for the collection and preservation of evidence which could be provided to any tribunal or commission considering the situation in Myanmar;
  • provide a historical and legal record of what has occurred in Myanmar; and
  • provide educational material about the situation in Myanmar and the responsibility for that situation including both written records and a web stream of live hearings.

Further information about the Inquiry can be found at http://www.myanmarinquiry.co.uk/ 

A news broadcast of the evening is available here https://youtu.be/-b2eNDMTiH8


Yasin Patel instructed in Multi handed murder at the Old Bailey

Yasin Patel is currently instructed to defend Nathan Charles in a multi-defendant murder case being tried at the Central Criminal Court in Operation Nunton.   Following the murder of a man in Essex last year, Charles and three other defendants are on trial for the murder of Liam Harman.  The case is expected to last several weeks with the Prosecution alleging that the background to the murder is drugs and retribution.


Yasin Patel secures acquittal at the Old Bailey on high profile terrorism case

Yasin Patel’s client was acquitted at the Central Criminal Court on Friday 2nd March, as the jury in the high-profile terrorism case, Operation Osmoregulation, convicted all but one of the defendants of charges relating to preparatory acts of terrorism, dissemination of terrorist publications and collection of information. Heard before Mr. Justice Haddon-Cave, the jury listened to evidence of school-children being trained for fighting, ISIS supporters, videos of beheadings, travel to Syria and more. Those guilty of offences are due to be sentenced at the end of March. Further information can be obtained from …



Alex Balancy secures the acquittal of his professional celebrity cage fighter client after a 6-week trial.

Alex’s client was one of 10 defendants charged with conspiracy to supply cocaine in the High Wycombe area. Two other defendants were tried earlier and convicted of possession with intent to supply cocaine. Two of the 10 defendants pleaded guilty and the trial proceeded with the remaining 8 defendants. Alex’s client was only one of 4 found not guilty by the jury. There was a total of 150 witnesses and over 125,000 used pages. Alex was instructed by Sasha Sidhu and Sajid Mahmood at SVS Solicitors

Alex’s in the last few months successfully secured the acquittal of his clients in a series of very similar conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis trials in Croydon Crown Court and Woolwich Crown Court. This followed the successful acquittal of his client on a murder charge following a 4 weeks trial at the Old Bailey.

Chris Johnston secures acquittal at Old Bailey in GBH trial involving the use of a truck as a weapon.

Chris Johnston secures acquittal at Old Bailey in GBH trial involving the use of a truck as a weapon.

His client was accused of pushing his brother out of a moving truck causing the victim to cling onto the door as he drove down a residential road in broad daylight. With the truck travelling at 35 mph, he then mounted the pavement and drove at telegraph posts to try to seriously injure him. Witnesses described the events with a degree of horror as the vehicle was deliberately aimed for not one but two such posts whereby the victim struck one and collapsed in the gutter before the driver fled the scene at speed. The collision left the victim him with a large cut on his liver and other internal injuries, causing a lengthy stay in hospital and long-term harm. The jury acquitted the defendant not only of the more serious count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, but also of the lesser count of causing serious bodily harm by dangerous driving.

Chris was instructed by Mark Bonner of McQueens Solicitors

Success for Pamela Brain in Historic Abuse Case.

Pamela Brain instructed by Nayan Patel of JD Solicitors represented a 60 year old man of impeccable character in respect of historic sexual allegations involving multiple complainants. As a result of her cross examination of the complainants, she was able to make a successful application for all the counts to be dismissed at the close of the prosecution case. Formal Not Guilty verdicts were duly entered in respect of all charges.



After a hard fought six week trial at the Old Bailey, Kerim Fuad QC and Fiona McAddy’s client, DL was the only one of the 5 defendants to be acquitted of Murder & Manslaughter. DL was unanimously acquitted.

In what was one of his toughest cutthroat defences to date, Mr Fuad QC exposed the first 3 defendants’ lies, that their client DL was in the culprit car that went to the murder and whom was alleged by all to have played a lead part in the brutal and fatal knife attack on young Jermaine Goupall.

This was in spite of DL getting a text shortly before the murder saying;

“Get your nank we going 7.” 7 was a reference to “CR7” another part of Croydon with whom the gang who lived in “CRO” postcode had historical issues of taunting and violence.

Complex issues relating to a co-defendant’s bad character dominated the case, and Mr Fuad QC’s powerful and incisive cross examination based in part around the fruits of the application decimated the accounts of the co-defendants, and critically, augmented the Crown’s case against them.

Mr Fuad QC was the only silk to make a defence opening speech which firmly laid the foundation for their defence and took the sting out of the case against his client.

They were instructed by Tim Edwards of Edwards Vaziraney.

Amjad Malik QC successfully prosecutes wide reaching conspiracy

Amjad Malik QC successfully prosecuted in the trial of the remaining 4 defendants of an 18 defendant conspiracy which involved a wide-reaching conspiracy to supply wholesale quantities of high purity cocaine in the UK over a 6 month period in 2016.The supply involved men based in Oxford and the West Midlands, and Albanian Crime groups that were based in London. The national Co-ordinator of the conspiracy, Khalad Uddin, pleaded guilty and received a sentence of 16 years imprisonment.




George Hepburne Scott has been invited to lecture at the 2018 International Extradition Conference to be held in Sarnico, Italy in June 2018

George will join a panel of globally renowned academics and practitioners and deliver a lecture based on his article published on New Law Journal (Lexus Nexus UK) published in July 2017 https://www.newlawjournal.co.uk/content/dawn-new-era-extradition-law

 The lecture will focus on recent developments in the law surrounding s.2 of the Extradition Act 2003 since the landmark case of Palar v Court of First Instance, Brussels http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2005/915.html where George appeared as counsel for the requested person and set a precedent regarding the level of detail required to satisfy s.2 in accusation EAW’s that has been developed and refined ever since.

 Details of the lecture have also been published on the International Extradition Portal and can be viewed here http://internationalextradition.org/?p=549

 For more detailed information please contact the Clerks.


Yasin Patel achieves successful appeal in Fraud & Money Laundering Case

Appearing before Lord Justice Treacy at the Court of Appeal, Yasin Patel was successful in an Appeal Against Sentence in a Fraud and Money-Laundering Case. Appearing for one of the main defendants in this multi-million pound case, Mr. Patel argued that the sentence imposed upon his client was manifestly excessive and that it should be reduced.

The Court of Appeal agreed with the submissions made and a significantly reduced sentence of 2 years and 9 months was imposed upon the appellant.


Kerim Fuad QC wins another high profile trial

Mr Fuad QC represented the main defendant a Serco detention officer, Mr H, who was accused of very serious counts of rape and sexual assault of a female detainee at Yarlswood detention centre in Clapham, Bedfordshire.

In addition his client faced an allegation of misconduct in a public office.

In this high profile and complex trial Mr Fuad QC managed to thoroughly discredit the complainant’s account over two days by his incisive, sensitive but powerful cross examination.

The allegations had hung over his client who was of impeccable character for over 5 years.  His attention to detail and painstaking research into thousands of pages of material, comprising years of Serco and Home Office reports lead to a hugely focused and ultimately compelling cross examination of the complainant.

His trademark opening speech set the tone from which the crown’s case never truly recovered.

Kerim Fuad QC was leading Matthew Kirk instructed by Cartwright King Solicitors.

Michael Polak Succeeds in Human Rights Case against Prison for Failure to Provide Kosher Meals

Michael Polak, working alongside Shkar Kider of Kesar and Co Solicitors, successfully settled a human right claim against the Ministry of Justice which is responsible for the administration of HM Prison Parkhurst.  The claimant in this case is a long-serving prisoner who practises a strict adherence to a kosher diet and has been doing so since he was a child. Upon conviction, the claimant was held at a number of prisons where, after making his religious beliefs clear to the staff, he was provided with two kosher meals per day. When the claimant was transferred to HMP Parkhurst, despite telling staff about his religious dietary requirements, he was only provided with one kosher meal a day. This continued for the 13 months he was held at this institution. The claim was made under the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act 2010.

Robert Newcombe delivers lecture on Cyber crime to INN Group commercial and fraud specialist solicitors

Barrister Robert Newcombe of Church Court Chambers together with Tom Fairfax MD of SRM Solutions, gave a lecture entitled “Cyber Security and Cyber fraud: Trojan botnets, web-injects and mules” to solicitors (20 November 2017) of the INN Group at the City offices of law firm DAC Beachcroft.

Tom Fairfax has over 20 years experience as a cyber- security expert, having been Head of Operations at the British Army’s cyber warfare unit. He is Managing Director of Security Risk Management- SRM Solutions. In addition to cyber security advice and planning and implementation, SRM provides a computer / cyber forensic expert witness service in civil and criminal cases. SRM’s platforms for e-discovery and e-disclosure were of great interest to attendees.

Robert Newcombe gave a rapid-fire lecture on the law, types of offending and practical case management in the context of cyber crime prosecutions. These included examples of cases he has been instructed in, of cyber fraud, manufacture of malware and denials of service attacks, and a short discourse on the AML risks of Bitcoin and its similarities with Hawala banking. Instructed cases include the use of Trojan botnets to access compromised personal data in order to perpetrate frauds and the common law offence of conspiracy to defraud. RIPA notices under section 49 and the Computer Misuse Act offences were also covered, with a summary of sentencing policy in this area.

All enquiries regarding cyber crime instructions should be directed to Daniel Bartlett, Senior Clerk in chambers on 020 7936 3637, or d.bartlett@ccc.chcdigital.com.

Robert Newcombe Completes Complex Multi-handed Drugs Conspiracy where Police Utilized Services of Convicted Child Rapist as Informant XY

Robert Newcombe, barrister at Church Court Chambers, represented a defendant in Operation Emerald, (5 handed conspiracies to supply class A drugs). Two co-accused in this complex drugs conspiracy were also defendants in Operation Shelter.

A combined hearing for defendants of both operations took place before HHJ Moreland to determine whether the use by the police of a CHIS (Covert Human Intelligence Source) known as XY amounted to an abuse of the court process by bringing the administration of justice into disrepute. The hearing lasted for 4 weeks in the autumn of 2016. There were numerous complex issues for all parties to make submissions upon.

XY gave evidence and was cross-examined by Mr Newcombe (as leading junior counsel) and many other counsel in a court closed to the public (but with members of the press in attendance). The learned judge ruled in favour of the Crown. The trial of Operation Emerald then took place in the Spring of 2017 and resulted in a conviction and 15 year sentence for Mr Newcombe’s client.





Channel 4 News Reports on Michael Polak’s Client: Disappeared Barrister Arman (Ahmad Bin Quasem)

On Tuesday 28 November 2017 Channel 4 News reported on Michael Polak’s client, Mir Ahmad Bin Quasem, or Arman as he is known to friends and family.  Arman is a Bangladeshi barrister, also called to the Bar of England and Wales, who was representing his father before the International Crimes Tribunal when on 9  August 2016 he was abducted by Bangladeshi security forces in front of his wife, two young daughters, and his sister. He has been held incommunicado since.

 Michael is instructed by Arman’s family to fight for his release.

 The full Channel 4 news item can be found here https://www.channel4.com/news/tulip-siddiq-mp-and-niece-of-bangladesh-pm-asked-to-help-free-barrister-abducted-by-men-apparently-linked-to-government

 Michael Polak can be contacted by email (M.Polak@ChurchCourtChambers.co.uk) or by phone on +44 (0) 20 7936 3637



On 16th November 2017, in the case of District Court of Koszalin, Poland v Rafal Szpiec, heard at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, District Judge Inyundo discharged Mr Szpiec from the European Arrest Warrant that he faced. This was notwithstanding that it was a conviction warrant issued for Threats to Kill and multiple counts of Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm. The offences dated back to 2006 – 2008 and although Mr Szpiec, the Requested Person, was a fugitive, George argued that he had built a productive and blameless life in the UK since arriving here in 2008. Following powerful legal submissions, the District Judge agreed with George that to order extradition in this case would constitute a disproportionate interference in Mr Szpiec’s Article 8 rights to a private life. This was an incredible result given that (a) he was a fugitive, (b) it was a conviction warrant, and (c) he had a substantial custodial term of 18 months’ still outstanding.George continues to ruthlessly advance the interests of all of his clients to the fullest extent permissible within the law.

 George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors.


Kevin Molloy of Church Court Chambers has been ranked in 2018 edition of Chambers and Partners.

Furthermore, he has been invited onto the “Section 28 Local Implementation Committee” as the sole representative for the Independent Bar. The committee is headed by HHJ Warner and will oversee the implementation of recorded cross-examinations in vulnerable witness cases as envisaged by section 28 of The Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999.

The above committee will cover the roll-out of this new scheme in St Albans, Luton and Cambridge Crown Courts.

Success for George Hepburne Scott in the Administrative Court

The case of Polish Judicial Authority v MM was heard at the Administrative Court on 25th October 2017 before Sir Wyn Williams sitting as a High Court Judge. George Hepburne Scott appeared for the Appellant. Following submissions, the Court quashed the order for extradition made at Westminster Magistrates’ Court and ordered the Appellant’s discharge so she will not now be returned to serve the balance of her sentence for Attempted Murder. George mounted a powerful and persuasive Article 8 bar to extradition which ultimately succeeded and secured this young mothers’ release. The learned judge complimented both Counsel for the manner of their submissions.


George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors

Lewis Power QC secures Not Guilty Verdicts In Marital Rape Trial

At the Inner London Crown Court in the case of R v C, LPQC who was instructed on a privately funded basis by Rod Hayler of Old Bailey Solicitors, was successful in his submissions in persuading the Crown at trial to offer no evidence. After highlighting crucial inconsistencies in the disclosure process and in the disclosed material itself by way of an analysis of the served unused material, LPQC was able to make succinct representations to the Trial Judge who in turn asked the Crown to fully review their case. After a further review of the case and consultations with the CPS the Crown offered no evidence.

The case is particularly illustrative in just how important it is to serve a meaningful Defence Case Statement in a rape case where consent is the issue and accordingly how the disclosure process is triggered and utilised and scrutinised by the Defence.

Oliver Grimwood was called to the Bar of the Cayman Islands

Chambers International Law and Business Crime team continues to expand its reach.  Oliver Grimwood was called to the Bar of the Cayman Islands on the 4th of October 2017 by the Honourable Mr Justice Malcom QC.  The Jurisdiction is a one of the major international financial centres, 85% of all hedge funds are based here and it is the world’s fifth-largest banking centre.  Chambers impressive roster of Queen’s Counsel and Juniors in the Business Crime Team are able to advise on corporate economic crime in both jurisdictions, and represent clients in litigation before the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands both in the Financial Services, and Criminal Division

Myanmar: Genocide? The law

Michael Polak and Diana Constantinidou Deliver Genocide Lecture at the Universal Peace Federation

Last Thursday 28 September 2017 Michael Polak of Church Court Chambers and Diana Constantinidou of Strattonfield Chamber who is currently undertaking an international pupillage with Church Court Chambers delivered a well-received presentation at the Universal Peace Federation UK in Kensington. The lecture, which was presented to leaders of different minority groups, political and faith leaders, and those with an interest in the situation in Myanmar, covered the legal definitions and international criminal case law on Genocide as well as explaining the international and domestic legal and political avenues available for situations where it seems that genocide or international crimes may have been committed.

The event was hosted by:

Mr Robin Marsh, Secretary General of Universal Peace Federation UK and

Skeikh Hoja Ramzy, Director of Oxford Islamic Information Centre and Director of the Universal Peace Federation.

Diana and Michael are available for instructions in international law matters and have experience bringing cases before UN Mechanisms as well as media engagement in human rights campaigns. To instruct Diana and Michael please contact the clerks’ team by email: clerks@ccc.chcdigital.com or phone +44 (0)20 7936 3637

You can watch the discussion via the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8V9zMzFdVI&feature=youtu.be



Lewis Power QC succeeds in Murder Charge being dropped at Close of Prosecution Case

Lewis Power QC instructed by Rod Hayler of Old Bailey Solicitors represented a young 21 year old man “M”, at Hove Crown Court who was jointly charged with the murder of his close friend. The victim had been fatally stabbed.

At the close of the Crown’s case, a submission of no case to answer was successful and the murder charge was withdrawn from the Jury as against “M” only and a formal verdict of not guilty was entered.


AMJAD MALIK QC Spoke at BNP Paribas, London on October 5

Amjad Malik QC was invited to speak to an audience of over a 100 bankers at  BNP Paribas offices in London on the new Corporate offences of Failing to Prevent the facilitation of Tax evasion under the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

The City is calling on expert practitioners, such as Amjad Malik QC, to explain and apply the newest corporate economic crime legislation that impacts on the financial services they provide. Reasonable prevention procedures are required to be in place in order to meet the strict liability offences set out in the Act.

After explaining the offences, he then dealt with unseen questions from the audience, including the senior management of the Bank, which set out different factual scenarios and he provided clear answers as to how and whether the offences applied. The audience were pleased to see and hear an expert criminal QC dealing with these offences outside of the court arena.


Kerim Fuad QC succeeds in university rape case.

Mr Fuad QC, Head of Church Court Chambers represented a young man accused of the rape of a fellow University student. After a trademark opening speech by Mr Fuad QC, straight after the crown’s opening, and his meticulous cross examination (which was praised by the Judge for its sensitivity) Mr Fuad QC exposed the complainant’s account.

Mr Fuad QC’s client who was a young man of impeccable good character, had given a complete and consistent account from the moment of his arrest that all sexual contact was consensual. He could not have assisted the investigation more.

Unusually and a first for the very experienced trial Judge, the trial did not even get to half time as the crown in the exceptional circumstances of this case, simply had no choice but to offer no evidence after the cross examimation had concluded. The Judge directed the jury who happily found him not guilty.

Mr Fuad QC complimented his opponent in open court for the sensible decision he initiated, making plain how important it is that the independent Bar prosecute these sensetive and complex matters. Mr Fuad QC was instructed by Steve Halloran of Lawtons Solicitors.


George Hepburne Scott has been instructed to represent Michael Herba the Polish national who is alleged to have been involved in the kidnapping of English model Chloe Ayling in Italy. Mr Herba was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant issued by the Italian authorities. The Extradition Hearing is due to take place in due course at Westminster Magistrates’ Court. This case has attracted massive national and international press attention.

George is instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors. Please contact Dan Bartlett or Rod McGurk for more details. See below for some of the national and international publicity surrounding the case.













Robert Newcombe Completes Complex Multi-handed Drugs Conspiracy where Police Utilized Services of Convicted Child Rapist as Informant XY

Robert Newcombe, barrister at Church Court Chambers, represented a defendant in Operation Emerald, (5 handed conspiracies to supply class A drugs). Two co-accused in this complex drugs conspiracy were also defendants in Operation Shelter.

A combined hearing for defendants of both operations took place before HHJ Moreland to determine whether the use by the police of a CHIS (Covert Human Intelligence Source) known as XY amounted to an abuse of the court process by bringing the administration of justice into disrepute. The hearing lasted for 4 weeks in the autumn of 2016. There were numerous complex issues for all parties to make submissions upon.

XY gave evidence and was cross-examined by Mr Newcombe (as leading junior counsel) and many other counsel in a court closed to the public (but with members of the press in attendance). The learned judge ruled in favour of the Crown. The trial of Operation Emerald then took place in the Spring of 2017 and resulted in a conviction and 15 year sentence for Mr Newcombe’s client.









Successful Appeal by Robert Newcombe leads to 10 years Imprisonment for False Rape Accuser

Robert Newcombe, barrister at Church Court Chambers, succeeded in his application to the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) to quash the conviction for rape of Mahad Cassim. Mr Cassim had been convicted of raping Jemma Beale after giving her a lift in his car. The matter has been sub judice since 2014.

In a highly unusual decision of the Court of Appeal, Mr Cassim had been granted bail pending appeal. He had served over two years of a 7 year sentence.

The appeal against conviction was timetabled as a “fresh evidence” appeal with numerous witnesses in July 2015. Shortly before the Appeal presided over by Davis LJ, the Crown conceded and agreed with defence submissions that Mr Cassim’s conviction was unsafe.

After Mr Cassim’s conviction was quashed Ms Beale was charged with perjury and other offences against public justice on the basis of evidence which had been uncovered by a police investigation. She was eventually convicted at Southwark Crown Court in the summer of 2017 and received a sentence of imprisonment for 10 years.

Robert Newcombe was tirelessly assisted by Neena Baba, Solicitor, Central Law Practice, Wembley having both represented Mr Cassim at trial and the Appeal against conviction, and Chiara Maddocks, Barrister, at Church Court Chambers.










Colin Witcher secures dramatic rape acquittal in less than an hour.

Colin Witcher represented Mr X who faced an allegation of rape: the Jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty after a six day re-trial within less than an hour of deliberations.

The allegation was that at a house party Mr X had entered the bedroom where the complainant was sleeping and raped her. The complainant awoke and in fear was unable to stop the defendant who was older, bigger and much stronger. The complainant left the bedroom and reported the alleged rape to her friend immediately, thereafter leaving the house party and reporting the rape to another friend before repeating the allegation to the police.

It was the defence case that the entire allegation was invented; not simply the act of rape but even the act of sex. Mr X denied entering the bedroom, yet alone touching sexually the complainant. The Crown however called evidence from the defendant’s then girlfriend who alleged Mr X had confessed to having sex at the house party, which Mr X denied was true. The motive for the false allegation was unclear; Mr X had only met the complainant that evening.

Counsel was instructed by Mel Kelemework of ABV Solicitors


George Hepburne Scott wins three High Court Extradition Appeals in a row:

Roman Kolodziejczyk v Poland – This was a case involving a conviction for Murder. Following George’s successful legal argument surrounding Article 13 of the European Council Framework Decision the Appeal was allowed and the Appellant released.

Marek Jaworski v Poland – This was a case involving an allegation of £multi-million fraud. The High Court discharged the Appellant following successful legal argument from George on s.2, s.14, s.21 of the Extradition Act 2003 and Article 8 of the ECHR.

Vidmantas Michelebertas v Republic of Lithuania – This was a case involving a Robbery conviction from Lithuania. Following successful legal arguments from George Hebpurne Scott, the High Court upheld the appeal and the Appellant was released. 

George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co in all three appeals. Please contact Dan Bartlett or Rod McGurk for more details.

Kevin Molloy secures unanimous not guilty verdicts on all counts in historic sex case.

R v J

Kevin Molloy secures unanimous not guilty verdicts on all counts in historic sex case at Luton Crown Court.

The complainants in the case were considered vulnerable and one gave her evidence through an intermediary. All the prosecution witnesses opted to give their evidence via a video link. To add to the complexity of the case the defendant himself required an interpreter throughout.

The trial lasted 5 days and the jury took 3 hours to reach verdicts on all counts

The Criminal Bar Quarterly Reports on the Efforts to Free Michael Polak’s client, Abducted Barrister Mr Ahmad Bin Quasem

The Summer Edition of the Criminal Bar Association’s Criminal Bar Quarterly reports on Michael Polak’s work advocating for the release of Bangladeshi Barrister Ahmad Bin Quasem.  Ahmad was abducted by state security forces in August 2016 and has been held incommunicado since then. The article, written by fraud and serious crime heavyweight barrister Kevin Dent, explains the circumstances under which Ahmad was seized as well as work being done on behalf of Mr Bin Quasem including Michael‘s travels to Bangladesh to press for his release.  The article is available here CBQSummer2017 Ahmad Bin Quasem

Michael Polak can be contacted by email:  M.Polak@ChurchCourtChambers.co.uk


Yasin Patel was one of 3 main speakers at an International Sports Law Conference held in Colombo

On the 13th August Yasin Patel was one of 3 main speakers at an International Sports Law Conference held in Colombo. Along with Dr Shiromi De Alwis, an eminent IAAF Panel Education and Testing Doctor and Justice Suresh Chandra, presentations were given on anti-doping and sports.

Yasin spoke about the WADA, its Code, the Court of Arbitration for Sports  and important recent authorities and cases in various sports. Attendees included Lawyers and distuniguished guests from all over the World including England, Australia, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Caribbean, New Zealand and other countries.

Lewis Power QC Secures Acquittal in University Rape Case.

Lewis Power QC, instructed by Gerard Maye of Gerard Maye Legal, Brighton, represented a young University Student at Hove Crown Court charged with Rape and Sexual Assault. Central to this case were issues of Consent and Self-Induced Intoxication involving both alcohol and drugs. The Jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty on both counts within 1 hour of being sent out.


Lewis Power QC secures Unanimous Acquittal In Modern Day Slavery Trial

The case at Guildford Crown Court R v C involved allegations of slavery, servitude and forced labour.

Following a multi-agency operation, Patrick Cash, 38, of Glaziers Lane, Normandy, was charged on December, 20 (2016) with holding a person in slavery.

The jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict after a 7 day trial. Lewis Power was instructed by Andrew Smith at SBS Solicitors


Chambers are delighted to welcome Amjad Malik QC to our Business Crime Group.

Mr Malik QC is a highly respected Queen’s Counsel ranked in both Chambers and Partners and Legal 500. He is known as being at the forefront in the field of fraud, corruption and commercial crime.

 Head of Chambers Kerim Fuad QC observes “we are delighted that Amjad Malik QC has joined our growing Silks’ Team bringing added depth to our Business Crime Group. He is a highly regarded Silk with experience at the highest level in both Prosecution and Defence work. He is a much welcomed addition to team Church Court”  

Mr Malik QC demonstrates a multi disciplinary skill set encompassing civil, commercial and criminal expertise. He is continuously instructed in the most complex and important of cases, being sought after by solicitors because of his stylish, persuasive advocacy. Mr Malik QC represents financial clients in large, high priority and critical cases which involve high profile and complex investigations. He represented JM in the landmark proceeds of crime case, Anwoir, Meghrabi and others (Operations Raphis and Aloof),  KM in R v SB and others (Operation Vex) a £95m MTIC fraud and RM in R v Miah and others 2015 representing directors in an international Money laundering enterprise. He further advises a number of organisations including Charities and banks with regard areas of compliance.

 Mr Malik QC also executes a regulatory and civil expertise when appearing before specialist regulatory tribunals including the General Medical Council; the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Healthcare Professionals Council. He also has wide experience of many aspects of mental health law. His practice encompasses many areas in which this specialism is important, for example, the Court of Protection and inquiries.

 For further information on Mr Malik QC or our Business Crime Group please not hesitate to contact Chambers Senior Clerk Daniel Bartlett or our Practice Manager Rod McGurk


Kerim Fuad QC and Colin Witcher secure back-to-back murder acquittals

Following Mr Fuad QC‘s and Mr Witcher‘s recent acquittal at Kingston Crown Court for Attempted Murder in the case of R v LF, both Counsel were reunited again, instructed by the same solicitors to defend in a case of Murder, this time before HHJ Bevan QC at the Central Criminal Court.  The victim had been stabbed at least 12 times in a senseless act of gratuitous violence; the motive inferred as revenge for the victim having dared “mess with the wrong people”.  The defendant, K.M, an accepted road related (gang related) young man, was the owner of the car that carried the killers to the scene; the number plate having been noted down by an off duty police officer. The defendant was later positively identified on an ID procedure by an independent eye witness as being one of the two killers. When arrested the defendant’s face was half burnt – the car carrying the killers had been set on fire. Further, the defendant’s phone had ceased all contact with the co-defendant after the time of the murder.

The jury acquitted K.M after the evidence, although seemingly compelling on its face, had been carefully dissected by the defence.

The co-defendant was convicted of Murder and was sentenced to a life imprisonment with a minimum term of 26 years.

Michael Polak Succeeds in Private Prosecution

Michael Polak has succeeded in a private prosecution for Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm where the defendant was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work, ordered to pay compensation, and a costs order was made in the complainant’s favour. This case concerned a violent incident whereby a taxi driver assaulted his neighbour by striking him to the eye and kicking him to the floor because the neighbour had parked in a communal parking spot that the defendant had marked as his taxi spot. The defendant in this case had been cautioned by the police despite the complainant not agreeing to this course of action. The complainant suffers problems with his vision caused by the attack.

Michael Polak was instructed in this case from its inception, advising on the charge, assisting with the laying of the information, and making written submissions to the court for a summons to be issued. The prosecution also included extensive written submissions to the CPS not to take over the prosecution and discontinue it as well as a full day abuse of process hearing.  Michael’s lay client was very pleased with the results of the case after feeling that the authorities had failed him following the attack.

Michael was instructed by Mr Bassam Tablieh of John Street Solicitors.

Michael Polak is available to provide advice and representation for private prosecutions.


Miss Manley’s client Miss X had pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited firearm contrary to section 5 (1) (aba) of the The Firearms Act 1968.

This offence carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years.

On the 3 July 2017 at Croydon Crown Court Miss Manley mitigated on the basis that the circumstances of the offender were such that the Judge could take the wholly exceptional course of imposing a suspended sentence.

The co-defendant was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment

Lesley Manley was instructed by DEXTER HENRY SOLICITORS

Extradition success for George Hepburne Scott in the High Court

Appearing before Garnham J in the Administrative Court,on 11th July 2017, following legal submissions, George Hepburne Scott was granted permission to proceed to a full appeal of an Extradition Order made by Westminster Magistrates’ Court. 

 The case of Michelebertas v Lithuania will now proceed to a full Appeal Hearing before the High Court on a date to be notified. The legal argument revolves around the proportionality of the extradition in relation to rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

 George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co, any queries should be directed towards, Daniel Bartlett, Senior Clerk or Rod McGurk, Practice Director.’


Michael Polak’s Letter about Bangladesh’s Disappeared Published by the Guardian

Michael Polak who is instructed in the case of Ahmad bin Quasem, a Bangladeshi Barrister abducted by the security services in August 2016 has had a letter published by the Guardian calling on the Government of Bangladesh to do more to end enforced disappearances which are prevalent in Bangladesh and to free his client.  See here.

Further information about the case can be found here.

Michael, who also has experience working with cases involving the Middle East and Belarus as well as in South Africa and Cambodia, can be instructed in international human rights matters by contacting our clerking team.


George Hepburne Scott – Success in the Court of Appeal on 27th June 2017

On 27th June 2017, George appeared before Full Court of Appeal – constituted by Flaux LJ,  Royce J, and Cheema-Grubb J and succeeded in persuading the Court that his client,  Andrew Ward’s sentence was ‘manifestly excessive‘.

The sentence was then reduced from 4 years to 3 years. George had argued for a further reduction when the Court told him what it had in mind but no further reduction was granted.

No further details are released due to Reporting Restrictions that are in place; this was a highly sensitive case.

Any queries can be directed to the Senior Clerk, Daniel Bartlett or Rod McGurk Practice Director

Success for George Hepburne Scott in the High Court

On 23 May George Hepburne Scott was granted permission to appeal an Extradition Order that had been made at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.  His client is a 52 year old woman who was unrepresented at Westminster. George appeared at the appeal hearing before Sir Ross Cranston sitting as a High Court judge and, following obviously persuasive submissions, was granted permission to appeal on the grounds that the judge agreed that it was reasonably arguable that there were ‘less coercive measures available’ to the requesting state, pursuant to section 21A(1)(c)(3) of the Extradition Act 2003. The case will now proceed to a full appeal hearing before the Administrative Court. George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co Solicitors.

Acquittal for Yasin Patel on £80m fraud / money laundering.

Success for Yasin Patel following 6 week trial at Southwark crown Court.  Yasin defended Ketan Varma one of  only two defendants acquitted on all main charges in this 10 handed case involving fraud and money laundering to the value of £80m.


Yasin was instructed by BH Mohammed Solicitors in Birmingham.

George Hepburne Scott successfully prosecutes stabbing gang at Woolwich Crown Court:

Following a 3 week trial, on 28 April a jury at Woolwich Crown Court returned verdicts of guilty against 4 fifteen year old defendants who had attacked 3 Afghan asylum seekers with knives in South East London one of whom was rushed to hospital by air ambulance and underwent emergency surgery. The attack which had taken place in a residential street in broad daylight in May 2016 and followed months of abuse by the gang.  The defendants had all contested their guilt throughout the trial but all we’re convicted by the jury.

The prosecution team was led by George Hepburne Scott who was instructed by CPS Headquarters, London. Sentencing was adjourned to 26 May.

Krystelle Wass successfully prevents client deportation pending Judicial Review

Krystelle Wass successful over the weekend in an emergency telephone injunction to stop removal from the United Kingdom. The Applicant was due to be removed at 8am on Bank Holiday Monday following the refusal of the Secretary of State for the Home Department to defer removal until the Applicants outstanding Judcial Review had been determined. Krystelle was instructed by Mr Al Mamun from Syed Shaheen and Partners

Chambers Welcome Three New Tenants

Church Court Chambers are delighted to welcome Patrick Canessa, Yasin Patel and Alex Tinsley.

Patrick Canessa joins our crime, international and military law teams and brings a wealth of experience from his continuing practice in Gibraltar .

Yasin Patel brings a wealth of experience in serious crime, sports, extradition and regulatory law.

Alex Tinsley joins following a successful pupillage with Chambers.  Alex joins our crime, extradition, international and immigration teams and is a recognised expert in Interpol matters.


Success for Pamela Brain

On the 7th April 2017 after a trial which lasted 5 days during which 2 complainants alleged extremely serious sexual misconduct against the defendant (a man aged 48 and of good character) the jury found the defendant not guilty of all counts on the indictment.

The trial required extremely able and sensitive cross examination of both complainants in a case that was fraught emotion because of the gravity of the case.

Pamela Brain was instructed by Paul Watson of Paul J Watson Solicitors. An award winning solicitor who has recently been honoured for his pro bono work by The Law Society.


Mizan Abdulrouf is speaking on the issues surrounding of Forced Marriage and capacity to consent – 27th April

Mizan Abdulrouf is speaking at a seminar being held at the London Muslim Centre on the issues surrounding of Forced Marriage and capacity to consent.  Exploring the consequences of forced marriages amongst adults with disabilities. Other guest speakers include Lord Justice McFarlane, and experts from the Local Authority disability teams.

For ticket information please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/forced-marriage-and-capacity-to-consent-tickets-33623415541?aff=eac2  

Lewis Power QC enjoys Judicial Review success in the Northern Ireland Divisional Court

The case of Martin O’Neill concerned the challenge of a Magistrates Court’s decision to grant two search warrants upon application by HMRC together with the lawfulness of the entry and search effected by HMRC of the same. Mr Power QC was praised by Lord Justice Gillen for the industry displayed and the presentation of his oral submissions. The challenge was successful.

This important decision of the Court crystallised the correct information that should be presented to Magistrates’ before the granting of search warrants in addition to emphasising the close scrutiny that must be applied by the Judiciary upon considering any such application. Further, the Judgment identified the importance of paying close attention to the drafting and structure of search warrants to ensure that the warrant does not fall foul of the law due to the lack of clarity.

This case is now the leading authority on this often controversial area of law.

Mr Power QC appeared together with Mr Sayers of Counsel instructed by Eric Williams of Cobleys in Liverpool

Lewis Power QC secures acquittal on 3 month Money Laundering trial

Lewis Power QC after a 3 month long trial at Southwark Crown Court secures a unanimous acquittal in this multi-Million pound alleged Italian Mafia linked Bureau de Change Money laundering case Lewis who was instructed by Gerard Maye of Gerard Maye Legal  in this internationally based complex fraud  case successfully ran a defence  of duress in the trial. The Bureau had laundered an estimated £53 Million in the course of this criminal enterprise.

Link ishttp://courtnewsuk.co.uk/mafia-gang-laundered-cash-bureau-de-change/

Kerim Fuad QC and Colin Witcher secure acquittal in sensitive and unusual Attempted Murder case.

Kerim Fuad QC, Head of Church Court Chambers, and Colin Witcher were instructed on behalf of the defendant in an unusual case where the victim was stabbed repeatedly following a heated exchange over a trivial parking matter.  The allegation was that the defendant, having had a fight with the victim on his doorstep, retreated to his house and retrieved a kitchen knife. After a few moments he was then captured on CCTV running through the cul-de-sac where both parties lived. Whilst the victim was sat in his car, unarmed, trapped by his seatbelt and sitting next to his partner, the defendant stabbed repeatedly through the open window, causing “devastating and life changing injuries.”

The case was unusual in that the defendant’s evidence was that he simply could not remember what had happened – one moment he was at his front door with the victim, the next he was standing with a knife with people screaming at him that he had stabbed someone.  The Crown argued that there was a clear intent to kill in that the defendant had said, as he went to get the kitchen knife; “Just watch what is going to happen next.” He then plunged the knife repeatedly into the victim and had told officers soon afterwards that he “had seen red mist”. He also made other unhelpful remarks noted by police officers.  By good fortune and the commendable work of paramedics the victim survived, albeit being in a coma and sustaining life changing injuries. He spent many months in hospital.  The added complexity to the case was that the defendant’s previous firm of solicitors withdrew having unusually breached legal privilege. As such the entire former legal team withdrew only a few days before the trial was scheduled to commence.  The Learned Judge, HHJ Dodgson recognised that this unusual case deserved the attention of Queen’s Counsel – Kerim Fuad QC and Colin Witcher were instructed. The trial had in the first instance to be adjourned in October 2016 and the jury discharged, Counsel rightly not being satisfied that the case had been fully prepared by the original legal team and that critical matters of disclosure remained outstanding. The trial then took place this week and after a five day trial the jury took only an hour and a half to unanimously find the defendant “not guilty” of Attempted Murder.

Kerim Fuad QC took the decision to make a robust and persuasive opening speech which helped quell much of the fire of prosecution counsel’s speech.

The defendant had earlier pleaded guilty to section 18.


ITV: http://www.itv.com/news/london/2017-03-15/knifeman-jailed-for-frenzied-attack-on-his-neighbour-in-trivial-parking-space-row/

Standard: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/jailed-for-five-years-thug-whose-frenzied-knife-attack-left-neighbour-in-coma-a3489841.html

Counsel were instructed by Karmenah Vaziraney, Partner at Edwards Vaziraney

Michael Polak is Guest Speaker on Inspire FM on Missing Barrister Ahmad Bin Quasem

Michael Polak spoke as a guest on Attiq Malik’s Inspire FM show ‘Ask Your Lawyer’ about the case of Ahmad Bin Quasem, a Bangladeshi barrister who was abducted by government forces in August 2016 and held incommunicado since then. The radio show recording from 27 February 2017 can be found here http://www.inspirefm.org/32/33/ask-your-lawyer and further information about Mr Bin Quasem’s case is available here, here,  and here Michael can be contacted in regards to this case in Chambers on +44 (0) 20 7936 3637 or by email m.polak@ccc.chcdigital.com


Colin Witcher negotiates HMRC settlement

Mr Witcher orginally represented the defendant in respect to drug matters before the Crown Court (thereafter acting succesfully in the Court of Appeal). Those proceedings gave rise to numerous restraint and confiscation issues. Following the same, and the return to the defendant of signifcant restrained assets, HMRC carried out a retrospective tax enquiry, declaring that almost £200,000 had been earned and upon which no tax had been paid. Mr Witcher, recognised for his expertise in financial and buisness crime, was instructed to secure a settlement with HMRC. Mr Witcher took conduct of negotiations with HMRC and in due course following representations and meetings, HMRC agreed that the tax liability was closer to £10,000 and that the penalty would be settled by way of minimal interest. This latest favourable result concluded this long running case for the defendant. Counsel was privately instructed by TIna Donoghue of Powell Spencer and Partners, London.

Success in the High Court for George Hepburne Scott on emergency injunction application

Following an emergency application by George Hepburne Scott on behalf of his Romanian client, on 6 March 2017 Mrs Justice Lang DBE grated an injunction preventing the extradition of M.F. a Romanian national whose extradition had previously been ordered. A previous High Court appeal had been dismissed but due to further cases of breaches of Romanian state assurances re prison conditions, George saw new grounds of appeal and applied (a) to re-open the appeal and (b) for an injunction preventing the extradition. The extradition was scheduled for 7 March 2017 so the application was urgent. The extradition has now been stayed pending the new Application to re-open the appeal. The clients’ reaction was ‘Are you a magician?’ George was instructed by Magdalena Motyl of Bark & Co.


Acquittal for Lesley Manley representing security guard at Kingston Crown Court.

Lesley Manley represented a security guard accused of sexually assaulting a female customer at the store. The security guard was a family man of good character whose future career was in jeopardy. He maintained the offence was deliberately fabricated against him as he had apprehended the customer stealing.

He was found not guilty by the jury and a defendant’s cost order was made.

Lesley Manley was instructed by Mel Kelemework of ABV Solicitors.


Kerim Fuad QC, Leader of the South Eastern Circuit and Head of Church Court Chambers attends Family Law Bar Association dinner with Joanna Toch, Head of Church Court’s Family team.

On Friday 24th February, at a packed Middle Temple Hall, the Lord Chief Justice gave a supportive speech for all the great work that is done and the crucial role that Family law barristers play in the justice system.

Kerim was delighted to be invited as one of the guests and to meet the Chair, Philip Marshall QC and Vice Chair, Frances Judd QC.

He will ensure that there are stronger links between the Criminal and Family Bar as they both play such a pivotal and often unsung role in society.

UN expert group urges Bangladesh to stop enforced disappearances and to reveal whereabouts of Michael Polak’s client Mr Ahmad Bin Quasem

On 24 February 2017 the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances called on Bangladesh to ‘act now to halt an increasing number of enforced disappearances in the country’ and to immediately reveal the whereabouts of Michael’s client Mr Bin Quasem. The Working Ground also called for the Bangladeshi Government to reveal the whereabouts of fellow detainees Humam Chowdhury and Brigadier General Al Azmi. (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21220&LangID=E) The Working Group’s message was endorsed by the UN Special Rapporteur on: torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.

Mr Ahmad Bin Quasem is a Bangladeshi barrister, who has also been called to the Bar of England and Wales.  He was representing his father before the International Crimes Tribunal, a tribunal set up by the ruling party in Bangladesh to try crimes allegedly committed during the Bangladesh Liberation War. The ICT has been widely criticised internationally including by groups such as Amnesty International[1], Human Rights Watch[2], as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,[3] and in the independent report prepared by Geoffrey Robertson QC.[4]

Michael Polak has been instructed by Mr Bin Quasem’s family to push for his release since September 2016. Michael’s work on this case has included political representations to the UK Government and EU institutions, submissions to the United Nation’s Human Rights bodies, and communicating with both the international and domestic press. Michael also travelled to Bangladesh in November 2016 to meet with the international diplomatic community on this matter.

The welcomed intervention by the Working Group and Special Rapporteurs follows communications to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights made by Michael in September 2016. It also adds to a chorus of voices calling for the release of Mr Bin Quasem including MP Shabana Mahmood who raised the matter in a written Parliamentary question answered on 30 January 2017 by Mr Alok Sharma MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.[5]

The European Union’s EEAS has also raised the issue of enforced disappearances with Bangladesh[1] as has Amnesty International[2], Human Right Watch[3], The Bar Council and Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales[4], and individual members of the English Bar.[5]

Michael Polak can be contacted by email (m.polak@churchcourthchambers.co.uk) or by phone in Chambers (+44 020 7936 3637)


[2] https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa13/4935/2016/en/

[3] https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/10/12/bangladesh-end-arbitrary-and-secret-arrests

[4] http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/bhrc-and-bar-council-raise-concerns-over-abduction-of-bangladeshi-lawyer/

[5] https://www.5sah.co.uk/news-and-events/articles/2017-01-30/kevin-dent-discusses-a-lawyers-right-to-freely-represent-their-client-whilst-examining-the-case-of-abducted-barrister-ahmad-bin-quasem

[1] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/08/bangladesh-halt-execution-of-quasem-ali/

[2] https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/11/20/bangladesh-halt-imminent-war-crimes-executions

[3] http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=54746#.V_o4gIWcF1w

[4] http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/REPORT-ON-THE-INTERNATIONAL-CRIMES-TRIBUNAL-OF-BANGLADESH.pdf

[5] http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-questions-answers/?page=1&max=20&questiontype=AllQuestions&house=commons%2clords&member=3914

[1] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/08/bangladesh-halt-execution-of-quasem-ali/

[2] https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/11/20/bangladesh-halt-imminent-war-crimes-executions

[3] http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=54746#.V_o4gIWcF1w

[4] http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/REPORT-ON-THE-INTERNATIONAL-CRIMES-TRIBUNAL-OF-BANGLADESH.pdf

[5] http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-questions-answers/?page=1&max=20&questiontype=AllQuestions&house=commons%2clords&member=3914


[7] https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa13/4935/2016/en/

[8] https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/10/12/bangladesh-end-arbitrary-and-secret-arrests

[9] http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/bhrc-and-bar-council-raise-concerns-over-abduction-of-bangladeshi-lawyer/

[10] https://www.5sah.co.uk/news-and-events/articles/2017-01-30/kevin-dent-discusses-a-lawyers-right-to-freely-represent-their-client-whilst-examining-the-case-of-abducted-barrister-ahmad-bin-quasem

Michael Polak Obtains Not Guilty Verdict in GBH Trial at Northampton Crown Court

Michael Polak of Church Court Chambers successfully secured an acquittal for his client who was charged with GBH after a lengthy trial at Northampton Crown Court. The prosecution’s case was that there was an assault by three young men on an older man who had challenged their friends for making noise at night. Michael successfully advanced the defence of self-defence before the jury who unanimously found his defendant not guilty.

Michael was instructed by Mr. Chris Bennett of Bennett & Co Solicitors. Michael is available to be instructed in both legally aided and privately funded criminal matters.


Chris Johnston secures reduced sentence for deaf client at Court of Appeal

Following a refusal of leave to appeal sentence from the single judge, an application for leave to appeal sentence was lodged before the full court where counsel appeared pro bono. The case concerned a profoundly deaf defendant who had been sentenced in a conspiracy to defraud the DWP, aligned with a similar separate conspiracy to defraud the DWP with members of his own family. The client was the financial officer of a deaf interpreter organisation, which was run fraudulently by his employer and his employer’s wife. The amount defrauded from the DWP was approximately £645, 000 and his own separate fraud netted £72,000. The court granted leave to appeal and moved to grant the appeal against sentence in the absence of the appellant. The sentence of 40 months’ imprisonment for Chris Johnston‘s client was reduced to 30 months to reflect the unique difficulties faced by prisoners who are profoundly deaf, which were more acutely evident by the time of the appeal. This was the only successful sentence appeal following the trial of several defendants in the same case.

Colin Witcher to present keynote address in Seattle, USA at 30th Anniversary Inn Celebrations

Colin Witcher of Chambers’ Crime and Regulatory Team travels to Seattle on the 22nd February 2017 to present a keynote address at the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Hon. Robert J. Bryan American Inn of Court.  Whilst there Colin shall also be the guest of local Judges and lawyers, and will observe Court proceedings in addition to receiving warm hospitality from Members of the Inn.

2017 marks the 30 year anniversary of the United States Supreme Court case Batson v. Kentucky 476 U.S. 79 (1986), which held that racial discrimination in the selection of jurors not only deprives the accused of important rights during a trial, but also is devastating to the community at large because it undermines public confidence in the fairness of the system of justice. It is that decision and the racial composition of juries that forms the subject of the Anniversary Lecture of the Hon. Robert J. Bryan American Inn of Court.

In contrast to the selection process for American juries, Colin shall present a short paper on the selection of jurors in England and Wales outlining the Court’s approach to concerns as to racial composition. To that end, it has been suggested that there should be a principle that the jury consists partly or wholly of members of the same ethnicity as the defendant. However, it is thought that such a principle cannot be correct, for it would depend on an underlying premise that jurors of a particular racial origin or holding particular religious beliefs are incapable of giving an impartial verdict in accordance with the evidence. Accordingly, the law provides that “fairness” is achieved by the principle of random selection of juries.

Kevin Molloy secures manslaughter acquittal

Kevin Molloy secured the acquittal of the defendant Gearty who had been charged with Gross Negligence Manslaughter. The case attracted notoriety as it involved the treatment of the deceased, a drug addict with the unlicensed drug ibogaine.  The case involved the cross-examination of many experts, one of whom gave evidence via video-link from Miami. Kevin was instructed by Lawtons Solicitors and was led by Max Hill QC

Pupillage Update

Church Court Chambers intends to recruit in May 2017 for two 12 month pupillages, one to commence in October 2017 and one in April 2018.

In May 2018 we intend to recruit again for pupils to start in 2018 and 2019.

Please refer back to our website in May 2017 for details of the application process. To that end, all applications shall be fully compliant with the BSB regulations and shall be by way of application form followed by two interview rounds.

We welcome third six applications at any time by way of covering letter and CV.

Foreign Policy Reports on Problem of Enforced Disappearances in Bangladesh Quoting Church Court’s Michael Polak

Well-regarded international affairs journal Foreign Policy has run a feature article on the problem of enforced disappearances in Bangladesh and how they are being used against the political opposition by the Government.  The article which can be read here reports on the case of Mr Ahmad Bin Quasem, a Bangladeshi barrister who was abducted by Government forces whilst defending his father at the internationally maligned International Crimes Tribunal in Dhaka.  Michael Polak of Church Court Chambers is instructed by Mr Bin Quasem’s family to fight for his release.  This work has included travelling to Bangladesh to make representations to the international diplomatic community, meeting with Ministers of the British and European Parliaments to discuss the case, submitting international legal communications to the UN bodies, and liaising with the press to ensure that this matter is publicised.


Michael Polak of Church Court Presents Guest Lecture at Brunel University

Michael presented a guest lecture on Criminal Law and the Exclusion of Evidence at Brunel University on 30 January 2017. Michael was invited to present this lecture by Brunel University because in his criminal practice he specialises in applications to exclude evidence under PACE 1984 and its associated codes as well as for reasons of unfairness and breaches of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Michael is available in criminal, public law, and international matters and to deliver lectures for firms, NGOs, and other organisations.


Sexual Assault Acquittal Result for Pamela Brain

Pamela Brain has successfully defended a 21 year old man on a charge of sexual assault. The Defendant had no previous convictions of a sexual nature. After two days of evidence at Kingston Crown Court, the jury returned a unanimous verdict acquitting the Defendant on the single count. The Recorder thanked Ms Brain for her assistance and careful approach to the case, which involved cross examination of the Complainant behind a screen as well as CCTV footage.    Pamela was instructed by Duncan Frost of Foxes Solicitors, Bromley.


Pamela Brain secures consecutive acquittals in two separate cases

Pamela Brain secured an acquittal of 12 counts following an eight day trial at Woolwich Crown Court. The charges related to allegations of historical sexual assaults and rape made by three complainants from the defendant’s family between 1968 and 2012. Ms Brain was able to successfully challenge the accounts of the complainants. The Prosecution later dropped the case on two further counts.

Ms Brain was instructed by Christina Vernon of McQueens Solicitors http://www.mcqsolicitors.co.uk/

Pamela Brain also secured an acquittal of 13 counts at Luton Crown Court following a five day trial concerning historic allegations of indecent assault and buggery. This case concerned allegations made by four complainants in the defendant’s family, dating from 1971 to 1977.

One of the challenges in this case was the admission that virtually all members of the wider family had themselves suffered sexual abuse by family members, as children. Ms Brain’s sensitive cross examination of each complainant successfully raised doubt as to the accuracy of their recollection, resulting in the prosecution offering no evidence in relation to one multiple count at an early stage.

Ms Brain was instructed by Angie Deacon of Lawtons Solicitors http://www.lawtonslaw.co.uk/

Michael Polak Secures Unanimous s18 GBH, Wounding, and Assault Trial Acquittal

Michael Polak, a member of Church Court Chambers, secured a unanimous acquittal for his defendant after a 4-day trial at Birmingham Crown Court.  After an argument about a stolen computer Mr Polak’s client was alleged to have attacked a couple using a knuckleduster causing a cut to the bone on one of the complainants’ faces and serious injury to the other.  After cross-examining both complainants and making a closing speech focussing on self-defence Michael’s client was unanimously acquitted. Michael’s client who was facing a sentence of around 9 years imprisonment was very pleased with the result as was his mother.

Michael Polak was instructed by Mr Babir Adris of BH Mohammed Solicitors.


Colin Witcher secures a clean sweep of acquittals in multi-count historic rape case

Colin Witcher of Chambers’ Crime and Regulatory Team represented a defendant who faced an indictment containing five counts of historical rape against his foster-brother. Counts One to Four concerned specific incidents of rape, both anal and oral. Count Five was a multi-incident Count to cover further rapes alleged by the complainant, thought to amount to a further twenty times.

The case involved the cross-examination of a ten year old complainant together with family members. This was a highly sensitive and emotive case; the family fractured as a result of the allegations said to have occurred when the complainant was four and the defendant thirteen. 

The Jury acquitted of all Counts. 

Counsel was instructed by Afaya Syed of SJ Law Solicitors, London. 


Private Eye Reports on Michael Polak’s client Mr Ahmad Bin Quasem, Barrister Enforceable Disappeared in Bangladesh

In the last two editions, Private Eye, has reported on Michael Polak‘s client, Mr Bin Quasem, who was enforceably disappeared by the security forces in Bangladesh where he was defending his father at the International Crimes Tribunal. Since this time, Mr Polak has been making representations to United Nations’ bodies, the diplomatic community, and members of both the United Kingdom and European Union Parliaments pushing for Mr Bin Quasem’s release.

Mr Polak will continue to pursue all legal and political avenues until Mr Bin Quasem is freed to be with his wife and two children.

Private Eye


Lesley Manley’s client Mr H was tried at Lincoln Crown Court together with two co-defendants in relation to the trafficking of children in the United Kingdom in order that sexual offences would be committed. The case had resulted from a complex police investigation in respect of vulnerable children in the care of social services. The preparation of the  defence case necessitated analysis of cell-site evidence, phone records, ANPR records  and sensitive cross-examination of vulnerable witnesses. A considerable volume of third party material was scrutinised in detail by Miss Manley and the instructing solicitor.

In addition to allegations of trafficking the defendant also faced counts concerning having sexual activity with a child under the age of 16 and causing a child to become a prostitute by engaging in sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 knowing payment had been promised.

After a trial lasting 8 days Mr H was found not guilty of all counts alleged against him.

Lesley Manley was instructed by Kareena Maciel of U.K. Law Solicitors.

Kerim Fuad QC and Michael Polak of Church Court Chambers present at Scottish Criminal Bar Association Conference.

Kerim Fuad QC and Michael Polak were the only members of the English Bar invited to the Scottish CBA conference held at Ballathie Country House on the River Tay in Perthshire. The pair were first taken to visit the courts in Edinburgh and meet members of the Scottish Bar and judiciary including the Vice-Dean of Faculty.  They then travelled to Ballathie House where they presented a lecture on intermediaries, an important topic for the Scottish Bar given that intermediaries are to be introduced in Scotland in the near future.


Kerim Fuad QC elected as Leader of the South Eastern Circuit

Chambers are delighted to announce that Kerim Fuad QC has been elected as Leader of the SEC to take effect from the 1st January 2017.

Kerim has been an active member of the SEC and the CBA for many years and brings a wealth of experience coupled with infectious enthusiasm and warmth.

He looks forward to working alongside the current committee and Leader Max Hill QC until his tenure takes effect from the New Year.

The members and staff of Church Court Chambers extend their congratulations.

Church Court Chambers are delighted to welcome Lewis Power QC.

Chambers welcome another exceptional silk, Lewis Power QC of 7 Bedford Row has joined Church Court Chambers.

He was recently acknowledged as being in the top ten list of Barristers in the UK by Legal 500.

He has been described as an “unrivaled cross-examiner…nothing short of brilliant.”

Lewis is a formidable advocate who since taking silk has established a reputation as a leading practitioner in complex jury trials. His practice areas include; criminal fraud litigation, fraud, money laundering, bribery & corruption, offshore & international, murder & manslaughter, terrorism, and war crimes.

Recognised for his market-leading, strategic approach, Lewis combines intellect with a friendly approachable manner that instills confidence in all who instruct him, both professional and lay clients alike.

Lewis is regularly instructed in heavyweight criminal proceedings involving fraud and regulatory cases with an international dimension, and for those which are particularly complex requiring prompt judgment. His previous cases have ranged from the infamous Bruce Grobbelaar match fixing case to the London terrorist bombing trials.

He has been admitted as Defence Lead Counsel to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL); is a full member of Association of Defence Counsel before the ICTY (Former Yugoslavia)and is an approved Foreign lawyer and authorised to appear before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC).  He is also a member of the War Crimes Forum of the IBA.

He is currently advising the former world heavy weight boxing champion Tyson Fury.

Lewis is able to accept Direct Access work.

Kerim Fuad QC Head of Chambers said;

“Lewis Power QC joining is a reflection of the powerhouse quality set of Chambers Church Court is. We welcome him and know that he will flourish not just in his practice but within the friendly and supportive community we have created here.”

A full profile for Lewis Power QC will follow shortly.


John Aspinall QC 1948 – 2016

Chambers are very sad to announce that John Aspinall QC died on Saturday 29th October.  He had been receiving wonderful care for some time and passed away peacefully with his loving wife by his side.

Called to the Bar in 1971 he was appointed Silk in 1995. His practice was second to none and Chambers were delighted when he agreed to join us in 2014.

He had a love of Motor Sport, the Le Mans 24 hour race having been a permanent fixture date in his diary for many years which also fitted with his love of France. His interest in the sport led him to becoming Chairman of the Judicial Committee and a member of the sport’s governing body.

He would walk into a robing room even at a court centre he had not been to for many years and everyone would know him within minutes, he was on first name terms with Chambers’ cleaners and even the cleaners in the other chambers in our building, a sign of his true humanity.

Mr Aspinall’s humour and incredible ability will be sorely missed by members of Chambers and its staff.  He was a true gentleman, a brilliant talent and was passionate about our profession until the end.

Our thoughts are with his wife Frances and family and friends.

The Funeral will be held on Friday 11th November at 4pm at Poole Crematorium.




Kerim Fuad QC starts another high profile and absorbing trial at the Old Bailey before Mrs Justice McGowan.

Kerim Fuad QC represents Jose Leonardo who is alleged to have murdered his wife in their home in Belsize Park. He leads Andy Mooney and is instructed by George Kampanella of EBR Attridge solicitors.


Michael Polak attains not guilty verdict to 5 charges of sexual assault against Italian national in Newcastle Crown Court

Michael Polak was instructed to represent an Italian national who was charged with 5 counts of sexual assault in Newcastle Crown Court. The defendant had been represented by a local firm of solicitors for some time and had spent time in custody awaiting trial.

On being instructed in this case by specialist Italian law firm Consulenti Italiani, Michael arranged for the tape of the defendant’s police interview to be obtained from the Police and upon listening to the tape discovered that no caution had been given before interview despite the transcript of the interview prepared by the Crown Prosecution Service stating that a caution had been given and explained. Michael subsequently raised the matter before the court upon which the Prosecution was left with no option but to offer no evidence to all the charges.  The defendant’s family, some of whom had lost their jobs in Italy through coming to the United Kingdom to support the defendant, were very pleased that within two days of instructing Consulentti Italiani and Michael Polak to act for them the defendant was free with no criminal record.

Michael Polak was instructed by Davide Cupertino from Consulentti Italiani (http://www.consulentiitaliani.com/)

Rod McGurk to join Church Court Chambers as Senior Practice Development Manager.

Rod McGurk will join Chambers to work alongside our Senior Clerk, Dan Bartlett.

He bolsters our hugely experienced and approachable clerking team of Rachael Pearman, Sam Elvin, Will Barry and Mark Bird (Fees’ Clerk).

Rod McGurk was 7 Bedford Row’s Senior Clerk.

Rod has been praised as “very user friendly” by Legal 500.

Rod joined 7 Bedford Row chambers in 2012 having begun his clerking career 27 years ago, in 1989.

He is adept at building and maintaining client relationships both domestically and internationally. He has a thoroughly professional and compellingly friendly manner.

He was awarded a professional qualification by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and is a member of the International Bar Association.

Rod was also invited to join the Legal Forum at the University of Greenwich.

Church Court Chambers are proud to have him onboard and look forward to his imminent start.

Chambers Delighted to Welcome Edward Boateng-Addo of Counsel.

Church Court Chambers are delighted to announce that Edward Boateng-Addo has joined us as a tenant.  Edward is 2000 call and a seasoned and very able advocate.

We welcome him to our friendly and thriving chambers.

Edward will practise as a dual tenant in both Ghana and the UK. He intends to maintain his successful practice in Ghana whilst maintaining his common law practice in the UK.

In Ghana Edward practises purely Civil law (mainly Corporate /Commercial and Employment law).

Head of Chambers, Kerim Fuad QC said:

“I am particular pleased as Edward is such an amiable and intelligent lawyer. I recall Edward successfully co-defending with me some years ago at the Bailey. He has excellent communication skills and will fit into chambers beautifully. He is also one of the best dressed barristers in the country!”

A full profile will be available on our site shortly.

Colin Witcher, after six week trial, secures acquittal in 17 handed armed robbery conspiracy

After a six week trial before Vice-Advocate General Hunter and Jury at the Kingston Crown Court, Colin Witcher secured the acquittal of AH of conspiracy to rob and the lesser alternative of conspiracy to steal. The case, prosecuted by Leading and Junior Counsel   and investigated by the specialist Flying Squad, concerned a terrifying campaign of robberies involving 69 separate attacks on High Street mobile phone stores. On occasion staff were threatened with weapons including knives and hammers. The total loss was £1m.

17 defendants were identified. 10 pleaded guilty pre-trial, 1 was not fit to stand trial and six protested their innocence at trial. Mr Witcher represented the 3rd Defendant at trial as sole Counsel. He was one of only two defendants to be acquitted by the Jury.

Mr Witcher was instructed by Messrs Dexter Henry and Company.

Michael Polak Instructed to Represent Barrister Mr Ahmed Bin Quasem Abducted in Bangladesh

Mr Ahmed Bin Quasem is a Bangladeshi barrister, who has also been called to the Bar of England and Wales. He was representing his father before the International Crimes Tribunal, a tribunal set up by the ruling party in Bangladesh to try crimes committed during the Bangladesh Liberation War. The ICT has been widely criticised internationally including by groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and eminent British lawyers. Mr Bin Quasem’s father, Mr Quasem Ali, was executed on Saturday 3 September 2016.
At around 11pm on the 9th of August 2016 Mr Bin Quasem was abducted from the home where he lives with his wife and children by security forces. Since this time there has been no confirmation of his whereabouts. It is believed that he was abducted to prevent him from taking part in the appeals on behalf of his father as well as to prevent him from speaking to international contacts about the trial.
Mr Bin Quasem has not been charged with any offence and his abduction and detention by the Bangladeshi government is contrary to Bangladesh’s obligations under international law.
Michael Polak was instructed by Mr Bin Quasem’s family to fight for his release. Any media enquiries about this case can be directed to M.Polak@ChurchCourtChambers.co.uk



Mizan Abdulrouf of Church Court Chambers has been appointed to the Executive Board of the Qatar Law Forum (QLF).

Mizan joins; Mr Faisal Al-Shaouti (CEO of the Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre, QICDRC) Mr Firas Ahmad (Head of International Relations of Qatar’s Public Prosecutors Office) and Dr Ibrahim Al Jazi, (CEO of the Rule of Law Centre, Doha.

The two Convenors of Qatar Law Forum are, The Rt Hon Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers (former LCJ of England and Wales, and current President of the QICDRC, and His Excellency Dr. Ali Bin Fetais Al Marri, Attorney General of the State of Qatar.

The next Qatar Law Forum will take place in February 2017.   For more information of QLF please go to the website www.qatarlawforum.com



Radio 4 “PM Programme” today at 5:40pm

Andrew Taylor will be talking today live on Radio 4 on how the law can protect people from being ripped off, and how Trading Standards officers need to be vigilant in keeping and eye out for rouge traders who seek to take advantage of consumers who might be attracted to pay money for days out and attractions that turn out to be a pale imitation of what is said in the advert. In recent times there seems to more companies and individuals who offer mouth watering days of entertainment, only for the consumer to be bitterly disappointed, and substantially out of pocket. The law needs to be more active in protecting against such practices.

While consumers are protected by law from such practices,  it is difficult to seek redress, and criminal courts have intervened by passing custodial sentences where large sums have been taken from the public.



Michael Polak selected for Foreign & Commonwealth Office Pro Bono Lawyers Human Rights Panel

Church Court Chambers is pleased to announce that Michael Polak has been selected for the FCO Pro Bono Lawyers Panel which was set up to help promote and protect the human rights of British nationals detained or imprisoned overseas.

Panel members provide assistance where a British national faces criminal proceedings; or is in detention or imprisoned overseas; in cases such as those which raise concerns about the fairness of any pending, current, or past trial, including due process or other human rights violations such as torture and mistreatment.

Panel members work with the British nationals’ local lawyer providing advice and assistance directly to the British national and their local legal team.


Fiona McAddy in Section 18 GBH acquittal

Ms McAddy of Chambers’ Criminal Group secured the acquittal of a defendant accused of using his vehicle as a weapon, attempting to run down in the street the defendant’s former partner and new boyfriend. This was a serious case fraught with emotions where a significant custodial term would have followed if convicted. Following the jury’s acquittal of section 18, Ms McAddy persuaded the Judge to impose a Suspended Sentence Order for an alternative count of dangerous driving.

Ms McAddy was instructed by Arora Lodhi Heath Solicitors

Kerim Fuad QC’s client acquitted of Murder in triple stabbing incident.

After a two month Murder trial before the Honourable Mr Justice Openshaw, the jury unanimously acquitted Mr Fuad QC’s client, E.S of both Murder and S.18.

E.S was one of the main defendants and was caught on a covert prison van recording, confessing to not only ‘not knowing whether he had licked the victim’ but also shouting ‘Get the Ting,’ at the time they were alleged by eye witnesses to have gone to the boot of the car to obtain the murder weapons.

Two of the co-defendants were convicted JB of both Murder and S.18, and ND convicted of S.18. The rest were acquitted.

Kerim Fuad QC was leading Ray Tully of Guildhall Chambers.

He was instructed by Damon Whitlow and Emily Evans of Allen Hoole Solicitors, Bristol.


Kerim Fuad QC and Colin Witcher conclude representing the lead defendant in a long running benefit and charity fraud

In the biggest case of fraud yet of its kind to be heard in the UK, Mr Fuad QC and Mr Witcher secured a six year term for the first defendant in a widespread and long running conspiracy to defraud the Government.

The defendant was allegedly the principal protagonist in well-orchestrated scheme which, between 2005 and 2012, caused the DWP losses of a little under £1 million. These frauds were committed by pretending that employees had received interpreting support from fully qualified British Sign Language interpreters when either no support had been received and/or the number of hours for which support had been provided had been grossly exaggerated.

This was a complex and voluminous case, which underlines Counsels’ unique knowledge and experience in communicating with, gaining the trust of, and supporting defendants who are profoundly deaf and mute. Later this year, Mr Fuad QC and Mr Witcher shall be presenting a paper and accompanying seminar on representing vulnerable defendants in the modern court system.

Related Media:



Kerim Fuad QC and Colin Witcher both of Church Court  Chambers were instructed by Tim Edwards, Partner at Edwards Vaziraney solicitors

Chambers Secure the Acquittal of Two Men Charged with Murder

Success – Chambers secure the acquittal of two men charged with murder. Richard Carey – Hughes QC leading Glenn Harris for one defendant and Oliver Grimwood as junior counsel for another, successfully defended two men charged with murder by successfully arguing the prosecution case fell outside of the ‘new’ interpretation of joint enterprise (per R. v. Jogee).

Chambers were instructed on this matter by Foxes Solicitors, Bromley


Church Court Chambers is delighted to announce the arrival of Richard Carey-Hughes QC as a tenant.

Richard joins us from 9 Bedford Row and brings with him a wealth of top flight experience of the most complex cases.

He was called in 1977, appointed a Recorder of the Crown Court and elevated to silk in 2000.

Kerim Fuad QC Head of Church Court Chambers said;

“Richard Carey-Hughes QC is a seasoned defender of murder and complex fraud trials at the Old Bailey. His catalogue of successful outcomes in his cases over the years is second to none. He marries shrewd tactics and hard work with a charming manner. He is a true gentleman and will fit very well indeed into our progressive and friendly set.”


Success For Mike Fullerton Following Four Week Death In Custody Inquest

Mike Fullerton represented the family in an Inquest at the Doncaster Coroner’s Court concerning an unusual death in custody from malaria involving 11 Interested Parties. Hearing evidence from 81 witnesses including 4 experts over 4 weeks, the jury returned a conclusion with a finding of Neglect against four doctors and a nurse. As a result of the finding, the Coroner is making PFD recommendations to the Ministry of Justice and NHS England.

Robert Newcombe successfully represents confessed murderer in disputed Newton hearing at the Central Criminal Court.

Mr Newcombe’s client had pleaded guilty to murder on a Basis of Plea. The Crown disputed the Basis. A Newton hearing was held in order that the judge determine the factual basis for sentence.

The Crown case was that this was a murder for gain and that the correct starting point for the mandatory life sentence was 30 years.

The defence case was that the correct starting point for the mandatory life sentence was 15 years.

The main issue was whether the sentencing judge could be sure that the deceased was murdered for financial gain. The defendant had used the deceased’s bank card to gain access to his account after killing him in a ferocious attack. The two men had been in each other’s company during the day of his death when cheques were paid into the deceased’s bank account.

The defence case was that this was a tragic drunken overreaction to a minor slight which lead to the killing. The use of the deceased’s bank card was an afterthought.

A two day hearing was held at the Central Criminal Court. The learned judge heard evidence from prosecution witnesses, agreed pathology and neuropathology evidence, blood spatter and other forensic evidence. Other agreed evidence from CCTV stills showed the defendant using the bank card apparently with the deceased’s permission in shops and at an ATM prior to his death.

The learned judge also heard evidence from the defendant, and then defence submissions by Mr Newcombe.

In a detailed judgment the learned judge ruled that he could not be sure that the murder was done for gain. He made a finding that an aggravating feature of the case was that the defendant had concealed the body in bushes. This had been disputed.

The correct starting point for sentence was therefore 15 years as per the defence submissions. This was increased by 6 years to take full account of the aggravating features (including the ferocity of the attack, the vulnerability of the defendant at the time and the concealment of the body).

The learned judge then applied the full discount allowable in cases of murder for the  guilty plea (one sixth or 5 years whichever is the less). The sentence of the court was therefore Life Imprisonment with a minimum term of 17 and-a-half years (less days spent on remand).

George Hepburne Scott succeeds in another sentence appeal in the Court of Appeal

On 27 January George succeeded in having a sentence of 16 months’ immediate custody for supply of Class A reduced to a Suspended Sentence of 12 months’. The appeal had been expedited due to our ruthless advancement of the clients’ best interests. He was released immediately.

Any enquiries should be directed to Dan Bartlett, Senior Clerk.


Members attend British-Albanian Lawyers Association event at Hill Dickinson Solicitors

On 4th April 2016 Kerim Fuad QC, Kevin Molloy and Paul Webb all of Church Court Chambers were guests at a lecture and reception at Hill Dickinson Solicitors.

They heard a fascinating lecture delivered by Dr Rudina Jasini on the recently established “Kosovo’s Special Crimes Court.” They met many members of the British-Albanian Lawyers’ Association and had the pleasure of being introduced to the Kosovon Ambassador.

Messieurs Fuad QC, Molloy and Webb were part of a select handful invited as recognised defence barristers with knowledge in international criminal law.

They express their thanks for this successful event to their hosts The British-Albanian Lawyers Association.

Colin Witcher secures only acquittal in multi-handed Money Laundering trial

After a 7 Day Trial at the Canterbury Crown Court, Colin Witcher secured the only acquittal out of five defendants who were stopped at Dover Docks in a BMW car each found to be carrying a significant quantity of Euros. There was no evidence of an audit trail showing derivation from legitimate income and there were contradictory accounts advanced by the defendants upon search in contrast to their accounts presented during the course of their respective police station interviews.

Mr Witcher secured favourable directions and a route to verdict (preparing the latter himself as a proposed draft for the Learned Judge which was adopted). All defendants, save BW for whom Mr Witcher acted were convicted.

Counsel was instructed by Delaney Igbo, senior partner of Delaney and Company Solicitors.

Liam Loughlin secures unanimous acquittal at the Old Bailey

Liam was instructed to defend a sixteen year-old defendant in a case concerning the tragic stabbing of a teenager in North London.

Liam acted as junior alone in the case alleging murder against the co-defendants and conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm in relation to Liam’s client.

At the end of the four week trial the jury returned after 14 hours to unanimously acquit the defendant.

Liam was instructed by Shofna Begum of Stewart Begum solicitors.

The matter was widely reported in the national press (not always accurately), further information can be found here:




Legal Argument Success for Lesley Manley

At the Inner London Crown Court following the early engagement regime the Crown Prosecution Service had communicated by telephone and email an offer to accept pleas of guilty to charges of aggravated vehicle taking and taking without the owners consent from defendant X and offer no evidence in respect of a more serious charge of robbery.

This offer was withdrawn when a further statement was submitted by the police.

Miss Manley’s submitted that it would be unfair to try the defendant and that it was a point of constitutional importance that government departments should not be permitted to renege on their promises.

The Judge found that there had been prejudice caused to the defendant and stayed the robbery proceedings as an abuse of process.

Instructing solicitor was Steve Nelson

Nelson Guest and Partners

Pamela Brain achieves successful outcome in Sports Sexual Allegation trial.

Miss Brain defended a Rugby Player accused of sexual assault on an opposing team member.

The matter was tried at the Aylesbury Crown Court and the prosecution case had to be withdrawn from the jury following a successful submission of no case to answer at the close of the Prosecution Case.

The defendant was a man of good character whose entire reputation, career and family life were in jeopardy.

It was as a result of Miss Brain’s diligent attention to detail that she was able to establish that the identification of the defendant as the perpetrator of the crime had not been properly investigated and could not be established.

Miss Brain was instructed by Steve Foster of Coyle White Devine Solicitors


Chris Johnston secures acquittal of absent defendant in rape trial

In a trial lasting four days Chris Johnston secured the acquittal of a Romanian national who was accused of raping his partner in Birmingham in 2014. The case was unusual in that the defendant was absent at his trial having only ever appeared in the Magistrates Court before the case was transferred to Birmingham Crown Court. The learned judge had rejected the defence objection for the Crown to proceed in the absence of the accused and the trial continued.The Crown called the complainant and three other civilian witnesses living in the same house. The defendant had given a no comment interview.Based on instructions given at the police station, counsel conducted the entire case without a client and without any defence witnesses. He was cleared of rape within 30 minutes.


Shaun Esprit and Colin Witcher attend International War Crime Conference at The Hague.

Over the weekend of the 30th January 2016, the International Bar Association’s War Crime Committee held their now annual War Crime Conference at the Peace Palace, in the Hague.

The event brings together leading international lawyers, judges, military officers and academics from around the world for a critical analysis of contemporary War Crime issues. This year’s topics included cyber warfare, the detention of those on the battle field and the investigation of war crimes, to name but a few.

Shaun and Colin, who are both Members of Chambers International Criminal Team, found the programme informative, engaging and enlightening. Despite the well documented events of history and the often devastating effects of war, countries (and non-state actors) continue to resort to armed conflict. It is important that lawyers who advise before, during and after such conflicts understand not simply the applicable law but the practical realities of being the soldier on the ground with the finger on the trigger.

Events such as those hosted by the War Crime Committee are therefore important in ensuring that the discussion and the debate involves the military and brings a truly rounded and international perspective.

Both Shaun and Colin express their thanks to the IBA and the War Crime Committee Officers.

George Hepburne Scott succeeds in another sentence appeal in the Court of Appeal

On 27 January George succeeded in having a sentence of 16 months’ immediate custody for supply of Class A reduced to a Suspended Sentence of 12 months’. The appeal had been expedited due to our ruthless advancement of the clients’ best interests. He was released immediately.

Any enquiries should be directed to Dan Bartlett, Senior Clerk.


George Hepburne Scott wins two successive victories in the Court of Appeal on the same day before returning to Lewes Crown Court to conclude a Rape trial.

On 14 January George appeared before the Full Court of Appeal and succeeded in having a Crown Court Sentence radically restructured.  Later the same morning he was before Mr Justice Jay QC for an oral hearing for permission to appeal a separate sentence. Permission was granted in that case and the expedited appeal before the Full Court will take place next week.

Anthony Eskander instructed in Boxing Day machete attack case

Anthony Eskander of Church Court Chambers has been instructed in the recent high-profile gang machete attack case, which took place on the Bromley Shopping Centre, INTU.

Following a contested bail hearing at a pre-trial stage, Anthony secured bail for the defendant.







Colin Witcher and Michael Polak appointed to the Exec Committee of South Eastern Circuit

Church Court Chambers’ Colin Witcher and Michael Polak have been invited to sit on the Executive Committee of the South Eastern Circuit, the representative body for barristers practicing on the Circuit. The objects of the South Eastern Circuit include promoting the professional interests of its members, assisting with consultations undertaken in connection with the law or the legal profession, and providing professional education and training.  


Kerim Fuad QC leading Chris Johnston both of Church Court Chambers conclude high profile terrorist trial.

Mr Abdulraoof Al Shayeb was found with material both on his computer, flash stick and handwritten notes that contained detailed instructions on Dragunov sniper rifles, Grad rockets, mortars, a jihadi training checklist and bomb making information. He asserted that agents from the Bahraini state had collaborated with the UK in planting the material on him and in his home.

He claimed to be a peaceful human rights activist who had been tortured by the Bahraini state. He successfully sought asylum in the UK in 2006.

Photos were before the jury of him in Parliament with Jeremy Corbyn. He had also worked with Lord Avebury.

Mr Alshayeb was also shown in photos in Iraq dressed in military fatigues holding two firearms.

There was a huge amount of press interest throughout and after the trial.




Chambers were instructed on this matter by Louise James of Montague Solicitors.

Kevin Molloy secures acquittal in murder trial at St Albans.

At the end of a 10 week murder trial Kevin Molloy of Church Court Chambers, led by A. Berry QC representing the husband of estranged wife Salma Begum secured his unanimous acquittal of both the murder and manslaughter charges he faced.  The case concerned the murder of the defendants 19 year old sister Shahena Uddin, who lived in the family home. The case had many disturbing aspects which have been well reported in the press. The jury unanimously convicted Salma Begum of the murder of Shahena Uddin and the remaining five family members including the husband Suhail Uddin were all convicted of causing or allowing the death of their vulnerable adult sister.

12 Month Pupillage Vacancy

Church Court Chambers is delighted to announce that we are able to recruit an additional pupillage for the 2015 cycle. The successful candidate shall commence Pupillage on Monday 14th December 2015. Application is by way of an application form, which is available here: Application Form . Your application must be received by Chambers by 4pm on Wednesday 4th November 2015. Please email the completed form to: w.barry@ccc.chcdigital.com 

Applicants who have already applied during the 2015 cycle are kindly asked not to resubmit an application unless (a) the applicant was successful in reaching the final stage earlier this year or (b) there has been a demonstrable improvement in the strength of your application. All former applicants shall be eligible to apply during the course of the 2016 cycle. 

First Round Interviews are to be held on the evening of the 11th 12th and 13th November with Final Rounds to be held on Saturday 28th November. We have already selected marking panels and interview panels. Due to tight deadlines we are unable to offer any flexibility as to dates save in exceptional circumstances. 

Chambers is committed to equal opportunities and acts in accordance with the Bar Councils Code of Conduct and the Equality Code for the Bar. We do not discriminate, or permit discrimination, by reference to sex, race, ethnic origin, national origin, nationality or citizenship, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, religion, political persuasion, disability or age.

Robert Newcombe secures Acquittal of FCA Authorised Broker in Complex Mortgage Fraud trial.

Church Court Chambers barrister Robert Newcombe has secured the acquittal of an FCA authorised mortgage broker who was accused of making dishonest false representations to lenders that 3 residential conveyancing transactions were genuine when in fact they were not. A co-defendant was convicted of fraud and another of laundering the proceeds of the transactions.

The fraudsters had targetted properties which were mortgage-free. This type of fraud is often referred to as “Title Fraud”. The fraudsters impersonated the owners, and provided false identity documentation. The mortgage broker unwittingly assisted with 3 mortgage applications on behalf of buyers that he thought were genuine.

There were lessons to be learned by the “sellers'” solicitors. They transferred the sales proceeds to the third party launderer rather than the named owner.

There were lessons to be learned by the “buyers'” solicitors. Deposit funds had been shown to the buyers’ solicitors as being from cash deposited shortly before the simultaneous exchange/ completion date. In one instance the bank statements showing “source of funds” were forgeries.

Robert Newcombe will present a seminar on Title Fraud as part of the Church Court Chambers CPD lecture series in the near future. Please contact Senior Clerk Daniel Bartlett at d.bartlett@ccc.chcdigital.com for details.

Success for Mizan Abdulrouf in 4kg Drugs Supply Trial.

At Oxford Crown Court, Mizan Abdulrouf of Church Court Chambers secured a unanimous acquittal of one count, of possession with intent to supply class B drugs and one count of, concerned in the supply of class B drugs.  Defendant indicted on the above counts for trying to supply over 4kg of cannabis with a street value of £55,000.

Mizan Abdulrouf was instructed by Angela Porter Solicitors.


After 13 day trial at Basildon Crown Court, Mizan Abdulrouf of Church Court Chambers secured a unanimous acquittal of one count of Affray and one count ABH. A highly publicised brawl, described by the papers as the “Wild West” took place at the Bar Blanco in Rayleigh, involving 12 men from two groups.  Mizan Abdulrouf was instructed by Liberty Law Solicitors for the 2 defendant.

After two days of deliberation the jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict on both counts.


Colin Witcher instructed in £150m Confiscation Case.

Colin Witcher of Chambers has been instructed in a £150 million confiscation matter as sole Counsel. The matter is fixed for a five day contested hearing in November where the Crown contend that the defendant has available assets to meet the alleged benefit figure. This complex and voluminous case concerns money laundering internationally by the defendant on behalf of Criminal enterprises.  The Crown allege that the defendant has hidden significant assets around the world. Colin has been instructed by leading confiscation solicitor Lavina Hobdell of Lawtons Solicitors.

Lesley Manley Success At Wolverhampton Crown Court

Lesley Manley has  defended a young man of good character accused of sexual allegations against a child aged 6 years of age. The complaint was made when the child was 11. The child was assisted by an intermediary. Skilled cross-examination of the child was essential. At the conclusion of the trial the defendant was acquitted. His reputation thus remained intact and he is able to continue with his career ambitions.  Lesley was instructed by JD Solicitors, Wolverhampton.

Chambers Criminal Team Get Back to Work

Church Court Chambers “no returns policy”

Following the decision taken by the Criminal Bar Association this morning Church Court Chambers is now suspending its “no returns” policy which has been resolutely in place since the July.  The criminal practitioners at Church Court Chambers have made an immense sacrifice in support of those solicitors who have taken a stand against the consequences of yet further fee cuts.  It is hoped that ongoing further negotiations can resolve the outstanding issues surrounding the two-tier contracting system.

Kerim Fuad QC

Robert Newcombe secures acquittal in “historic” rape trial

Robert Newcombe secures client’s acquittal in “historic” rape trial. “Bad character” evidence of both complainant and defendant was admissible at trial.

Robert Newcombe this week secured the acquittal of a man accused of raping (and otherwise sexually assaulting) his son around a decade ago. Successful submissions were made to admit the “bad character” of the complainant, as the “important matter in issue” was the complainant’s credibility. The defendant had a previous conviction for a sexual offence, and the Crown made a Bad Character application for it to be admitted as evidence of propensity; but the learned judge accepted the defence submissions that this offence was not admissible as evidence of propensity, for a number of reasons, given the factual differences between the conviction and the index offences.

The defendant’s conviction was however admitted in evidence by agreement between the parties as background and was also admissible due to the attack on the complainant’s character – but not as evidence of propensity. After reviewing the recent five judge Court of Appeal authority in R v Hunter [2015] EWCA Crim 631, a “modified” bad character direction relating to the defendant’s conviction was given in the Summing Up, (being a short reference to the defendant’s credibility). In addition, a bad character direction was given in relation to the complainant’s character.

Robert was instructed on this matter by Paul Watson & Co in Middlesbrough.

For any advice on cases involving credibility of witnesses, contact Mr Newcombe’s clerks at d.bartlett@ccc.chcdigital.com

Kerim Fuad QC & Christopher Johnston instructed on Terrorism Trial

Kerim Fuad QC, Head of Church Court Chambers, is instructed in another Terrorism trial.

He leads Chris Johnston of chambers representing Mr A, a well known anti Bahraini Government Human Rights’ activist.  

The case is subject to significant press reporting restrictions.

Mr Fuad QC and Mr Johnston are instructed by Louise James of Montague Solicitors.


Alison Pryor Acquittal on Anti-Fascist Protest Linked Affray

Alison Pryor secured an acquittal in a case involving alleged affray  and possession of an offensive weapon (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/terrifying-video-shows-moment-man-4202059; http://www.itv.com/news/london/2014-09-12/man-wielding-huge-knife-attacks-cyclist-on-a-busy-street-in-front-of-terrified-eyewitnesses/). The defendant, a café owner, was arrested after his premises   were attacked by anti-Fascist protestors. It followed a war of attrition spanning several months in which the Vegan restaurateur became the victim of an Internet and leafleting campaign falsely alleging that he associated with known Fascists. It took a jury at Blackfriars Crown Court less than an hour to acquit him on both counts.