John Lyons

Call: 1986

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    Red Lion Chambers is a great set of chambers to work with. They are well respected and have an array of very talented counsel.

    Legal 500, 2022
    John Lyons

    Personal profile

    John Lyons specialises exclusively in criminal defence, in particular Business Crime & Fraud. He also acts for those accused of Serious & Organised Crime, including Terrorism-related offences, large-scale Drugs Offences, Money Laundering & Proceeds of Crime, serious Sexual Offences, and Murder & Manslaughter.

    He has been instructed on behalf of potential victims of miscarriages of justice and is involved in representing those seeking to appeal historic criminal convictions through the Criminal Cases Review Commission. He has a clear understanding of the approach of the prosecution and disclosure issues, having previously been appointed a Grade 4 (highest grade) CPS prosecutor. John regularly undertakes leading junior work and is also led by King’s Counsel.

    He also defends in large-scale financial Frauds, high-tech computer frauds and VAT and tax offences.

    As a former qualified Company Secretary and with a degree in economics, John is well equipped to understand and analyse complex company accounts and other financial documents.

    He is highly proficient in the use of computers for case preparation. He has lectured in the use of case preparation software. He is able to establish case-based intranets and designs, develops and uses bespoke databases and spreadsheets for case preparation and presentation of complex evidence.

    He has considerable experience of large-scale drug conspiracies. Often these cases involve vast amounts of phone evidence. John is able to efficiently and confidently review enormous quantities of call data and cellsite information using sophisticated data analysis tools. He regularly discovers unexpected and often crucial contact patterns, and can present this material in a jury-friendly format. On many occasions John’s grasp of the data has avoided the need to instruct costly phone experts.

    In addition to his noteworthy Crime and Fraud & Business Crime practice, John has a background in Public & Administrative Law and Civil Liberties & Human Rights. He served for many years as a member of the Legal Services Commission Public Interest Advisory Panel. As a former Chair of Liberty and member of the International Federation of Human Rights he has a strong knowledge of the impact of the European Convention on Human Rights.



    A selection of cases concluded in the last two years and current contested cases include:

    • S.12 Terrorism Act – Supporting a proscribed organisation.
    • Murder, heavily reliant on limited gunshot residue.
    • International tobacco importation.
    • Security van robbery.
    • Large-scale importation and distribution of drugs.
    • Various historic child sexual abuse, rapes, making and distributing indecent images of children.
    • Current appeal against historic murder conviction, referred by Criminal Cases Review Commission


    Featured Cases

    • Major multi-million pound film finance fraud.
    • Money laundering and identity theft.
    • Fraud and money laundering by a GP undertaking fictitious examinations/treatments.
    • International advance fee fraud spanning four continents.
    • Car hire company fraud.
    • Large-scale conspiracy involving hacking and selling of reprogrammed set-top boxes.
    • Multi-million pound luxury car theft/export.
    • Land banking fraud.
    • International telecoms company using stolen credit cards; first ever prosecution under Wireless Telegraphy Act.
    • International computer hacking using dark web, SQL injection and distributed denial of service.

    Restraint & Civil Recovery

    John has considerable experience in confiscation matters, often succeeding in reducing dramatically the size of orders.

    Featured Cases

    • R v M (2017) Prosecution asked for order of £1.1m: order made for £12k.
    • R v R (2017) Prosecution claimed benefit of £2m (substantial hidden assets and £89k known assets): order made for £29k.


    • Postgraduate Diploma in Law, City University (1985)
    • Institute of Chartered Secretaries (1984)
    • BA Economics, University of Durham (1980)


    • Middle Temple
    • Howard League for Penal Reform
    • South Eastern Circuit
    • CBA
    • Bar Pro Bono Unit


    • Legal Services Commission Public Interest Advisory Panel
    • Chair of Liberty and Trustee of the Civil Liberties Trust
    • British representative to the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)

    Other expertise