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Criminal Team News April Edition

21st April 2021

We are already a quarter of the way through the year and our Criminal Team have had several cases of note and successes in the Crown & Magistrates Courts throughout the courts on the Western Circuit and further afield.

If you wish to contact our Criminal Clerk Lewis, please email on lewis@kbgchambers.co.uk or call 01752 221551

Katie Churcher represents a defendant in a nightingale court in Manchester

Katie has recently represented a defendant charged with allegations of historic rape heard in Manchester. The trial was moved to the Nightingale Court at the Lowry Theatre on Salford Quays. The trial was heard in the tap studio and demonstrated the adaptations to non-Court buildings that have been made to allow for the backlog of trials to be heard.

Katie successfully appealed by way of case stated a point about the proper construction of the joint effect of section 84(5) of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and the Crown Court Rules SI 1982 No 1109 (as amended). The issue for the High Court was whether the Crown Court has any power to extend the time for service of a notice of appeal on the other party to the appeal after the appeal notice had been sent in time to the Court office. The Crown Court concluded that Hampshire Police Authority v Smith [2009] EWHC 174 (Admin); [2010] 1 WLR 40, which had considered time limits for appeals against closure orders made under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 (“the 2003 Act”), meant that there was no power to extend time. The High Court concluded that there was such a power to extend time limits.

Michael Brown secures rape acquittal 

The Defendant was charged with two counts of rape of a female complainant.

The case involved complex issues surrounding drink-spiking and non-insane automatism; the Defendant having effectively experienced a complete memory loss from a certain point on the evening of the alleged rape. 

The case also demanded the examination of considerable quantities of unused material, material which included ultimately damning text message exchanges between the complainant and her house mates after-the-event. It became clear from those messages that the complainant was not only unsure about whether or not she had consented to penetrative intercourse, but not even sure that the Defendant would not have held a reasonable belief that she had consented. Yet the complainant was adamant, in her ABE, that she had refused penetrative intercourse. 

The Defendant was acquitted following a week-long trial. 

Deni Mathews involved in a case that creates legal history

Deni recently represented the youngest person in British legal history to have been convicted of Terrorism offences. The minor in question was dealt with at the Central Criminal Court. Extensive arguments addressed the tension between rehabilitation and punishment, the index offences having been capable of justifying sentences in adult offenders that could have approached 15 years. Other interesting issues arose concerned parity of sentencing arguments in the light of other participants with factual links to the defendant having been dealt with in other jurisdictions.

A number of national and international press bodies and media organisations made written and oral representations to the Central Criminal Court on the issue of allowable press coverage. These were dealt with by separate legal argument and drew into focus the distinction in regimes of reporting restrictions between the Youth Court, where the defendant was first listed, and the Crown Court where the case was resolved. Deni secured a community rehabilitative order for the defendant.


Nick Lewin instructed on serious cases in Exeter & Plymouth

Nick Lewin successfully defended a lorry driver tried on an allegation of causing death by dangerous driving who drove into the rear of a broken down car on the A38 shunting it into the driver standing in front of the car, resulting in her death. 

In Exeter Crown Court, Nick has recently represented a 19 year old former victim of modern slavery for offences of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and human trafficking and is due soon to appear in the Court of Appeal on a reference following an apparently unduly lenient sentence. 

Nick Lewin currently represents an extremely well respected local building contractor who are alleged to have breached various health and safety provisions resulting in an accident where a sub-contractor became trapped by the neck between a building and a ‘cherry picker’.

Chambers success continues in the magistrates with Chris Cuddihee

Chris represented a defendant charged with three counts of arson committed on separate days – to a mattress, a car and a barn – plus possession of imitation firearm and possession of a blade. Damage estimated at approximately £40K to £50K to the barn located on a golf course. D aged 16, severely autistic and suffered significant learning difficulties. On sentence the District Judge was convinced to impose an ‘absolute discharge’ given since the offence D was subject to a DOLS order made by the Family Court, now living in supported accommodation where he is supervised by specialist staff 24/7 and medical evidence stated he was not suitable for admission to hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983.

In another case Chris represented a defendant postal requisitioned for driving without due care and attention where he was alleged to have ‘cut up’ a cyclist on a residential road who happened to be an off-duty police Detective Inspector on her way to work. D had six penalty points, so was at risk of ‘totting up’ and disqualification. Police persuaded to accept a plea to a lesser offence of failing to comply with road sign, as a result of which D sentenced to a financial penalty with zero penalty points.

Joe Stone QC secures another murder acquittal at Stafford Crown Court

The client (DR) was alleged to have stabbed to death an individual (male) in the kitchen of a residential address. The case involved complex issues of pathology, blood pattern analysis (BPA) ,  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Osman Warnings. The lay client was said to be connected to a major Organised Crime Group (OCG). Applications were made for part of the trial to be heard in camera given the sensitivity of the issues and substantial financial bounty that had been placed on his head by the OCG in revenge for the killing. A full proactive defence was launched to the allegation and leading psychiatrists were called on the issue of PTSD to support the primary defence to murder (self-defence) . The client was acquitted of murder.

Members of KBG Chambers Criminal Team

Head of Chambers & Head of Team – Deni Mathews

Joe Stone QC

Garth Richardson

Nicholas Lewin

Ali Rafati

Deni Mathews

Nigel Hall

Michael Brown

Francesca Whebell

Will Willden

Katie Churcher

Hollie Gilbery

Chris Cuddihee

Samuel Castlehouse




Colin Palmer

Senior Clerk

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