Riel Karmy-Jones QC

Call: 1995 | Silk: 2015

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  • Riel does her work with a great deal of judgement and style. She is superb.

    Chambers & Partners (2022)
  • Riel is one of the most incisive advocates used by the CPS. One of her many strengths is her ability to grasp the key issues in complex and sensitive cases and to provide advice of the highest quality. Her witness-handling skills are impressive; She can be wholly relied upon to treat vulnerable witnesses with care, empathy and professionalism to ensure that their best evidence is given. She has also demonstrated an ability to deliver excellent trial opening and closing speeches, and legal argument that indicates thorough and detailed case preparation to produce compelling and persuasive arguments on behalf of those instructing.

    Legal 500 (2022)
  • Personal profile

    Riel Karmy-Jones QC is ranked in the Legal 500 in Tier 1 for Crime, her principal area of practice, and both prosecutes and defends. As a leading silk she is best known for her work in the murky world of organised crime.

    She has a high-profile practice which includes Murder & Manslaughter, Serious Organised Crime, Sexual Offences, and Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, particularly cases involving vulnerable witnesses and defendants.

    Riel also has regulatory experience, and has in recent years been instructed in high-profile cases where regulatory law intersects with criminal offences, principally in sexual and historic allegations (SRA, NMC, UKA).

    Between 2017-2019 she was Senior Counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse leading the investigation into the Roman Catholic Church, and specifically dealing with the hearings and reports on the English Benedictine Congregation.

    Riel was shortlisted for Crime Silk of the Year in Legal 500’s UK awards 2019, and listed in the Hot 100, by the Lawyer Magazine in 2020.

    She is a contributing editor to a number of legal texts, including Archbold – Criminal Pleading, Evidence and Practice; Rook and Ward Sexual Offences: Law and Practise; Young, Corker and Summers on Abuse of Process In Criminal Proceedings; and Human Rights in Criminal Law.

    Recommendations

    Riel does her work with a great deal of judgement and style. She is superb.

    ― Chambers & Partners (2022)

    Riel is one of the most incisive advocates used by the CPS. One of her many strengths is her ability to grasp the key issues in complex and sensitive cases and to provide advice of the highest quality. Her witness-handling skills are impressive; She can be wholly relied upon to treat vulnerable witnesses with care, empathy and professionalism to ensure that their best evidence is given. She has also demonstrated an ability to deliver excellent trial opening and closing speeches, and legal argument that indicates thorough and detailed case preparation to produce compelling and persuasive arguments on behalf of those instructing.

    ― Legal 500 (2022)

    She is a wise and experienced advocate respected by all and handles the worst case scenarios in court with a calm and measured approach. Her knowledge of the law and the manner in which she analyses and applies it places her quite rightly as one of the leaders of the field in sex cases and human trafficking and modern slavery. She is an outstanding jury advocate.

    ― Legal 500 (2021)

    Simply outstanding – the lead in human trafficking prosecutions in England and Wales.

    ― Legal 500 (2020)

    Shortlisted for Criminal Silk of the Year 2019

    An extremely able and conscientious barrister with a persuasive and likeable style.

    ― Legal 500 (2018)

    She prosecutes human trafficking cases with consummate skill.

    ― Legal 500 (2017)

    Measured, calm and efficient.

    ― Chambers & Partners (2016)

    A New silk to watch

    ― Chambers & Partners (2015)

    Murder & Manslaughter

    Riel has over 20 years’ experience in murder cases. She has appeared as both leader and junior in many complex trials, and has experience of cold cases, including those arising from enquiries undertaken by the CCRC and of cases where the defence of diminished responsibility is raised.

    Featured cases

    • R v AA & BB – Instructed to prosecute two 16-year-old boys who on New Year’s Eve 2021 went to the home of a vulnerable male with mental health issues, and there attacked him, stabbing and slashing him multiple times. [Press Report]
    • R v AA & BB (current) – Instructed to prosecute two 16-year-old boys accused of murdering a vulnerable male with mental health issues in his home address.
    • R v P&P (current) – Instructed to prosecute two men accused of murder having beaten a male to death in his home.
    • R v Danyal Hussein (2021) – Instructed to defend an 18-year-old autistic boy charged with murdering Biba Henry and Nicole Smallman in a park in Wembley just after the lifting of lockdown in June 2020. [Press Report]
    • R v Jacob Talbot-Lummis (2021) – Instructed to prosecute a 15-year-old boy who attempted to murder a friend, shooting him at close range in the face with a shotgun that he had stolen for the purpose on the first day back to school after the lockdown in September 2020. [Press Report];
    • R v M (2021) – Instructed to defend a man who killed his partner with a plastic tray during an alcohol fueled argument days after moving in with her when lockdown was imposed in March 2020.
    • R v Anon x three (2020-21) – Instructed to prosecute a case where, following a verbal altercation, three youths attacked the victim outside a Kebab Shop in Ipswich, punching and kicking him to the ground. The pathologist found that death was caused by D1’s first blow to the neck, which had caused a tear to the vertebral artery.
    • R v Kelly King (2020) – Instructed to defend one of four defendants charged with joint enterprise murder of a drug dealer. King was acquitted and convicted of manslaughter. Her sentence was subsequently reduced on appeal. [Press Report]
    • R v M (2016) – Instructed to prosecute a case where the defendant stabbed his wheelchair bound ex-girlfriend and her 86-year-old fiancé to death. All three were residents in a sheltered housing association care home at the time. [Press Report]
    • Op Grate (2016) – Instructed to prosecute bouncers that killed a guest at a party with a punch that fractured his larynx and caused him to fall to the floor fracturing his skull. [Press Report]

    Notable “Cold Case” Murders (as a junior)

    • R v Causley (2004) – Retrial for the historic murder of his wife, whose body was never found. The case followed his release on appeal mounted at the behest of the CCRC. [Press Report]
    • R v Folan (2001) – The trial of the man who buried the body of his wife in the foundations of the Royal Northern Hospital, where it was found many years later. [Press Report]
    • R v David Mulcahy (2001) – The trial of the last Railway Rapist, then the longest homicide case in the history of the Central Criminal Court [Press Report]

    See our Murder & Manslaughter team.

    Human Trafficking

    Simply outstanding – the lead in Human Trafficking Prosecutions in England and Wales.

    Legal 500 (2020)

    Riel is extremely well known as a pioneer of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking cases in the UK, having successfully prosecuted many ground-breaking trials in this complex area of law and fact with consummate skill (Legal 500, 2017).

    In Jan 2014 Riel was called to give evidence to the Joint Select Parliamentary Committee in respect of the Draft Modern Slavery Bill and subsequently her advice was sought as to the merits of an inclusion of a child exploitation offence in the Modern Slavery Act.

    Riel has given many talks on the subject of Modern Slavery, has written articles, and is a contributing editor to both Archbold and Rook and Ward’s sections on Slavery and Trafficking.

    Her knowledge of the law and the manner in which she analyses and applies it places her quite rightly as one of the leaders in the fields in sex cases and human trafficking and modern slavery. She is an outstanding jury advocate.

    Legal 500 (2021)

    Featured cases

    R v Z and others (current) – Instructed in this case concerning an organised criminal network controlling a significant number of brothels run from residential premises in London.

    Op Pottery (2016-2019) – Instructed in this case concerning a large scale investigation involving allegations of slavery/forced compulsory labour. There were 15 defendants, all members of an extended family from the Irish travelling community, and up to 20 vulnerable victims, some held for up to 30 years. [Press Report]

    Op Svanetia, phase two (2015-2016) – Instructed in this case concerning the Romanian limb of an organised criminal network and conspiracy to traffic for exploitation (sham marriages) also for sexual exploitation (prostitution). This was the first case to result in the imposition of international restrictions through Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Orders. [Press Report]

    Op Svanetia, phase one (2014-2015) – Instructed in this case concerning the UK limb of an organised criminal network and conspiracy to traffic a Roma woman from Slovakia in order to exploit her by selling her into a sham marriage with a Pakistani male to circumvent immigration law. Once handed to the man she was brutally raped by him. [Press Report]

    Op Perlov (2014) – Instructed in this case concerning the UK limb of an organised criminal network with Russian, Bulgarian and Latvian connections and a conspiracy to traffic a young woman who had been a talented athlete from Bulgaria for the purposes of exploitation. Once here she was forced into prostitution, and advertised for sexual services on a number of websites. [Press Report]

    R v U, S, and A (2013) – The first case of internal trafficking in South East England. This involved the trafficking of a 13-year-old girl from London to Ipswich, where she was kept in a house and used as a “sex slave” by the defendants. [Press Report]

    R v Z and others (2012) – The Cinderella case – Instructed in this case concerning a Romanian man in his 50s and a girl of seven, trafficked to the UK by a Romanian family for exploitation and servitude. The man was raped and sexually assaulted, and the child severely neglected. [Press Report]

    R v M and M (2012) – The defendant and his wife were employed by the UK Borders Agency in Lagos, Nigeria and charged with assisting unlawful immigration of a Nigerian woman, and lying on her application form in order to employ her here as their nanny for a very limited wage. They pleaded guilty after hearing the case opened to the jury. [Press Report]

    R v AH (2011) – The defendant trafficked girls to the UK from Nigeria and on to Europe for sexual exploitation (rape). This was the first case to involve trafficking both into and out of the UK and the first European case where victims of Juju ‘Black Magic’ agreed to give evidence. [Press Report]

    See our Human Trafficking team.

    Sexual Offences

    Riel has conducted many serious Sexual Offences trials including those involving allegations of historic sexual abuse, rape, and cases involving children, both as victims and accused. She is particularly good with vulnerable victims.

    Featured cases

    • Op Disc (current) – instructed for the prosecution this investigation into large scale prosecution into organised systemic sexual abuse. (currently pre-charge).
    • R v Manish Shah (current) – Instructed to prosecute a GP charged with 41 counts of sexual assault and assault by penetration arising out of inappropriate and unwarranted sexual examinations of patients, including vaginal, rectal, and breast examinations.
    • Op Lydstep (current) – Instructed by the CPS to advise on this complex case involving cruelty and sexual abuse of boys in a school for boys with behavioural and learning difficulties between the late 1970’s to early 1990’s.
    • R v T (2021) – Instructed by CPS Appeals Unit to respond and represent the Crown in this appeal to the full court against a conviction for rape which turned on the question of whether sexual orientation or sexual identification could, in the circumstances of this case, constitute “sexual behaviour” for the purposes of section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999. See Judgement: R v T [2021] EWCA Crim 318.
    • R v G (2021) – Instructed to defend where G was accused of rape, assault by penetration, and making an indecent image of a child. Following a submission of no case to answer, the case was dismissed.
    • R v X (2021) – Instructed on the investigative side of this case, involving allegations of peer-on-peer sexual abuse at a well-known public school, to conduct a video recorded Achieving Best Evidence interview with the 14-year-old child complainant, with a view to a private prosecution taking place.
    • R v Mark Frost (2017) – Instructed in this case concerning a serial child abuser. There were three separate indictments with 45 counts, spread across more than 25 years, resolved with pleas. [Press Report]
    • Op Svanetia, phase 2 (2015-2016) – Instructed in this case concerning the Romanian limb of an organised criminal network. This concerned issues of conspiracy to traffic for exploitation (sham marriages) and also for sexual exploitation (prostitution). [Press Report]
    • Op Svanetia, phase 1 (2014-2015) – Instructed in this case concerning the UK limb of an organised criminal network. This concerned a conspiracy to traffic a Roma woman from Slovakia for sexual exploitation, during which she was brutally raped. [Press Report]
    • Op Perlov (2014) – Instructed in this case concerning the UK limb of an organised criminal network with Russian, Bulgarian and Latvian connections and a conspiracy to traffic a young woman who had been a talented athlete from Bulgaria for the purposes of exploitation. Once here she was forced into prostitution, and advertised for sexual services on a number of websites. [Press Report]
    • R v Surin Uddin, Mohammed Sheikh and Hamza Ali (2013) – The first case of internal trafficking in South-East England. This case involved the trafficking of a 13-year-old girl from London to Ipswich where she was kept in a house and used as a “sex slave” by the defendants. [Press Report]
    • R v Z and others (2012) – The Cinderella case – Instructed in this case concerning a Romanian man in his 50’s and a girl of seven trafficked to the UK by a Romanian family for exploitation and servitude. The man was raped and sexually assaulted, and the child severely neglected . [Press Report]
    • R v SB (2013) – A high-ranking athletics coach who sexually abused and raped three of his young athletes, grooming them from about the age of 14. His actions spanned three generations, and a period of 30 years. [Press Report]
    • R v PD (2011) – The defendant groomed and raped two schoolgirls, resulting in two pregnancies and the birth of a severely disabled child. [Press Report]
    • R v TR (2013) – The defendant set a trap for a woman, held her prisoner for two days, raped and then threatened to kill her.
    • R v JB (2012) – Instructed to defend a 17-year-old charged with the rape of a 14-year-old girl. Riel successfully challenged DNA evidence of semen on sheets, resulting in acquittal.
    • R v GB (2012) – The defendant, a man with learning difficulties, attacked and violently raped a deaf woman with severe learning difficulties.

    See our Sexual Offences team.

    Terrorism

    Riel has previously been instructed in a number of high profile and multi handed Terrorism cases including Operation Theseus, the trial of the alleged accomplices of the 7/7 bombers; Operation Chamfer, the ‘Preachers of Hate’ trial in 2008 [Press Report]; and the case of the memory stick man in 2012 [Press Report].

    Featured cases

    • Op. Premo (2015) – Instructed in this case concerning preparation for terrorist acts, attendance at a place for terrorist training, and funding.
    • R v H&H (2014) – Instructed in this case concerning dissemination of terrorist material and the encouragement of terrorism.

    See our Terrorism team.

    Professional Discipline

    Riel has past experience of prosecuting for The General Medical Council, The General Social Care Council, and the Bar Standards Board.

    More recently she has been instructed in cases where regulatory law and discipline has the potential to intersect with criminal law by the SRA, NRM, and UKA.

    Featured cases

    • Instructed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to prosecute a case against a magic circle solicitor accused of inappropriate behaviours towards a young female associate.
    • Instructed to advise the National Midwifery Council on a complex issue arising out of historic deaths in a care home.
    • Instructed by United Kingdom Athletics to advise on the prosecution of a leading athletics coach for a series of allegations, involving bullying and inappropriate touching and behaviour towards a number of young female athletes.

    See our Professional Discipline team.

    Inquests & Inquiries

    • Between 2017 and 2019 she was Senior Counsel to the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse [IICSA] leading the Investigation into the Roman Catholic Church, and presenting the hearings in respect of the English Benedictine Congregation, and the inquiry’s published reports on Ampleforth, Downside, and Ealing Abbeys and their respective Schools.

    See our Inquests & Inquiries team.

    Appeals

    Riel has appeared frequently in the Court of Appeal and has advised and appeared on behalf of the Attorney General on a number of occasions in respect of unduly lenient sentence Appeals.

    Featured cases

    • R v T (2021) – Instructed by CPS Appeals Unit to respond and represent the Crown in this appeal to the full court against a conviction for rape which turned on the question of whether sexual orientation or sexual identification could, in the circumstances of this case, constitute “sexual behaviour” for the purposes of section 41 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999. See Judgement: R v T [2021] EWCA Crim 318.

    See our Appeals team.

    Awards

    Recognised in the Hot 100 list 2020, produced by The Lawyer Magazine.

    Shortlisted for Criminal Silk of the Year 2019

    Professional appointments

    • Chair of the East Anglian Bar Mess

    Memberships

    • CBA
    • South Eastern Circuit
    • Patron of PAN Intercultural Arts (working with the victims of human trafficking)
    • Lincoln’s Inn
    • Inner Temple

    Publications

    Publications

    • Archbold – Criminal Pleading, Evidence and Practice, 2017 to present, contributing editor
    • Rook and Ward: Sexual Offences Law and Practise, 2016 to present, contributing editor
    • Abuse of Process In Criminal Proceedings, 2022, contributing editor
    • Human Rights in Criminal Law, Bloomsbury, 2022
    • IICSA Reports in respect of Child Sexual Abuse at Ampleforth, Downside, and Ealing Abbeys and their associated schools, 2018-2019, contributing editor

    Articles

    • ‘Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery – “a very particular set of skills”’, Archbold News, June 2022
    • ‘“Virginity Testing”, Hymen Surgery and Misogyny: What Should the Law Do?’, Counsel Magazine, July 2021
    • ‘Case in Depth Review of DDP v M and what weight should be given to the decisions of the Single Competent Authority in Criminal trials’, Archbold News, May 2021
    • ‘The Impact of Covid-19 on Victims of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery’, Lawyer Magazine, July 2020
    • Commentary on R v Joseph [2017] EWCA Crim 36 (dealing with the availability of the defence provided by s.45 of the MSA to victims of human trafficking), Criminal Law Review, March 2017
    • Joint Interview with Peter Carter QC on Modern Slavery Act 2015, Lexis Nexis, May 2015

    Lectures / Training

    • ‘Stages in the Life of a Public Inquiry’, RLC Webinar, July 2021
    • Speaker on ‘Vulnerable Witnesses in the context of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery investigations’, The Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Human Trafficking, June 2019
    • Speaker on the ‘Handling of Vulnerable Witnesses and English Criminal Procedure’, symposium with the Norwegian Law Commission at Oxford University, with Prof Laura Hoyano of RLC, March 2016
    • Lecture and seminar on ‘Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking’, Amnesty International, February & April 2016
    • ‘The Modern Slavery Act’, CBA Winter Conference, December 2015
    • Talk to the National Strategic Modern Slavery Meeting organised by Shaun Sawyer, Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police and National Policing Modern Slavery Lead, June 2015
    • Talk to the Czeck/British Conference in Prague, organised by the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic assisted by the British embassy in Prague, March 2015
    • Called to give evidence before the Joint Parliamentary Committee in respect of the Modern Slavery Bill, Jan 2015
    • ‘Modern Slavery, The Burden on the Victim and the Role of the Criminal Justice System’, Conference on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative, June 2014
    • ‘Human Trafficking’, Anti-Slavery International Conference, Jan 2014
    • ‘Human Trafficking seminar’, West Midland Circuit, speaking with Peter Carter QC, November 2013
    • Speaking on the case of R v Anthony Harrison,: use of Juju in Trafficking out of Nigeria, Trafficking Law and Policy Forum, June 2012