Jeffrey Israel is a leading barrister, listed in the Legal 500 directory, specialising in all aspects of criminal law.
Jeffrey acted on a Bar Direct Access basis in the successful appeal of Alexander Blackman – known as ‘Marine A’, who was convicted of murdering a dying Taliban insurgent whilst on active service in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
In March 2017 after a legal battle lasting almost 2 years, Jeffrey, led by Jonathan Goldberg QC and leading Senghin Kong, succeeded in winning on appeal the historic case of Marine A, Acting Colour Sergeant Alexander Blackman of the Royal Marines. He had been convicted by court-martial in 2013 of murdering a wounded Taliban terrorist on a battlefield in Afghanistan and had been sentenced to life imprisonment together with reduction to the ranks and dismissal from the Armed Forces with disgrace. An appeal against conviction brought in 2014 by his old legal team had failed completely.
Following a public campaign new grounds of appeal were submitted to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) in December 2015.
Once an appeal has been tried and failed, this body represents the only possible route to challenge a miscarriage of justice. However, the CCRC refer less than 3% annually of all the cases they receive back to the Court of Appeal for a new hearing, and therefore it is a formidable mountain to climb. The legal team identified six grounds of appeal and the CCRC upheld three of these grounds as constituting a real possibility that the Court of Appeal would overturn the murder verdict, and referred the case back to the Court of Appeal. Shortly thereafter an expedited hearing was ordered by the Lord Chief Justice.
They succeeded on the first ground argued to reduce murder to manslaughter, thus leading to the Sergeant`s almost immediate release from prison and the quashing of his life sentence and there was no need to litigate the remaining grounds at all. In addition, his dismissal with disgrace from the Armed Forces was rescinded to simple dismissal, and his reduction to the ranks was quashed.
Jeffrey has been instructed both as a leading junior as well as junior alone in a wide range of serious criminal matters. He is admired for his robust handling of their cases and his fearless approach in Court and is highly sought after by private clients, often on Bar Direct Access enabling him to oversee every aspect of the case which offers particular reassurance to his clients.
Current private defence instructions include two separate fraud appeals, the defence of a woman accused of assisting her husband in an attempted murder, a man accused of money laundering, the alleged common assault of a traffic warden, a young woman accused of ABH, an insurance fraud, and defending the ex-boyfriend of Cara Delevingne’s PA who is accused of assaulting her repeatedly.
In addition Jeffrey is currently instructed in three separate defence murder trials. Two involve ‘gangland’ killings whilst the third is the alleged murder of a prostitute in her own home.
Recent private cases include representing a former manager of Tottenham Hotspur FC for speeding, the defence of a multi-millionaire for an alleged assault in Harrod’s Food Hall, a firearms case, a rape trial, the theft of £400,000 from his own family by a compulsive gambler, as well as a number of other cases – including appeals and Magistrates’ Court cases.
Other recent cases include acting as leading counsel in a multi-handed armed robbery, the defence of the main defendant of 9 accused of 13 armed robberies, an attempted ‘gangland’ murder, a ‘gangland’ blackmail, false imprisonment and GBH, the possession with intent to supply 3kgs of heroin, and an aggravated burglary with firearms.
Previously Jeffrey has defended in the murder of a lorry driver in a drunken attack, an £8m conspiracy to supply heroin, a large-scale nationwide cocaine conspiracy involving 11 defendants, a conspiracy to transfer loaded machine-guns by defendants in prison, a multi-handed murder allegation arising out of a 'drug war' in a case that involved the US authorities, a multi-million pound Serious Fraud Office case involving the creation of false identities and bank accounts that are then used to defraud HMRC, the shooting at a uniformed police officer in the course of an armed robbery, human-trafficking for the purpose of forced prostitution, a gang-related firearms case where over 100 guns, grenades, and live ammunition were being supplied across the country and a large-scale importation of cocaine from South America.
As well as being a specialist criminal defence barrister, Jeffrey has a particular interest in Civil Actions against the Police, Judicial Reviews and Public Inquests. He is regularly instructed to advise charities such as MENCAP, National Autistic Society and Guide Dogs for the Blind on matters of potential criminal liability, including in Court of Protection proceedings. He has lectured in this field on topics such as ‘Capacity to Consent to Sex, a Civil and a Criminal Perspective’ and as such has particular expertise in this field.
Jeffrey is able to accept instructions direct from the public in appropriate cases. For further information in this regard please contact the Senior Clerk.
26 February 2019
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'An excellent jury advocate with excellent client care who can take a sensible and pragmatic view.’ Legal 500 - 2019
'A tenacious advocate, who is knowledgeable and very good with clients.' Legal 500 2017
"A tenacious advocate." Legal 500 2016