Lesley Manley

Year of Call: 1983

Lesley Manley is a highly experienced barrister. She has a well deserved reputation for dealing with challenging cases and clients.

In recent years Lesley Manley has continued to be instructed in a number of high profile and sensitive cases in view of her special expertise with both clients with psychiatric issues and vulnerable witnesses. She has cross examined numerous section 28 hearings having taught the vulnerable witness course to members of the Bar both in the UK and at the Attorney Generals Department in Gibraltar.

She also is highly experienced in dealing with issues of fraud having had extensive experience in conducting trials both as a leading and junior counsel in the UK and overseas.

She has defended in a number of serious fraud matters.

The case of R V G concerned an alleged cheat on the Revenue of £1.2 million by a two defendants. Having inspected original files held by the Revenue the court ruled Lesley and co-defending counsel, a commercial specialist and using a multi disciplinary approached successfully argued that the prosecution was an abuse of process. Both defendants were acquitted. Thereafter Lesley was instructed in a complex conspiracy to defraud in Gibraltar.

She became known internationally for her role as defence counsel in R v Marrache. The trial lasted for 9 months and was the longest running fraud trial in the history of Gibraltar and concerned the loss of £40 million pounds. This case was tried at The Supreme Court of Gibraltar. This was a complex case that necessitated reviewing of the bankruptcy files from various civil actions brought by those who had suffered financial loss, reviewing volumes of other unused material including trust agreements.

In addition to factual issues in the trial the case gave rise to numerous legal complications and arguments which included recusal of Judge, abuse of process, applications to exclude evidence and a possible appeal to the Privy Council in relation to Judge only trial.

This case was complex not only in terms of the financial and Tusts aspects of the case but in terms of its international aspects. Evidence was received by live link by agreement with the government of the Czech Republic. There was evidence relating to a number of EU countries in particular Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and the Republic of Ireland and also to Israel, Canada and the United States.

This case was the subject of international media attention and reports can be found on www.chronicle.gi and www.gbc.gi/ . This matter is the subject of an appeal to the Privy Council.

In addition to acting as junior in respect of the criminal matter Lesley researched legal issues in respect of constitutional matters and appeared in court to assist Charles Gomez, Gibraltar Counsel, who brought a Constitutional Motion against the Attorney General’s Office and The Governor of Gibraltar on behalf of Behalf of Benjamin Marrache. The trial concluded in 2014.

On her return to the UK and upon joining Churchcourt Chambers Lesley was instructed as leading counsel in OPERATION AGULLIAR R v N in £1 million pound fraud at Southwark Crown Court. The defendant was deaf and accused of conspiracy to defraud the DWP of ATW payments and also charity funds. Conferences and the giving of evidence were facilitated by the services of a sign language interpreter


Sexual Offending

Lesley Manley is very experienced in defending in cases alleging sexual offending including cases where other offences such as violence, cruelty or robbery are connected. She has acted as leading and junior counsel.

Lesley is often instructed to represented defendants accused of serious sexual offending including multi-handed cases involving human trafficking and grooming. Recent examples are set out.

  • November 2023 R v B defended a man accused of rape of a former partner
  • June 2023 R v S successfully defended a man accused of rape in family context
  • In July 2022 as junior counsel represented Callum Wheeler on charge of murder of Julia James
  • In July 2021 R v S successfully represented a man accused of sexual assault on exceptionally vulnerable adult. Interpol asserted the man had a prior conviction for rape but after initiating extensive enquires with the embassy in a South American country this was found to be wholly incorrect. Miss Manley prevented the trial proceeding with information that was found to be incorrect
  • 2019 OPERATION ALMOND Shrewsbury Crown Court R v Q and others. Trafficking and sexual assault.
    This case was successfully concluded with the acquittal of her lay client and was the subject of intense media scrutiny – BBCShropshire Star
  • 2019 Woolwich Crown Court R v W. Sexual assault on child under the age of 13
  • 2018 Lincoln Crown Court R v E. Historic sexual offending against multiple complainants. This case involved two vulnerable complainants one of whom required the assistance of an intermediary. The defendant had mental impairment and also required the services of an intermediary in order to be able to give evidence
  • 2018 Bradford Crown Court R v W Historic sexual offending and child cruelty against multiple complainants
  • 2017 Reading Crown Court R v A. Leading counsel in lengthy multi handed trial defendants alleging grooming and rape and gang rape of vulnerable child
  • 2016 Lincoln Crown Court R v H. Counsel in multi-handed case alleging trafficking and sexual abuse of vulnerable complainant who had been in care
  • In this case which resulted in acquittal the jury were discharged at the first trial upon the application of Miss Manley who managed to ascertain disclosure had not been properly completed
  • 2015 Central Criminal Court OPERATION ARTICULATE R v AH. Counsel in lengthy multi-handed trial concerning 11 defendants accused of sexual abuse against vulnerable complainant

In particular she has special expertise in representing defendants with mental illness, mental impairment and autism. She has written published articles on this point. She is also experienced in representing deaf defendants

She has been asked to provide written advises for convicted persons in connection with references to the Criminal Appeals Review Commission.

Lesley is a trained vulnerable witness facilitator and has provided training on several occasions to other members of the bar.

She is also a pupil supervisor and trained advocacy trainer at Middle Temple where she has taught for over 15 years.

This year she attended the Advocacy Trainers Symposium at the ICCA. She also was selected to attend the Florida Advocacy Course in Gainesville in 2018. She has experience of the most up to date teaching methods used nationally and internationally.

The diverse nature of her practice has led to her being instructed in a wide range of offences. Examples are armed robbery, kidnap, attempted murder, murder, child cruelty, cases where rape has been accompanied by section 18 and robbery, aggravated burglary and copyright theft.

Notable Cases

  • R v X

    Instructed as leading counsel in multi-handed million pound fraud trial at Southwark Crown Court to commence in 2016.

  • R V Gorecia 2010

    The defendants were accused of cheating the Revenue of £1.2 million pounds. An abuse of process argument advanced by previous counsel had been dismissed. The defendants continued to maintain they had immunity from prosecution. Isaac Jacob of 9 Stone Buildings co-defended in the matter using a multi-disciplinary approach with their respective knowledge of tax law and criminal law. In due course the Revenue found a file which lead to the re-opening of the abuse argument and the case against the defendants was stayed.

  • R v W and others

    In R v W (and others) at Maidstone Crown Court the defendant was charged with a conspiracy to defraud the NHS by way of dishonesty in respect of procurement of contracts. The trial was estimated to last 6 weeks but collapsed after 4 days as a consequence of the defence raising issues in connection with disclosure and failure of the Crown to properly investigate matters which may have pointed to the defendants’ innocence.

  • R v X

    Croydon Crown Court. Defendant charged with substantial benefit fraud but no evidence offered after DWP accepted the level of domestic violence she had suffered was so severe that she was psychiatrically incapacitated by post traumatic stress syndrome.

  • R v X

    Drugs Importation / Class A Drugs at Croydon Crown Court.

  • R v X

    Case involving serious Harassment of Officials with issues of Fitness to Plead to be determined at Aylesbury Crown Court.

  • R v M and others

    Case involving the arranging of Sham marriages. Newcastle Crown Court.

  • R v X

    Sham marriage case at Isleworth Crown Court.

  • R v X Central Criminal Court

    Undercover police operation in respect on online attempts to be provided with 3 year old child.

  • 2019 R V M Woolwich Crown Court

    Supply of class A drugs. Defence of duress advanced.

  • 2019 R v T Luton Crown Court

    Sexual Activity with child. Female offender.

  • 2018 R v M Birmingham Crown Court

    Acting for the lead defendant in multi-handed trial accused of blackmail, threats to kill and witness intimidation.

  • 2018 R v S Birmingham Crown Court

    Drug importation. Multi-handed case concerning the importation of £1 million pounds of heroin.

  • R v Bernard Wright

    [Serial rape case with defendant attacking victims at knifepoint]

  • R v Peter Ramsay

    [Internet date rape case followed by serious physical assault on victim]

  • R v X Woolwich Crown Court

    [Rape of 13 year old girl by mentally impaired defendant]

  • R v X Woolwich Crown Court

    [Sexual Assault upon stepdaughter]

  • R v X Inner London Crown Court

    [Multi-handed rape by school boys upon fellow pupils]

  • R v X Croydon Crown Court

    [Historic sexual abuse by stepfather upon stepdaughters from different families. Abuse spanning 1960’s -1980’s]

  • R v X Croydon Crown Court

    [Historical case. Rape by father of his biological daughter when she was 11-14. Complaint made when accused aged 76]

  • R v X Reading Crown Court

    [Historic sexual touching of granddaughter. Successful application to exclude lie detector evidence the Crown wished to place before the jury]

  • R v X

    Child Cruelty. Croydon Crown Court. Mother aged 17. Accused of fracturing bones of new born baby.

  • R v X

    Aggravated Burglary Luton Crown Court. Brain injured defendant accused of breaking into his sister’s house and attempting to kill her.

Publications and Seminars

“Are you fit for fitness to plead” published in Crimeline Mental Impairment Identifying The Signs

”I’ll prove I’m innocent. I’ll take a lie detector test” . The admissibility of Polygraph Evidence by Colin Witcher and Lesley Manley


False Allegations of Rape

Fitness to Plead

Mercy killing-An act of Compassion or Self Interest.

Murder-Sexual Infidelity as a defence


She has provided lectures in the fields of the development in the law of sexual offences, vulnerable and intimidated witnesses, fraud and the development of the law in relation to firearms.

Memberships and Appointments

Criminal Bar Association

In 1994 she was chair of Education Appeals in Tower Hamlets

She is also an approved pupil supervisor and an advocacy trainer at Middle Temple


Lesley Manley is appreciated for her sensitive approach at the Coroner’s Court.

She has acted in numerous fatal road traffic collisions.

2015 Acted on behalf of parents who tragically lost 3 year old child in fatal traffic accident.

2013 Acted on behalf of family whose relative had died as a result of fall from Beachy Head. Verdict. misadventure.
She has also acted in a variety of difficult cases. They include

An inquest into the death of a baby when suffocated by a family member

Represented a Custody Sergeant ( Newcastle Coroner’s Court) following the death of a man who had swallowed a drug package.

An inquest into the death of a wife whose husband had been originally charged with her murder. Verdict. Suicide.

Latest Articles by Lesley Manley