Laura is instructed to defend in the most serious criminal offences, including allegations of Murder, Terrorism, Firearms and Explosives, serious violence, human trafficking, large scale drug conspiracies and fraud.
Laura has extensive trial advocacy experience in cases involving vulnerable and child witnesses, complex medical, ballistics, gun shot residue and financial expert evidence, intricate legal arguments and novel points of law.
Furthermore, Laura is regularly instructed to represent vulnerable defendants, and is proficient in conducting complex legal argument during ground rules hearings and where appropriate, in relation to the imposition of hospital orders under Section 37, Section 37/41 and Section 45A of the Mental Health Act 1983.
Laura also receives instructions in relation to court martials, licensing and disciplinary proceedings.
Prior to being called to the Bar, Laura qualified as a solicitor advocate defending cases against the Crown Prosecution Service, National Crime Agency, HMRC, RSPCA and the Environment Agency.
Murder & Manslaughter
Laura regularly receives instructions in relation to allegations of murder and attempted murder. Laura has experience of challenging pathology evidence in relation to cause of death, number of impacts and manner of injury. Laura also has experience of challenging forensic evidence, including the transfer of DNA and gun shot residue, as well as complex cell site and proof of life evidence.
- R v S & Another (2023): Central Criminal Court – 46 year old defendant jointly charged with his 31 year old girlfriend of the murder of her step-father. The victims body had never been discovered. The prosecution relied on electronic data and CCTV evidence to track the movements of the victim, undercover police officers interactions with the first defendant, and telephone data to support the assertion that the victim was deceased. The case involved an extensive critical analysis of the proof of life enquiries undertaken by police, along with the forensic and CCTV enquiries undertaken during the course of the investigation. Led by Kings Counsel.
- R v U (2023): Liverpool Crown Court – The 31 year old defendant was tried in relation to the 2015 murder of an 18 year old male. It was alleged that following an altercation with the deceased teenage brother the day before, the defendant and two associates had sought out the deceased in a revenge attack in which he sustained wounds consistent with the discharge of a sawn-off shot gun. The defendant left the country in the hours following the murder, he was extradited to the UK in 2022 following his arrest in Spain for firearm offences. The defendant denied presence or involvement in the shooting. Extensive cross examination was undertaken in relation to cell site and forensic opportunities. The defendant was acquitted of murder and manslaughter. Led by Kings Counsel.
- R v C & Another (2023): Newcastle Crown Court – The 19 year old defendant was charged alongside one other with the murder of an 18 year old male, whose body was recovered from a clandestine grave near to the river Wear approximately 6 weeks following his death. The deceased died as a result of what appeared to be a frenzied and persistent knife attack upon him. The defendant accepted presence at the time of the assault but denied being a party of a joint enterprise. Extensive cross examination was undertaken in relation to forensic evidence pointing to the presence of other persons within the grave and also in relation to cell site and anthropological evidence. The defendant was found not guilty of both murder and manslaughter. Led by Kings Counsel.
- R v E & Others (2022): Newcastle Crown Court – Juvenile defendant, charged alongside two other teenagers, in relation to the murder of an adult male, fatally stabbed outside of his home address. The Crown contended that the three defendants had attended at the property armed in order to attack the deceased’s teenage son – however, turned their attention to the deceased when he returned to the property unexpectedly. The defendant accepted presence at the time of the assault and to being in possession of an axe but denied being a party to a joint enterprise assault of the deceased. Defendant found not guilty of both murder and manslaughter. He was also found not guilty of being in possession of an offensive weapon. Led by Kings Counsel
- R v K & Another (2022): Newcastle Crown Court – 21-year-old defendant accused, alongside one other defendant, with the murder of a 20-year-old male found deceased in a disused electrical box. Extensive cross examination undertaken of the Home Office Pathologist in relation to the cause of death, the number of blows inflicted prior to death and the impact of a delay in medical assistance. Led by Kings Counsel.
- R v O & Others (2022): Newcastle Crown Court – Juvenile defendant accused of the unprovoked murder of an 18-year-old male, along with 9 other juvenile defendants. Substantial argument was undertaken in relation to the application of Jogee. Led by Kings Counsel.
- R v L & Others: (2018): Luton Crown Court – 14-year-old defendant accused of the premeditated murder of an 18-year-old male, along with one other juvenile defendant. Led by Ed Vickers KC
Laura receives instructions in cases involving allegations of terrorist activity, including defending allegations of membership of proscribed organisations, possession of materials of use to terrorists and proceedings brought under the Explosives Act 1883, both as a led junior and junior alone.
- R v B (2021): Bristol Crown Court – Represented the co-founder of National Action for offences of being a member of a proscribed organisation and multiple allegations of possessing material of use to terrorists. It was alleged that the defendant had acted as the ‘puppet-master’ of various splinter groups of National Action following proscription. Extensive argument undertaken in relation to the admissibility of expert evidence. Led by King’s Counsel.
- R v C (2021): Snaresbrook Crown Court – Represented an 18-year-old defendant in relation to an allegation of Making Explosives with Improper Intent. The defendant was alleged to have made a large quantity of black powder (gun powder), with the intention to use the same to harm specific individuals. The matter involved complex and profound issues relating to the accused’s mental health. Successfully argued against the imposition of a hospital order under Section 37/41 or Section 45A. Hospital Order imposed under Section 37 MHA 1983.
Serious & Organised Crime
Laura is regularly instructed to prosecute and defend cases of serious violence and organised crime – including allegations of serious violence, human trafficking, large scale drug conspiracies and offences under the Immigration Act.
Laura has experience of cases stemming from Operation Venetic and the competing legal arguments regarding admissibility and attribution.
Laura has a strong understanding of the law relating to the imposition of Serious Crime Prevention Orders, Criminal Behaviour Order, Gang Injunctions, confiscation proceedings and restraint.
- R v I (2023): Central Criminal Court – Represented a 25 year old defendant accused of the attempted murder of his estranged wife. It was alleged that the defendant had laid in wait for the victim, who regularly walked home from work in the early hours of the morning and to have inflicted a brutal and sustained attack upon her – including stabbing her on multiple occasions to the head and body and repeatedly stamping on her head whilst she was unconscious. The Crown alleged that the motives for the attack were routed in honour based violence. There was a history of domestic abuse within the relationship. The assault resulted in life changing injuries.
- R v K (2023): Teesside Crown Court – Represented a 27 year old defendant accused of attempted murder. . The defendant was alleged to have stabbed the victim a minimum of six times to the neck, body and legs in a persistent attack, which resulted in life threatening injuries. It was alleged that the dispute arose due to disputes between those within the illegal drug trade.
- R v K & Another (2018): Chelmsford Crown Court – Defendant accused of Possession of a Firearm with Intent to Cause Fear and three offences of Attempted Section 18 assault. The Defendant was alleged to have fired a loaded shot gun at the windscreen of a motor vehicle containing three occupants, in a revenge attack following an incident of road rage. The case involved the cross examination of experts in relation to ballistics and gun shot residue. Defendant acquitted following 3-week trial.
- R v L (2018): Luton Crown Court – Defendant accused of the Section 18 Wounding of his partner and Attempted Robbery of his mother. The defendant was alleged to have stabbed his partner to the leg causing serious injury and thereafter preventing her from seeking medical attention, along with the subsequent attempted knife point robbery of his mother in a separate incident the following day. Acquitted following trial.
- R v Y & Others (2018): Snaresbrook Crown Court – Defendant alleged to have played a leading organisational role in a conspiracy to import “assassins kits” containing multiple firearms, ammunition and silencers from Lithuania into the UK and arranging the sale of those said items. With over 25,000 served pages of evidence the Crown relied on a substantial amount of mobile telephone, cell site and ANPR data.
- R v S (2023): Southwark Crown Court – Modern Slavery offences relating to the alleged exploitation of those working within the sex trade [ongoing]
- R v M & Others (2021): Cardiff Crown Court – Defendant alleged to have conspired with others to traffic a 13-year-old from Wales to London and to have performed a leading managerial role in a linked county lines drug conspiracy, involving the cuckooing of multiple vulnerable individuals. Over 150,000 served pages of evidence. Crown offered no evidence at trial due to inherent and insurmountable issues relating to disclosure.
- R v W & Others (2019): Southwark Crown Court – Defendant alleged to have conspired to traffic Romanian nationals into the UK with a view to them performing forced and compulsory labour and conspiracy to exploit those said Romanian nationals, along with a linked money laundering conspiracy. Over 30,000 served pages of evidence. Defendant acquitted 7-weeks into the trial following successful half time submission.
- R v P & Others (2019): Blackfriars Crown Court – Defendant alleged to have played a significant role in a large-scale conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine across county lines, involving three drug lines across Essex and Cambridgeshire, linked to a prominent London gang. Over 114,000 served pages of evidence, including a substantial amount of telephone and ANPR data, along with surveillance and CCTV evidence.
- R v N & Others (2017): Isleworth Crown Court – Defendant alleged to have conspired with others to keep multiple brothels across the London area and being concerned in the supply of cocaine and cannabis to patrons of those brothels. Case involved over 30,000 served pages of evidence, including telephone data and surveillance footage.
- R v E & Another (2016): York Crown Court – Represented an 18-year-old defendant alleged to have conspired with others to import MDMA into the UK via the dark web and to have supplied MDMA to others over an extended period of time, when he was 16 years of age.
- R v J (2015): Snaresbrook Crown Court – The defendant, a practicing Rastafarian, was found to have 1.4kilos of cannabis separately packaged at his home address. The defendant accepted being in possession of the cannabis for his own personal use but denied having an intention to supply the cannabis to others. Acquitted following full trial.
- R v Q & Others (2015): Newcastle Crown Court – Defendant alleged to have played a leading role in a cross-county conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine into the North East of England. Case involved over 10,000 served pages of evidence, including telephone data, cell site, ANPR and covert recording within motor vehicles.
Laura regularly defends allegations of sexual offending. She has substantial experience of Section 28 YJCEA 1999 and its practical application.
Laura also has experience of challenging the imposition of various associated court orders – such as sexual harm prevention orders and restraining orders.
- R v M (2023): Newcastle Crown Court – The 36 years old defendant was alleged to have raped a 16 year old female, following her attending his hotel room during the national COVID lockdown.
- R v P (2022): Nottingham Crown Court – The defendant was alleged to have conducted a campaign of rape against his step daughter when she was 3-11 years of age. Historic allegation brought almost 30 years following the alleged commission of the offences. Case included challenging psychological evidence in relation to the inconsistencies within the accounts of the complainant.
- R v H (2022): Newcastle Crown Court – The defendant was alleged to have abducted a 13-year-old child and to have sexually assaulted her. No evidence offered following defence disclosure requests highlighting insurmountable flaws in the prosecution case theory and undermining the alleged positive identification by the complainant.
- R v C (2022): Newcastle Crown Court – The defendant was accused of the rape, false imprisonment and assault of his ex-partner in the presence of their young children. The Crown offered no evidence in relation to the rape allegation following representations in relation to the strength of the evidence against the defendant and lines of enquiry being requested to rebut the complainants account.
- R v B (2018):Uxbridge Youth Court – The defendant, a 17-year-old male, was accused of sexual assault, committed whilst he was 15 years of age. Prosecution discontinued following representations relating to breaches of the PACE codes of practice and disclosure obligations under the CPIA.
- R v F (2017):Camberwell Youth Court – 13-year-old defendant accused of the forcible digital penetration of his girlfriend. Multiple juvenile witnesses cross examined. (Certificate of Counsel)
- R v U (2016): Blackfriars Crown Court – The defendant was alleged to have made a large number of indecent images of children, some of which the accused was alleged to have taken himself during frequent trips to Columbia.
Laura has developed an in-depth knowledge of the law and procedure relating to fraud and money laundering offences, as well as confiscation proceedings, restraint and cash forfeiture.
- R v H & another (2023): Newcastle Crown Court – The defendant was alleged to have defrauded investors of over a million pounds via two parallel fraudulent investment schemes, over a 4 and a half year period. The Crown relied on over 10,000 pages of evidence, comprising a vast quantity of company documentation, in order to evidence the modus operandi and alleged false promises made to entice investment / continued investment in the scheme.
- R v D & Others (2021): Southwark Crown Court – The defendant, a Lithuanian national, was alleged to have conspired with others to steal motor vehicles, on a commercial scale, to be transported into Eastern Europe and an associated money laundering conspiracy. The case involved a sophisticated system relay loop and extensive car ringing. Over 100,000 pages of served evidence, including cell site, ANPR, telephone data and surveillance evidence. Total value over £3,000,000.R v F (2019): Bolton Crown Court – The defendant was alleged to have played a significant role within an OCG manipulating links to the Hawala Banking system to launder large amounts of monies within the UK and abroad. Successful applications were made for permission to call defence witnesses from Iraqi Kurdistan.
- R v L & Another (2017): Bristol Crown Court – The defendant was alleged to have played a leading role in a large-scale fraud, concerning an allegation that she had used her position as an employee of a car finance dealership to obtain finance for fleet customers, following the provision of either false information or false documentation over a 3-year period. The case involved over 100,000 pages of served evidence. The defendant was acquitted following an 8-week trial.
Laura has a broad experience of appellate work, including appeals against conviction and sentence and Judicial Review proceedings.
Laura has a special interest in Judicial Review of decisions not to prosecute, specifically in relation to allegations of stalking and hate crime and decisions to prosecute juveniles, vulnerable persons and victims of trafficking.
- R v Ahmed (2019): EWCA Crim 1085 (reported on Westlaw) – Successful appeal against sentence in relation to a fifth conviction for robbery offences. (7 years 11 months’ imprisonment reduced to 6 years imprisonment). Guidance provided as to the meaning of serious physical harm as it pertains to Category 1 of the Sentencing Council: Definitive Guidelines: Street Robbery.
- R v P (2019) – Successful appeal against a Prosecution Costs Order out of time. (Costs order of £19,076.46 reduced to £5,325.70)
- R v J (2019) – Successful appeal against sentence in relation to a second conviction for possession of class A substances with intent to supply.
- M v CPS (2018) – Application for permission to Judicially Review a decision to withdraw a charge under s4 POA and replace it with a charge of affray, in order to provide a mechanism for a juvenile defendant to be sent for trial in the Crown Court. Permission refused; however, the Crown subsequently offered no evidence in the associated criminal proceedings.
- R v T (2018) – Successful appeal against sentence – possession of a bladed article (20 months’ imprisonment reduced to 8 months imprisonment).
- R v Fraser (2017):EWCA Crim 507 (reported on Westlaw) – Successful appeal against sentence – guidance provided in relation to the factors to take into consideration when determining the proportionality of immediate custodial terms in the case of sole carers of dependent children (teenagers).
- Direct Access Accredited
- Accredited Duty Solicitor
- Accredited Police Station Representative
- Crown Prosecution Service Advocates Panel – Grade 3
- Criminal Bar Association (CBA)
- Constitutional and Administrative Law Association (ALBA)
- Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association (POCLA)
- Female Fraud Forum (FFF)
- Fraud Lawyers Association (YFLA)
- Middle Temple Young Barristers Association (MTYBA)
- Northumbria University – LPC – Distinction
- Northumbria University – Law LLB Hons