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Practice Profile

Ben Holt is a specialist criminal barrister. He has been instructed as leading and led junior for the prosecution and defence in wide range of criminal cases.

Ben is instructed in a wide variety of cases. Recently, Ben has been involved in a number of substantial cases involving fraud and money laundering (both acting as sole Counsel and being led). He has prosecuted (as a leading junior) a six-handed violent disorder trial. He regularly receives instructions from Specialist Units within the CPS: SCU, IJOC and SFD.

He has specific experience in dealing with complicated disclosure issues; these have included the handling of particularly sensitive material and reviewing cases which have involved evidence from Covert Human Intelligence Sources and RIPA warrants. He has been instructed by the CPS to review disclosure on various matters and has worked together with the NCA and specialist units of the Metropolitan Police in this regard.

Ben has spent nine months on secondment at HSBC conducting a past-business review into mis-sold interest rate hedging products.

Upcoming cases:

Operation Banjax [Southwark CC] 2019

Led junior in a multi-handed defence MTIC VAT fraud trial. Instructed by Bark & Co.

Operation Alnair [ILCC] 2019

Prosecution trial of two defendants alleged to have laundered £1.6m cash.  Instructed by CPS SFD.

Operation Northleigh [Isleworth CC] 2019

Prosecution trial of man who claims to have been living in Grenfell Tower at the time of the disaster.  Instructed by CPS SCU.

Operation Baghrash [Bristol] 2019

Prosecution trial. Seven-handed conspiracy to defraud the NHS and DoH in relation to tenders made for building projects. Instructed by CPS SFD.

Operation Hillside [CCC] 2020

Led junior for the Crown.  Defendant is charged with attempting to murder Police Officers with a sawn-off shotgun.

Operation Footprint [St Ablans CC] 2020

Prosecution of a defendant who is alleged to have attempted to buy grenades over the dark web.  Instructed by Thames & Chiltern CCU.

Operation Northleigh [Isleworth CC] 2020

Prosecution trial of three defendants who claim to have been living in the same flat within Grenfell Tower at the time of the disaster.  Intstructed by CPS SCU.

CPS Panel Appointments:

  • General Crime – Level 3
  • Fraud – Level 3
  • Special Crime – Level 3
  • Counter Terrorism – Level 3

Recent Cases

  • Operation Banjax [Southwark] 2019


    James Martin, leading Ben Holt, were instructed on behalf of Mr Aslam by Bark & Co Solicitors.

    The case was an MTIC Fraud which was part and parcel of Import Duty Diversion on Beers, Wines and Spirits. According to HMRC the OCG were accountable for significant losses to the UK Exchequer through associated large scale VAT and Excise duty frauds. The group also conducted a substantial money laundering operation in relation to the proceeds of these crimes which was believed to be in excess of £86 million.

    13 different individuals were said to be involved along with a whole host of MTIC and Buffer companies some of which sold on the BWS to end user Cash & Carries who were never investigated.

    The case was split into two trials with Mr Aslam D1 in Trial 2. As the case developed there were significant issues with the evidence and associated disclosure problems which related to material that had been withheld by HMRC and should have been disclosed far in advance of the trial itself. After considerable legal argument in Mr Aslam’s case we were able to restrict the alleged loss to HMRC to less than £7k.

    Ultimately Mr Aslam was convicted but only received a Suspended Sentence Order. ​

  • Operation Italici [C.C.C] 2019

    Importation of Anabolic Steroids from India & Singapore

    Ben Holt has successfully prosecuted a case involving the importation of unlicensed anabolic steroids (AAS) from India and Singapore. The gang imported more than 40 tonnes of illicit anabolic steroids and is said to be ‘the most prolific of its kind ever uncovered'. One member of that gang was also linked to another gang involved in the production and distribution of steroids from an underground AAS factory in the United Kingdom. Five Defendants were convicted following two six week trials. 

    Instructed by the CPS Organised Crime Division; investigated by the NCA in Belfast.

    News Report Here

    News Report Here

  • Operation Major [Guildford] 2019

    Multi handed conspiracy to money launder and commit fraud

    Jonathan Polnay led Ben Holt for the Crown in this seven-handed conspiracy to launder the proceeds of a two-million-pound fraud. Instructed by CPS Specialist Fraud Division.

  • Operation Pearland [Isleworth] 2018

    £7 million Ponzi Fraud Scheme

    Ben Holt led Junior counsel in Prosecution of two defendants accused of a ‘Ponzi’ fraud. Losses amongst the defendants exceeded £7m. Both defendants convicted after trial. Both received the maximum sentence available – 10 years’ imprisonment.

  • R v JN [Isleworth] 2018

    Rape of ex-wife and two daughters

    Ben Holt, instructed by the RASSO Unit at the CPS and led by Catherine Pattison. Trial of defendant who was accused of raping his ex-wife and two daughters. Convicted and sentenced to a custodial sentence of 27 years with an extension period of 8 years.

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