Louise Oakley

Year of Call: 2001  


Overview


Louise Oakley’s down to earth manner makes her an effective advocate and popular with both lay and professional clients who repeatedly instruct her.

Louise is described by instructing solicitors and counsel who have led her as “meticulous”, “extremely thorough”, “incredibly hardworking” and “highly knowledgeable”.

Louise is qualified to accept instructions on a public access basis and is registered with the Bar Council’s Public Access Directory.

Crime


Criminal Law has been at the core of Louise’s practice since she came to the Bar. In that time, her practice has developed to the level that it now involves the most complex and serious criminal cases. Although she is regularly instructed in all manner of criminal cases, her particular focus is of those involving serious violent and sexual offending. She is regularly instructed in cases involving historic allegations, abuse in children’s homes and cases involving extensive third party material.

Louise has a particular proficiency with both vulnerable witnesses and defendants, including those who are mentally disordered. Her cases often involve complex medical evidence involving the trauma associated with physical and sexual violence, shaking and burns.

Murder & Manslaughter


Cases

  • R v I: Led by Richard Whittam QC (First Senior Treasury Counsel) in the trial of Ben Igbinedion who was sentenced to life imprisonment (minimum term 17 years) for the murder of his three year old nephew. Igbinedion inflicted injuries on the child that were ‘consistent with a fall from a tower block or of being trampled upon by a stampede of horses’. The trial raised complex and sensitive issues that involved a hostile witness who was just 10 years old. Louise undertook a review of social service records and other ‘statements’ made by witnesses during parallel proceedings before the High Court.
  • R v B: Led by Maura McGowan QC (now The Honourable Mrs Justice McGowan) in the trial of Lee Bullen. The Crown’s case was that the Defendant thrust a broken bottle into the neck of a young man during a drunken altercation in the street. The case concerned the admissibility of Mitrochondial DNA evidence from a hair recovered from the the fragments of the a broken bottle and its subsequent reconstruction. During the course of the trial the Crown sought to adduce evidence of the Defendant’s previous convictions (non of which were for offences of specific intent). The admission of this evidence formed the basis of an application for leave to appeal conviction in which the Defendant’s conviction for murder was quashed before Lord Justice Rix, Mr Justice Nelson and Mr Justice Teare.
  • R v M: Led by William Clegg QC in the trial of Kieron Morris. The case concerned the murder of Scott Upton in Rainham, Kent who died following the infliction of multiple stab wounds to the neck and torso. The case involved the cut throat defences being run by Defendants including the Defendant’s 17 year old girlfriend. The case involved the instruction of a forensic toxicologist as the level of the Defendant’s drunkeness and his ability to form the requisite intent for murder and the doctrine of common design and joint enterprise.
  • R v R: Defendant indicted with Section 18 and Child Cruelty arising out of an incident where it was alleged that the Defendant deliberately poured boiling liquid over his niece’s (aged 5) genitals and upper thighs. Following my advice to instruct a Paediatric Burns Consultant re causation as to whether the burns were intentionally inflicted / accidental. At the trial I made an application to exclude the ABE interview of the Complainant. The basis of the application was that the questioning was both leading and highly suggestive. My familiarity with section 27(2) of the YJCEA 1999, section 78 of PACE 1984 and the ‘Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings: Guidance for Vulnerable or Intimidated Witnesses’ led to the evidence being excluded and the Crown offering no evidence.

Serious Sexual Offences


Cases:

  • R v F: Defendant was charged with the vaginal rape his 4 year old daughter following the acrimonious breakdown of his relationship with the complainant’s mother. The case involved the instruction of a Forensic Psychologist in order to assess the competence and suggestibility of the complainant. Issues also arose as to whether the complainant was capable of distinguishing between truth and lies owing to her youth and personal vulnerabilities. At the trial I made an application to exclude the ABE interview of the Complainant. The basis of the application was that the questioning was both leading and highly suggestive. The ABE interview was excluded. As a result, the Crown indicated that they would call the complainant to give live evidence however following further submissions regarding the effect of the police officers questioning and the reliability of the complainant the Crown offered no evidence.
  • R v U & Another: Defendant was a doctor who allegedly sexually assaulted a nurse whilst she was sleeping in the Defendant’s bedroom after a colleague (also a doctor) had raped her. Defended a General Practitioner who allegedly digitally penetrated the vagina of a colleague whilst she was asleep. The co-defendant (also a doctor) was indicted with rape. The defendants ran cut-throat defences. The case required sensitive cross examination of the Complainant and careful and well prepared cross-examination of the co-defendant to ensure that the jury did not use the conflict between the defendants’ accounts as lending support to the Complainant’s allegations. I identified the need for a specific direction to be given to the jury to prevent them relying unduly on this conflict in support of the Crown’s case. The case also involved legal argument (oral and written) as to the admissibility of expert evidence relied upon by the Crown regarding injuries to the Complainant’s vagina. Following my submissions this evidence was excluded pursuant to section 78 PACE. Jury took less than 30 minutes to acquit the Defendant.
  • R v R & Another: Defendant and his brother were charged with offences of Rape and Indecent Assault upon a young girl over two decades earlier. The Crown’s case depended wholly on the unsupported/corroborated word of the complainant who would have been aged between six and seven years of age at the time of the alleged offences. The case involved the detailed scrutiny of the complaint’s medical, psychological and psychiatric records in order to demonstrate inconsistencies in the various accounts she had provided to medical practitioners and the police over a number of years. It was also necessary to instruct a private investigator to obtain photographs that would have been taken of various properties in order to demonstrate that the complainant’s memory of when and where the alleged offending took place was incorrect. The defendant I represented was acquitted.
  • R v P: Defendant allegedly raped a 27 year old woman and a 14 year old girl in separates attacks near a primary school in Gloucester town centre – both Complainants were completely unknown to each other. My cross examination of the Complainants was focused on undermining their individual accounts because I knew that the Learned Judge would direct the jury that the allegations were ‘cross admissible’ and could support each other. My ability to undermine the evidence was crucial as the scene of the alleged attacks was the same and the offences were committed within a matter of weeks of each other. The jury took less than 20 minutes to find the Defendant not guilty of both counts following a two week trial.
  • R v O: The Defendant charged with grooming 2 boys, aged 12 and 13, via social media whilst on licence for the oral rape of two boys, aged 6 and 7, when he was aged 13 years. The case involved the sensitive cross-examination of four young boys all aged under 14 years old. The Defendant suffered with ADHD and Asperger’s and expert evidence was obtained in order to specifically address the Defendant’s psychiatric / psychological state at the time of his offending and his needs at trial. A prosecution witness also suffered from Asperger’s and needed the services of an intermediary to give evidence at trial. The case involved very sensitive cross-examination of young witnesses who were highly vulnerable. I planned my questions and wrote them out in advance of the ground rules hearing. I structured my questions in a logical and chronological order explaining the subject matter and when I was going to move onto a different topic. I also ensured that I did not ask any ‘tag’ questions and kept my questions short. I was also very conscious of literal interpretation and checked directly on understanding when necessary. I also avoided making any statements as part of a question. These adjustments also assisted the Defendant to follow the proceedings.
  • R v W: Defendant charged with rape. During the Complainant’s ABE interview she disclosed that at the time of offence she was non-compliant with prescribed medication for Paranoid Schizophrenia. I advised that disclosure be sought of the Complainant’s medical records that were relevant to her credibility. The Complainant refused to give consent to the disclosure of her medical records. I further advised a third party application be made for disclosure. During the proceedings the Complainant moved address and was sectioned, which meant that two local authorities held records. In light of other unsubstantiated complaints to the police by the Complainant when she was non-compliant with medication the application required me to set out in detail precisely what material was sought, and why, in a separate disclosure document. I was required to respond to submissions by the Complainant’s advocate and counsel instructed on behalf of the local authorities, both of whom opposed disclosure. Disclosure was subsequently ordered.

Fraud


More recently Louise has developed a particular interest in cases involving serious fraud, bribery and corruption. Recent cases include representing a UNISON Official who plotted to steal £100,000 from its members, a Slovakian national who was responsible for bringing women and children to the United Kingdom to set up fraudulent claims for child tax credits to the value of £1.2 million in just twelve months (described as one of the largest welfare scams of its kind) and an accountant who along with eight others was charged with conspiracy to defraud the Home Secretary in the manipulation of false wages/income in support of Tier I Visa Applications.

International


Louise was admitted to the Bar of the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2014 for the specific purpose of representing a former member of the Turks and Caicos Government who is facing allegations of Bribery and Corruption. The alle-gations came about in the wake of Sir Robin Auld’s inquiry into possible misconduct at the highest level of govern-ment in the Islands prior to the suspension of the constitution in 2009 by the British Government.

Appeals


Louise frequently appears in the appellate courts for both the Prosecution and the Defence. She is currently instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service’s Appeals and Review Unit (Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Divisions) in two high profile appeals involving allegations of murder and police corruption.

 

Advisory


Louise is also instructed to conduct a review of disclosure in cases arising out of the activities of Mark Kennedy (also known as Mark Stone) who is a former London Metropolitan Police Officer who, whilst attached to the police service’s National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) infiltrated many protest groups between 2003 and 2010 before he was unmasked by political activists as an undercover policeman.

Cases

  • Regina v Bullen [2008] 2 Cr App R 25

Memberships


  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Central Criminal Court Bar Mess
  • Kent Bar Mess
  • South Eastern Circuit
  • The Female Fraud Forum

Qualifications


  • Grade 4 Prosecutor (Specialist panel for Sexual Offences)
  • Safford Scholarship, Middle Temple (2001)
  • Jamieson Scholar, Middle Temple (2001)
  • Postgraduate Dip (Bar)
  • Postgraduate Dip (Law)
  • BA Hons