The secure CJSM email is:

salma.lalani@1mcb.cjsm.net

Salma specialises mainly in defence work and has developed a highly successful practice encompassing all areas of serious and complex crime.

A well respected leading junior highly sought after by solicitors who are impressed by her sensible, thorough and well balanced approach to often difficult matters.

She began her practice in family law and is also regularly instructed in regulatory work. Her mixed practice background gives her an edge in her approach to case strategy and client relations.

Crime

Extensive experience in all aspects of criminal defence work in the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal including abuse of process hearings, written advice on evidence and appeals against sentence and conviction. Particular experience and notable successes in cases of serious violent crime, harassment, fraud, drugs and public order offences as well as road traffic matters, both publicly and privately funded.

Cases

  • R v RM (Croydon Crown Court, 2021): led by John Benson QC. The defendant was charged with multiple counts of rape and sexual assaults. Hung jury.
  • R v HM (Inner London Crown Court, 2021): secured acquittal of a defendant charged with possession of a firearm, namely a shortened shot gun. The defendant’s DNA was found on the trigger and butt stock of the weapon. Successful challenge of the DNA evidence.
  • R v AM (Lewes Crown Court, 2021):  led by John Benson QC. The defendant was charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder caused by an arson attack. A highly complex case involving an extensive police operation with a multitude of expert scientific evidence about DNA, technical evidence about telephones, ANPR and CCTV analysis.
  • R v AC (Woolwich Crown Court, 2021): secured acquittal following trial of a defendant charged with three counts of possession of prohibited firearms (shortened shot gun and revolver) and ammunition. He was the subject of covert police surveillance and was believed to have been seen to deliver the items to an address also under surveillance. DNA belonging to the defendant was found on the firearms. The DNA evidence was successfully challenged, and the defendant was unanimously acquitted by a jury.
  • R v LR (Inner London Crown Court, 2021): secured acquittal following trial of a defendant charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and possession of ammunition with intent to endanger life.  The defendant had been on licence at the time of the allegations having been released from prison for drugs offences. He was the subject of a Threat to Life notice and found with the loaded firearms. He argued that he had never intended to harm anyone and was acquitted by a jury.
  • R v JW (Lewes Crown Court, 2020): successfully defended a case that involved substantial quantities of high purity cocaine blocks imported from The Netherlands and concealed in frozen meat.  A joint Metropolitan Police and National Crime Agency taskforce estimated importation by the Organised Crime Group of 990kg of cocaine, with a street value in excess of £100 million. The defendant was arrested with a co-defendant following covert surveillance at an industrial unit where 55kg of cocaine blocks were present and being separated from a consignment. The weight of evidence gathered resulted in all three co-defendants pleading guilty to the offences. The defendant was acquitted by a jury following a three-week trial.
  • R v HT (Lewes Crown Court, 2019): secured acquittal following a submission of no case to answer in a county lines drugs supply case. Undercover police officers patrolling a seaside town as part of a large operation claimed to have seen a drugs deal. The defendant and co-defendant were stopped shortly after the observation. Both were found with a sizeable amount of cash, wraps of Class A drugs, namely crack cocaine. Their mobile phones were seized and examined alleging to show evidence of drug dealing. The case involved detailed cross-examination of surveillance officers.
  • R v MH (Blackfriars Crown Court, 2019): secured acquittal of a young man of good character employed in the security technology industry. He had been stopped by the police as part of an unrelated matter. During the investigation his mobile phone was seized and examined. The police found an extreme pornographic image on a WhatsApp message gallery to his partner. This case involved detailed cross-examination of the prosecution’s digital forensic technician.
  • R v MM (Snaresbrook Crown Court, 2019): secured an acquittal following the trial of a defendant charged with two counts of aggravated burglary. It was alleged that the defendant and three others, dressed in hoodies, masks and surgical gloves, broke into two occupied houses at night. At the first property a female occupant was held by the assailants at knifepoint, and at a neighbouring property the male occupant was attacked and injured with a screwdriver and secateurs. Blood identifying the defendant was found on an inside door pane used to gain access to the property and on the handle of the screwdriver. There were complex issues of identification and expert forensic evidence.
  • R v L (Central Criminal Court, 2018): led by Max Hill QC, secured the acquittal of a defendant charged with murder. The thirty year old defendant was the first defendant who along with two others was accused of a joint enterprise knife killing. The prosecution alleged that the deceased was targeted following an argument with the accused the previous day at a family celebration. The case required painstaking scrutiny of CCTV material, which captured the presence of the parties before and after the assault in which the deceased was fatally stabbed. A number of the key prosecution witnesses were granted anonymity, which added to the challenges in a complex case.
  • R v M (Central Criminal Court, 2018): led by John Benson QC. Successfully defended a client charged with murder. Following his extradition from the USA in November 2016, and after a three-week trial at the Central Criminal Court secured the client’s acquittal on a count of murder. The charge related to the violent death by stabbing of a young man in Edmonton on New Year’s Day in 2008. Two other men who had been extradited from Jamaica were convicted of murder in 2013. The prosecution relied heavily on CCTV footage of the attack on the victim, which followed an altercation on a night bus. The alleged joint enterprise involved four men, one of whom has never been apprehended.
  • R v A & Ors (Central Criminal Court, 2017): led by John Benson QC in a seven week trial, successfully defended a client on a charge of murder. The prosecution alleged that the defendant was armed with a knife and was responsible for the killing.  The challenges in the case increased when two of the co-defendants sought to blame the defendant. The defendants were accused of a drugs related gang killing of the victim who suffered multiple stab wounds. Complex challenges involving a cut-throat defence, detailed CCTV and forensic analysis. See news item here.
  • R v G & Ors (Central Criminal Court, 2017): defended D who along with two others was charged with murder. Victim had attacked D some four years before and the prosecution alleged that the assault on the deceased was a reprisal in the context of gang rivalry. CCTV showed the attack but identification of the attackers was not possible. Prosecution relied on CCTV, cell site and forensic evidence. 7 week trial. Led by John Benson QC from 1MCB Chambers.
  • R v G: multi-handed large-scale complex fraud. Represented defendant who was deemed a principal in a gang of 15 that stole the identities of 1300 NHS staff to claim £1 million in benefits;
  • R v AZ: the defendant was accused of the rape of a special constable. Issues of capacity to consent and reasonable belief. The defendant was acquitted;
  • R v A: led junior in a murder trial. Fatal stabbing where the defendant argued self-defence;
  • R v B: led junior in a Serious Organised Crime Agency prosecution of a substantial drugs conspiracy. Case involved significant cell site analysis, telephone interrogation material, covert surveillance and public interest immunity issues. Multiple defendants at each trial. Co-defendant was convicted and the defendant was subject to a retrial whereby the jury was again unable to reach a decision. SOCA became the National Crime Agency and sought a second retrial at which the defendant was convicted of conspiracy fraudulently to evade the prohibition on the importation of a class A drug, namely cocaine. He was subsequently sentenced to 14 years imprisonment. The matter was appealed on the ground that the judge should not have permitted a third trial upon the same allegation to be conducted.  The appeal was allowed on the basis that the Crown had failed to demonstrate that the case was sufficiently exceptional and the second retrial should not have taken place. The conviction was quashed. Reported as Burton [2015] EWCA Crim 1307; [2016] 1 Cr. App. R. 7; [2016] Crim. L.R. 75;
  • R v A & Others: defended one of five defendants involved in a serious public order offence on New Year’s Eve on Tower Bridge involving the use of bottles and blades. The defendant accepted presence but that he did not participate in the incident. He was the only defendant to be acquitted after trial;
  • R v JJ: defendant accused of harassing and assaulting his ex-partner. The matters against him prevented him from seeing his children. Family proceedings were awaiting the outcome of the trial. Defendant was acquitted;
  • R v JM: defendant was accused of dangerous driving with another in a stolen vehicle. The case included cross-examination of numerous police officers involved in a prolonged police chase and analysis of substantial CCTV and identification evidence. The defendant was acquitted.
  • R v K: defendant accused of theft from an employer. Case relied on his fingerprint being found inside a safe, which had been broken into and damaged. He was not permitted access to the safe or the room it was located in. The defendant absconded and the trial proceeded in his absence. Successful application to dismiss the matter based on innocent transference;
  • R v S: defended multi-count trial of possession with intent to supply class A drugs. Large quantity of items seized from the defendant upon search. Legal argument regarding insufficient forensic analysis on prosecution exhibits was successful. Prosecution offered no evidence;
  • R v N: represented one of six defendants in a multi-handed large-scale drugs supply operation. Police raid at a home recovered class A drugs, significant amounts of cash as well as drugs related paraphernalia and evidence of supply chains. Prosecution persuaded to accepted lesser role and defendant sentenced to a community penalty;
  • R v L: led junior in a well-publicised multi-handed robbery case involving the London underground network. The defendant was the only one of eight defendants acquitted. Relied heavily on attention to detail and analysis of CCTV evidence;
  • R v K: complex and large scale immigration fraud spanning decades. An operation involving the manipulation of the immigration process through false documentation;
  • R v J: successfully defended a security officer to celebrities charged with section 18 wounding with intent. Eye witnesses supported the alleged attack. Acquitted unanimously by the jury;
  • R v R: possession of class A with intent to supply. Significant seizure of drugs, money and paraphernalia with mobile phone interrogation evidence relied upon. At trial negotiated a basis of plea limited to social supply to a friend only.
  • R v R: led junior at contested confiscation proceedings. £3 million reduced to £150,000 as the available amount;
  • R v A: Operation Trojan, undercover Met Police drugs operation. Extensive legal arguments relating to RIPA and covert methods. Abuse of process.

Family

Salma’s practice encompasses all areas of family law from cases concerning financial remedies following relationship breakdowns to child welfare matters.

She undertakes the full range of private law matters including child arrangement, prohibited steps orders, specific issues orders and fact finding hearings.

Regulatory law

Routinely acts for the Nursing & Midwifery Council as a case presenter in professional disciplinary proceedings. Expertise in dealing with complex evidence in the context of serious criminal trials provides a significant advantage in dealing with witnesses and technical issues in such disciplinary cases.

Education

  • Diploma in Professional Legal Skills – City University, London
  • Bar Vocational Course – Inns of Court School of Law
  • LLB (Hons)  – City University, London
  • BA (Hons) Sociology – Birmingham City University

Scholarships

  • Jules Thorn Scholarship, Middle Temple

Awards

  • City University Law Prize (End of Year Exam Results)
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