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James Martin

‘Tenacious and fully committed to every case, he is polite but unyielding.’Legal 500 - 2018

Call 2003

Practice Profile

James Martin is recommended Counsel in Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500. He is an experienced practitioner who prides himself on attention to detail and a fearless approach to defending his clients’ interests. Described by his peers as “a no nonsense advocate and a tough opponent” (The Legal 500 2017)

Mr Martin acts as leading counsel in the full range of criminal offending but in particular tends to focus on serious organised crime and fraud. He is also regularly led in homicide cases. He has particular experience in dealing with complex multi-handed cases of all types and is very adept at dealing with technical evidence such as that retrieved from 'phones, computers and associated cell site evidence.

Although a large amount of his work comes from traditional sources James Martin is also able to accept instructions on a Direct Access basis and has been permitted to conduct litigation by the Bar Standards Board.

Recent Cases

  • R v. NT & ors [Maidstone] 2018

    Drink & Drugs fueled Killing of Kent Man

    Jonathan Higgs QC leading James Martin for Goldkorns Solicitors. Three people were charged with Murder following the discovery of a body left in the stairwell of a block of flats in Chatham. The deceased and the three charged were known drug users and the death had occurred in a nearby flat occupied by one of the accused.

    The previous few days were carefully pieced back together by the investigatory team using a combination of CCTV footage, eye witness accounts and call records as well as some footage from mobile phones.

    There were complex issues of causation due to the post-mortem findings and in particular the neuro-pathology results. Besides the factual complications there were also issues relating to identification and also joint-enterprise.

  • R v KW [Woolwich] 2018

    "Loss of Control" Murder

    Alistair MacDonald QC led James Martin. This case involved the defence of “loss of control” and raised the very difficult question of how a Jury has to approach the three stage test in a case where the violence used was so extreme. In such circumstances the true complexity of answering the final question was exposed. Where the Jury finds there was a loss of control based on a qualifying trigger: are they sure that a reasonable person in the defendant’s circumstances would not have reacted in the same or a similar way?

    Considering what a reasonable person who has lost his self-control might do in unusual and difficult circumstances is a very hard task indeed when the Court of Appeal have offered so little assistance on the topic. Instructed by EBR Attridge.

  • Operation Pleach [St Albans] 2018

    Multi-Handed Courier Fraud

    James Martin represented the defendant in this multi-handed courier fraud. Operation PLEACH was a Hertfordshire Police investigation into a series of 36 courier fraud offences committed across England between the 1st March and 29th November 2016.

    This was another case in which the Crown wrongly indicted a global conspiracy when there were clearly multiple and separate agreements between various defendants. As a result the Crown had to concede the position and substantially change the indictment meaning that DA was no longer charged with any Conspiracy count at all. Instructed by Bark & Co.

  • Operation Willsbridge [Southwark] 2018

    £2.1m International Fraud upon Film Rental Equipment Companies

    James Martin represented SH in this matter who was charged with being party to a large scale International Fraud against a number of Film Rental Equipment Companies who were based across the Globe. The Fraud was organised from the UK where the Organised Crime Group assumed the identities of some legitimate businesses in the industry. They were able to dupe associated Insurance companies as well and arrange various hire contracts over a significant period that were worth £2.1m. Ultimately the Crown were persuaded that the evidence of a Global Conspiracy was not present in SH's case and the indictment was amended to a single substantive money laundering offence in his case. SH was duly acquitted by the Jury. Instructed by Bark & Co Solicitors.

  • Operation Primrose [Liverpool] 2018

    HMRC "Red Diesel" VAT Fraud

    James Martin was instructed as Leading Junior for this defendant charged with 10 others in a case that involved an huge undercover investigation by HMRC into an alleged nationwide Red Diesel laundering Fraud. There were said to be two principle laundering sites: one in Birkenhead and the other near Ashford in Kent. Following over 12 months of covert surveillance and a 3 year investigation 11 men were charged with being involved in the Conspiracy said to have involved a loss of over £500k to HMRC in unpaid VAT.

    The case was split into two trials. During the first trial it became apparent that there were a number of issues with disclosure in the case. This followed repeated requests for disclosure by the Defence teams. At the beginning of the 4th week, and after the OIC was subjected to cross-examination on the voir dir, HMRC were forced to seek an adjournment of the Trial once they realised the scale of the disclosure problems in the case.

    The application was vigorously opposed by the Defence and ultimately refused by HHJ Trevor-Jones. In his damning ruling he said that there had been “negligence to a lamentable degree” which was “indicative of a more systemic failure.” As a result of the Judge’s ruling HMRC offered no Evidence against the defendants left in the case. Instructed by The Stokoe Partnership.

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