When Richard started in practice, initially in Liverpool with an annex in Preston, before moving fully to Preston in 1989, he had a general practice involving all areas of common law involving civil pleadings and litigation, including civil actions against the police. He was also involved in a high profile “Employment Law” High Court action involving Liverpool City Council in 1988, and its attempts to “sack” two of its employees who were allegedly friends of the then Leader of the City Council, Derek Hatton. He acted for one of the two employees.
Following his move to his native Preston, his practice has developed as follows:
Having started his professional career on the same day that the CPS was started in 1986, Richard has both prosecuted and defended in all areas of crime, including murder, serious violence, drugs and sexual offences, and conducted many appeals. More recently his practice moved towards sexual offences involving both adults and children.
When prosecuting serious drug offences, Richard became involved with sensitive material and disclosure. More recent drug prosecutions involved multiple defendants moving large quantities of both heroin and cocaine around the north west of England.
The prosecutions were successful, and sentences of 13 years were upheld on appeal. Richard has defended in a multiple drug importation case which ended before a jury was sworn following continued applications for disclosure from the Crown, which ultimately was never forthcoming! In relation to sex cases, and in one particular case of murder, Charlene Downes in Blackpool.
Richard has been instructed by Local Authorities in relation to sensitive disclosure issues under Public Interest Immunity, in both the Crown Court and High Court.
His experience in the family courts in care proceedings has proved invaluable to him in quickly finding his way around Social Services files.
In relation to sexual offences, Richard has, on one occasion when prosecuting had to respond to submissions from Leading Counsel on “abuse of process” in relation to historic sex allegations. He was successful.
He has had to both make and respond to applications to ask questions of complainants, and has prosecuted a man charged with rape acting in person. In light of Richard’s family law practice, he is ideally placed to represent parents facing criminal charges involving children. These include allegations of violence upon, sexual activity and neglect of children.
Richard has been involved in the Family Courts since he started in practice.
However, he has more recently only been involved in cases involving children. Richard has been instructed by both Local Authorities and parents, and acted for the children, through their Guardian, in both Public and Private law cases, in FPC, County and High Courts.
In acting for Local Authorities, Richard has conducted “Finding of Fact” cases involving the calling of expert medical evidence, and had to adduce, on one occasion, the evidence of a three year old child. The non-accidental injuries being considered have ranged from neglect, actual bodily harm to depressed fractures of the skull of a baby.He has acted for a Local Authority in a fully contested Interim Care hearing lasting over 10 days against a litigant in person.Further, he has acted for all parties in final care proceedings, leading to orders including, care orders, placement orders, special guardianship orders and ultimately, adoption. Richard has represented a Local Authority in the Court of Protection.
In acting for parents, Richard has had to defend them against findings of fact, and sought to challenge the opinions of experts on their parenting abilities. Further, he has appeared in contested hearings for parents, where the professional conduct of social workers has been called into question and established to be deficient.
In private children law, Richard has acted for both parents and children, through their guardian, having to advise and negotiate for what is best for the children, which sometimes requires experience and skill when representing parents who have difficulty in remembering the purpose of the proceedings.Richard’s view is that contentious litigation between parents is never in the child/children’s best interests, but sometimes it has to follow. His aim is to avoid it if possible, but accepts that sometimes a case has to be brought to a head and findings need to be made.
Having regard to his lengthy experience in the Crown Court, Richard is well used to analysing evidence, and both calling and cross-examining witnesses in contested cases.Further, in relation to Private Law, Richard has also been involved in contested injunction proceedings, both for the complainant and the respondent, which have been both lengthy and brief, resulting in imprisonment for contempt and the successful defending of alleged facts.
LL.B (Hons) Liverpool
Areas of Expertise
Criminal Bar Association, Northern Circuit Executive Committee