Robert Ward

Year of call: 2007

Robert undertakes criminal work at the highest level, frequently instructed in cases of murder and high-level organised crime.

He has been instructed as junior alone in a range of serious cases such as attempted murder (including gang related shootings and the stabbing of an inmate in prison), multi-handed drugs conspiracies and importations, large scale frauds, firearms cases, witness intimidation and allegations of violence at all levels.

Given the level of work he deals with he has frequently been instructed in cases as junior alone with Queen’s Counsel prosecuting and/or co-defending.

Expertise

Robert covers a wide practice area. He is experienced in representing defendants accused of the most serious of sexual offences such as rape of a child, trafficking for sexual exploitation, forced prostitution and allegations of gang rape. He is qualified and experienced in the cross-examination of vulnerable witnesses.

He has been instructed as a led junior in a variety of cases involving allegations such as murder, attempted murder, threats to kill and conspiracy to kidnap, falsely imprison and blackmail. These cases have included allegations which involve gang related shootings, pre-meditated stabbings, kidnap for ransom and torture.

Robert is frequently sought out to represent individuals in high profile cases where the Defendant risks serious damage to their reputation, such as representing police officers, prison officers, bank managers or solicitors accused of serious criminal offences. He also has particular skills in dealing with young offenders and handling difficult clients.

Robert has considerable higher court and appellate experience and has enjoyed considerable success both in the High Court and the Court of Appeal where he has been praised for his skilful advocacy.

Robert is also an experienced practitioner in the fields of immigration and asylum law and he deals with the full spectrum of such matters from first-tier entry clearance appeals right up to Judicial Review in the High Court.

Qualifications

LLB (Hons) Law – University of Leeds

LLM (Distinction) International Law- University of Glasgow

Professional Associations

Criminal Bar Association

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Notable Cases

Murder and Attempted Murder

R v S and F: Led junior representing one of two defendants accused of murder following a fatal shooting in broad daylight on a residential street in Hayes. Prosecution suggested this was the latest in a series of tit for tat incidents as part of a drugs feud in which 7 separate shootings and 2 stabbings were identified (Central Criminal Court, May 2019).

R v M-C and others: Led junior representing a defendant in a five handed murder case involving a complex cut throat situation where the victim and 4 of the 5 defendants were children at the time of the incident. Trial lasted 11 weeks in front of a High Court Judge. M-C was acquitted of murder and convicted only of manslaughter (Nottingham Crown Court, December 2018).

 R v M: Junior alone representing defendant accused of attempted murder in prison following a fellow inmate being slashed twice to the neck (Central Criminal Court, July 2017).

R v M and others: Led junior in a four-handed murder trial in relation to a shooting which was alleged to have occurred in the course of a robbery of a drug dealing premises in West London. The case involved complex legal issues in relation to a number of matters including the controversial hearsay evidence of a deceased eye witness. At the conclusion of a 6-week trial, which included over a week of legal argument, the defendant was unanimously acquitted of all charges (Central Criminal Court, July 2017).

R v H: Junior alone representing a defendant who had been on the run for over 10 years whilst wanted for an allegation of attempted murder in relation to an incident where a man was struck in the head and face with an axe, causing severe injuries (Cardiff Crown Court, September 2016).

R v H: Led junior in a two-handed murder trial, involving the stabbing of a 16-year-old boy on a busy shopping street. The two defendants were both youths and were accused of a planned and pre-meditated attack. H was unanimously acquitted of both murder and manslaughter (Isleworth Crown Court, July 2016).

R v B and others: Led junior in a multi-handed murder trial involving complex issues of joint enterprise and secondary liability. B was the only defendant not convicted of murder (Reading Crown Court, March 2016).

R v S and others: Junior alone in seven handed case in relation to the stabbing of a 15-year-old boy suffering life threatening injuries in the context of “tit-for-tat” violence between two North London gangs. Allegations included attempted murder, conspiracy to cause GBH and conspiracy to rob (Wood Green Crown Court, March 2014 and January 2015).

R v T and others: Junior alone in three handed case alleging attempted murder and possession of firearms with intent to endanger life in connection with gang related shootings, during the course of which an innocent bystander was shot in the face with a sawn off shotgun (Inner London Crown Court, February 2014).

R v T and others: Instructed as led junior in a case alleging threats to kill and attempted murder, concerned with two linked incidents with a gang related background. The Defendant was alleged to have put a gun to the complainant’s head and threatened his life and then, ten days later, shot the complainant 9 times at point blank range. The case involved highly contentious areas of expert evidence including fingerprints, DNA and cell site evidence, all of which was disputed. The Defendant was ultimately released having been cleared of all charges following two jury trials (Snaresbrook Crown Court, May 2012).

 

Terrorism, Kidnap and Serious Violence

R v S and K- Junior alone in two handed case alleging Section 18 GBH with intent and various other assaults arising out of an incident of widespread violence on New Years Eve at a working mans club. 5 different eye witnesses named the defendant as being responsible but he was unanimously acquitted by the jury (Isleworth Crown Court, March 2019).

R v C and others: Junior alone representing a defendant accused of two separate kidnappings, money being obtained by threats and violence with an allegation of a firearm being placed to the head of one of the victims and ransom demands being made of friends and family (Snaresbrook Crown Court, February 2019).

R v M and others: Junior alone in a landmark case involving conspiracy to commit GBH with intent, with the conspiracy largely evidenced through drill music and social media output. Nationally reported as the first case where the court imposed a Criminal Behaviour Order prohibiting the making and releasing of drill music (Kingston Crown Court, June 2018).

R v G: Junior alone acting for a defendant accused of disseminating terrorist publications with the intent to induce or encourage acts of terrorism. Case involved anonymous evidence from covert operatives and bad character evidence surrounding alleged links between the defendant and people convicted of terrorism offences such as Abu Baraa and Anjem Choudary (Central Criminal Court, May 2017).

R v K and others: Junior alone, representing the first defendant in allegations of kidnap, blackmail and GBH where the defendants were reputable landlords and letting agents accused of attempting to obtain outstanding rent by violence, intimidation, blackmail and kidnap. Unanimously acquitted (Harrow Crown Court, August 2015).

R v S and others: Led junior in five handed conspiracy to kidnap, commit false imprisonment and blackmail. Allegation that the victim was snatched from the street by a group of males in a van and held for approximately 48 hours during which period he was water-boarded. Victim was released after ransoms of approximately £30,000 were paid. Jury was discharged in the first trial after the defence raised serious issues regarding the disclosure regime. The Defendant was ultimately acquitted of all charges following the retrial (Southwark Crown Court, January 2013 / Croydon Crown Court, September 2013).

 

Firearms

R v M: Junior alone representing a defendant accused of being in possession of a submachine gun and a revolver with live ammunition for both. Firearms were found in a bag within his living room and prosecution relied on DNA found on both firearms to suggest the defendant was in possession of them, however, he was unanimously acquitted of all counts (Kingston Crown Court, February 2019).

R v S and others: Junior alone representing a defendant in conspiracies to possess firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life in connection with the sale of loaded firearms to criminal gangs in London where the defendant was accused of being the armourer (Isleworth Crown Court, December 2017).

R v T: Junior alone representing a defendant accused of firearms offences in relation to a submachine gun which was found in the boot of a vehicle. The firearm was fully operational and was found with working ammunition and a silencer. Spent casings in the vehicle along with large amounts of gunshot residue established the firearm had recently been discharged in the vehicle and the weapon itself was linked to a shooting in Hammersmith (Isleworth Crown Court, November 2016).

R v M: Junior alone representing a shopkeeper who was selling cannabis from behind the counter and was storing within his shop numerous illegal items including firearms, ammunition, large amounts of class A drugs and almost £200,000 in cash (Isleworth Crown Court, January 2016).

R v C: Junior alone representing a young man found in possession of a large cache of criminal items including two handguns, a shotgun, a rifle, several types of ammunition (including expanding bullets), £12,000 in cash and 100 grams of cocaine. Case was alleged to be gang related (Isleworth Crown Court, May 2014).

R v C and others: A four handed case charging possession of a prohibited firearm where the five year minimum sentence applied. Represented the first Defendant on the Indictment and ultimately secured his acquittal by virtue of a successful submission of no case to answer. The second and third Defendants were ultimately convicted (Central Criminal Court, July 2012).

 

Drugs

R v M and others: 8-handed conspiracy to supply class A drugs in relation to an enterprise lasting at least 9 months, a snapshot of which was over 2.6kg of class A drugs, worth over a quarter of million pounds, being seized on a single day (Kingston Crown Court, October 2018).

R v H and others: Junior alone representing a defendant accused of conspiracy to supply class A drugs in connection with the movement of approximately 4kg of heroin which was transported from the London area to Glasgow. The Crown’s case was that this was a highly organised international criminal drug dealing operation, which was being planned and coordinated from Spain. The prosecution applied to adduce ‘bad character’ evidence of a previous acquittal where H had been stopped with 29kg of heroin in the boot of his car, an incident occurring 2 weeks after the date of this allegation. Notwithstanding the admission of this evidence the defendant was acquitted (Southwark Crown Court, June 2017).

R v H and others: Junior alone in a multi-handed drug importation case involving a widespread conspiracy to smuggle millions of pounds worth of Class A drugs (heroin and cocaine) into the UK, secreted in the spare wheels of lorries crossing from Europe. H was found in possession of 29 kilos of import strength heroin but was one of only two defendants to be acquitted (Southwark Crown Court June 2015).

R v C and others: Five handed international conspiracy to import and supply drugs (Class A and B). Approximately 400 kilos of cannabis worth over half a million pounds was seized in connection with the operation (Birmingham Crown Court, June 2013).

R v F: Defendant charged with conspiracy to supply approximately 3 kilos of cocaine (Kingston Crown Court, November 2010).

 

Sexual Offences

R v N and others: Junior alone for the first defendant in a case involving multiple allegations of rape as well as false imprisonment and possession of a firearm with intent. The three defendants, all of whom were children themselves at the time, were accused of a serious and prolonged incident involving a 13-year-old victim (Isleworth Crown Court, March 2017).

R v P and others: Junior alone in a multi-handed case alleging rape and controlling a child for the purposes of sexual exploitation where all three defendants were also children at the time of the allegations. P was the only defendant acquitted of all charges he faced (Isleworth Crown Court, January 2017).

R v B: Junior alone representing a defendant in an allegation of rape and ABH concerning a woman being accosted on the street and forcibly dragged down an alleyway where she was physically and sexually assaulted (Isleworth Crown Court, June 2016 and September 2016).

R v C and C: Junior alone for the first defendant in a case involving trafficking for sexual exploitation, prostitution for gain and multiple counts of rape concerning the trafficking of an 18 year old girl from Romania who was brought to the UK on the pretence she would work as a nanny but was repeatedly raped and forced to work in brothels in North London (Harrow Crown Court, February 2015).

R v R and others: Junior alone representing one of five teenage defendants accused of a gang rape of a 16 year old girl (Isleworth Crown Court, October 2014).

R v A and others: Junior alone in ten handed case alleging sexual activity with a child, rape and trafficking for sex in the context of grooming allegations. Case was prosecuted by silk and junior. Robert represented the seventh Defendant who was unanimously acquitted of all counts (Oxford Crown Court, May 2013).

 

Robberies and Conspiracies to Steal

R v B and others: Junior alone in a ten-handed allegation involving a jewellery store heist by a highly sophisticated organised group. This was an armed robbery with a pump action shotgun where over £250,000 worth of goods were obtained. Case involved a substantial volume of evidence (nearly 10,000 pages) (Nottingham Crown Court, April 2017).

R v G and others: Represented the second defendant in a large-scale sophisticated conspiracy in which motor vehicles were stolen from car hire centres by using false identities to hire them. The vehicles were then sold on to unsuspecting members of the public, having been disguised by virtue of number plates, tax disks, mileages and VIN numbers being altered. The overall value of the conspiracy was placed at £750,000 (Guildford Crown Court, April 2016).

R v M and others: Junior alone in multi-handed conspiracy to steal involving a highly organised enterprise over a number of months resulting in the theft of a number of vehicles of a total value close to £1 million (Chelmsford Crown Court, December 2015).

R v P: Allegation of armed robbery of a jewellery store, involving a live firearm, primarily involving expert evidence in relation to DNA (Luton Crown Court, August 2013).

R v M and others: Five handed conspiracy to commit cash-in-transit robberies, the result of several linked operations by the Flying Squad. Case involved a series of burglaries, robberies and money laundering offences over a lengthy period (Wood Green Crown Court, September 2012).

R v O and others: Junior alone in a multi-handed conspiracy involving a series of highly organized and sophisticated criminal enterprises including a cash-in-transit robbery, an armed robbery of a hotel, a violent robbery of an elderly victim in her home and a series of burglaries and TWOCs in order to obtain stolen vehicles to use in the course of such enterprises. Co-defended with a leading silk who represented the other significant party to the conspiracy (Kingston Crown Court, September 2011).

R v G and others: Represented one of four defendants charged with conspiracy to commit cash in transit robberies and conspiracy to launder the proceeds (Snaresbrook Crown Court, February 2011).

 

Fraud

R v B: Instructed to represent a Barclays Bank manager accused of siphoning off approximately £100,000 by virtue of an incredibly complex set of internal transactions across the bank’s foreign currency accounts (Aylesbury Crown Court, September 2016).

R v S and others: Junior alone in a seven handed fraud conspiracy concerning a housing fraud perpetrated on Southwark Council over a four year period, involving a loss to the Council of almost £4 million. The case involved large amounts of documentation and complex legal issues regarding a multi-faceted conspiracy in a trial lasting over 3 months (Woolwich Crown Court, November 2013).

R v H: Defendant charged with multiple counts of fraud involving the forging of documents and the unauthorised sale of a property worth £150,000 (Isleworth Crown Court, August 2010).

 

Other Serious Crime

R v V: Junior alone representing a solicitors’ representative from a well-known firm of solicitors who was accused of perverting the course of justice in the course of a criminal trial. The defendant had texted a defence witness whilst the witness was giving live evidence over a video link from abroad. The prosecution instructed Queens Counsel to prosecute the case. The case was prepared for trial but the Crown ultimately offered no evidence upon concluding there was no reasonable prospect of conviction (Southwark Crown Court, March 2017).