Maria Dineen

Year of Call: 1997  


Maria Dineen is a highly regarded criminal law specialist who is known for her sharp mind, thorough case preparation and exceptional trial advocacy.

Maria has been recommended as a leader in the field of Crime by the Chambers & Partners since 2007. She is also ranked as a leader in both Crime and Fraud by the Legal 500.

Maria is regularly instructed to act in the most heavyweight of criminal cases. In recent years she has tended to focus on criminal defence work but she also conducts serious and complex cases on behalf of the CPS.

She has considerable experience of dealing with cases of murder & manslaughter, complex fraud, major drugs importations and supplies, armed robbery and other violent organised crime and serious sexual offences.

Having been instructed as sole junior or led junior for many years, she is now increasingly instructed as leading junior counsel, often in multi-handed cases of complexity or sensitivity.

Before being called to the Bar, Maria had a varied career including newspaper journalism (covering mainly crime and the criminal courts). She is a former elected member of the Bar Council.


Maria has regularly appeared in the Court of Appeal in relation to appeals against conviction and sentence. She has been commended for both her written and oral submissions, particularly in appeals arising from complex and sensitive sexual cases.

She has provided advice and/or second opinions on appeals to the Court of Appeal and potential CCRC references in cases where she was not trial counsel. She has also undertaken pro bono advice and appeal work in capital cases from the Caribbean.


  • R v D (M) [2014] EWCA Crim 1905: Represented defendant charged with raping his sister approximately 50 times when he was aged 12-15 and she was aged 9-11. Subsequently acted on an appeal against sentence, when the Court of Appeal was persuaded to halve the sentence of 10 years’ detention to a period of 5 years’ detention.
  • R v F (TB) [2011] EWCA Crim 726; [2011] 2 Cr App R 13; [2011] 4 Archbold Review 1: Successful appeal against conviction for historical offences of rape and other serious sexual abuse. Court of Appeal quashed the convictions on basis that the trial judge had been wrong to reject the application to stay proceedings as an abuse of process. Case prompted Court of Appeal to give general guidance as to when proceedings should be stayed for abuse based on delay.
  • R v Wild [2008] EWCA Crim 1978: Instructed on behalf of respondent on appeal in what Court of Appeal described as a ‘tricky case’ requiring detailed written and oral submissions concerning former ‘dangerousness’ provisions and sexual offences spanning several different sentencing regimes.
  • Huggins v State of Trinidad & Tobago [2008] UK PC 32: Junior counsel for appellant in Privy Council pro bono appeal against conviction and sentence in capital murder case.
  • R v Afonso; R v Sajid; R v Andrews [2005] 1 Cr App R(S) 99: Appeared for respondent in former guideline case on sentencing of low level drug dealers.
  • R v F & Ors [2003] EWCA Crim 3435: Instructed on behalf of respondent on appeal after Criminal Cases Review Commission referral of conviction involving allegations of widespread, systematic abuse by purported paedophile ring.
  • R v Hong & Ors [2001] 2 Cr App R(S) 509: Appeared on behalf of respondent on appeal against sentence following trial for kidnapping of schoolboy and blackmail of parents by ransom demands.
  • R v Walton & Ors [2001] 8 Archbold News 2: Junior counsel for appellant in his appeal against conviction based on ECHR/fair trial consequences of a defendant who falls ill while representing himself.


Maria regularly advises on and conducts hearings in confiscation cases. She has experience of high value, complex and protracted confiscation claims.


Maria is a highly sought after advocate, who has a wealth of experience defending and prosecuting in serious and complex cases.

She has been instructed in numerous homicide cases and cases involving allegations of armed robbery, major drugs conspiracies and violent crime. She also has expertise in conducting serious sexual offences cases.

Although she now predominantly acts on behalf of the defence, Maria is also a Grade 3 CPS prosecutor and specialist rape advocate.

Her prosecution work has provided her with invaluable experience of cases arising from covert policing and the use of various surveillance techniques and of dealing with resultant disclosure issues including those involving Public Interest Immunity.

In 1999, Maria was sponsored by the South Eastern Circuit to attend the Florida Bar’s Prosecutor/Public Defender Criminal Trial Training Programme at Florida University in Gainesville, USA.


  • R v LW (2014): Represented defendant accused of kidnapping following alleged sexually motivated attack on lone female in the street in broad daylight. A determination that the defendant was unfit to plead was followed by a trial of the act.
  • R v Olley & Ors (2014): Represented defendant accused of large scale conspiracies to supply Class A drugs and money laundering the proceeds.
  • R v Wyvell (2014): Represented female defendant charged with supplying a Class A drug (in the form of a morphine patch) to an associate who died after using the drug.
  • R v Smith (2012): Acted for Kwik Fit fitter charged with aggravated vehicle taking following joyride in customer’s high speed Porsche during which an 8-year-old boy was killed.
  • R v N (2011): Leading junior on behalf of Afghan national said to be a key part of the most prolific people smuggling ring ever uncovered by SOCA. Continued to represent N at a re-trial in his absence. When the second jury failed to reach verdicts, the prosecution offered no evidence.
  • R v W (2011): Successfully represented defendant accused of being part of professional ‘SAS style’ gang of armed robbers responsible for series of building society raids across London and East Anglia. Was acquitted after a 3 month trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
  • R v Bell (2011): Represented bodybuilder jailed indefinitely after admitting false imprisonment by keeping his wife and baby prisoner in the loft and subjecting his wife to repeated sadistic beatings during which she sustained grievous bodily harm. Case attracted national media attention.
  • R v C (2010): Successful s.76 argument to exclude confession evidence of defendant accused of armed robbery, resulting in prosecution offering no evidence.
  • R v Olley & Ors (2008): Junior counsel for principal defendant accused of conspiracy to commit series of armed robberies of Securicor vans.
  • R v B (2007): Successful abuse of process argument on behalf of one of 13 defendants charged with conspiracy to live off immoral earnings and immigration offences. Legal argument centred upon police quasi licensing of brothel.
  • R v Thame (2007): Junior counsel for principal defendant in trial involving conspiracy to import 50kg of cocaine.
  • R v R (2007): Successfully represented defendant at trial for conspiracy to import 100kg cannabis.
  • R v P (2006): Trial of mother accused of blackmailing her lover, a former deputy headmaster, after he ended their 10 year affair.
  • R v H & Ors (2005): Junior counsel for principal defendant in conspiracy to defraud, involving allegation of false imprisonment and blackmail of a solicitor. Prosecution offered no evidence after two months of legal argument.
  • R v B (2003): Represented stepmother accused of systematic child abuse, encompassing numerous acts of grievous bodily harm with intent over a 7 year period.
  • R v Byatt (2003): Prosecuted defendant convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, resulting in significant brain damage to the victim. Trial involved expert blood staining evidence.
  • R v Gelderbloem (2001): Prosecuted defendant convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, involving a ‘savage’ hammer attack. The defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • R v Doherty & Ors (2000): Junior counsel in relation to part of the notorious Michael Michaels series of drugs trials.


Maria is an experienced and able fraud practitioner, known for her ability to master the detail but also cut through the issues to present her client’s case most effectively to a jury.

She has appeared in numerous high profile complex fraud cases brought by the Serious Fraud Office, Financial Conduct Authority, HM Revenue and Customs and the CPS Central Fraud Group. These have included allegations of insider trading, VAT and tax fraud, advance fee fraud, mortgage fraud, diversion fraud, fraudulent trading, money laundering and various offences under the Companies Act.

She is regularly instructed in high value, multi-handed frauds requiring the command of a voluminous amount of evidence.


  • R v Chris Ronnie (2014): Junior counsel (led by Jim Sturman QC) in SFO prosecution of former CEO of JJB Sports for allegations of fraud by failure to disclose and false accounting arising from his time at the helm of the sportswear retailers.
  • R v MC (2014): Successfully represented former solicitor facing charges of conspiracy to defraud arising from his role in the ill-fated multi million pound takeover of London Welsh Rugby Club by conman, Neil Hollinshead. The defendant was acquitted of all charges when the prosecution chose to offer no evidence against him midway through trial following cross examination which had exposed fatal flaws in the prosecution case against him.
  • R v Griffiths (2013): Defended mortgage broker charged with historic mortgage fraud. Following a guilty plea, the sentencing judge was persuaded to pass a suspended sentence due to the defendant’s powerful personal mitigation.
  • Operation Saturn (2012): Appeared for defendant in case said to be the FSA’s largest, longest and most complex criminal trial. The defendant was one of five traders charged with six counts of insider trading in different stocks. Following a trial lasting almost 5 months, all traders were convicted on all counts, save the defendant, who was acquitted on four counts. Led by Tony Shaw QC.
  • R v Maskery (2011): Represented convicted fraudster accused of defrauding script writers out of over £120,000 by falsely claiming to be a film producer who had trained under Stanley Kubrick.
  • R v Piper (2010): Represented alleged principal of conspiracy to defraud, involving sale of plots of land in Spain to UK caravan/mobile home owners.
  • R v Wattiez (2008): Leading Junior for convicted fraudster accused of masterminding and operating high value fraud whilst on day release from prison sentence for almost identical offence.
  • R v Gritton (2008): Represented sub contractor accused of conspiracy to defraud Network Rail by ‘ghosting’ of workers on the railway.
  • R v Eiger (2007): Junior counsel in trial of wife accused of laundering husband’s proceeds of $20 million fraud on US computer giant Cisco Systems.
  • Operation Caveman (2004): Junior counsel in 5 month trial of conspiracy to import cigarettes. Prosecution asserted that £2.7 million duty evaded on the 25 million cigarettes seized was merely the ‘tip of the iceberg’.
  • R v Collins & Ors: Junior counsel for accountant accused of VAT fraud.

Murder & Manslaughter

Maria regularly defends in cases of murder and manslaughter. She also has considerable experience of prosecuting homicide cases. She is increasingly instructed to provide advice and/or second opinions on appeals to the Court of Appeal and potential CCRC references in cases where she was not trial counsel.

In 2005, Maria spent 10 weeks in Kingston, Jamaica, as a volunteer (funded by Chambers) working as part of a Bar Caribbean Pro Bono Committee scheme. She assisted local attorneys in the preparation and conduct of first instance capital murder cases, Death Row appeals and ‘resentencing’ hearings of Death Row prisoners originally sentenced under mandatory death penalty provisions.


  • R v Harty (2012): Junior counsel in murder trial involving allegations of sadistic conduct.
  • R v H (2012): Junior counsel on behalf of nightclub doorman acquitted of manslaughter following death of customer during detention and restraint outside club. Case involved evidence from experts in pathology, neuropathology, toxicology and restraint.
  • R v L (2010): Represented defendant accused of attempting to murder his partner during failed suicide pact. Prosecution eventually offered no evidence.
  • R v W (2008): Represented female defendant charged with conspiracy to rob during which victim was murdered. Advised on SOCPA agreement, which saw defendant give evidence for the prosecution, thereby greatly reducing her sentence.
  • R v Nudds (2006): Junior counsel on behalf of the prosecution in murder trial involving cell confession evidence where no body was found.
  • R v G (Ricky Percival & Ors) (2006): Junior counsel for defendant accused of perverting the court of justice by providing false alibi to cover up execution style murder. First case in which a murder charge was dropped against a defendant who was then called as the principal prosecution witness against a co-defendant subsequently charged with the same murder.
  • R v Dallagher (2004): Junior counsel in Court of Appeal ordered re-trial of Mark Dallagher, originally convicted of murder on the basis of an ‘earprint’ left at the scene of the crime. During preparation for the re-trial, the defence discovered that low copy DNA analysis of the earprint revealed that the DNA found on the mark could not have come from Mark Dallagher. The Crown eventually offered no evidence, thereby ending a seven year miscarriage of justice.
  • R v Coughlan (2003): Junior counsel in manslaughter by heroin injection at Exeter Crown Court.

Professional Discipline

Maria has advised and represented individuals facing proceedings before their professional disciplinary bodies. She previously sat as a Legal Adviser to the General Social Care Council.


  • SRA v K (2010): Advised and represented solicitor facing proceedings before Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal for breaching rules governing conflict of interests when acting for defendant convicted of murder.

Serious Sexual Offences

Maria is frequently counsel of choice to defend in cases involving the most serious and sensitive allegations of sexual offending. Known for her meticulous preparation and fearless cross examination on behalf of her clients, Maria has regularly been commended for her handling of sexual cases both at first instance and on appeal.

She has conducted cases including allegations of stranger rape, male rape, gang rape, sex trafficking, familial rape, serial paedophilia and other child abuse and those involving multiple complainants. A significant number of her cases have involved historical allegations of sexual abuse. She has built up expertise in dealing with especially vulnerable defendants and witnesses. She is also familiar with the IT issues arising in cases of indecent images, having defended a number of individuals in Operation Ore and subsequent similar police operations.

Maria is a Grade 3 CPS prosecutor and specialist rape advocate.


  • R v EM (2014): Successfully represented female teaching assistant accused of having sex with 15 year old male pupil in trial which attracted national media attention. The defendant, who had admitted exchanging sexually explicit messages and Skype calls with the boy, was acquitted of two charges of sexual activity.
  • R v Abdullahi (2014): Acted for principal defendant accused with others of falsely imprisoning teenage girl in order to rape her. Case involved significant use of third party material.
  • R v NP (2014): Represented defendant accused of attempted rape and sexual assault of significantly learning disabled complainant shortly after his release on licence from a life sentence for murder. The prosecution initially suggested that the complainant lacked capacity to consent. Following reports from several psychiatrists and psychologists, the prosecution agreed with the defence submissions that the complainant did, in fact, have capacity to consent and that the possibility of confabulation was a very real one. The prosecution thereafter offered no evidence on all charges.
  • R v MDB (2014): Represented defendant with learning difficulties accused of attempted rape and violent sexual assaults. Defence case necessitated expert evidence on the reliability/admissibility of the defendant’s partial confession in interview and the issue of automatism due to parasomnia. Both the defendant and complainant were granted intermediaries at trial. Despite the judge ruling that the defendant’s partial confession was admissible and that the defence of non insane automatism should be withdrawn from the jury, the defendant was acquitted of all charges.
  • R v Sheikh & Ors (2013): Leading junior on behalf of principal defendant in 6 week multi-handed trial involving allegations of trafficking for sexual exploitation and conspiracies to rape and supply drugs. The case involved expert psychological evidence relating to symptoms of trauma being displayed by the complainant consistent with prior sexual abuse and legal argument regarding the admissibility of a host of similar previous allegations made by her against others. The complainant was assisted by an intermediary at trial.
  • R v JM (2013): Acted on behalf of severely autistic and learning disabled defendant accused of attempted stranger rape and sexual assault of a 9-year-old boy, after pulling him from his bicycle in the street and dragging him into woods. Intermediary used to secure effective communication with the defendant, who was subsequently sentenced to a Hospital Order with a Restriction Order.
  • R v Freeman & Ors [2011] EWCA Crim 2781 (2011): Represented Steven Freeman (aka Steven Adrian Smith) former leader of PIE (Paedophile Information Exchange), a notorious worldwide organisation, who was charged with conspiracy to distribute child porn and associated offences. As part of the case, Freeman became the first person in the UK to be prosecuted for possessing sketches and drawings of child abuse. His indeterminate sentence was upheld by the Court of Appeal.
  • R v L (2011): Represented quadriplegic defendant with foot fetish accused of sexually assaulting a carer.
  • R v O (2009): Defended stepfather accused of 17 year campaign of rape and other serious sexual abuse. The trial involved cross examining three complainants, two males and one female, who gave evidence described the trial judge as ‘some of the most harrowing’ he had ever heard.
  • R v W (2006): Represented young male defendant charged with raping a 4 year-old-boy.
  • R v R (2005): Successfully represented defendant at trial upon allegations of rape of significantly learned disabled male and female. Cross examined both complainants without the benefit of an intermediary.
  • R v T (2004): Represented former primary school headmaster and schools inspector charged with downloading child porn. Involved expert forensic computing evidence.
  • R v Goodridge (2003): Represented Soham police officer charged with distribution and possession of child porn as part of Operation Ore.
  • R v H (2003): Successfully defended father charged with cruelty to all 8 of his children and stepchildren over a 15 year period and repeated sexual abuse of his three daughters/stepdaughters.
  • R v Pastusenko & Ors (2002): Junior counsel in 6 week ‘gang rape’ trial of five defendants.


  • Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers
  • Bar European Group
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • The Fraud Lawyers Association
  • South Eastern Circuit