Ben Douglas-Jones QC - BARRISTER


Ben Douglas-Jones QC is a specialist fraud, criminal, regulatory, consumer and human rights barrister. He is a member of prestigious London Chambers, 5 Paper Buildings. 

  

He is highly recommended in Chambers and Partners, ranked in Financial Crime, Crime, Consumer Law, and described by them as: "Fantastic and incredibly hard-working", "He's very on top of his cases and a very good lawyer."       

 

He is ranked in Tier 1 by Legal 500 for Criminal Fraud, Consumer Law and General Crime.  The Legal 500 describes him as “extremely bright”, with "great intellectual strength" and “extremely able” with the ability to “marshal cases of the utmost complexity”. 

 

Ben defends professional and corporate clients including public limited companies. He prosecutes for the Serious Fraud Office and CPS Headquarters' Specialist Fraud Division, Appeals and Review Unit, Organised Crime Unit and Proceeds of Crime Unit and Complex Case Units.  He also prosecutes for local authorities. 

 

He practises in all serious and complex fraud, including corporate, financial, banking, carousel, MTIC, tax evasion scheme, acquisition, mortgage, Excise, Hawala, advance fee (419), boiler room, Ponzi , NHS, dental, pharmaceutical, Internet, car-ringing, gambling, cheque clearing cycle and insurance fraud. 

 

Recent cases include the “Ed Sheeran” landmark National Trading Standards prosecution of ticket “touts. In R v Hunter, Ben represented the first defendant in the prosecution of the officers of BZZ Ltd for reselling concert and event tickets using multiple names. 

 

Ben led an abuse of process argument based on the Regulators’ Code (Adaway consumer abuse) and the law concerning tickets and contractual webs involved in the ticketing industry; and unfairness to consumers in business-to-consumer contracts forming part of contractual webs. He led argument on the law of fraud, fraudulent trading and dishonesty concerning consumer fraud in the secondary ticketing industry.

 

Current cases include the representation of a 19-year-old indicted for conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to endanger life in connection with a drive-by shooting in Birmingham, a complex Ponzi fraud and proceeds of crime proceedings in serious fraud.

 

Ben is a member of the Fraud Advisory Panel and the Fraud Lawyers' Association. 

 

Ben’s regulatory practice extends to all areas of consumer law, with an emphasis on trade-marks and copyright law, criminal planning, food safety and environmental health.

  

Ben was The Times Lawyer of the Week in February 2019 for successfully prosecuting Ieuan Harley for the murder of David Gaut, who had been convicted of murdering a 15-month-old baby in 1985 and released on parole in 2017.

 

He is currently instructed by the family of Shamima Begum, one of the Bethnal Green Academy girls - the alleged "IS bride".

 

He prosecutes and defends in serious criminal cases, including murder. 

 

Ben’s human rights and appellate practice has seen him appear in many leading and reported cases.

 

He has vast experience in Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 cases, including restraint, confiscation, receivership, forfeiture, civil recovery and asset freezing proceedings. 

 

Ben conducts second-opinion defence appellate work where he did not appear in the Crown Court and is instructed by the CPS Appeals and Review Unit in the High Court and Court of Appeal. 

 

He also has significant expertise in miscarriage of justice work having represented Colin Stagg and secured the £706,000 compensation for Stagg’s wrongful indictment for the murder of Rachel Nickell. 

 

Ben’s civil practice centres on judicial review and fraud Court, authorised to hear cases involving serious sexual offences.

 

Ben is a Recorder of the Crown Court. 

 

Ben is an editor of Southwell, Brewer and Douglas-Jones QC – Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Law in Practice; Bloomsbury Professional - February 2018.

 

Ben is an author of the Blackstone’s Guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015.  

 

Ben has co-written the 2019 CPS Guidance on charging and prosecuting victims of human trafficking, the Law Society Guidance on defending people who might be victims of human trafficking and the refugee defence and the Judicial College Guidance on trying defendants who might be victims of trafficking or slavery.

 

Ben is also an attorney-at-law in Grenada, with rights of audience in the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal. 

 

As well as being a tenant in 5 Paper Buildings, he is a door tenant in Apex Chambers, Cardiff, Linenhall Chambers, Chester and St Ives Chambers, Birmingham. 

 

Ben is a qualified advocacy trainer for Gray's Inn. 

 

Ben was called to the Bar in 1998.

 

Silk: 2018.

 

Recent Appeals

 

Recent appeals include: 

  • R v DS [2020] EWCA Crim 285 (leading Daniel Bunting; leading case abolishing abuse of process in cases where victims of trafficking are prosecuted for offences following the statutory defence in the Modern Slavery Act 2015);
  • R v GB [2020] EWCA Crim 2 (leading Andrew Johnson; important case on change in law appeals concerning victims of trafficking who were prosecuted for offences); 
  • R v Choudhuri [2019] EWCA Crim 2341 (leading case on the approach to fresh psychiatric evidence in appeals based on fitness to plead and inability to form mens rea);
  • R v Idahosa [2019] EWCA Crim 1953 (leading case on the asylum defence and the duty of advocates to keep notes of advice given and instructions received at court);
  • Pegram v DPP [2019] EWHC 2673 (Admin); [2020] Crim. L.R. 244; [2020] A.C.D. 2 (important case stated on the scope of “in the execution of duty” of a police office and the duty to leave self-defence to the tribunal of fact);
  • R v DL [2019] EWCA Crim 1249 (delay in cases involving young witnesses; s.78 PACE);
  • Worldwide Tickets Ltd v North Yorkshire CC [2019] 4 WLUK 418 (acted for the four appellants in the first secondary ticketing s.90 Consumer Rights Act 2015 appeals - procedural impropriety; time limits; natural justice in penalties);
  • CPS v Aquila Advisory [2019] EWCA Civ 588; [2019] 4 WLUK 115 (Attribution; Breach of fiduciary duty; Cheating the Revenue; Confiscation orders; Constructive trusts; Directors; Ex turpi causa; Proceeds of crime; Proprietary rights; Public policy);
  • R. v Phillips (Roy John) [2019] EWCA Crim 577 | [2019] 3 WLUK 644 (scope of charges);
  • R v HHD [2018] EWCA Crim 2995 (international law and better case management in prosecuting victims of trafficking who offend);
  • R v Kolesnikova [2018] EWCA Crim 2961 | [2018] 12 WLUK 602 (Controlling prostitution for gain; Money laundering; Trafficked victims: approach to prosecuting when trafficking victim offenders’ offences are grave);
  • Valiati v DPP [2019] 1 W.L.R. 1221; [2019] 1 Cr. App. R. 17; [2019] Crim. L.R. 238; [2019] A.C.D. 6;
  • R v GS [2019] 1 Cr. App. R. 7; [2019] Crim. L.R. 147 (leading case on prosecuting victims of trafficking who offend);
  • R. (on the application of Purvis) v DPP [2018] EWHC 1844 (Admin); [2018] 4 W.L.R. 118; [2018] 7 WLUK 593; [2018] 2 Cr. App. R. 34; [2018] A.C.D. 104 (misconduct in public office; perjury; prosecutorial discretion);
  • R v MK [2018] EWCA Crim 667; [2019] Q.B. 86; [2018] 3 W.L.R. 895; [2018] 3 All E.R. 566; [2018] 3 WLUK 729; [2018] 2 Cr. App. R. 14; [2018] Crim. L.R. 922 (burden of proof in human trafficking defence);
  • Faichney v Vantis HR Ltd [2018] EWHC 565 (Ch); [2018] 3 WLUK 462; [2018] Lloyd's Rep. F.C. 345 (confiscation orders and proprietary interests in corporate crime);
  • R v RK [2018] EWCA Crim 603; [2018] 3 WLUK 770; [2019] Crim. L.R. 439 (the requirement to cross-examine young witnesses);
  • Lord Howard of Lympne v DPP (Costs) [2018] 2 WLUK 140 (costs in cases stated);
  • Lord Howard of Lympne v DPP [2018] EWHC 100 (Admin); [2017] 11 WLUK 745; [2019] R.T.R. 4; [2018] Crim. L.R. 489 (failure to provide information requested by police);
  • R v VSJ and others [2017] EWCA Crim 36; [2017] 1 W.L.R. 3153; [2017] 1 Cr. App. R. 33; [2017] Crim. L.R. 817 (Special Court - serious offences committed by human trafficking victims; duress in relation to trafficking victims),
  • R v Mumtaz [2017] EWCA Crim 1843 (serious and complex fraud);
  • R v Robinson [2017] EWCA Crim 936 (double jeopardy);
  • R v PK [2017] EWCA Crim 486 (leave to appeal out of time);
  • R v Miharessari [2016] EWCA Crim 1733 (asylum seekers breaching Channel Tunnel security);
  • R v M [2016] 4 W.L.R. 146  [2016] 2 Cr. App. R. 20 (doli incapax);
  • R v Boateng [2016] EWCA Crim 57; [2016] 4 W.L.R. 70; [2016] 2 Cr. App. R. 5; [2016] Crim. L.R. 495 (complex immigration fraud); 
  • R v YY [2016] EWCA Crim 18; [2016] 1 Cr. App. R. 28 (role of the CCRC in appeals concerning refugees);
  • R (Ewing) v Cardiff Crown Court [2016] EWHC 183 (Admin); [2016] 4 W.L.R. 21; [2016] 1 Cr. App. R. 32; (2016) 180 J.P. 153; [2016]
  • E.M.L.R. 18; [2016] Inquest L.R. 32; [2016] A.C.D. 44 Contempt of court; Live text-based communications; Notes; Permission; Refusal; Vexatious litigants);
  • Serious Fraud Office v Evans (the Celtic Energy fraud) [2015] EWHC 263 (QB); [2015] 1 W.L.R. 3595; [2015] Lloyd's Rep. F.C. 223;
  • Serious Fraud Office v O’Brien (Supreme Court) [2014] UKSC 23; [2014] A.C. 1246; [2014] 2 W.L.R. 902; [2014] 2 All E.R. 798; [2014] Lloyd's Rep. F.C. 401; Times, April 11, 2014 (Contempt of court; Extradition offences; Restraint orders; Speciality)
  • R v Mateta and others [2013] EWCA Crim 1372 (Special Court - asylum defences);
  • R v L and others [2013] 2 Cr. App. R. 23 (Special Court - human trafficking);
  • R (on the Application of A) v Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court [2013] E.M.L.R. 20; [2013] A.C.D. 72 (freedom of speech).  

Latest News

R v Brecani - A Landmark Decision

R v Brecani  [2021] EWCA Crim 731 

 

Ben, leading Rebecca Austin, instructed by the CPS Appeals and Review Unit, appeared in this landmark decision which profoundly affects the law of evidence and criminal procedure in all cases in which a possible victim of trafficking or slavery faces a criminal trial. 

 

In a special court sitting of the Court of Appeal, the Lord Chief Justice, the Vice President of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division and Mr Justice Jeremy Baker accepted Ben’s argument that a conclusive grounds decision made by a Single Competent Authority appointed under the National Referral Mechanism and signed by a caseworker was not admissible as evidence in criminal proceedings in determining whether a defendant was a victim of modern slavery under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 Pt 5 s.45(4).

 

Caseworkers were not experts in human trafficking or modern slavery and could not give opinion evidence in a trial on the question whether an individual was trafficked or exploited.

 

The Court overturned the Divisional Court decision of DPP v M.

 

SCA NRM Decisions - Admissable At PVoT Criminal Trials?

 

DPP v M [2020] EWHC 3422 (Admin); [2021] 1 W.L.R. 1669; [2020] 12 WLUK 196; [2021] 4 C.L. 54

 

This was a highly significant case concerning whether or not National Referral Mechanism decisions made by the Single Competent Authority where possible victims of trafficking face criminal charges are admissible at trial. 

 

Ben appeared for the DPP.

 

The Divisional Court rejected his argument that such decisions were inadmissible as potentially ultracrepidarian, untested, hearsay/multiple hearsay evidence, which was inadmissible on Hollington v Hewthorn [1943] 1 KB 587 principles, and which would often be self-serving.

 

In Brecani in a Special Court constitution of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division, the Lord Chief Justice, the Vice President of the CACD and Mr Justice Jeremy Baker overturned DPP v M, holding that Ben’s argument was and had been correct.

 

The Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 - An Important Case

 

H v DPP  [2021] EWHC 147 (Admin); [2021] 1 W.L.R. 2721; [2021] 1 WLUK 352; [2021] 1 Cr. App. R. 23; [2021] Crim. L.R. 400; [2021] A.C.D. 41   

This was an important case which consolidated and explained the two lines of authority concerning s.142 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980. 

 

Ben appeared for the DPP.

 

In this case, the Lord Chief Justice and Mr Justice Bryan agreed with Ben’s argument that it was not permissible to use the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 s.142 to reopen a case where a defendant had pleaded guilty in the magistrates' court and been sentenced in the Crown Court but later discovered that a defence could have been advanced.

 

The remedy available to him was an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Section 142 was designed to correct mistakes made in the magistrates' court which only affected its own determinations, and not to set aside sentences imposed in higher courts.

 

Murder Conviction In Forensically Complex Trial

 

Ben, leading Debi Gould, prosecuted Ameen Thabet for the murder of his secret former Sharia law wife. 

 

After a five week, forensically complex trial he was convicted of her murder.  The following day, he confessed.

 

The victim was one of those described in a New York Times article as being “in peril” of not seeing justice and her name was read by Jess Phillips MP in Parliament as one of those women at risk of not seeing justice.

 

In The Press:

 

BBC News: Ameen Thabet jailed for life for murder of woman 

 

Daily Mail: 'Cold and calculated' businessman, 50, is jailed for life for strangling his secret second wife to death after she demanded he leave his first wife for her

 

New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/02/world/europe/uk-coronavirus-domestic-abuse.html

 

Murder Acquital In Birmingham Gangland Killing

 

R v Qadir 

 

Ben, leading Amy Jackson of St Ives Chambers, Birmingham, represented Mohammed Qadir, who was alleged to have conspired to murder three people shot in the gangland killing of Dante Mullings. 

 

Mr Qadir was also alleged to have conspired to possess a firearm to endanger life.

 

After a three-and-a-half-month trial, Mr Qadir, who burned the car used in the shooting was acquitted of both counts.  Four defendants were convicted and sentenced to a total of 113 years’ imprisonment.

 

In The Press:

 

Daily Mail: Four killers are jailed for a total of 113 years for conspiring to murder man, 20, who was gunned down in drive-by shooting on busy street  

 

Daily Mirror: Car sprayed with bullets in deadly drive-by shooting metres from a city primary school