Gemma Maxwell

Gemma Maxwell - Barrister at St John's Buildings


Phone: 0161 214 1500

Year of call: 2014

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Gemma graduated from Oxford University with a 2:1 in Jurisprudence. Before joining the Bar, she worked as a police station representative and case worker at Tuckers Solicitors and went on to undertake pupillage in London. Gemma joined St John’s Buildings in September 2015. It has become apparent to all those who instruct Gemma that she has the gravitas of a much more senior barrister.

She has been involved in; murder(s), historic sex cases, multi-handed rapes and large drug conspiracies. She is regularly first choice counsel by those who lead her. Her ability to grasp the facts and issues instantly are second to none. She is a persuasive advocate and popular with juries.  The level of experience and success Gemma has achieved so far is commensurate with her outstanding ability.


  • Crime

    Gemma has a busy Crown Court practice and has built a strong reputation in cases involving sexual offences. She has significant experience in dealing with vulnerable witnesses and defendants.

    As a Grade 2 Prosecutor, Gemma is regularly instructed to prosecute all areas of general crime in the Crown Court.

    Court of Appeal

    R v Connell: Successfully argued that a six month custodial sentence was wrong in principle. The sentence was suspended and the case was covered on ITV and in the Liverpool Echo and Chester Chronicle.

    R v Singh: Drafted successful grounds of appeal where a term of imprisonment was significantly reduced for being manifestly excessive.

    Sexual Offences

    Gemma is instructed to defend the full spectrum of sexual offences including rape, sexual assault, indecent images, sexual offences against children and historic allegations.

    Operation Lenten (2017): One of the largest investigations into child sexual exploitation ever undertaken in North Wales. The case involved 14 defendants and over 45 allegations of rape, sexual assault and trafficking. Secured not guilty verdicts in respect of all counts faced by her client, namely three counts of rape. The case was covered in the Daily Mail, the Mirror and the Sun.

    Operation Linear (2016): Junior Counsel in an 8 week multiple defendant trial involving over 40 allegations of rape, trafficking, sexual assault and assault by penetration. A not guilty verdict was entered at half time.

    R v M: Secured an acquittal in a case involving allegations of domestic sexual offences after a five day trial.

    Violent Offences

    Gemma regularly undertakes cases involving serious violence, including violence in domestic settings and child cruelty.

    R v K (2016): Junior Prosecution Counsel in a murder case. The Defendant received a 20 year minimum tariff for stabbing his wife to death in the presence of children.

    R v I (2015): Not guilty verdict after a trial involving allegations of physical abuse of the Defendant’s 7 year old son at Harrow Crown Court.

    R v C (2015): Not guilty verdict in a case involving an allegation of gunpoint robbery on a taxi driver at Aylesbury Crown Court.

    R v T (2015): Secured acquittal in a case involving a rugby referee assaulting a child. Case covered by the Daily Mail.

    Drugs Offences

    Gemma defends and prosecutes the full range of drug offences and has had particular success in defending cases of possession with intent to supply.

    R v D (2014): Not guilty verdict entered following a submission of no case to answer in a case involving an allegation of possession with intent to supply heroin and crack cocaine in Portsmouth Crown Court.

    R v C (2015): Secured an acquittal at half time on the basis of police evidence becoming divergent under cross-examination regarding the legality of a drugs search.

    Driving Offences

    Gemma receives private instructions from those facing the potential loss of their driving licence. She has a proven track record in successfully putting forward arguments pertaining to exceptional hardship and special reasons as well as acting in contested trials at all levels.

    R v C (2015): Secured an acquittal at half time on an allegation of dangerous driving following legal argument regarding identification evidence at Warwick Crown Court.

    R v M (2015): Successfully demonstrated ‘special reasons’ in a case of driving whilst disqualified such that no disqualification was imposed and the Defendant given a conditional discharge.

    R v M (2016): Successfully appealed against a Magistrates’ finding of no exceptional hardship.

    R v J: Successfully argued that an allegation of driving with excess alcohol be withdrawn on the basis of a procedural error on the part of West Yorkshire Police.


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