Christopher Harding

Called:1992 Inner Temple

Specialisms:Crime, Financial & Regulatory Crime, Courts Martial, Public & Human Rights

EDUCATION/QUALIFICATIONS

 

Lancaster Royal Grammar School.

Kings College, London LLB (Hons).

Kings College Organ Scholar.

 

 

PRACTICE

 

  • Crime - Murder, serious sexual offences, major drug importations, financial and regulatory offences and serious fraud. Appeals, particularly in fresh evidence cases, and Judicial Review.

 

  • Proceeds of Crime - Restraint, Receivership & Charging Orders. Confiscation and enforcement proceedings. Also civil Condemnation proceedings in relation to seized goods and vehicles.

  

  • Professional Regulatory Tribunals - Defending allegations of misconduct, negligence and dishonesty.

 

  • Judical Review and public law - Matters affecting criminal clients, including challenges to police cautions, prisoner categorisation, parole decisions etc.

 

 

EXPERIENCE

 

Crime:

Long and wide ranging experience of criminal defence, across all categories of case. Regularly instructed in high profile and complex criminal cases, from murder and violent sexual offences through to commercial serious fraud.

Often instructed in two counsel cases where painstaking preparatory work, proficiency in IT presentation, and imaginative advocacy are required.

Particular experience in the defence of professionals charged with white-collar fraud, and of businesses facing Trading Standards, BERR/DTI, Health & Safety or Revenue & Customs prosecutions.

Regularly instructed in complex appellate work, particularly appeals against conviction relying upon fresh evidence. 

 

Recent Cases:

 

Regina v W.F. - Successful defence of Park Home site developer in 9 week trial at Hull Crown Court. The prosecution alleged fraud by misrepresentation in the sales of park homes to 70 elderly, vulnerable purchasers over a 4 year period - amounting to more than £7million. Through painstaking work and cross-examination it was demonstrated that the witness accounts were unreliable and motivated by self-interest, and that the fairness of the police investigation had been compromised by outside influences. The defendant was acquitted on all counts at half-time, when the trial judge ruled that the Crown had no reliable evidence of fraud. 

 

Regina v D.L. - Instructed as junior counsel to defend a professional accountant to media industry clients, charged with cheating the public revenue. HMRC alleged that the defendant's company had lodged false tax returns on behalf of a client base of over 7,000 individuals and companies - leading to a loss to the revenue of more than £10million. Crown's case ranged across large sections of the defendant's client base, and the two trials involved very substantial document analysis and handling skills, as the total evidence relied on by the Crown exceeded 50,000 pages, and the unused material contained more than a million documents. 

 

Regina v M.B. - As leading counsel, successfully defended an SIA licensed door man charged with manslaughter after his restraint of a party-goer resulted in death. The prosecution alleged manslaughter by gross negligence, in particular a failure to guard against the risks associated with positional asphyxia. Case lasted 4 weeks and involved expert evidence in the fields of pathology, toxicology, SIA physical intervention training, and the use of certain martial art neck holds.

 

Appeal of R.K. - Successful appeal against conviction in gang-land murder, on grounds that the negligence/inadvertence of original trial counsel, in his cross-examination of the prosecution ballistic expert, and his failure to correct his misconstruction of the defendant's instructions, rendered the conviction unsafe despite all other aspects of the trial process being regular and fair. Re-trial ordered.

 

Regina v A.A. - Multi-handed rape case. Defendants convicted at the first trial, but those convictions were successfully appealed on grounds that the behaviour of the trial judge, which CACD described as entirely improper, had prejudiced a fair trial. At the re-trial at the Central Criminal Court defendants were acquitted.

 

Regina v R.B. - Northwest Regional Crime Squad investigation into a nationwide network of cocaine and heroin supply. Multi-handed trial. Evidence against the defendant was circumstantial only. Secured acquittal of the defendant on successful Galbraith submission, demonstrating that the Crown's evidence was insufficient to found an inference of guilt capable of sustaining a conviction. 

 

Regina v Q.R. - Represented professional financial advisor charged with fraud and forgery. Case was brought by SFO and concerned the disinvestment and disbursement abroad of £52million distressed pension fund assets by the professional trustees appointed to manage the funds.

 

Regina v M.H. - Junior Counsel for defendant charged with the joint enterprise murder of an Eccles shop-worker, shot with a semi-automatic weapon, in the course of a dispute between two criminal gangs. Trial involved substantial cross-examination of an alleged accomplice who was giving evidence for the Crown. Appeal on basis that jury's verdicts were inconsistent.

 

Regina v A.C. - Successful defence of a businessman charged with the murder of a Cheetham Hill Gang member. As the subject of two previous unsuccessful prosecutions for murder brought by the same police force, the Defendant maintained that this prosecution was brought in bad faith. The case turned on the interpretation of a huge body of forensic scientific evidence. Prosecution eventually accepted, after being served with a very substantial dismissal argument, that they were unable to prove that the killing had not been in self-defence.

 

Regina v G.M. - Successful defence of managing director charged with substantial fraud and theft in resepct of the company's nationwide direct sales operation. Case involved complex factual circumstances, including the assertion that the desperate financial circumstances had been inherited, unwittingly, from outgoing directors. Shortly before the listed trial Crown accepted that to continue with the prosecution would amount to an abuse of process. 

 

Regina v S.B. - Junior Counsel for defendant charged with the joint enterprise murder of the owner of currency exchange business in Longsight Manchester, who was shot in the course of being robbed of substantial amount of cash. Successfully negotiated limited basis of plea to robbery and defendant received 13 months imprisonment. 

 

Regina v T.T. - Successful defence of alleged gang member charged with conspiracy to murder - case concerned a drive-by revenge shooting using a semi-automatic weapon in which victims were members of an opposing street gang.

 

Regina v Y.B. - Defence of professional interpreter charged with conveying a prohibited article into prison under the new provisions of the Offender Management Act. Successful argument, appearing alone in the Court of Appeal, defining the interpretation of the Act - that offence was not one of strict liability but required proof of mens rea.

 

Regina v K.Z. - Largest seizure of opium in British history. Appearing alone, successfully defended Iranian national charged with the importation of opium into the UK through Dover.

 

Regina v G.B. - Successful defence of care-worker charged with 30 counts of historic sexual assault and familial rape. Case included delicate cross-examination of vulnerable witnesses, and of the Defendant's own mother who was a key prosecution witness. 

 

Regina v K.K. - Instructed as leading counsel in the defence of a Polish national charged with large conspiracies to import drugs and firearms into the U.K. Case involved 25 defendants.

 

Regina v K.O. - Successful defence of chart-topping music industry professional after seizure of £2million of heroin by Operation Trident officers.

  

Regina v K.A. - As leading counsel, successfully defended an allegation of attempted in murder in North London drug gang context.

 

Regina v D.C. - Groundbreaking prosecution, under the Computer Misuse Act, of a security analyst suspected of having "hacked" into the Tsunami Relief Fund donations website.

 

Regina v B.L. - Multi-handed Flying Squad prosecution at the Old Bailey involving a series of armed robberies. Instructed as leading counsel and conducted successful defence.

 

Jubilee Line - Instructed as junior counsel to defend in this exceptionally lengthy and complex case at the Central Criminal Court. The case concerned allegations of conspiracy to defraud and corruption by professional surveyors, in the context of a huge, politically-charged civil engineering project.

 

Transatlantic Aircraft Terrorist Plot - Instructed to defend one of the 15 men arrested and charged in connection with a terrorist suicide plan to detonate liquid explosives on transatlantic flights.

 

Proceeds of Crime:

Extensive experience of confiscation work, including the protection of third party interests, revisiting confiscation orders upon the discovery of new assets, certificates of inadequacy and the enforcement of orders through the implementation of default sentences. High Court restraint orders and civil freezing injunctions.

 

Tribunals:

Representation of professionals on a regulator's applications for orders based on misconduct, breaches of professional regulations, negligence and dishonesty. Application of recent regulatory reform legislation and standards expected of regulator's investigations by the BERR's Statutory Code of Practice for Regulators.

 

Recent success includes forcing the withdrawal of allegations in the Solicitor's Disciplinary Tribunal and obtaining an order that the Respondent's costs be paid by the Regulator, owing to deficiencies in the quality and extent of the investigation by the SRA.

 

 

REPORTED CASES

 

Smith Graham (A Firm) v Lord Chancellor's Department [1999] 2 Costs L.R. 1

(Appeal from taxing Master to QBD - Solicitors Costs - self employed enquiry agent's fees allowed as fee not disbursement)

 

R v Cox (Allan) [2000] 2 Cr. App. R. (S.) 57 (Return Orders under CJA 1991)

 

Weston, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Home Department [2001] EWHC Admin 370 (Extradition to USA)

 

R v Martins Dada [2001] EWCA Crim 1716 (Conspiracy to Defraud)

 

Att. Gen. Ref. (No. 133 of 2002) [2003] 2 Cr. App. R. (S.) 108 (Manslaughter, Length of sentence)

 

R v Camwell (Barry) [2003] EWCA Crim 1388

(Sentence for Rape, aggravating features, extended sentences)

 

Rv Robinson [2003] EWCA Crim 2375 (Totality of sentence for multiple assaults with intent to rob)

 

R v Kayhan Ali [2006] EWCA Crim 1950

(Conviction appeal - Fresh evidence)

 

R v Tanzarella & Bryars [2007] EWCA Crim 2987

(Sentence for Kidnap and False Imprisonment)

 

R v Carr (Roger) [2009] 2 Cr. App. R. (S.) 72

(Sentence for breach of SOPO and recall on licence)

 

Ambassador Cars Limited (R, on the application of) v Central Criminal Court [2009] EWHC 1325 (Admin)

(Judicial review of decision of the Crown Court to refuse to state a case)

 

CPS v M & B [2010] 2 Cr. App. R. 33; [2011] 1 W.L.R. 822; [2010] 4 All E.R. 51

(First authority on the interpretation of the new offences of conveying prohibited articles into prison, under Offender Management Act 2007. Successfully resisted Crown's appeal of a preparatory hearing ruling that the offence under section 40C(1) required proof of some mens rea and was not strict liability. Rebuttal of presumption in favour of mens rea. Legislative intention.)

 

R v Stodgell (Colin) [2011] EWCA Crim 402

(Successful appeal against terms of original confiscation order to remove hidden assets and tainted gifts from the Court approved schedule of assets)

 

Litvinski & Ors v CPS [2011] EWCA Crim 727

(Sentencing of members of conspiracies to supply very large quantities of cocaine and cannabis and to import prohibited weapons and ammunition)

 

R v Robert Knott [2013] EWCA Crim 2198

(Successful appeal against murder conviction, based on criticism of cross-examination of original trial Q.C. Re-trial ordered)

 

 

MEMBERSHIPS

 

Criminal Bar Association

Ecclesiastical Law Society

Bar European Group

South Eastern Circuit

 

Companion and Honorary Senior Fellow of the North and Midlands School of Music

Chair of Governing Body of local Church of England Voluntary Aided School