Sara is an experienced criminal defence practitioner who has a genuine passion and commitment to her clients. She is well regarded by Solicitors and Defendants alike and her meticulous approach to preparation has earned her a good reputation in court. Although Sara is warm and approachable in nature, she is well known to vigorously fight for her clients.
Sara previously practised in chambers in London, however relocated to Manchester to be near her family. Before coming to the Bar, Sara worked for the Glasgow Homelessness Network. She held the only specific equalities role and remit within the organisation and worked closely with a number of individuals and families who had experienced varying forms of exclusion and discrimination. In particular she gained experience of vulnerable groups including women working in prostitution and women fleeing domestic abuse; dispersed asylum seekers and those with mental health illnesses and / or physical disabilities.
Before practising at the Criminal Bar, Sara also worked as a Freelance Advocate (Legal Practice Clerk) undertaking a wide variety of County Court hearings.
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
Sara has been involved in a number of lengthy trials and has experience dealing with particularly voluminous evidence in an effective and organised manner. She has established a busy Crown Court practice, has acted for clients in the Court of Appeal and has also been led in more serious and complex matters. She has experience defending the full spectrum of criminal offences, including: serious violence and offences against the person; violent disorder and affray; kidnap, false imprisonment and blackmail; firearm offences and possession of offensive weapons; arson; robbery, burglary and theft; a wide variety of fraud and dishonesty offences; sexual offences (and Sexual Offences Prevention Orders etc); child cruelty; drug trafficking; confiscation proceedings; immigration act offences; possession of false identity documents and motoring offences such as dangerous driving etc
Sara has experience defending care home professionals who have been charged with offences under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. She also has a particular interest in terrorist offences and charges brought under the 2000 and 2006 Terrorism Act.
Sara recently assisted in the case of R v Domenyk Lattlay-Fottfoy (formerly Noonan) who was cleared of 6 charges concerning the false imprisonment and rape of a 15 year old boy. Consequently, Sara has gained a valuable insight into the often difficult and complex relationship between the Criminal and Family law Jurisdictions, especially in relation to the disclosure of sensitive material which is the property of the family court. Click here for press coverage.
Gang Related Violence Injunctions
Sara also has experience of defending gang injunctions (“Gangbos”) in the civil courts brought under the Policing and Crime Act 2009. She was instructed in the first case to be brought by Salford City Council and is currently involved in a matter which has been transferred to the High Court to determine whether Sections 34 and 35 of the Act are incompatible with Articles 6, 8, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
- R v S : The defendant was charged with the historic rape of his half sister when she was between 6 to 8 years old. The matter was listed for trial but did not proceed due to ongoing disclosure concerns. In light of material received, the Crown accepted a plea to indecent assault on the basis of digital penetration. The defendant received a suspended sentence. The stringent SOPO proposed by the Crown was successfully opposed in its entirety.
- R v FH – Following the decision in R (on the Application of Christopher Prothero), a guilty plea was entered to failing to notify the police of various bank account details, contrary to section 91 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. A limited basis of plea was entered on the particular facts of the case and the Defendant was sentenced to a 2 year Conditional Discharge. At an earlier hearing, and in light of various legal arguments advanced by the Defence, the Crown offered no evidence in relation to an alleged breach of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
- R v B – The Defendant was charged as part of a large scale Class A drugs conspiracy – involving the transportation of drugs from Liverpool for supply in Plymouth. An early guilty plea was entered following careful analysis of the Crown’s evidence (predominately based upon telephone contact between the numerous co-conspirators, cell site evidence and ANPR data). A favourable basis of plea was entered and mitigation advanced which included the Article 8 rights of the defendant’s young teenage daughter. Click here, here and here for press coverage.
- R v N – The Defendant was found not guilty after trial on 4 counts of ill-treating late stage dementia residents at the elderly care home where she worked.
- R v H – Defended the imposition of a Gang Related Violence Injunction and various alleged breaches of the interim order. Click here for press coverage.
- R v C – Football Violence. Following a favourable plea bargain, Counsel successfully opposed the imposition of a Football Banning Order.
- R v B – Possession of a Firearm with Intent to Cause Fear of Violence. Issues of identification were raised. The Defendant was acquitted following a 4 week contested trial.
- R v T – A successful application to dismiss was advanced in relation to a charge of GBH with intent. The Defendant was found not guilty of the remaining allegation of ABH.
- R v B – A defendant with learning difficulties was found not guilty of a dwelling house arson.
- R v P – A month long trial involving charges of conspiracy to steal, robbery and handling stolen goods. Cell Site Evidence was at the heart of the Crown’s case and experts were instructed and cross examined.
- R v D – Child Cruelty – A mother was accused of neglecting her 8 year old daughter. The defence obtained material from the corresponding family / care proceedings and following representations, the Crown offered no evidence.
- R v D – Section 18 unprovoked stabbing of a stranger. Despite this being the third conviction of a similar nature, Counsel successfully opposed the imposition of an indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP).
- R v M – S18 Wounding With Intent - Acquitted
- R v J – Youth jointly charged with attempted robbery. Following successful legal argument, the Crown offered no evidence.
- R v S – Despite unfavourable CCTV footage, successfully defended a taxi driver who faced a charge of unlawful wounding.
- R v G – Multi handed supply of cannabis, theft of a large quantity of money, kidnap, false imprisonment and blackmail. A successful cross examination of the complainant led to a very favourable basis of plea being accepted.
- R v I – Representing one of eight young defendants charged with Violent Disorder / Affray and Criminal Damage. Client acquitted after a 4 week trial in the face of unfavourable evidence and despite four co-accused being convicted.
- R v D – Multi-million pound benefit fraud case. The allegations involved a large number of Romanian suspects and a highly organised conspiracy operating over a number of years. The case was the first of a number of similar prosecutions.
- R v N (Central Criminal Court) – ABH and False Imprisonment. The Defendant maintained that the allegations had been maliciously fabricated. As a result of cross examination and material disclosed during the trial, the complainant was arrested for two fraud offences relating to the case. The case against the Defendant was dismissed.
- R v W – Junior Counsel (led) in a two month multi handed trial involving counts of conspiracy to do acts which facilitated the breach of immigration law; conspiracy to sell goods which infringed copyright and trademark; converting criminal property and mortgage fraud.
- R v T - Vietnamese client acquitted for possession of nearly 100 kilograms of cannabis with an intention to supply it to others
PUBLICATIONS & SEMINARS
- Summary of the main provisions of Part 3 (Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders) of LASPO 2012
- 24/4/12 - Hearsay rules clarified but further guidance is needed (Lexis Nexis Current Awareness)
Sara also delivers training seminars on a range of criminal law topics, including bad character, hearsay, defence statements and disclosure etc.
University of Glasgow - Human Geography BSc (Hons) (2004)
College of Law - Graduate Diploma in Law WITH DISTINCTION (2006)
College of Law - Bar Vocational Course / LLB (2007)
Diplock Scholarship - Middle Temple Major BVC Award (2007)
Lloyd Jacob Memorial Award (2007)