James is an established and highly sought after criminal practioner. He has built a reputation as skilled advocate who brings to every case rigorous analysis, meticulous preparation and an eye for detail.
James is a member of the Crown Prosecution Service ‘Grade 3’ panel and is regularly instructed by regional Complex Case Units to prosecute serious offences including murder, large scale frauds, gang associated firearms offences and people trafficking / modern slavery.
His defence practice includes representing clients charged with large scale Class A drugs conspiracies, armed robbery and serious sexual offences.
James has been praised for his excellent client care skills, in particular when dealing with clients who are vulnerable due to their age, mental health problems, substance abuse or learning difficulties.
James is adept at marshalling large volumes of material spanning communications data, cell site analysis, covert surveillance, ANPR and DNA evidence and distilling it for juries in a succinct and persuasive manner
James was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2015 and joined the PPS Panel of Prosecution Counsel for Magistrates’ Court and County Court Appeal work. He has been instructed to defend both as led junior and junior alone in cases involving serious violence and supply of drugs at Antrim Crown Court.
James’ Northern Ireland practice also extends to civil litigation, employments tribunals and Family Court proceedings.
Criminal Judicial Review
Murder and Serious Violence
R v Flanagan (2017, Birmingham CC) – led junior defending teenager charged with murder. Defence of novus actus interveniens required complex pathology and cardiology expert evidence to assess the victim’s pre-existing heart condition.
R v James Clarke (2017, Woolwich CC) – led junior prosecuting ‘cold case’ 1993 gangland execution of drug dealer following extradition of the defendant from Germany. Involved applications for lifetime anonymity orders for accomplices to the shooting called as Prosecution witnesses
R v David McNeil (2017, Northampton CC) – junior alone prosecuted defendant represented by Queen's Counsel who attacked a rival drug dealer with a samurai sword causing GBH with intent.
High Value Fraud
R v Ali & Others (2018, Derby CC) – Led junior prosecuting 16 defendants, including a solicitor, in a prolific and highly organised ‘crash for cash’ conspiracy spanning several years in which insurance companies were defrauded of more than £100,000. The prosecution involved over 5000 pages of evidence and convictions were secured over the course of series of trials spanning 3 months
R v Waseem & Waseem (2017, Wood Green Crown Court) – junior alone prosecuting £800,000 money laundering operation that used multiple ‘shell’ companies to launder the proceeds of sophisticated ‘phishing scams’ targeting vulnerable elderly victims across England and Scotland
R v Iacub and others (2014, Leicester Crown Court)
Led junior on high profile child exploitation prosecution of a gang who groomed and sexually exploited a vulnerable teenager with complex mental health difficulties. The case involved call schedules, cell site analysis, ANPR and hours of ABE video recorded interviews of the victim. All defendants changed their pleas to guilty before the close of the prosecution case. The case attracted national news media coverage throughout.
R v Haigh (2017, Northampton Youth Court) - junior alone representing 15 year old charged with rape of a classmate and separate sexual assault of child . Both the defendant and rape complainant required intermediaries due to their learning difficulties
R v Edwards (2017, Derby Crown Court) - junior alone defending a man of good character accused of raping his sister in the 1960's when she was 8.
Serious Organised Crime
Operation Doubrava (2018, Derby Crown Court) – instructed by East Midlands Complex Case Unit in a multi defendant people trafficking / modern slavery case. The investigation established a ‘Joint Investigation Team’ with the Latvian authorities and made use of European Arrest Warrants to gather evidence in the UK and Latvia.
Operation Audience (2015-18, Birmingham Crown Court) – led junior instructed by West Midlands Complex Case Unit prosecuting multiple interlinked conspiracies to supply kilo quantities of import purity cocaine. Involved hundreds of hours of covert surveillance and covert probe audio recordings alongside phone data and cell site analysis (2015-16).Junior alone prosecuting four further trials arising from the same police operation (2016-18).
R v Smith & Ruddock (2018, Birmingham CC) – led junior prosecuting a defendant involved in an exchange of gunfire between two vehicles in a residential area of Birmingham in broad daylight
R v Bestman (2014, Northampton CC) – junior alone representing teenager accused of being a member of a gang carrying out a series of armed robberies where isolated rural homes were targeted, homeowners tied up and threatened with firearms. On one occasion the gang discharged a shotgun at a homeowner who fled. Case involved thousands of pages of phone data, cell site analysis, ANPR evidence, voice recognition on recorded prison calls and social media evidence of gang affiliation
R v McClelland (2017, Antrim Crown Court) - led junior defending a teenager charged with s.18 GBH following a group attack on another teenager outside a pub,
R v McGeown (2017, Antrim Crown Court) - junior alone defending a client charged with supply of cannabis. The case was linked to a wider investigation into the large scale supply of drugs in the Bangor area.
PPS v Joan Diamond (2017, Antrim County Court) - successful appeal against sentence of immediate custody for a vulnerable woman diagnosed with kleptomania.
NIEA v LacPatrick Dairies UK (2016, Coleraine Magistrates’ Court) – represented large multinational company in an Environment Agency prosecution following an investigation into subcontracters dumping building waste material on farmland at their Ballyrashane production site.