Christopher Martin

Year of Call: 2008  


Overview


Christopher Martin joined Chambers as a Tenant, in October 2009 following the successful completion of his 12 month pupillage.

Prior to being called to the Bar, Christopher enjoyed an extremely successful and varied career as an Infantry Officer in the British Army. He retired holding the rank of Major.

Christopher has a very busy private and legal aid Crown Court practice and has, in the last 12 months, appeared in a number of lengthy and serious trials either as a Junior alone or a Led Junior. He also has significant experience of representing military defendants at Court Martials in the UK and Germany.

Additionally, Christopher has developed a regular private practice in the Magistrates’ Court, Crown Court and Court of Appeal in respect of complicated road traffic matters.

Christopher is a graded CPS prosecutor and appears regularly for both the CPS and the National Probation Service in the Crown Courts in London and Essex in respect of all manner of hearings and trials. He also regularly provides ‘pre-charge’ advice on instruction. Christopher has, over the years, been regularly instructed by the Treasury Solicitors and discrete government departments in relation to complex and confidential public law matters which require the utmost discretion and diligence. Christopher is vetted to Developed Vetting (DV) standard.

Outside of crime, Christopher continues to develop his busy regulatory practice and is regularly instructed by the Association of Optometrists to defend their members appearing before the General Optical Council.  He is also instructed to appear at Coroner Inquests.

Of note, Christopher was instructed as both a barrister and an investigation team leader within a Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT) for the duration of a three year investigation. The investigation focused on serious allegations of fraud, corruption, bribery and money laundering committed by government officials within the Turks & Caicos Islands. Christopher gained significant experience of compiling complicated production orders and working under the MLAT and LoR processes; in particular with the US Department of Justice.

Christopher is qualified to accept direct access instructions and does so on a regular basis in respect of criminal, regulatory and inquest work.

 

Appeals


Christopher has been instructed to appear in the Court of Appeal (including the Court Martial Appeal Court) on several occasions and is adept at drafting the necessary advices on appeal in relation to both conviction and sentence.

Cases

  • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    R v Naish [2010] 2 Cr. App. R. (S.) 106
    The Court of Appeal reduced a sentence of four-and-a-half years’ imprisonment for sexual activity with a child and burglary to  a sentence of two years and nine months’ imprisonment was substituted.
  • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    R v Hastings [2018] EWCA Crim 2457
    The Court of Appeal reduced a sentence of four years’ imprisonment for causing death by dangerous driving to one of three years and four months’ imprisonment.

Confiscation


Christopher is often instructed to conduct confiscation hearings in the Crown Court as both defence and prosecution council. In the main this follows from Christopher’s own trials.

Coroners Inquests


As a serving Army officer, Christopher represented the Ministry of Defence at sensitive coronial inquests and was instructed by the Treasury Solicitors in respect of a high profile and sensitive inquest.

Christopher has represented, pro bono, the families of British soldiers killed whilst on operational service and has provided that assistance through the Royal British Legion.

More recently, Christopher regularly represents interested parties at inquests – both following on from a criminal trial and inquests held in their own right.  Recent examples include:

  • Death resulting from a fall down the stairs in a restaurant in London;
  • Death resulting from an illegal car race on a public road;
  • Death of a retired Doctor in a car crash whilst on holiday in Namibia; and
  • Death of a cyclist run over by a lorry in London.

Crime


Christopher’s experience with the serious and complex crime sphere is expanding. Christopher has recently appeared for the Defence in a number of serious and complex trials which include murder, Armed Robbery, firearms, serious offences of breaching copyright (in respect of a ‘DVD factory’ producing tens of thousands of illicit DVDs); serious cases involving the importation of significant number of Class A drugs (upto £300 million) and the theft of a significant amount of motor vehicles (valued at more than £1 million).

Cases

  • R v A & Another 2014 (Defence Junior alone): A two-handed armed robbery whereby the defendants were alleged to have been armed with a handgun and a knife before robbing two women of their Rolex watches worth £32,000. Mr. A was acquitted following a successful application of no case to answer at the conclusion of the Crown’s case.
  • R v C 2014 (Defence Junior alone): A two week trial concerning the importation of 10kg of heroin into the UK by a Dutch lorry driver
  • R v K 2014 (Defence Junior alone): K was charged with 5 offences contrary to the Firearms Act 1968 including s.16 of that Act (possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment).  The charges were in relation to the possession of a Skorpion machine gun, live ammunition and a silencer.  After  negotiations with the Crown, and after mitigation, Mr. K was sentenced only in relation to the lesser s.5 charges and received the minimum 5 year sentence with the Judge stating that he would have passed a lessor sentence had statute not “tied his hands”.
  • R v C & Others 2015 (Defence Junior led): C was charged with two armed robberies of casinos and of a ‘honey trap’ murder of a professional gambler with his two co-defendants at the Central Criminal Court.
  • R v L & Others 2015 (Defence Junior alone): Mr. L was implicated in a Class A drug importation with a street value of more than £100M.  He was the ‘right hand man’ and money launderer to the ‘Mr. Big’.  After a 12 week trial at Maidstone Crown Court, Mr. L was the only one of nine defendants to be acquitted.
  • R v DH & Others 2016 (Defence Junior alone): DH was implicated in what the prosecution described as the largest industrial cannabis cultivation ever discovered in the UK.  He was one of 13 defendants tried over a period of 14 weeks in Court 1 at the Old Bailey.
  • R v WC 2016 (Defence Junior alone): WC was charged with causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving in a case which had a particularly complicated issue of causation.  WC was acquitted in 40 mins following a six day trial at Canterbury Crown Court.
  • R v DL & Other 2017 (Defence Junior alone): DL was charged, with his younger brother, with the systematic rape of a boy aged 8 to 10 years old when the defendants were teenagers.  The 2 week trial was heard at Basildon Crown Court (sitting at Southend).
  • R v MP & Others 2017 (Defence Junior alone): MP, along with 8 other co-defendants was charged with violent disorder following a football match.  The 6-week trial was held at Basildon Crown Court and received National press coverage.
  • R v IC 2018 (Defence Junior Alone): A rape trial at Basildon Crown Court.  The case was significantly complicated by the fact that the complainant and the main prosecution witness were vulnerable adults (living in sheltered housing) with significant learning difficulties.  All cross examination was restricted to that approved at the Ground Rules Hearing.  Both vulnerable witnesses were assisted in court by an intermediary.
  • R v AB-S 2018 (Defence Junior alone): AB-S was charged with the sexual assault of an event manager at a private birthday party.  Due to the fact that the defendant attended a prominent public school and was from an affluent family the trial attracted National press coverage which included a full page spread in the Daily Mail after AB-S was acquitted.
  • R v EC 2018 (Defence Junior alone)
    EC was charged with Perverting the Course of Justice in a high profile murder trial.
  • R v BD 2019 (Defence Junior alone)
    BD was charged with the effective ‘kidnap’ and systematic rape of a woman over a 24-hour period.  The complainant was assisted by an intermediary and the defendant had significant learning difficulties.
  • R v MO 2019 (Defence Junior alone)
    MO was charged with the sexual assault of a unknown young female in a nightclub.  MO was acquitted.

Defence


Christopher’s defence practice is wide and varied.  He has an exclusively Crown Court practice with the exception of private instructions in the Magistrates Court and serious matters originating in the Magistrates Court.  The details regarding the types of cases that he undertakes are, in the main, set out in the remainder of this profile.

Fraud


Christopher has been instructed in relation to both defence and prosecution fraud trials – both as a junior alone and as a led junior. Christopher receives instructions direct from the CPS Specialist Fraud Unit.

Cases

  • R v S & Others 2014 (Defence Junior led): A seven-handed conspiracy to defraud trial at Harrow Crown Court. The nature of the conspiracy related to fraudulent applications for Tier 1 Immigration Visas. After a 12- week trial, four defendants were convicted and the jury in relation to ‘S’ were hung. The Crown opted to not try ‘S’ again and he was acquitted.
  • R v D & Others 2014 (Prosecution Junior led): A four-handed conspiracy to defraud (approx. £4M) trial at Woolwich Crown Court. The nature of the conspiracy related to a horse racing betting scam involving tipster services. Two defendants pleaded guilty at the start of the trial and at the conclusion of the 5 week trial, the remaining two were convicted.
  • R v DS & Others 2018 (Defence Junior Alone): A six-handed, 7 week, conspiracy to defraud trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.  The nature of the conspiracy related to builders ‘scamming’ old and vulnerable adults into paying extortionate sums of money for building work that was either not necessary or completed to a poor standard.

International


Between 2010 and 2013, Christopher was instructed as both a barrister and an investigation team leader within a Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT) for the duration of a three-year investigation. The investigation focused on serious allegations of fraud, corruption & bribery and money laundering committed by Government officials within the Turks & Caicos Islands. The scope of the alleged offending was in the range of US$100s millions. Christopher gained significant experience of compiling complicated Production Orders and working under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) and Letters Of Request (LoR) processes; in particular with the US Department of Justice and the Swiss Authorities.

Judicial Review


Christopher has been instructed in a number of major and long running Judicial Review cases arising in consequence of internment, torture and other abuse allegations in relation to detainees in Iraq.

Cases

  • Ali & Others v Secretary of State for Defence: A Judicial Review action arising in consequence of the British Government’s decision not to hold a second investigation into allegations of torture and sexual abuse that were made by complainants held at Camp Bread Basket in Iraq.
  • Al-Jedda v Secretary of State for Defence: An on going action arising from the British Government’s decision to arrest and detain a dual Iraqi-British national on the grounds that his internment was necessary for imperative reasons of security in Iraq. (See R (on the application of Al-Jedda) (FC) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for Defence (Respondent) [2007] UKHL 58).
  • Kammash & Others v Secretary of State for Defence: A Judicial Review action as to the legality of the detention and internment of the Claimants by British Forces in Iraq.

Military Law


Christopher naturally has a keen interest in military law and regularly defends in Courts Martial cases in the UK and in Germany. Christopher has experience of conducting all manner of hearings including a number of trials and appeals. In addition, Christopher has been instructed to provide advice and to draft representations in respect of a Commissioned Officer engaged in a Service Complaint procedure.

Cases

  • R v Sergeant A 2013: This was a case which was heard by the Courts Martial Appeal Court and was in relation to a manifestly excessive sentence that had been applied for a military offence during Summary Dealing.  The Appeal was successful, the sentence was overturned and a conditional discharge substituted.
  • R v Private M & Others 2014: Christopher represented Pte M who was one of four soldiers on trial for joint enterprise violence at the Sennelager CMC (Germany).  After a successful submission application of no case to answer at the conclusion of the Crown’s case, Private M was acquitted.
  • R v Squadron Leader H 2014: Christopher represented Sqn Ldr H who was tried with a co-defendant for Class A drugs offences at the Colchester CMC.  After a successful submission application of no case to answer at the conclusion of the Crown’s case, Sqn Ldr H was acquitted.
  • R v Bombardier B & Others 2015: Bdr B was jointly charged with two co-defendants in relation to an incident of Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent (s.18 OAPA 1861) resulting from a fight in a German nightclub.  The Crown discontinued the case against Bdr B after an Application to Dismiss was submitted.  The two co-defendants pleaded guilty.
  • R v Private T, 2015: Christopher represented Private T who faced Court Martial in Germany in relation to an allegation of rape.  Following a successful submission application of no case to answer at the conclusion of the prosecution case the Board were directed to find Private T not guilty.  The prosecution, however, added a further charge of attempted rape.   At the conclusion of the nine-day trial the Court Martial board acquitted Private T of the attempted rape.  Private T’s legal aid contributions were refunded in full.
  • R v WO1 S, 2018: Christopher represented Warrant Officer Class 1 S, who faced Court Martial in Bulford in relation to two allegations of sexual assault and one allegation of harassment.  At the conclusion of the three-day trial WO1 S was acquitted of the two charges of sexual assault and convicted of the harassment.  In respect of that, WO1 S was sentenced to a fine and a Service Compensation Order.
  • Advice on Appeal: More generally, Christopher has been instructed on a number of occasions to advise on the merits of appeal against a legacy conviction and/or sentence where servicemen have been convicted and the original appeal has either not been lodged or failed.
  • R v Sgt H, 2019
    Christopher represented Sergeant H, who faced Court Martial in Catterick in relation to an allegation of Perverting the Course of Justice.  After a successful submission of no case to answer two weeks into the trial and at the conclusion of the Crown’s case, Sgt H was acquitted.  Sgt H’s legal aid contributions were refunded in full.
  • R v Cpl S, 2019
    Christopher represented Corporal S, who faced Court Martial in Catterick in relation to an allegation of negligently performing a duty.  The allegation arose out of an incident whereby a new member of the unit alleged that he was assaulted and bullied.  At the conclusion of the four day trial the Court Martial Board acquitted Cpl S and his legal aid contributions were refunded in full.

Professional Discipline


Christopher is regularly instructed by the Association of Optometrists to represent its professional members who are summoned to appear before the General Optical Council & other professional bodies in respect of professional discipline matters. Christopher appears at hearings Nationwide and has extensive experience of conducting the following hearings:

• Interim Order Hearings;
• Fitness to Practice Substantive Hearings;
• Substantive Review Hearings; and
• NHS Performer’s List Panel Hearings.

Christopher has also recently been instructed, via Direct Access, in relation to two professional disciplinary matters. He has successfully represented a Physiotherapist in relation to a hearing conducted by the Health Care Professional Council. Christopher has also been instructed to represent a Surgeon who appeared before the General Medical Council and a Prothesist before the Health Care Professional Council.

Prosecution


Christopher is a Grade 2 CPS Prosecutor and appears regularly for both the CPS and the National Probation Service in the Crown Courts in London and Essex in respect of all manner of hearings and trials.  He has also been instructed by the CPS to appear in the Court of Appeal.

Furthermore, Christopher is regularly instructed by the CPS to advise on cases pre-charge. These are serious and complicated cases.

Cases

  • R v D & Others 2014 (Prosecution junior): A four-handed conspiracy to defraud trial at Woolwich Crown Court. The nature of the conspiracy related to a horse racing betting scam involving tipster services. Two defendants pleaded guilty at the start of the trial and at the conclusion of the 5 week trial, the remaining two were convicted.
  • R v C, K & S 2015 (Prosecution Junior led): A three-handed case where the defendants were charged with terrorism offences and tried at the Central Criminal Court over 6 weeks.
  • R v S 2016 (Prosecution Junior alone):
    S was tried on his own over five days in respect of possession of a firearm tried at Basildon Crown Court (statutory minimum 5 year sentence offence).
  • R v A 2018 (Prosecution Junior alone):
    A was tried in a landmark case in England in respect of the importation of a ‘child sex doll’.  The case was complicated by virtue of the fact that the purchase of such an item in the UK would not have been illegal.  The Crown’s case was the item imported, as it was, was ‘obscene’.
  • R v AM 2019 (Prosecution Junior alone)
    AM was charged with a significant ‘benefit fraud’ worth tens of thousands of pounds and over a period of many years.  AM was convicted.

Sports Law


Christopher is a keen sportsman and has defended in an extra jurisdictional (USA) sports law appeals. Additionally, Christopher has represented, pro bono, an English Football League football team at a Disciplinary Hearing.

Directory Quotes


  • 2016Legal 500′ Directory  describes Christopher as a Leading Junior in crime and quotes: ‘He has an excellent rapport with juries, which results in exceptional outcomes’.
  • 2017 ‘Legal 500’ Directory describes Christopher as a Leading Junior in Crime and quotes: ‘He has an excellent client manner that makes him able to convey the essential issues while remaining reassuring.’
  • 2018 ‘Legal 500’ Directory describes Christopher as a Leading Junior in Crime and quotes: ‘His presence in court is very persuasive and gets the attention of the judiciary.’

Memberships


  • Criminal Bar Association

Qualifications


  • Qualified pupil supervisor
  • Vice Chief of Defence Staff Commendation for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Defence’ (2008)
  • Winner of the Sword of Honour, The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (2001)
  • Anson Memorial Prize for academic achievement, The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (2001)
  • Harmsworth Major Scholar, Middle Temple
  • Bar Vocational Course (Very Competent), BBP Law School
  • LLB (Hons) Law, Upper Second Class Honours