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R v Rhiannon Ferguson

David James defended Rhiannon Ferguson (dubbed the “Selfie Queen” by tabloids), who was jailed for seven years at Preston Crown Court, having pleaded guilty to possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply. Ms Ferguson had been arrested with £350,000 worth of cocaine in her car after drugs officers received a tip-off. The case received widespread national newspaper coverage, including in the Times, the Daily Mail, the Mirror, the Sun and the Metro, and local papers the Lancashire Telegraph, the Rossendale Free Press and the Liverpool Echo.

Criminal barrister David James has been involved in some of the region’s most high profile cases in recent weeks. Led by Michelle Colborne QC, he defended Remekell Samuels, one of a group of 10 men and a 15-year-old boy who were charged following the gang-related murder of 18-year-old Abdul Hafidah. Seven men were convicted of murder and received life sentences. Samuels pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received eight years. The case was covered in the Guardian, the Sun and the Manchester Evening News, as well as on the BBC and ITV.

In the case of the attempted murder of Mark Cavanagh, Mr James was junior for the defence and Charlotte Johnson was junior for the prosecution. Steven Lund, who had previously served a life sentence for murder and been released from prison two years ago, tried to kill another victim in ‘almost identical circumstances’. He pleaded guilty and received a life sentence at Manchester Crown Court. The case was covered in the Mail, the Mirror and the Manchester Evening News.

At Scarborough Magistrates’ Court, Mr James represented members of the Derwent Hunt, who pleaded not guilty to charges of hunting a wild animal with dogs, contrary to the Hunting Act 2004. All three were acquitted.