Sandesh Singh

Year of Call: 2004  


Overview


Sandesh is recognised as a leading barrister specialising in professional disciplinary law. Recent comments in the Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 directories include:

“Incredibly user friendly and well prepared”

“An extremely impressive individual. Thorough is an understatement. He is bright, super-knowledgeable, measured, reasonable and easy to deal with”

“An effective advocate even when pitched against QCs or senior juniors twice his call”

Phenomenally bright”

Meticulous in his attention to detail”

Continuously impresses with his intellectual agility and enthusiasm for this area of law”

Hard working and conscientious”

His level of preparation means that he is a match for any opponent”

Sandesh represents interested parties at inquests, having been instructed (as junior counsel to Ian Stern QC) to represent two firearms officers concerned in the inquest into the death of Jean Charles De Menezes. He also continues to conduct serious criminal cases for the defence. In 2013-15 he acted for the principal defendant of five in a £20 million mortgage fraud case and for the first defendant in a £23 million MTIC fraud prosecution. He is currently instructed to represent healthcare professionals in two gross negligence manslaughter cases.

Appeals


“Phenomenally bright” (Legal 500)

Sandesh is instructed to appear before the High Court and Court of Appeal in civil and criminal appeals.

He has appeared in applications under Part 8 CPR and appeals under Part 54 CPR relating to decisions by healthcare regulatory bodies.

Sandesh also has experience of conducting Judicial Review proceedings in England and abroad. He appeared in the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in Tortola (British Virgin Islands) in 2008 to represent an environmental organisation (VIEC). VIEC sought to judicially review a decision of the BVI government to grant a private developer planning permission to build a resort and golf course in a designated ‘protected area’ on procedural and environmental grounds. The case reached its conclusion in 2009 with VIEC’s case succeeding and the relief sought being granted.

Sandesh also provides ‘second opinion’ advice in relation to appeals, both to the Court of Appeal and the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

Cases

  • Bamgbelu v GDC [2015] EWHC 4123 (Admin): Appeared for the regulator in a Part 54 appeal against the sanction of erasure imposed by the GDC’s Professional Conduct Committee. The dentist concerned had sent numerous abusive emails to colleagues, the NHS and the GDC. In dismissing the appeal, the Court observed that the dentist’s “campaign of vitriol and abuse” was such that “nobody having the misfortune either to read these messages or to hear them could be in any doubt whatsoever that the writer of them was plainly unsuitable to hold any professional position or qualification, which brought him or her into contact with members of the public”.
  • Wasu v GDC [2013] EWHC 3782 (Admin): Appeared for the regulator in a Part 54 appeal against factual findings of forgery and manipulation of computer records made by the GDC’s Professional Conduct Committee and the ultimate sanction of erasure imposed. The appeal was dismissed. (led by Ian Stern QC).
  • J v GDC (2012): Instructed, as junior to Ian Stern QC, to draft detailed grounds resisting an appeal by a dentist against findings of dishonesty in the provision of veneers to numerous child patients following a 17 day hearing. The dentist’s appeal was ultimately withdrawn.
  • R v Ethridge [2010] EWCA Crim 1562: Appeal against sentence in multi-handed conspiracy to supply case. Appeal allowed and sentence of imprisonment reduced.
  • R v Baker [2009] EWCA Crim 89: Appeal against sentence for fraud and fraudulent trading offences. The Court of Appeal accepted Sandesh’s “admirably succinct and cogent argument” that the sentence imposed was manifestly excessive. Appeal allowed and sentences of imprisonment reduced.
  • R v Mann [2009] EWCA Crim 1089: Appeal against sentence for wounding with intent. Appeal allowed and sentence of imprisonment reduced.
  • R (on the application of D) v Inner South London Assistant Deputy Coroner (2008, unreported): Judicial Review proceedings connected with the inquest into the death of Jean Charles De Menezes (led by Ian Stern QC).
  • R v Smith [2007] EWCA Crim 1521: Appeal against sentences imposed for drugs and dangerous driving offences. Appeal allowed and sentences of imprisonment reduced.

Fraud


“Meticulous in his attention to detail” (Chambers & Partners)

Sandesh appears for the defence in cases concerning financial crime and money laundering. He has particular expertise in tax and VAT related matters, but has wide ranging experience of defending in cases involving:

  • MTIC VAT fraud
  • Other excise and tax fraud (eg: evasion of duty on rolling tobacco and alcohol, fraudulent non-payment of income/corporation tax etc)
  • Large scale mortgage fraud
  • Advance fee fraud
  • Internet fraud (eg: eBay related activity)
  • Fraudulent trading
  • False accounting
  • Fraud on the immigration services

Cases

  • Operation Chert: Represented the first defendant in a £23 million MTIC fraud prosecution following proceedings in the VAT Tribunal. The case involved additional allegations of laundering a further £8 million through multiple international bank accounts (4 month trial, led by QC).
  • Operation Honda: Represented the first defendant in a £20 million mortgage fraud case. Prosecuted by SOCA.

 A plea agreement was reached after negotiations pursuant to the Attorney Generals Guidelines on Plea Discussions in Cases of Serious or Complex Fraud cases, which resulted in a significantly reduced sentence being imposed on a guilty plea.
  • Operation Tremex: UK Border Agency investigation into immigration fraud involving a ‘fake’ college, resulting in what is believed to be one of the largest single cash seizures in the UK of £2.65 million. The defendant was acquitted at the close of the prosecution case following submissions regarding the inferences that could properly be drawn from his associations with various companies, bank accounts and properties.
  • Operation Deglaze: £17 million false invoicing fraud in the construction industry, allegedly resulting in the avoidance of VAT, Corporation Tax and CIS Tax. The defendant pleaded guilty on a substantially reduced basis and received a suspended sentence of imprisonment, while his co-defendant was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment on a guilty plea.
  • Operation Gnawed: Series of ‘MTIC’ conspiracies to cheat the revenue, in which the total loss was quantified to be in the region of £50 million. The case against the defendant was stayed as the trial judge found that the prosecution’s failures in disclosure amounted to an abuse of process.
  • Operation Occult: Fraud by a defendant described in the national press as a ‘Walter Mitty’ character who attempted to obtain valuable racehorses from well-known trainers such as Henry Cecil, in addition to an allegation of fraudulent trading with losses in the region of £350,000. The defendant pleaded guilty and received a sentence of imprisonment, which was substantially reduced on appeal after the Court of Appeal accepted Sandesh’s “admirably succinct and cogent argument” that the sentence imposed was manifestly excessive (R v Baker [2009] EWCA Crim 89).

Crime


“Hard working and conscientious” (Chambers & Partners)

Sandesh continues to have a successful criminal defence practice.

Cases

  • Operation Twyford: Currently instructed (led by Ian Stern QC) to represent an optometrist charged with gross negligence manslaughter following the death of a child.
  • Operation Trinity: Currently instructed (led by Ian Stern QC) to represent a doctor charged with gross negligence manslaughter following the death of a child.
  • R v Addison Lee Drivers: Instructed (led by Mark Brealey QC and Marie Demetriou QC of Brick Court Chambers) to represent 130 drivers employed by Addison Lee who faced prosecution for driving in the M4 bus lane. The defence to be advanced at a proposed ‘test case’ was that the Order creating the bus lane unjustifiably discriminated against private hire vehicles and was thus unlawful. After service of the defence case, the Crown withdrew all 130 summonses prior to the listed ‘test case’ trial date.
  • Operation Tiffin: ‘Ram raiding’ conspiracy to steal. The Crown called evidence from a co-defendant who had pleaded guilty and another individual who was interviewed under caution for the offences, both of whom implicated the defendant. The defendant had a similar previous conviction for conspiracy to burgle involving the use of JCB diggers to remove cash machines from buildings. Acquitted.
  • Operation Perish: Organised crime case involving allegations of drug supply and money laundering. After service of detailed disclosure requests and defence evidence, the Crown was forced to concede that the monies (totalling around £3.5 million) paid into the relevant bank accounts controlled by the defendant represented legitimate earnings from his waste disposal business, upon which tax had not been paid, rather than the proceeds of other criminal activity. Following legal argument the Crown was not permitted to amend the indictment to reflect its revised case and was forced to offer no evidence. Acquitted.
  • Operation Glyder: 11 handed case in which the defendant was charged with handling the proceeds of a nationwide conspiracy to burgle. 4 co-defendants who had pleaded guilty gave evidence for the Crown and implicated the defendant. The Crown also relied on computer analysis which established that the defendant’s account in interview was incorrect. Acquitted.
  • R v T: The defendant was alleged to have carried out a sustained attack on his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend with a baseball bat, causing him extremely serious injuries. The Crown relied on eyewitness evidence from the alleged victim and the ex-girlfriend (both of whom said that they recognised the defendant and provided evidence of motive) and evidence from ANPR cameras showing that the defendant entered and left the relevant area at times consistent with the incident. Defence of mistaken identification. Acquitted.

Professional Discipline


“An effective advocate even when pitched against QCs or senior juniors twice his call” (Chambers & Partners)

Sandesh represents and advises professionals and regulators, primarily in the healthcare sector, in respect of disciplinary proceedings.

He is frequently instructed in sensitive and complex cases in this area. For example, he has been instructed to represent:

  • A practitioner charged with misconduct in respect of the provision of non-mainstream treatment to children with learning disabilities and dishonestly submitting fraudulent NHS claims.
  • A regulator in a complex case concerning the submission of forged documents and falsified computer records during the regulator’s investigation.
  • A practitioner facing allegations of sexual assault of a female colleague at their place of work.
  • A regulator in a group of cases arising out of an undercover ‘sting’ operation carried out by the documentary series Dispatches.

Cases

  • GOC v J: Currently instructed on behalf of an optometrist charged with misconduct in connection with the provision of tinted lenses to children with learning disabilities and dishonest submission of fraudulent NHS claims (15 day hearing).
  • GDC v P: Acted for the GDC in a case concerning allegations of deficient treatment and communication in respect of 47 patients. Referral to the GDC following unsuccessful local resolution and NCAS assessment. Impairment was found and the dentist’s name was suspended from the register for 12 months (10 day hearing).
  • GOC v J: Defended an optometrist accused of clinical and record keeping failings in respect of 49 patients. The registrant made limited admissions and, after service of the defence case, all of the remaining disputed charges against him were withdrawn. His fitness to practise was found not to be impaired and he was issued with a warning (8 day hearing).
  • GDC v W: Acted for the GDC in a case involving the deficient clinical treatment of 14 patients and numerous allegations of dishonesty, including that the Registrant had submitted a forged document to the GDC’s Investigating Committee and had retrospectively altered patient records in response to complaints against him. Dishonesty was established and the dentist’s name was erased from the register. The Committee’s findings of fact and the sanction imposed were upheld on appeal (15 day hearing, Registrant represented by QC).
  • GOC v F: Represented an optometrist alleged to have mismanaged a vulnerable child patient with significant astigmatism and provided deficient treatment to a further 10 child patients. The registrant admitted some factual allegations but disputed the majority. All but one of the contested allegations were withdrawn by the GOC at the close of the prosecution case following cross examination of the GOC’s expert witness and the remaining contested allegation was found not proved. The allegations that the registrant admitted were found not to amount to misconduct (5 day hearing).
  • GOC v S: Represented an optometrist charged with dishonestly permitting a student optometrist to test the sight of patients and supervise other student optometrists when not properly supervised and further allegations of dishonesty by pre-signing of GOS forms. S was acquitted of all dishonesty charges, his fitness to practise was not found to be impaired and he received a warning (5 day hearing).
  • GDC v P: Appeared on behalf of the GDC in relation to a ‘ghost patient’ fraud case. The registrant was alleged to have fabricated the names, addresses and personal details of ‘patients’ in order to falsely claim for dental work. The defence argued that the PCC could apply the criminal standard of proof given the nature of the charges and the wording of the Health and Social Care Act 2008, which it was suggested rendered ultra vires a provision in the GDC’s Fitness to Practise Rules that the PCC should determine facts on the balance of probabilities. The defence’s argument was rejected, dishonesty was established and the dentist’s name was erased from the register (10 day hearing).
  • GMC v D: Represented a GP alleged to be guilty of Serious Professional Misconduct by reason of her writing misleading reports for the Family Division of the High Court in relation to the safety and necessity of childhood vaccinations. The case attracted national press interest both at the time of the original proceedings, during which a Court of Appeal judge famously branded the registrant as a purveyor of ‘junk science’, and during the GMC proceedings. The Registrant was acquitted of all charges (14 hearing, led by Ian Stern QC).
  • GOC v P: Represented an optometrist before the GOC who had allegedly failed to respond appropriately to warning signs of retinal detachment during a consultation. The patient subsequently lost his sight in one eye following a series of operations. The Committee found that the Registrant had acted properly and that the patient’s evidence regarding his presenting symptoms could not be relied on. The core disputed facts were found not proved, the Registrant’s fitness to practise was found not to be impaired and no warning was issued (5 day hearing).
  • GDC v H: Presented the case for the GDC against an associate dentist who was alleged to have taken cash payments from his patients for the treatment he provided without declaring them to the practice he worked at. It was also alleged that the dentist had utilised the practice record keeping system to facilitate his fraudulent conduct by deliberately omitting to take notes of treatments for which patients were paying in cash. Dishonesty was established and the dentist’s name was erased from the register (16 day hearing).

Memberships


  • ARDL