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Richard is a senior criminal defence advocate of 27 years qualification with experience in a wide range of serious criminal cases from murder, manslaughter, multi-handed conspiracies involving firearms and drugs and gang related crime and in all other areas of the criminal law. Richard has dual capacity and is employed by a firm as a duty lawyer (equivalent of a duty solicitor) and is in independent practice as a barrister at Great James Street Chambers. Richard specialises in criminal defence and practises almost exclusively in that area of work, but also appears in extradition matters as a court duty lawyer as part of the court duty solicitor scheme. Originally qualifying as a barrister he then converted to become a solicitor and eventually a solicitor-advocate before returning to the bar in 2016. While practising as a solicitor he qualified as a duty solicitor and he continues as to be a Legal Agency qualified duty lawyer and regularly appears as a court and police station duty lawyer as a consultant with a firm of solicitors in south London. During his years in practice he has been involved in a wide range of cases and offences of varying degrees of complexity, including murder, fraud, offences against the person, firearms and drugs cases and sexual offences. Richard always strives to ensure that his clients have their human rights and legal interests safeguarded, often in the face of an increasingly hostile atmosphere in courts at all levels when defendants’ human rights are raised. He is thorough in his consideration of matters of law and practice. With an interest in human rights issues and social justice matters a commitment to legally aided cases is an important factor when accepting cases to ensure that those who are most vulnerable in our society have proper representation before the courts.
During his time practising as a solicitor he has been the head of criminal and mental health law at a firm in the West Country and regularly appeared for members of the armed forces before the criminal courts and courts martial.
Richard is able to work closely with solicitors and other members of the legal profession in the preparation and presentation of cases as a result of being a practising solicitor and advocate for many years before returning to practise at the bar. Still appearing regularly at the magistrates’ and youth courts as a duty lawyer and attending police stations as a duty lawyer to advise and represent those who have asked for the duty lawyer gives him a full understanding of the needs of those who are defendants and suspects at what is often a uniquely vulnerable time in their lives. He is readily available to attend for conferences with defendants in chambers, at solicitors’ offices and at other locations as required.
With an original degree in physiology and pharmacology before undertaking the bar conversion course in 1988, Richard has a strong understanding of both scientific and technical matters as they relate to criminal law as he has developed his practice since qualifying. He also holds a post graduate diploma in systems analysis and design and this is useful in cases involving computer evidence and cell site issues that are a rapidly developing area as regards criminal practice. He is conversant in cases involving the interrogation of computers, mobile phones and cell-site analysis; he is assisted by his experience and qualification in computer systems analysis and design. He is also very experienced defending in cases of violence, drugs supply and similar matters. He has been instructed as a junior in manslaughter by gross negligence trials and has acted alone in numerous multi-handed serious violence and drugs cases, including conspiracies, theft and sexual offences. He is also experienced in firearms cases and cases of gang related robberies of high value commercial premises and supply of drugs. He is also experienced advising in cases of murder at the police station as part of his practice over many years. Richard’s busy criminal practice includes defence work in the Crown Court and Magistrates’ and Youth Courts. He has extensive experience in trial advocacy including offences of ABH, sexual offences, fraud, breaches of restraining orders, benefit fraud, class A drugs, public order act offences, racially and religiously aggravated offences, burglary, bladed articles, drink driving and road traffic matters.
Richard has experience in cases regarding fitness to plead successfully defending a mentally ill defendant charged with endangering the safety of a person carried in or on a railway who was originally arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
Richard appears regularly at Westminster magistrates’ court as a duty lawyer in extradition proceedings. He has experience in advising clients in extradition matters from the stage of request as court duty lawyer (previously as a court duty solicitor) through to repatriation and balance to serve following sentence abroad.
Richard is willing to accept instructions at short notice in these matters; please contact the clerks for more information regarding Richard’s availability.