Fiona only accepts instructions for the defence and has developed a very busy practice.
Fiona completed a reduced pupillage at Farringdon Chambers in London under the supervision of Ian Henderson (now Q.C). Fiona began tenancy after only 9 months of pupillage. She joined New Park Court Chambers in February 2016 after 16 months of practice on the South Eastern Circuit.
Fiona goes above and beyond for her clients. She is able to adopt a variety of approaches which allows her to greatly assist those with mental health issues in particular. Fiona’s passion and diligence whilst defending her clients is plain to see. She has often been commended on the quality of her closing speeches.
Instructed by Forrester Solicitors and led by Gavin Doig in a 6 week conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence case.
Led by Robin Turton from Fountain Chambers and instructed by Forresters Solicitors in a 22 week drugs trial lasting from September 2021 to February 2022. BS was acquitted of conspiracy to supply cocaine but convicted of conspiracy to supply amphetamine. The case involved a large volume of telephonic and satnav data, the total page count being in the region of almost 40,000 pages. During the trial a number of complex and unusual points of law and procedure were dealt with, including several unforeseen issues brought about as a result of the length of trial and the Covid pandemic. BS was sentenced to four and a half years’ imprisonment.
Led by Nick Cartmell for D1 in the re-trial of a multi-handed case involving allegations of people trafficking, modern day slavery and money laundering said to have occurred in a car wash in Carlisle. Case involved a huge amount of unused material including telephone evidence and cell site analysis totalling almost 20,000 pages. Trial lasted for 8 weeks through April, May and June 2021. Sentenced in July 2021 to 3 years and 3 months.
Led by Nick Cartmell for D1 in a multi-handed case involving allegations of people trafficking, modern day slavery and money laundering said to have occurred in a car wash in Carlisle. Trial lasted 5 weeks during November and December 2019 before the jury were discharged for legal reasons.
Led by Nick Cartmell in a multi-handed case involving allegations of rape against a young Complainant following what the Crown had described as years of grooming and sexual abuse. After 6 weeks in trial and the discharging of three juries no evidence was offered and the client was acquitted. Case reported in the national media.
Led by Stuart Graham in a multi-handed conspiracy to traffic with a view to exploitation, forced labour and money laundering. The case involved multiple family members from a Slovakian gang who trafficked homeless people from Slovakia and the Czech Republic to the U.K. and held them as slaves. Fiona was led for 7 weeks and was of primary assistance in relation to ongoing disclosure issues. RR Snr was sentenced to 4 years’ imprisonment. Fiona represented the client alone at the 3 day contested POCA hearing.
Led by Bill Ryan in a multimillion-pound cross-jurisdictional fraud involving stolen mobile telephones. Involved approximately 60,000 pages and thousands of hours of undercover surveillance footage. Trial lasted 5 weeks. Fiona represented the client at sentence.
Led by Martin McCarthy in a ‘boiler room’ fraud. Secured acquittal on a single count of conspiracy to defraud after 7 weeks in trial. The case concerned the overpricing and selling of coloured diamonds to vulnerable investors amounting to profits for the fraudsters in the region of £1.5m.
Under the supervision of Jeremy Lynn. Instructed to represent the interests of SS within the role of a Noting Junior during an 8 week misconduct in public office trial by a number of HMRC officers. Notes amounted to over 245,000 words and were provided as a transcript to all Counsel. Case reported in the national media.
Instructed as a junior alone in an attempted murder trial which lasted 5 days. The case involved complex issues relating to fitness to plead and intent. AB was acquitted and sentenced to 16 years imprisonment with a 3 year extended licence period.
Unanimously acquitted after 5 days in trial. Case involved a neighbour dispute which resulted in AN striking a female neighbour in the face with a spade. The incident was captured on mobile phone footage. Case involved the cross-examination of 7 civilian witnesses and a large amount of unused material relating to previous incidents and hate crimes. Case involved alleged racism from both parties.
Secured an acquittal on counts of attempted GBH with intent of a prison officer and possession of a weapon inside a prison. Previous convictions for possession of weapons inside prisons and numerous serious assaults on prison officers committed in three different prisons went before the jury. SK avoided an inevitable finding of dangerousness as a result of the acquittals. Case involved uncommon issues surrounding heightened security, handcuffs applications and his notoriety. SK appeared on the Channel 4 documentary, “Prisons”.
Secured an acquittal on 5 counts from an original 9 count indictment including a guilty plea. Case involved allegations of controlling and coercive behaviour, a number of assaults including ABH and criminal damage. 16 of the most serious of DW’s previous convictions went before the jury. Acquitted of all assaults and avoided an inevitable finding of dangerousness.
AH was unanimously acquitted of both s.18 and the alternative offence of s.20 of the OAPA after 4 days in trial. Allegation was that AH had attacked the IP with a knife causing cuts to his face, neck, shoulder and a puncture wound to his chest. There was CCTV showing a confrontation between AH and the IP moments before the incident was supposed to have taken place. Case involved lengthy cross-examination of the IP.
Unanimous acquittals on counts of false imprisonment, ABH, common assault and affray. Trial lasted 3 days.
Instructed in a 7 day dwelling robbery involving the theft of almost £6,000 described as an “inside job”. The case involved cell site analysis, a vast amount of telecommunications, identification, medical evidence, Facebook posts, enquiries into their validity and the exclusion of some members of the public from the court building for the duration of the trial. Following both Defendants’ convictions the Judge commended Fiona on her conduct throughout the trial and the quality of her closing speech. TI was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment.
Unanimously acquitted on both counts of ABH and common assault against two youths. Allegation was that NW had head-butted one male and punched another four times to the face in an unprovoked attack. Head-butt resulted in the loss of two front teeth. Identification was not an issue. Fiona rapped a verse from the song by Shaggy, ‘It Wasn’t Me’ during her closing speech. Jury took less than 15 minutes to return verdicts of not guilty.
First on the indictment in a two-handed racially aggravated GBH. Trial lasted 4 days. IP suffered “life changing injuries” in what the Judge described as a “sustained and racist attack”. JB was sentenced to 2 years’ imprisonment.
Represented SW for possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence which carries a minimum sentence of 5 years’. Persuaded the Crown to accept a plea to affray on the morning of trial and SW was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.
Represented a client charged with s.18 following a serious stabbing at a block of flats in Whitley Bay. BM pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of s.20. A lengthy Basis of Plea was submitted. BM was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months’.
Instructed to represent JF in relation to an offence of ABH during a domestic violence incident. Case involved legal argument in relation to third party confessions and hearsay evidence involving Facebook messages. Fiona was praised by both the Judge and the Prosecutor for exercising “exceptional judgment and skill” in relation to a “very complex case”.
Acquitted of GBH resulting in a broken eye socket. BG forwarded pre-emptive self-defence along with his co-defendant.
Fiona’s first Crown Court trial was in Court 1 at the Old Bailey. Instructed in a 3 day ABH trial involving pre-emptive self-defence where PS had stopped his car at the side of the road, chased the IP who was on foot and attacked him.
Involved cross-examination of a 15 year old witness. Despite numerous previous convictions for robbery being before the District Judge and the fact that MH was picked out on an I.D. parade, MH was acquitted of a single count of robbery.
Secured a unanimous acquittal after 5 days in trial for an offence of importing a Class A drug (Opium) from Iran involving 3 defendants. KO accepted making 6 phone calls to DHL seeking delivery of the package which contained a gear for a commercial food mixer with 1.65kg of Opium hidden inside. Co-defendant was sentenced to 7 years’ custody.
Instructed in a multi-handed 5 day trial for offences of production of cannabis and possessing cannabis with the intention of supplying it to another. Case involves cell site analysis and served material of over 10,500 pages. All Defendants listed for trial are Albanian nationals.
Represented TD who entered two guilty pleas to cultivation of cannabis. Following unnecessary delays an abuse of argument was made on behalf of TD. The argument was successful, the indictment was stayed and the case dismissed.
Represented AL from the outset for producing cannabis. Nearly 200 plants were found in a house in Sheffield. AL, an Albanian national, pleaded guilty following the P.T.P.H. and was sentenced to 20 months’ custody.
Represented JD for possession with intent to supply cannabis and other related offences. A Basis of Plea was submitted and the case went to a Newton trial. JD, an Albanian national, was sentenced to 27 months’ custody.
DB was three out of five on the indictment. He was charged with three counts including conspiracy to sell/supply counterfeit tobacco products. The case involved a high page count with a huge volume of undercover surveillance footage following a lengthy investigation by Durham County Council. The estimated turnover of the conspiracy was in the region of £1.2m. DB entered guilty pleas to supplying tobacco without a combined health warning in relation to the tobacco products stored in his loft. All Defendants were sentenced to immediate custody with DB sentenced to 10 months’.
Unanimously acquitted after 5 days in trial. The allegations were that AC had stolen and fraudulently obtained over £16,000 from her mother. At the time of the alleged offences the IP was suffering from dementia and cancer. The IP was deceased at the time of trial and her evidence was adduced as hearsay. The IP’s son gave evidence against AC as well as a number of carers. AC accepted making the withdrawals which she said she had done with the IP’s permission.
Case involved fraud and theft of over £40,000 by RA from his elderly grandmother who suffered from dementia. RA acted as a carer for his grandmother and withdrew funds which were provided to other members of the family. The judge described RA as being in a “position of responsibility for which he was not suited”. RA was sentenced to a 10 month custodial sentence suspended for 12 months.
Benefit fraud, unanimously acquitted.
Secured a Suspended Sentence Order for JM who pleaded guilty to committing fraud to the value of £13,000 through false eBay sales. The fraud was committed on an international scale involving Losers from New Zealand, Australia and Germany.
First on the indictment and secured the only acquittal in a four-handed theft and handling stolen goods case. The stolen goods were found in his house.
ID pleaded guilty to stealing over £100,000 from his mother-in-law before her death. Case involved complex issues involving the moving of money and a forensic analysis of income and expenditure over multiple accounts. Case settled following the acceptance of a Basis of Plea. ID sentenced to two and a half years’ custody. There was large scale media coverage of the case.
CH pleaded guilty to blackmail after setting up a fake profile on an escort website. When the IP requested some nude photographs CH blackmailed the IP out of over £1,000 before he eventually went to the police. CH was sentenced to 27 months’ in custody.
R v BN (Newcastle Crown Court) – Rape of a child under 13, rape, sexual assault, cruelty
After 8 days in trial BN was acquitted of all 10 counts on the indictment. The case concerned very serious allegations including the rape of his biological daughter between the ages of 8 to 14 years, the rape of his wife over the course of their 20 year marriage and sexual abuse and cruelty against his 10 year old biological son involving serious physical assaults, the cutting of his face with a knife and being shot with a pellet gun. The case involved careful cross-examination of 4 young siblings (all using ABE interviews, s.28 recordings and intermediaries) including their mother and alleged IP. The case involved a large amount of third party material including social services, school, medical and police records. Fiona was praised by the Judge for her calm and efficient conduct of the case.
After 3 days in trial, TH was sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment for the oral rape of a 14 year old girl in a park in Newcastle. Case involved the use of an intermediary and s.28 procedure. Fiona was commended on her closing speech.
Represented AB over the course of two cases for the rape of his 12 year old niece and a number of offences of sexual assault by penetration of two other 12 and 13 year old girls on a different occasion. Pleaded guilty to all offences and was sentenced to 9 years and 6 months’ and 4 years’ respectively.
Represented JB at his appeal in relation to an allegation that he touched a woman’s breasts whilst walking past her in the street. Legal submissions were put forward during the appeal against conviction on the basis that JB could not have a fair trial and that the evidence against him could not be relied upon. Ultimately the Bench agreed with the submissions and allowed the appeal. JB was found not guilty.
Historic case involving five counts of ABH, voyeurism, sexual assault of a child under 13 years and indecent assault. Allegations related to two children who AB had allegedly physically and sexually abused over 20 years ago. Following 7 days in trial he was convicted of one count of ABH and one count of voyeurism. The jury were hung on all remaining counts. There will not be a re-trial.
Secured a unanimous acquittal on both counts of an alleged sexual assault by an uncle on his 11 year old niece.
Secured acquittals on all 5 counts on the indictment after 3 days in trial. Case concerned a variety of historic sexual offences allegedly committed by an uncle against his young nephew.
Secured an acquittal at appeal of a 12 year old girl accused of assault by penetration of an 8 year old close family friend.
Represented a 16 year old male at trial for the attempted rape of a 20 year old male with learning difficulties. Sentenced to an 18 month YRO.
Instructed to represent MM in relation to multiple allegations of making indecent images of children the majority of those being Category A. This was the second time that MM had been before the courts for such matters. The Judge praised Fiona over her handling of both MM and the case.
Represented RE at his appeal of both conviction and sentence in relation to a sexual assault. Fiona represented RE without a solicitor and agreed to work on a pro-bono basis. The sentence was ultimately halved and the Judge commended Fiona on her willingness to act for free to ensure RE got a fair trial.
Secured a unanimous acquittal after 5 days in trial for offences of assisting unlawful immigration to a member state and possession of another’s identity documents. Case involved thousands of pages of evidence including telephone data. Co-defendant was sentenced to 7 years’ imprisonment.
Represented a client charged with burglary after he forced entry into his ex-partner’s house and damaged items within after she exposed their affair to his wife on Christmas Day.
Represented a man charged with intimidation under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. After submitting a lengthy skeleton argument and following legal argument the Crown was forced to offer no evidence. Enquiries subsequently undertaken in relation to a malicious prosecution argument.
"You provided a great service for him. That was an exceptional mitigation"
Sentencing Judge in a sex case
"Brilliant work - well done"
From a instructing solicitor following acquittals in a serious sex case
"An incredible result!! It was all down to you. You put in so much extra work (including buying the client lunch!) Well done and thank you very much"
From an instructing solicitor following an acquittal in a burglary trial
"Fiona's guidance, advice, belief in me and reassurance over the last 12 months has been a pillar of hope for me throughout this ordeal. It fills me with relief that there is still a barrister who actually cares about people’s freedom and wellbeing. Fiona’s sincerity, honesty, knowledge of the law and tenacity will take her far. Fiona has done more for me off her own back than anyone ever has, and for that, I am forever grateful"
From a client Fiona represented at his appeal against conviction without a solicitor (Direct Access) and on a pro-bono basis who was reconvicted.
"Fiona's warmth and personable qualities to me before and after the case were very much appreciated. Fiona is a proficient and very effective barrister."
From a client unanimously acquitted of sexually assaulting a child family member
"She is plainly a fighter."
From an instructing solicitor
"Fiona is particularly adept at dealing with difficult clients with mental health difficulties, she is well liked by clients and is very much at ease with vulnerable clients."
From an instructing solicitor
"Fiona gives every case her full attention and she has established herself as very reliable Counsel… she is incredibly hardworking."
From an instructing solicitor
"Fiona was instructed as a noting junior in a very serious and complex conspiracy and I was highly impressed with her professional integrity, hard work ethic and high standards for client service."
From an instructing solicitor following a two month brief in the Old Bailey