Clare is an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defence practitioner and is regularly instructed in cases of rape, serious sexual assault and serious violence, including murder and attempted murder. She also has experience in related areas such as inquests, police law and mental health law.
Prior to being called to the Bar, Clare taught criminal law, public law and tortious liability of Public Authorities at undergraduate and postgraduate level whilst also completing her research into sentencing law and practice. Once called to the Bar, Clare practised at the Independent Bar in London, Essex and Suffolk before working as in-house counsel for Taylor Haldane Barlex, a large criminal defence firm based in Essex. She has now returned to her native North West.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Clare has successfully defended in numerous cases of rape, serious sexual assault and serious violence, including murder and attempted murder. In one recent instance, she made a successful application to dismiss a charge of attempted murder against a former soldier who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. Clare has a particular interest in disclosure and third party disclosure issues, which she has been able to utilise in defending multi-million pound drug importation cases.
Clare’s approachable and empathetic manner has seen her instructed to represent many young people and vulnerable adults with learning difficulties or mental health difficulties. Clare is therefore not only experienced in the use of intermediaries and other special measures during court proceedings, she also has considerable experience of being able to communicate effectively with vulnerable individuals, put them at ease and ensure that they understand the process. She has developed particular knowledge and expertise in the areas of fitness to plead, insanity and disposals under the Mental Health Act, including so-called Hybrid Orders. As a result, Clare is well used to and appreciates the importance of presentation and testing of expert evidence before the court. In many cases, this has resulted in the diversion of vulnerable individuals away from the criminal justice system. Recently, Clare represented an extremely vulnerable foreign national accused of numerous instances of rape upon his partner; during protracted proceedings during which a number of psychiatrists had assessed the individual concerned, Clare identified that a novel point of law arose and succeeded in her application for Queen’s Counsel to lead her in the defence of the individual and in proceedings before the Court of Appeal.
Clare has successfully appeared before the Court of Appeal on many occasions, including full response to the Attorney General’s application to review a sentence imposed following the trial of a vulnerable individual in respect of rape and penetrative sexual activity with a child.
- R v Marvell (2015) Court of Appeal quashes extended sentence and finding of dangerousness.
- R v Latlay-Fotfoy (2015) Prosecution under the common law where a statutory offence would also apply may be an abuse of process.
- R v HC (2014) successful defence at trial of a male accused of rape. Unanimously acquitted in 17 minutes.
- R v CO (2014) representation at trial of a male accused of s.18 upon a fellow prisoner. Although convicted, cross examination of the complainant revealed a number of features sufficient to persuade the judge that he could impose a much shorter sentence.
- R v RS (2014) successful defence at trial of a male accused of multiple historical rapes and sexual assaults over a number of years upon a former family member. Unanimously acquitted on all counts.
- R v M. AB (2013) Defence of a vulnerable individual accused of rape of his partner. The case involved the question as to whether belief in consent could be reasonable in circumstances where the complainant had acquiesced in the face of the defendant’s unusual behaviour caused by his mental illness.
- R v AS (2013) Defence of a male who suffered learning difficulties and mental illness, accused of rape of a child.
- R v MG (2013) Defendant accused of murder, defence of diminished responsibility (led).
- R v SM (2013) Defendant accused of murder; the Crown did not accept his plea to manslaughter. Acquitted of murder (led).
- R v DH &amp;amp; Others (2013) Acted for first defendant in 12-handed conspiracy to supply £53 million of cannabis.
- R v SA (2012) Defendant (32 year old foreign lawyer) accused of stranger rape of a child. Acquitted.
- R v SN &amp;amp; Others (2012) Represented first defendant in multi-handed conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis.
- R v VB &amp;amp; Others (2011 to 2012) Successfully defended the same client in linked multi-handed conspiracy to burgle trials at two different courts, which involved theft of high value vehicles stolen for export. Successfully challenged the veracity of copious surveillance and cell site evidence and made successful submissions regarding lack of disclosure, breach of PACE and RIPA.
- R v DE (2009 to 2012) Represented a vulnerable then- 15 year old male in respect of attempted murder of his identical twin brother. These were exceptionally protracted proceedings; both brothers suffered from a serious neurological condition and linked learning/behavioural difficulties. He was deemed unfit to plead and of exceptionally low IQ by 8 experts. Following a trial of issue (led), the matter was further complicated by further expert evidence to the effect that although the Defendant suffered from a mental illness within the meaning of the MHA 1983 as amended, there was a question mark over whether this could be treated. During the course of an interim hospital order, the then-treating psychiatrist suggested that the Defendant had become fit to plead. This led to further expert evidence being adduced and tested before the court before finally it was concluded that the defendant remained unfit to plead and a hospital order was imposed.
- R v AS (2011) Successful application to dismiss a charge of attempted murder against a former soldier who suffered PTSD.
- R v BP (2011) Successfully represented a young male with learning difficulties accused of sexually assaulting a child.
- R v TL (2010) (Led) represented at trial a vulnerable female jointly accused (along with her partner and his friend) of murdering her neighbour. Acquitted.
- R v L NH (2010) Successfully responded to Attorney-General’s Reference regarding sentence imposed upon a vulnerable male in respect of sexual offences.
- R v GH (2010) Successfully defended at trial a male with learning difficulties accused of rape.
- R v DF (2010) Successfully defended at trial a juvenile accused of raping a much younger family friend.
- R v MO (2010) Successfully defended at trial a male accused of s.18.
- R v DN (2009) Successfully defended at trial a male accused of s.18.
- R v LB (2009) Successfully defended a foreign national female accused of importation of significant quantities of cocaine.
- R v SD (2009) Represented a foreign national lorry driver accused of importation of cannabis and cocaine. Following submissions and a s.8 application for want of disclosure, the case was dismissed.
- R v JM (2008) Acted for first defendant in respect of importation of 150kg of heroin.
In addition to her criminal work, Clare has experience of representing bereaved families before inquests into the deaths of family members. She has recently appeared on behalf of those whose family members have died in the custody of the state as well as those whose deaths have raised concerns regarding the nature and standard of care offered to them.