Jonathan Sandiford QC

Call: 1992 | Silk: 2020

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Focuses his practice on prosecution, with a strong track record in trading standards prosecutions.

Legal 500 (2021)
Jonathan Sandiford QC

Personal profile

Prior to taking silk Jonathan Sandiford QC was a CPS Grade 4 prosecutor with over 25 years’ experience, in complex and sensitive cases including Terrorism, hate crimes (racial, religious and sexual orientation), Fraud, Bribery & Corruption, police misconduct, Serious & Organised Crime and Drugs Offences.

Due to his involvement in Trading Standards, fraud, terrorism and race hate cases, Jonathan has a particular interest and experience in internet-based offending and the jurisdictional issues sometimes encountered.

Jonathan is also a member of the Strategic Governance Board of the Institute of Cyber Digital Investigation Professionals.

Jonathan has advised on and prosecuted some of the largest and most innovative cases investigated and brought by the National Trading Standards eCrime team for commercial and web-based fraud, including copycat websites and ticket touting.

He has provided training on behalf of NTS to trading standards departments throughout the country in respect of fraudulent (scam) websites.

Jonathan is a Recorder on the North Eastern Circuit and authorised to hear Class 2 serious sexual offences.

Recommendations

Focuses his practice on prosecution, with a strong track record in trading standards prosecutions.

― Legal 500 (2021)

He has remarkable attention to detail.

― Legal 500 (2020)

Very experienced in prosecution work.

― Legal 500 (2019)

Noted for his experience in prosecution work.

― Legal 500 (2018)

Terrorism

Jonathan has 20 years’ experience of prosecuting a range sensitive cases involving terrorism and race hate or having a terrorist connection. This includes everything from internet based offending to preparing murder and mass casualty attacks.

Featured cases

  • R v K and A (2020-2022) – Instructed to prosecute two young defendants for encouraging/inciting acts of terrorism by seeking to recruit members for an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria. A complex abuse of process argument has been raised, based upon the Modern Slavery Act 2015. (QC)
  • R v X (2020) – Instructed to resist an application for leave to appeal out of time by the youngest person in the UK to be convicted of terrorist offences. See R v X (2015) below. (QC)
  • R v F (2019) – Instructed for the prosecution of a defendant for two offences of collecting information useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism and soliciting murder by trying to recruit an accomplice to participate in a mass casualty vehicle attack. (Junior alone)
  • R v D (2019) – Instructed to prosecute a defendant for inciting religious hatred against Muslims via the internet. (Junior alone)
  • R v P (2019) – Instructed to prosecute a defendant for possessing a firearm and several offences of collecting information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism including the IRA Green Book. (Junior alone)
  • R v AW (2018) – Instructed to prosecute a supporter of ISIS for inciting and encouraging acts of terrorism via the internet. (Junior alone)
  • R v MK (2018) – Prosecution of a sympathiser of ISIS for encouraging and inciting acts of terrorism via the internet. The defendant became the first person to have his release from prison delayed following subsequent terrorist attacks on London. (Junior alone)
  • R v S (2018) – Instructed to prosecute a white supremacist for preparing an act of terrorism consisting of a murderous mass casualty attack on a Gay Pride event. (Junior alone)
  • R v M (2017) – Instructed to prosecute a “Breaking Bad” type case where the defendant had made crystal meth with intent to supply it and, to protect his illicit trade, had manufactured an improvised explosive device with intent to endanger life. (Junior alone)
  • R v NM (2017) – Instructed to prosecute for possessing explosives with intent to endanger life where the defendant was caught as he tried to smuggle a viable improvised explosive device onto a Ryanair Flight with the intention of detonating it in flight. (Junior alone)
  • R v MH (2017) – Instructed to prosecute for preparing acts of terrorism by a defendant who travelled to Turkey intending to enter Syria to join the Al Nusra Front, an affiliate of Al Qaeda. (Junior alone)
  • R v C (2016-2017) – Instructed to prosecute one of the first cases to include offences of stirring up hatred on the grounds of race, religion and sexual orientation via the internet. The defendant was a white supremacist who used the Russian social media website VK and was also found in possession of the White Resistance Manual which contains bomb making instructions and other information useful to a terrorist. (Junior alone)
  • R v K and K (2016-2017) – Instructed to prosecute a husband and wife for preparing acts of terrorism by making arrangements for the male defendant to travel to Syria to join ISIS. (Junior alone)
  • R v X (2015) – Instructed to prosecute the then youngest person to be convicted of terrorism offences in the United Kingdom. The 15-year-old defendant was a committed supporter of ISIS who incited another teenager in Australia to commit a murderous attack on the ANZAC Day Parade in Melbourne (including a practice killing before the main attack). (Led Junior)
  • R v S and A (2013-2014) – Prosecution of two prisoners housed in the segregation unit of HMP Full Sutton (Category A prison) who entered into a racially motivated conspiracy to send improvised incendiary devices to Asian firms of solicitors. (Junior alone)
  • Operation Pluton (2012-2014) – Instructed to prosecute two brothers charged with conspiring to travel abroad to attend a terrorist training camp run by Al Qaeda. (Leading Junior)
  • Op Catorze (2012) – Instructed to prosecute three young Kurdish women accused of petrol bombing a Turkish club in North London in revenge for an airstrike by the Turkish air force that killed over 30 Kurds in December 2011. (Leading Junior)
  • R v J (2012) – Instructed to prosecute a former member of Al-Muhajiroun for possessing documents useful to a person preparing or committing an act of terrorism. (Junior alone)
  • R v F (2012) – Instructed to prosecute a supporter of Al Qaeda for having a variety of bomb making manuals and other documents useful to a person preparing or committing an act of terrorism. (Junior alone)
  • R v NF (2012) – Instructed to prosecute a defendant for disseminating terrorist documents via eBay. (Junior alone)
  • R v H, R v B (2011) – Instructed to prosecute two defendants who used Facebook to incite riot and stir up racial hatred during the disturbances of August 2011. (Junior alone)
  • R v C (2010-2011) – Instructed to prosecute a white supremacist for stirring up racial hatred and making and distributing indecent images of children via the internet. (Junior alone)
  • R v S and W [2010] 1 Cr.App.R 26 CACD (2007-2010) – Instructed to prosecute one of the first cases of stirring up racial hatred via the internet. At first instance the defendants entered a plea in bar to the jurisdiction of the court on the basis that their web servers were situated in California and that there had been no publication in the United Kingdom. The defendants also raised the argument that Jewish people were a religious and not a racial group and therefore not protected by Part III of the Public Order Act 1986. (Leading Junior)

See our Terrorism team.

Trading Standards

Since 2014, Jonathan has appeared for National Trading Standards in a number of substantial prosecutions, primarily allegations of web based offending. Jonathan is available for both advisory and representational work in this area.

Featured cases

  • R v H and S [2021] EWCA Crim 1785 – Instructed to appear for National Trading Standards in this ground breaking appeal where the Court of Appeal considered the practice of ticket touting and, inter alia, the elements of second limb fraudulent trading under s993 of the Companies Act 2006.
  • National Trading Standards v J (2021) – Retained by Peters and Peters to defend and advise a client under investigation for operating what were alleged to be copycat websites, thereby committing offences of fraud and contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. (QC)
  • Operation Zebedee (2017-2021) and Operation Treacle (2017-2021) – Instructed to prosecute in two cases alleging multi-million-pound offences of fraudulent trading, breaching the consumer protection from unfair trading regulations and money laundering in respect of internet ticket touting. (Leading Junior, QC)
  • Operation Eiffel (2017-2021) – Ground breaking prosecution of internet ticket touts for offences of multi-million-pound fraudulent trading in respect of the acquisition of event tickets using multiple identities and bots and resale via secondary ticket websites. Involved a substantial abuse of process argument based upon the application of the Regulator’s Code; a challenge to the decision to prosecute and issues of contract law. The trial itself raised issues of the relevance of market practice evidence to dishonesty following the decisions in R v Hayes and Ivey v Genting Casino. (Leading junior, QC for appeal)
  • R v O (2015-2018) – Instructed to prosecute the operator of copycat websites for breaches of the consumer protection from unfair trading practice regulations including misleading and aggressive commercial practices. The defendant tricked consumers into signing apparent contracts then pursued them for payment by harassment and aggressive practices which included litigation. (Junior alone)
  • Operation Dougal (2014-2018) – Instructed to prosecute the then most substantial case ever brought by National Trading Standards. The defendants operated so-called ‘copycat’ websites which misled consumers into believing they were using and making payments to official government websites for services such as driving licence applications. The defendants were convicted of conspiracy to defraud a sum in excess of £30m. (Leading Junior)
  • Operation Clio 2 (2014-2018) – Prosecution of alleged multi-million-pound offences of conspiracy to defraud for the operation of what was alleged to be a copycat website. The defendants were acquitted after trial. Successfully resisted an abuse of process argument that challenged the legal authority of NTS to prosecute cases.
  • Operation Angel (2014-2016) – Instructed to prosecute the most-complained about ‘rogue’ trader business in the UK for multi-million-pound allegations of conspiracy to defraud, trade descriptions offences, breaches of the consumer protection from unfair trading practices regulation and money laundering. Resulted in the business being closed down permanently and the assets of the absent owner confiscated under POCA 2002 s28. (Leading Junior)

See our Trading Standards team.

Police Law

Jonathan has over 20 years’ experience in representing and prosecuting police officers. Initially in both internal disciplinary and criminal matters as well as, more recently, in criminal cases.

Featured cases

  • R v S (2021) – Instructed to prosecute a serving police officer for allegations of causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving arising out of fatal collision during a pursuit of a moped alleged to have been used in snatch thefts. (QC)
  • R v R (2018-2022) – Presently instructed to prosecute a police employee for fraud and doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice by tampering with and stealing from multiple cash exhibits over a number of years. (Leading junior).
  • R v W (2018-2019) – Instructed to prosecute a serving police officer for stealing money when attending a sudden death and doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice. (Junior alone)
  • R v J and L (2018-2019) – Instructed to prosecute a police dog handler for allegedly using his police dog to commit offences of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Also a colleague for alleged misconduct in a public office by failing to prevent one of the attacks. (Leading junior).
  • Hillsborough Enquiry (2014-2016) – Instructed by the CPS to advise the (then) IPCC in respect of their investigation into allegations against members of South Yorkshire Police and others of perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office. (Led junior)
  • R v K and others (2012-2013) – Successful Prosecution of 29 defendants in multiple trials for offences of perverting the course of justice arising from the actions of a Magistrates Clerk who took payment to secure the removal of driving convictions and penalty points to avoid driving disqualifications.
  • R v A and another (2005-2006) – Successful prosecution of a serving police officer for perverting the course of justice.

See our Police Law team.

Serious & Organised Crime

Almost 30 years experience in prosecuting serious and organised crime, involving the full range of covert and overt investigatory techniques.

Featured cases

  • Operation Lackway (2019-2021) – Instructed to prosecute a money laundering conspiracy involving the alleged use of a car sales and hire business to launder money and provide high value motor vehicles to organised crime groups across the North of England. (Leading junior).
  • Operation Legato (2019-2020) – Instructed to prosecute a multi-handed conspiracy to supply kilograms of heroin and cocaine across the North of England. POCA proceedings are ongoing. (Leading junior)
  • R v G and B (2016-2017) – Instructed in the first Prosecution in the United Kingdom for selling the highly concentrated and dangerous opioid, Fentanyl, via the Dark Web (Junior alone)
  • Operation Yates (2012-2017) – The successful prosecution of an organised crime group involved in the distribution of several million pounds worth of heroin imported via the postal system from Pakistan. (Leading junior)
  • Operation Eldorado (2008-2011) – Instructed to prosecute a multi-handed, multi-indictment and multi-trial series of conspiracies to supply heroin and cocaine involving defendants from London, Liverpool and Yorkshire. (Leading junior)
  • Operation Stet and Stet 2 (2010-2012) – Instructed to prosecute a nationwide multi-handed, multi-indictment conspiracy to supply Class A investigated by the West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester police forces. Included the admission of Dutch intercept material and connected issues of disclosure. (Leading junior)
  • R v D and others (2005-2008) – Nationwide conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine imported from Jamaica via Heathrow and from Holland via Northern airports. (Leading junior)
  • Operation Troon (2004-2006) – Instructed to prosecute a multi-indictment, multi-handed case including offences of conspiracy to burgle and steal motor vehicles and the supply of significant quantities of Class A drugs arising out of a police undercover operation into organised crime. (Leading junior)
  • Op Stirrup (2002-2008) – Instructed as leading junior to prosecute in five cases arising from Operation Stirrup – an ongoing investigation into drugs and firearms offences involving or with connections to Jamaican Yardie gangs.
  • R v M and others (2002-2003) – Importation of cocaine from Jamaica using drug mules and conversion to crack cocaine for supply in the UK.
  • R v H and others (2003) – Conspiracy to supply crack cocaine.
  • R v W and others (2004) – Nationwide conspiracy to supply crack cocaine sourced from London and elsewhere.
  • R v R and B (2004) – Conspiracy to supply crack cocaine
  • Operation Pancrack (1999-2002) – Instructed to prosecute a multi-handed, nationwide conspiracy to supply controlled drugs alleged to have been run by a convicted heroin dealer from his prison cell and investigated by the National Crime Squad using covert methods. Took over the prosecution of the case in the Court of Appeal after Leading Counsel was appointed to the Circuit Bench. (Led junior)

See our Serious & Organised Crime team.

Fraud

Jonathan has substantial experience of dealing with document heavy fraud cases.

Featured cases

  • Op Teddington (2005-2017) (12 years) – Instructed to prosecute the then largest case ever brought by the CPS Yorkshire and Humber Complex Casework Unit arising from a covert police operation including the use of undercover police officers and technical surveillance. Multi-handed, multi-indictment and multi-trial case including allegations of conspiracy to defraud, money laundering (using BVI and Bahamian companies) and perverting the course of justice against the main defendant, his solicitor, accountant, bank manager, business partners, a bailiff and various others. Resulted in four successful trips to the Court of Appeal In 2011 the main defendant was ordered to pay £2 million in confiscation proceedings. (Leading junior)
  • R v H (2008-2012) – Instructed by CPS Central Fraud Group to prosecute an estate agent/financial adviser for the theft/defrauding of over £1m from a number of vulnerable clients. (Leading junior)
  • R v B and others (2006-2007) – Leading counsel for the Crown where defendants were alleged to have been involved in organising staged accident insurance claims. The lead defendant advanced a complicated abuse of process application based on allegations that local officers and metropolitan counter terrorism officers investigating the 7/7 bombings had colluded to conduct improper searches.
  • R v A and H (2006) – Instructed to prosecute in a case of theft of over £1m by a bank manager who had been compromised by organised criminals. (Junior alone)
  • R v T, A and others (2004-2005) – Instructed to prosecute a law student and his brother for multiple frauds including staged accidents, bank frauds and identity frauds. (Leading junior)
  • R v Sl and others (2003-2004) – Instructed to prosecute a gang who conspired to clone credit cards and use them to purchase motor vehicles with a potential loss of over £30m. (Leading junior)

See our Fraud team.

Murder & Manslaughter

Since taking Silk in 2020, Jonathan has appeared for both prosecution and defence in a number of substantial homicide and allied offences

Featured cases

  • R v T (2022) – Instructed to prosecute in a double murder by stabbing. (QC)
  • R v LE (2021-2022) – Instructed to defend of one of three defendants charged with murder in what was alleged to be a punishment stabbing gone too far.
  • Op Pivotedge (2021-2022) – Instructed to prosecute a five-handed allegation of murder by shooting. (QC)
  • Op Pavecrest (2021-2022) – Instructed to advise on charge for alleged murder where the body of the deceased had been concealed for almost 10 years.
  • R v T and H (2021) – Instructed to prosecute two defendants for the murder of an associate. (QC)
  • R v P (2021) – Instructed to prosecute a 17-year-old for the murder of a 15-year-old, who he stabbed through the heart as an act of revenge and control against his former girlfriend. (QC)
  • R v Y, Y and Y (2021) – Unusual case of three defendants charged with preventing the burial of a relative. All parties agreed that an insanity defence was available on the basis that all three defendants were suffering from a shared delusion that the deceased relative was still alive. The case was left on file after safeguarding measures were put in place. (QC)
  • Operation Kilo Allen (2021-2022) – Instructed to prosecute three defendants for two attempt murders and firearms offences arising from the indiscriminate shooting of a shotgun at a group of people. (QC)
  • R v H (2021) – Instructed to prosecute for living on the earnings of prostitution; murder and perverting the course of justice. In 2001-2002, H was 40 years old when he physically abused and exploited his 17-19 year old girlfriend, R to satisfy his own drug misuse. In 2002 H killed R and disposed of her body on farmland where it was not discovered for 10 years, by which time there were only skeletal remains. The trial was listed for three months due to complexities arising from the inability to scientifically ascertain the cause of death; the need to call a large number of witnesses and because there was a deep pool of known and unknown suspects who had to be excluded as being responsible for R’s death. H also made a substantial application to stay the indictment as an abuse of process on the grounds of delay and difficulties with the investigation causing him not to have been identified as a suspect and arrested until 2014. The application for a stay was successfully opposed. At trial, H pleaded guilty to manslaughter and the other offences and was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment.
  • R v S (2021) – Instructed for a defendant alleged to have participated in a five handed murder by stabbing when 17-years-old. (QC)
  • R v P (2020) – Instructed to prosecute a particularly brutal domestic abuse murder where the defendant sought to raise defences of loss of self-control and/or diminished responsibility. (QC)
  • R v K (2014-2015) – Instructed to prosecute a 17-year-old for attempting to murder a 15-year-old with a hammer in a so called “honour killing”. (Junior alone)
  • R v C and others (2013-2014) (Bradford Crown Court) – Instructed to prosecute four men for the gangland motivated murder where the innocent victim was shot through the knees then doused with sulphuric acid. (Led junior)

See our Murder & Manslaughter team.

Education

  • LLB (Hons), University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Professional appointments

  • Class 2 Authorisation (2018)
  • Recorder (North Eastern Circuit) (2009)

Memberships

  • CBA
  • South Eastern Circuit

Other experience