It can now be reported that Riel Karmy-Jones QC and Sally-Ann Hales QC have successfully concluded a series of prosecutions into forced labour and other offences of fraud, theft and violence, labelled Operation Pottery. To date, eleven defendants have pleaded guilty or been convicted by jury. An extremely complex and wide-ranging investigation by Lincolnshire Police led to a six month trial in the Crown Court from December 2016 to May 2017 (prosecuted by Ms. Karmy-Jones QC), which concluded with convictions, followed by two further linked trials (prosecuted by Ms. Hales QC) which concluded with guilty pleas.
The case has been widely reported following the lifting of reporting restrictions on Friday 11 August 2017. The trial judge commented in April 2017 of the first trial as follows:
“This trial has been both the longest and the most complex trial of its kind ever conducted in this country, according to all researches by both the Bar and the Court Service. The trial has lasted over 20 weeks. The nature, scope and volume of the evidence in this trial is such that the case has been at the least of the very highest level of complexity… The level of skill and care required of the advocates in this case make this case, in my judgment, directly comparable with the most serious of all criminal allegations.”
Junior Counsel in all three matters were Mr Alex Young and Mr Chris Canning from 7 Bedford Row. Sentence is due to take place in September.