Chris Smith has twenty years of trial experience.
In 2003, after spending his early practising years in London, he set about establishing himself as a hard-working and renowned member of Circuit. In recent years his practice has continued to flourish and he is now routinely appearing in cases either as a led or leading junior dealing with those accused of the most serious crimes.
Chris is a member of the Executive Committee of the North Eastern Circuit and a long-standing member of the Circuit’s charity fund-raising committee.
Chris regularly acts for both prosecution and defence over a broad range of offences and his current caseload involves offences as diverse as serious violence, multiple rape, complex fraud and the wholesale supply of controlled drugs.
Chris has also developed a particular expertise in respect of fraud and money laundering and has significant experience of confiscation proceedings. He has been instructed in cases involving the Regional Asset Recovery Team, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and National Crime Agency and has, for many years, received instructions from the Central Confiscation Unit in London. He is a grade 4 prosecutor and a member of the Rape and Serious Sexual Offences and Proceeds of Crime Panels.
Chris is regularly instructed (as a leading or led junior and to prosecute alone) by the North and West Yorkshire CPS Complex Case Unit. He has amassed a wealth of experience in relation to multi-defendant cases involving breaches of immigration law and has prosecuted and defended cases involving issues people-trafficking.
His recent caseload has seen him working on matters with extra-jurisdictional dimensions along with cases involving extradition.
Chris has made appearances before the Divisional Court in respect of both Judicial Review and Case Stated proceedings and continues to make regular appearances before the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal in respect of appeals against conviction and sentence.
****** CC – Leading Junior – Complex multi-handed conspiracy to defraud. Instructed less than two months before the subsequent eleven-week trial. Case currently subject to reporting restrictions. Paperless brief.
Sheffield CC – Fraud – Leading Junior – Allegations of sophisticated commercial fraud, instructed mid-way through proceedings to ‘rescue’ a failing indictment that was the subject of applications to stay as an abuse of the process of the Court.
Sheffield CC – Immigration Offences – Leading Junior – Instructed nine days before trial to prosecute eight individuals charged with a conspiracy to facilitate breaches of immigration law. The case, which attracted national media interest, featured a highly-vulnerable accomplice witness and a need to synthesise more than 2,500 pages of evidence into presentational form. Paperless brief.
Newcastle CC – Murder – Led Junior – Instructed at short notice to undertake significant disclosure work. Solely responsible for prosecuting a contested ‘Newton Hearing’ post-trial focussing on the question of an extra-jurisdictional previous conviction for homicide.
Teesside CC – Murder – Led Junior – Instructed to prosecute a number of men charged with robbery and one charged with an associated murder. Factually complex case involving cell-site evidence and expert evidence on footwear markings.
Leeds CC – Murder – Led Junior – Prosecuting a total of thirteen individuals across two sets of proceedings arising out of a joint enterprise murder. Organised crime / revenge attack. Complex issues relating to DNA, disputed cell-site evidence and a need to synthesise a host of different types of evidence into presentational form. Closely involved in the development of the electronic presentation of evidence. Extradition issues relating to one Defendant who had fled abroad.
York CC – Led Junior – Conspiracy to Manage Brothels / Money Laundering – Exploitation of vulnerable trafficked women through employment in a national network of brothels. Multiple witness anonymity issues.
Grimsby CC – Blackmail / Kidnapping / Assault – Organised crime – kidnapping and torture of a Lithuanian man by other members of the same community. Vulnerable witness.
York CC – Armed robbery – Independent jewellers targeted for £50k of gold and diamond jewellery. M and L pleaded guilty. P, the ‘lookout’, was convicted after a trial. Admissibility of text messages between L and M as against P.
York CC – Arson being reckless as to life-endangerment – services specifically sought by the CPS – Prosecuting a genuine pyromaniac. IPP imposed.
Leeds CC – Religiously aggravated violence. Allegations of sectarian violence
Bradford CC – Copyright infringement (computer software, hardware and music) and associated money-laundering.
Leeds CC – Specifically instructed prior to trial because of my experience in confiscation proceedings. Prosecuted a man for the systematic defrauding of the commercial music industry. Complex and prolonged fully contested confiscation proceedings involving ‘corporate veil’, hidden assets, assets held abroad, post-Waya ‘A1P1′ issues, and third-party restraint. Financial Investigator given a public commendation owing to complexity and protracted nature of the case.
Leeds CC – Specifically instructed for confiscation proceedings in a brothel case involving benefit and available amount figures in excess of £1million.
Leeds CC – GBH w/intent – Representing one of seven defendants accused of organised vigilante violence involving the use of swords / machetes and firearms. Defendant unanimously acquitted.
Teesside CC – Conspiracy to Supply / Money Laundering – Representing one of ten defendants accused of involvement in the systematic and wholesale supply of a range of controlled drugs. Nine week trial. Paperless brief.
York CC – Rape x 2 – 21 year old man of good character accused of raping a 14 year old girl who sexualised behaviour (consuming flavoured sexual lubricant) prior to the offence necessitated a s.41 application.
Leeds CC – AOABH – 21 year old man of good character accused of assaulting another male outside a nightclub. Case stayed at half-time owing to incompetence and dishonesty of Officer-in-the-Case as exposed in cross-examination.
York CC – Arson being reckless as to life endangerment. Police informant claiming that the house fire (part of a fraudulent insurance claim) was a revenge attack. Highly sensitive trial held partly in camera.
York CC – Supplying Cocaine – Case stayed owing to successful argument that the prosecution amounted to an abuse of the process of the Court owing to lost evidence and substantial disclosure errors.
Application of the hearsay provisions to the contemporaneous record of a lost note of an offending vehicle’s registration details.
Judicial review of the refusal by HHJ Benson to state a case. Complex issues of law, including whether or not the Sec. of State for the Dept. of Transport had acted ultra vires. Successful in persuading the Court to dismiss the greater part of the application. Sec. of State thereafter joined as an interested party.
Animal-rights activist – Harassment by online publication of material printed and retained by the police and later shown (when no longer available online) to the complainant, novus actus interveniens, third-party causation, statutory time-bar to summary proceedings.
In addition to his work in the prosecution and defence of serious crime (including homicide) Chris has experience of representing interested parties in the course of inquests.
Representing the driver of a vehicle which struck another vehicle on the M1 at high-speed killing the other driver. Expert evidence touching upon crash-site reconstruction, reaction times and the possible impact of adverse weather conditions. Conclusion: Accidental Death (short-form).
Representing the family of the deceased during an inquest touching upon serious police failings as a possible factor in the death of a vulnerable adult threatening suicide. Expert evidence on mental health issues. Technical evidence on the police radio system. Scope of inquest significantly widened mid-hearing as a result of submissions. Conclusion: Death by Misadventure (narrative).