Ben Douglas-Jones - BARRISTER

Ben Douglas-Jones Barrister
Ben Douglas-Jones

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

 

He is highly recommended in Chambers and Partners. The Legal 500 for Criminal Fraud and Consumer Law, 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 is a Level 4 CPS panel prosecutor (South Eastern, London; South Eastern, non-London and Wales and Chester).

 

He is specialist prosecutor on three panels: Fraud, Serious Crime and Proceeds of Crime.

 

Ben prosecutes for the Central Fraud Group, Organised Crime Division, Appeals Unit, Proceeds of Crime Unit and Welfare, Rural and Health Division (including the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) of CPS Headquarters. He also prosecutes for local authorities and is on the CPS Advocate Panel Rape and Child Abuse List.

 

He practises in all fraud, including mortgage, Excise, Hawala, advance fee (419), boiler room, MTIC, NHS, dental, pharmaceutical, Internet, car-ringing, gambling, banking, cheque clearing cycle, insurance and banking 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’s human rights practice has seen him appear in many leading and reported cases, including the recent Special Court Court of Appeal hearings of Mateta and others [2013] EWCA Crim 1372 (asylum defences) and R v L and others [2013] 2 Cr. App. R. 23 (human trafficking) and R (on the Application of A) v Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court [2013] E.M.L.R. 20; [2013] A.C.D. 72.

 

At the invitation of the DPP, Keir Starmer QC, Ben has recently co-written the CPS Guidance on charging and prosecuting victims of human trafficking (see Publications).

 

Ben prosecutes and defends in serious criminal cases, including murder, sexual and drug offences.

 

He has vast experience in restraint, confiscation and receivership proceedings.

 

Ben conducts second-opinion defence appellate work where he did not appear in the Crown Court and is instructed by the CPS Appeals 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 his £706,000 compensation for Stagg’s wrongful indictment for the murder of Rachel Nickell.

 

Ben’s civil practice centres on judicial review and fraud.

 

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 and Linenhall Chambers, Chester.

 

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

 

Ben was called to the Bar in 1998.

 


Latest News

The Right To Free Speech

Ben Douglas-Jones, led by John McGuinness QC, represented the DPP in an important case concerning the right to free speech. In DPP v Kingsley Smith, an appeal by way of case stated, the Administrative Court (Divisional List) found that four posts on Google+ were not merely an expression of the right to free speech: they were “menacing” or “grossly offensive”. 

 

Smith was an Islamic revert who had made comments supportive of ISIS.  He posted messages on You Tube clips:

  1. describing the conflict of radical Islam and the extreme right in Britain,
  2. of the plea of the David Cameron, the then Prime Minister, from the pulpit of Oxford Cathedral for religious tolerance and
  3. articles about ISIS and British Military power:

“If I saw Paul Golding [leader of the far right wing organisation “Britain First”] I would slice his throat.”

“David Cameron I'm gonna put an lED on your doorstep.”

“One day I will kill these kufr !!!! Allahu akbar".

“Allah Akbar kill the kufr!!!” (translated as “God is great, kill the disbeliever!”).

 

The Court found that the case was very different from Chambers, a case in which a joke in bad taste about blowing up an airport had been made.  The messages were clearly not a joke:

 

The District Judge had first to consider whether the sole element of the actus reus that was in dispute on each charge, namely whether the relevant message was of the proscribed character, was proved. To answer that he had to ask himself whether, as a question of fact, taking account of the context and all relevant circumstances, and applying the standards of a reasonable person in an open and just multi-racial (and, I would add, multi-faith) society, it was proved that a particular message was grossly offensive to those to whom it related or was of a menacing character – i.e. would have created a sense of apprehension or fear in a person of reasonable fortitude who received or read it.

 

The District Judge did not do that in circumstances where there was a clear case that the messages were grossly offensive.

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Human Trafficking - Landmark

Ben Douglas-Jones appeared for the Crown in a landmark special court (Lord Thomas CJ, Hallett VP and Goss J) hearing of 6 conjoined appeals, led by John McGuinness QC, in the case of Joseph et al. [2017] EWCA Crim 36.  It concerned victims of human trafficking charged with offences.

 

It addressed:

  1. Whether duress needed to be reassessed in the context of victims of trafficking;
  2. How to approach the prosecution of victims of trafficking who commit serious offences (such as drug trafficking) less than murder;
  3. Whether the courts should redefine the approach to the prosecution of victims of human trafficking following the coming into force of the statutory defence to offences of being a victim of trafficking (s45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015);
  4. The prosecution of child victims of trafficking (where the CCRC erroneously suggested that the Court of Appeal had misunderstood the law on the basis that the Court in R v Le and R v N [2012] EWCA Crim 189, [2013] QB 379 (in which Ben Douglas-Jones appeared) had looked at compulsion in relation to child victims in the wrong way);
  5. The relationship between the Competent Authority and the CPS.
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Human Trafficking Roundtable discussion

Ben Douglas-Jones appeared on a panel of experts in human trafficking including Mr Justice McCloskey, President of the Upper Tribunal, Upper Tribunal Judge Finch, Pam Bowen CBE, the CPS Lead in Human Trafficking, Michelle Brewer, a barrister with expertise in human trafficking and Bernie Gravett, a trafficking expert, in a roundtable discussion with 8 Romanian judges of live issues in human trafficking.

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Human trafficking

Ben Douglas-Jones appeared in six cases in a two-day special court hearing before The Lord Chief Justice, Vice President of the Court of Appeal and Goss J in an appeal which will determine the scope of the definition of human trafficking, examine the role of the competent authority in the national referral mechanism and consider whether drugs mules carrying significant quantities of Class A drugs across international borders should be prosecuted in the public interest when they are victims of trafficking.

 

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Cyber crime

Ben Douglas-Jones represented a defendant (F) for cyber crime including the procurement of DDOS attacks over a two-year period in which Pay Day loan providers and the Consumer Rights Group forum were targeted.  He received a non-custodial sentence.

 

Press Coverage

Wales Online

BBC

The Times 22 November 2016

The Guardian 22 November 2016

 

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