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Practice Profile

Sam is a specialist criminal barrister. He is instructed for both prosecution and defence, and his practice is focused on all serious offending from violence through to fraud.

As a committed advocate, Sam places great emphasis on thorough preparation and engaging with the real issues in a case, allowing for first-class advocacy before judge or jury.

Formerly an IT developer, Sam is at ease conducting cases involving digital evidence. He draws on his experience to quickly analyse and present high-volumes of complex information.

His most recent instructions have included prosecuting a seven-handed conspiracy to supply cocaine allegation (Operation Venetic material), defending in a high-profile stalking case involving 90,000 pages of digital evidence, and defending in a 12-handed tobacco importation matter. He has experience with vulnerable witnesses, including section 28 pre-recorded cross-examination with the involvement of an intermediary.

He has also been instructed in several long-term projects, including a complex disclosure review and a secondment to one of the CPS Crown Court teams.

Sam's Privacy Policy can be downloaded here.


  • CPS General Crime Panel at Level 2.
  • CPS Specialist Serious Crime Group Panel at Level 2.
  • CPS Specialist Fraud Panel at Level 2.
  • CPS Specialist Proceeds of Crime Panel at Level 2.
  • The Bar Council IT Panel.


  • MPhil, Criminology, University of Cambridge.
  • LLB, Law, University of East Anglia.

Scholarships and Prizes

  • 2017, Levitt Scholarship - Lincoln’s Inn.
  • 2017, Third Prize, Kalisher Essay Competition - The Kalisher Trust.
  • 2016, Clare Hall Bursary - Clare Hall, University of Cambridge.
  • 2015, Sir Louis Gluckstein Prize for best student advocate - Lincoln’s Inn.
  • 2015, Buchanan Prize - Lincoln’s Inn.
  • 2013, Runner-Up, Law Reform Essay Competition - Bar Council.
  • 2013, Lord Denning Scholarship - Lincoln’s Inn.
  • 2013, Hardwicke Scholarship - Lincoln’s Inn.


Sam publishes a free weekly 'updater' of criminal law news - intended for practitioners, law students, and anyone with an interest in the criminal justice system of England and Wales. You can subscribe to Witness here.

Sam has also developed two apps for criminal lawyers.

Crime Fees is a free criminal legal aid calculator for barristers and solicitors. Available for iOS, Android and macOS, it can be downloaded here.

Crime QRH is an easy to use guide to criminal offences for criminal lawyers and court advocates - a searchable database providing quick access to key details e.g. max sentence, guidelines, class of offence, dangerousness provisions. Available for iOS, Android and macOS, it can be downloaded here.

Recent Advisory Work

  • Secondment - CPS East of England Crown Court Unit.
  • Post-Conviction Disclosure Review - Post Office 'Horizon' Cases.
  • Disclosure Junior - Home Office 'Op Lexes'.

Recent Cases

  • R v. H [Woolwich] 2021

    Vulnerable victim knocked unconscious - section 28 trial

    Sam Willis secured a conviction in this case involving a single punch that left a vulnerable woman unconscious following a dispute between her friends and the defendant. The 6-day trial included section 28 pre-recorded cross-examination and the use of an intermediary.

  • R v. S [Norwich] 2021

    s.18 stabbing after threats exchanged over social media

    Sam Willis successfully prosecuted this serious act of violence, arising out of an argument on social media between two young men. The case involved a significant amount of digital material, including social media messages, audio recordings, and CCTV. The 5-day trial required careful presentation of the material and sensitive handling of a vulnerable witness giving evidence through a variety of special measures.

  • R v. O [Norwich] 2021

    Drug 'sweet shop' at music festival

    Sam Willis prosecuted this drugs supply case - the defendant had been found at a popular music festival in Norfolk with a 'sweet shop' of illegal drugs. A 10-count indictment reflected the various different substances that the defendant had with him. In the face of a well-prepared prosecution case, the defendant pleaded guilty on the first day of trial.

  • R v. G [Isleworth] 2021

    Trial of the act - possession of bladed articles and assault

    Sam Willis prosecuted this case involving possession of bladed articles and assault. Preparation for the trial involved issues of joinder, hearsay, and conflicting medical evidence. Whilst remanded in custody awaiting trial, the defendant's mental health deteriorated which resulted in the court finding him unfit to plead. Sam then successfully presented the prosecution case during a trial of the act.

  • R v. A [Aylesbury] 2020

    Employee theft of £45k by manipulating computer records

    Sam Willis was instructed by the CPS Complex Casework Unit to prosecute this theft case. The Defendant had been manipulating the computer records at her workplace, in order to steal £45k during her three years of employment. Sam was able to use his previous IT experience in order to collate and condense the 500 pages of computer evidence into a clear schedule for the jury.

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Credit for Guilty Plea at PTPH

Since the Sentencing Council updated the guideline on ‘Reduction in sentence for a guilty... Read More