Category: News

Shiraz Rustom secures acquittal in 2 handed Rape and Child Sex case.

The Defendant and his co-defendant stood trial on an indictment alleging Rape and causing a child to engage in sexual activity. The defence involved a total factual denial of the prosecution case. The trial at Inner London Crown Court lasted 12 days at the of which both defendants were unanimously acquitted.

Mr Rustom was instructed by Rachel Oakley of Reeds Solicitors of Leighton Buzzard.

 

1MCB invites applications for probationary tenancy

1MCB is currently inviting applications for probationary tenancy from candidates with experience of conducting a wide range of hearings. We are a multidisciplinary set with an ongoing commitment to access to justice for all members of the community and, as a testament to our work, 1MCB has several members ranked in the latest edition of the Legal 500. Chambers was also awarded “Outstanding Set for Diversity and Inclusion” at the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2021.

Candidates will primarily be expected to cover Chambers’ criminal work during their probationary tenancy and should have at least six months’ experience, including summary trials and Crown Court advocacy. There will also be scope for civil work, and candidates will be expected to cover civil hearings, such as family and immigration hearings with necessary support.

Probationary tenants will be allocated a supervisor and will benefit from ongoing support throughout their time with us. As a probationary tenant, you will have the benefit of a positive and collaborative working environment and the opportunity to build a multi-disciplinary practice alongside established and well-recognised practitioners. It is expected that probationary tenancies will last for a minimum of six months, after which candidates will have the opportunity to apply for tenancy within Chambers.

Applicants should email a CV and covering letter to Tenancy@1mcb.com. There is currently no deadline for this position. We will remove the advert from the website once we have recruited up to four suitable candidates.

1MCB is committed to the equality & diversity code for the Bar. We particularly encourage and welcome applications from African, Asian and other minoritised groups, women and persons with disabilities.

Ignatius Fessal secures acquittal in an Attempted Murder, Section 18 and Bladed Article trial following 7 days at Woolwich Crown Court

The defendant’s main charge was Attempted Murder which allegedly took place against his former partner in Southeast of London (Woolwich) where the victim was attacked at knife point and beaten up. He was allegedly armed with two knives where he attacked the victim and intended to kill or to cause grievous bodily harm. The victim received wounds to the face and head.

His defence at trial was that he denied being in possession of any knives and only relied on self-defence.

After a seven-day trial at Woolwich Crown Court, the defendant was unanimously acquitted of all allegations.

Mr Fessal was instructed by Emmanuel Udu from Dorian & Co

Tetevi Davi secures acquittals in case of possession of false identity documents and £50,000 fraud.

The Defendant, a young man with no previous convictions, was charged with two offences of possessing identity documents with improper intention (a false passport and biometric residence permit). He was also charged with fraud by falsely representing to his employer that he was entitled to reside and work in the UK when his visa had expired. The fraud was valued at approximately £50,000.

His defence at trial was that, prior to his arrest, he had not seen or been in possession of any false identity documents. He had arrived in the country from West-Africa as a minor and met a man on the street who had arranged employment for him. It was advanced that this man, without his knowledge, used his genuine identity documents to create false documents showing an incorrect age and indefinite leave to remain status and sent these directly to the employer. He further denied knowingly making any representation to his employer that was untrue about his right to work and that he had acted dishonestly.

After a four-day trial at the Inner London Crown Court, the Defendant was acquitted of these charges. He was released from custody on the same day.

Tetevi was instructed by Linda Onyechi of Titan Solicitors.

Jemma Levinson secures acquittals in multi handed drug conspiracy following a 4 week trial at Wood Green Crown Court.

The defendant was a participant in a WhatsApp group through which the delivery of customer orders for class A (cocaine and MDMA) and Class B drugs (ketamine and cannabis) was arranged. The defendant maintained he was a cannabis runner and no more. He pleaded to a single count reflecting this.  After several days of deliberation, and in relation to this defendant only, the jury returned unanimous NG verdicts on all other conspiracy counts and one count alleging possession of criminal property.

Instructed by Osondu from Malcolm & Co Solicitors

Black History Month: Celebrating Leonard Woodley QC

For this year’s Black History Month, 1MCB celebrates the life and achievements of Leonard Woodley, who served as Head of Chambers between 1988 and 2000.  Leonard (“Len” as he liked to be called) was the first Black Caribbean barrister in the country to become a QC (now KC), a Recorder of the Crown Court and a Bencher of The Inner Temple. An early proponent of “radical lawyering”, Len played a pivotal role in many of the Black communities’ protests and racial justice campaigns.

Born in the Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Len initially worked as a clerk and then as a commercial administrator. Having long harboured the desire to study law, he chose to leave and sailed to the UK in 1960 to pursue his career ambitions. Following the completion of his legal studies, Len was Called to the Bar by The Inner Temple in 1963. Motivated by the desire to facilitate access to the profession for underrepresented groups, as well as by his own experiences of discrimination, he would later establish the Leonard Woodley scholarship to be awarded to Black students at The Inner Temple.

Len’s career was marked by the tireless pursuit of justice and racial equity. He appeared in some the most significant and ground-breaking Black civil liberties cases, such as the “Mangrove nine” trial, where nine Black protesters demonstrating against discriminatory policing were prosecuted for rioting; all nine would later be acquitted after trial at the Central Criminal Court. He also played a central role in community-based lawyering, working with the Darcus Howe Action Committee, which campaigned vociferously for Darcus Howe’s release following his charge and imprisonment for what were widely believed to be political reasons. It was at one of the Action Committee meetings that Len came up with the legal strategy that would lead to Howe’s success at the Court of Appeal and immediate release.

Len was also an advisor to the Scarman Inquiry into the Brixton Uprisings in 1981, which followed ongoing police brutality the Black community were subjected to and the disproportionate use of ‘stop and search’ powers known as the ‘sus law’ to arrest young Black men. The sweeping powers under section 4 of the Vagrancy Act 1824 which gave police the power to arrest anyone suspected of loitering with the intent to commit an arrestable offence were repealed on 27 August 1981 in the aftermath of the Brixton Uprisings.

As head of chambers, Len marked his support for the struggle against South African Apartheid, an institutionalised system of racial segregation and oppression, by inviting Nelson Mandela to be an honorary Door Tenant. Mandela accepted this honour, whilst serving a life sentence, and his name remained on the door until he became President of South Africa in 1994. Mandela would later say that the support he had received from the Anti-Apartheid Movement in the UK was ‘a source of real inspiration’.

Len’s contributions to Chambers, the profession and society continue to reverberate, and his fierce commitment to civil liberties and racial justice continues to underpin 1MCB’s work and ethos to this day.

Black History Month, Saluting Our Sisters: Celebrating Jocelyn Gibbs

For this year’s Black History Month theme, ‘Saluting our Sisters’, 1MCB celebrates the life and work of Jocelyn Gibbs, whose legacy and commitment to building and advocating for Black communities were immeasurable and felt to this day.

‘Saluting our Sisters’ aims to highlight the critical role that Black women have played in shaping history, inspiring change and building communities. This is a contribution which, all too often, is overlooked or forgotten.

Called to the bar 1972, Jocelyn was a founding member of the Society of Black Lawyers, the oldest organisation of African, Asian and Caribbean lawyers in the UK, established in 1969. The late 1960s and early 1970s saw the emergence of a number of local, activist, Black self-help organising centres in Ladbroke Grove. These provided much needed advice and support to residents encountering and confronting the authorities over discrimination in schooling, housing, policing and judicial proceedings. Chief amongst these organisations was ‘Back-a-yard’, which later became the Black People’s Information Centre (BPIC) on Portobello Road.

Joycelyn’s commitment to community self- help and resistance spaces in the UK, meant that on Saturdays she would attend BPIC to provide free legal advice. This led to her building a practice centred on bringing the wider issues the community faced into the courtroom when fighting for justice. This dedication is reflected in her early practice, where she successfully fought “SUS law” cases, representing Black youths targeted by the police.

She was also defence counsel in the 1982 Bradford 12 case, where 12 Asian youths were charged for defending themselves against the National Front and violence in Bradford. Over 500 people stood outside court on the first day of trial, chanting songs in support of the 12 for hours. The trial highlighted ongoing issues of racist violence against immigrant communities and police violence, including the New Cross massacre. The community-focused legal strategy led to the acquittal of all defendants and was a focal moment in legal history.

Jocelyn was also counsel in the Scarman Inquiry into the Brixton Uprisings in 1981 and further chaired an inquiry into allegations of racism and harassment surrounding the death of a ten-year-old boy in Lewisham.

Jocelyn’s life work sat at the direct intersection of law in the service of organising. She understood the problems that Black communities faced at a political and global level due to systemic and interpersonal racism they were subjected to and focused her work on helping communities organise and build enough power to shift the terms on which decisions about their futures are made; she ensured her practice recognised and fought against racial injustice.

1MCB is honoured to recognise, salute and continue in her mantra for change and justice.

Black History Month: Ife Thompson featured in Legal Cheek

1MCB’s Third Six Pupil Ife Thompson was featured in the Legal Cheek on 26 October 2023, celebrating Black women lawyers as part of this year’s Black History Month theme, Saluting Our Sisters.

‘Saluting our Sisters’ aims to highlight the critical role that Black women have played in shaping history, inspiring change and building communities.

 

International Criminal Court: Defence opens case for Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman

On Thursday, 19 October and Friday, 20 October 2023, the team representing Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman will start to present its defence case before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Iain Edwards has been co-counsel for Mr Abd-Al-Rahman since July 2021. His client is alleged to be a former senior leader of the Sudanese Arab militia, commonly called the Janjaweed. He is charged with 31 counts of serious crimes including murder, rape, forcible transfer, persecution and torture as crimes against humanity, and numerous war crimes, between August 2003 and April 2004 in Darfur, Sudan.

The case is unique for a number of reasons. It is the first at the ICC to deal with the conflict in Darfur. It is also the first case to have been referred to the ICC by the United Nations Security Council in respect of a State that is not a party to the Court’s Statute. Sudan does not recognise the Court’s jurisdiction. Over the last three years, the defence team has struggled to carry out any investigations in Sudan as a result of an almost complete lack of cooperation from the Sudanese government. Moreover, the defence team has never been able to access Darfur. These difficulties have been compounded by the ongoing armed conflict that has been raging in Sudan since 15 April 2023.

The defence will publicly set out in detail the nature of these challenges before presenting the evidence that it has succeeded in gathering through a tenacious and creative investigation strategy.

The next hearing is listed for 13 November 2023.

1MCB members recognised in Chambers Bar Guide 2024

1MCB is delighted to announce that its members have once again been recognised by Chambers and Partners UK Bar Guide 2024 in their respective fields.

Iain Edwards is ranked in Band 1 for International Criminal Law.

Anna Watterson is ranked in Band 4 for Social Housing.

Michael Sprack is ranked as Up and Coming for Social Housing.