Clerking team

Andy Booth

Lead Criminal Clerk

Shell Edmonds

Criminal Clerk

Lien Forster

Junior Criminal Clerk

Nageena Mahmoud

Junior Criminal Clerk

Stephanie Casey

Junior Criminal Clerk

“‘Rebecca is tenacious in her written and oral advocacy and will never give up a good fight. She is an unbelievably hard worker, she always knows the relevant law inside out, she has tactical skill, and nerve beyond her years; she is an asset to the Northern Circuit and to her set.”

Legal 500, 2024 (Crime)

Rebecca qualified at a leading London set where she practised until joining chambers in 2020. Building upon her experience at the Bar, in 2024 Rebecca was appointed a Deputy District Judge.

Prior to the Bar, Rebecca worked for the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) investigating miscarriages of justice. She was involved in the landmark decision of the Court of Appeal, Mateta & Others [2014] 1 WLR 1516, which is the leading case on prosecuting refugees for using false documents to enter the UK.

Rebecca fundamentally believes in access to justice. She co-founded and runs a social mobility scheme intended to broaden access to the profession for young people. The scheme provides workshops, seminars, work experience, advice, and trial training to state school pupils across the country and encourages all young people, whatever their background, to consider a career at the Bar.

Rebecca is Public Access qualified. Rebecca provides pro bono assistance through ‘Advocate’.

Rebecca is keenly involved in supporting her professional colleagues. She sat on the CBA Young Bar Committee and the CBA ‘C-21 working group’ which reported on day-to-day issues facing practitioners in the criminal justice system. She is a committee member for Women in Criminal Law, and chair of the Manchester sub-committee.

Whilst at SJB, Rebecca has been invited by various media outlets to provide commentary on hot legal topics:

Rebecca was instructed as Junior Counsel to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry from February 2020 – July 2021. Rebecca holds enhanced security clearance and prior to joining SJB, she was instructed by a variety of Government departments: HM Treasury (Libor fraud and Bank Mellat litigation), Home Office (Undercover Policing Inquiry), Bank of England (fraud investigations into various financial institutions).

Rebecca is accredited to receive instructions directly from members of the public through the Public Access Scheme.

Click here to view our Public Access pages and details of the process for instructing public access accredited barristers.


Crown Court & appeals

Criminal Defence

Rebecca is a go-to defence specialist and is frequently instructed on a range of general criminal matters. Rebecca has a particular strength in representing the more vulnerable client and in heavyweight cases requiring consideration of significant amounts of evidence.

Notable Cases

R v CR (2024, ongoing): Murder, loss of control. Led junior.

R v CK (2023, ongoing): Attempt murder by shooting, led junior for 2nd defendant.

R v MFG (2023): Multi-handed Rochdale grooming case. Represented 1st defendant. Led by Clare Wade KC. Secured acquittals on all rape counts.

R v C (2022): EWCA Crim 1619 – Successfully argued reduction from suspended custodial sentence to community order.

R v S (2022): Successfully raised Modern Slavery defence (17 year old, learning disability) on allegation of supply class A drugs.

R v J (2022): Successfully raised Modern Slavery defence (epilepsy) on allegation of supply class A drugs.

R v CW (2021): Highly vulnerable defendant (acquired brain injury) – Arson.

R v J (2021): Represented first defendant (17-year-old) in a multi-handed conspiracy to supply class A drugs relating to the death of a co-conspirator during the Leeds Festival 2019. Secured sentence of two years and eight months’ imprisonment. Case received widespread media attention including in the Daily Mail and the Manchester Evening News.

NCC v L (2021): Multi-handed fraud involving vulnerable complainant (memory loss) and defendants (learning difficulty).

R v NM (2020): Vulnerable defendant (PTSD), secured SSO for three offences of possession with intent to supply class A and B drugs into a prison.

R v G (2018): Successfully defended in a case of chid cruelty, which required cross-examination of a six-year-old complainant.

R v B (2014): Youth sentenced for arson with intent to endanger life – successful mitigation resulted in sentence of Youth Rehabilitation Order.


R v H (ongoing): Operation Lodine – multi-handed conspiracy to money launder.

R v B (2023): Operation Scouttish – led junior in multi-million pound money laundering conspiracy, prosecuted by Silk. Client was sentenced to a 22-month suspended sentence.

R v M (ongoing): Operation Tegula –  junior counsel alone, 1.2 tonne Class A drug conspiracy, linked to high profile importation case which received nationwide media attention, including on the BBC.

R v M (2018-2022): Operation Scarf – Led junior in multi-handed Modern Slavery Act trial, prosecuted by Silk. Defendant acquitted after three trials.

Violent Offences

R v T (2022): Multiple violent offences including the new offence of strangulation.

R v G (2019): Secured acquittal in multi-handed affray.

R v W (2019): Secured dismissal in a case of football violent disorder, Queens Park Rangers v Millwall.

R v P (2016): Secured acquittal for client of previous good character involving multiple counts of racially aggravated violent offences which were shown on CCTV.

R v B (2016): Defended youth in multi-handed s.18 stabbing. Secured 18-month DTO.

R v JR (2015): Secured acquittal for client charged with domestic ABH.

R v B (2014): Successfully defended client charged with taking revenge and ABH, by arguing there was no case to answer at the close of the Crown’s case.

Sexual Offences

R v S (ongoing): Rape of child in Manchester city centre.

R v C (2023): Multi-handed case alleging child prostitution. Cross-examination of two child complainants using s.28 pre-recorded cross-examination procedure. Acquitted.

R v T (2023): Rape of partner whilst asleep. Secured acquittal after s.28 pre-recorded cross-examination.

R v MS (2023): Allegations of historic sexual assault from multiple complainants.

R v CG (ongoing): Multiple counts alleging various child sex offences and indecent images offences, further to the activity of an online paedophile hunter.

R v (2021): Sexual assault against young daughter, raised defence of sexsomnia, hung jury and acquitted at retrial.

R v PS (2021): Secured suspended sentence where defendant was found to have over 1,000 extreme pornographic images and category A indecent images. The case received coverage in the Manchester Evening News.

R v E (2017): Perverting the course of justice – sending multiple texts and emails to the police purporting to be from complainant daughter in a child rape trial.

R v M (2016): Secured acquittal on appeal further to conviction of sexual assault on ex-boyfriend.


R v ZM (2021): High-profile case involving police use of taser and breach of the coronavirus regulations.

R v JH (2021): Inciting racial hatred against Home Secretary Priti Patel, case received nationwide media attention.

R v C + C (2021): Successfully raised breach of PACE in allegations of police assault.

R v R (2016): Secured acquittal at trial of Communications Act offence whereby a university was shut down further to receiving a threat identical to that made prior to the Umpqua Community College (Oregon) mass shooting in 2015. Case had international dimension involving evidence from the FBI and Canadian Police Forces.

Professional discipline

Regulatory Prosecutions and Professional Discipline

Rebecca is instructed in a range of regulatory matters including those before the criminal courts and other tribunals. She is adept at representing companies and directors as defendants. Matters for which she has been instructed include fraud, dangerous dogs, trademark offences and environmental nuisances.

Rebecca accepts instructions in a range of professional discipline matters including Ofsted, CQC and Social Work England. She has a wealth of experience in relation to fitness to practise proceedings for regulated healthcare professionals, particularly the NMC and HCPC. Rebecca has been instructed to act in cases involving the death of patients and sexual allegations and often appears in cases concerning complex technical matters. She has significant experience acting in substantive hearings, but also deals with interim orders, registration appeals and substantive order review hearings.

Notable Cases

Regulatory Crime

LBW v S (2019): Led junior for the local authority, £1m fraud by an employee of a local authority.

LBH v K (2017): Acted for local authority in a planning enforcement confiscation, successfully secured confiscation order in sum of entire rental income over a property subject to lawful and unlawful use.

Professional Discipline

HCPC v JS: Fitness to Practise – sexual allegations, multiple complainants.

NMC v L: Fitness to Practise – registered nurse causing the death of a patient.

NMC v M: Fitness to Practise – registered nurse causing harm to a patient.


Rebecca has experience of representing defendants in cases of unauthorised or harmful deposit, treatment or disposal etc of waste and illegal discharges to air, land and water cases. This includes representing companies and individuals in prosecutions brought by local authorities or the relevant regulatory bodies, including the Environment Agency. Examples of her cases include:-

NRW v CT (2022): Successfully represented defendant company for waste offences contrary to Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016.

Health & safety

Rebecca has a wealth of experience of Health and Safety law. She was instructed as Junior Counsel to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry from February 2020 – July 2021. She is accustomed to representing defendants in cases brought by the HSE and by Local Authorities. Examples include:-

HSE v D (2021): Represented Defendant company further to an employee falling from height.

LCC v MH (2023): Represented defendant individual and company for multiple Fire Safety Offences contrary to Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. Successfully mitigated such that a Conditional Discharge was imposed on the individual defendant, and a financial penalty for the company.

Client Feedback

  • “Excellent”
  • “A fantastic advocate”
  • “Has really made a difference to J’s outlook on life”
  • “An absolute masterclass in how to control a courtroom…I cannot rate Ms Penfold highly enough”


  • ‘Paedophile Hunters and the Road to Injustice’ in Challenges in Criminal Justice, Routledge 2022 – Rebecca co-authored the chapter for this edited collection
  • Guidance or Law? Fined for exercise during lockdown Rebecca wrote in response to various news reports of people being fined during the pandemic and hosted seminars on this topic.
  • Covid-19 and the Right to Protest co-authored with Aparna Rao of 5 Paper Buildings.
  • ‘Advocacy and Vulnerable Witnesses: 20 years on from the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999’ hosted by the Centre for Advocacy at Nottingham Law School in conjunction with The Advocate’s Gateway – 2019, co-presented a paper on ‘The Operation of Ground Rules Hearings’
  • Birkbeck University Symposium: Borders, Racisms & Harm – 2018, co-presented seminar entitled ‘Byron Burgers & Beyond: Private Citizens as Immigration Enforcement Officers’
  • ‘Criminal Appeals Handbook’, 2014, Bloomsbury Professional (contributing author)


  • The South Eastern Circuit Bar Mess Foundation Advanced International Advocacy Course, Keble College Oxford, South Eastern Circuit Scholar – 2018
  • The Inns of Court Pegasus Scholarship Trust, Pegasus Scholar (USA) – 2015
  • Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway, full scholarship to attend International Criminal Court symposium – 2013
  • The Kalisher Trust, Kalisher Scholar – 2012
  • The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, Major Scholarship: Queen Mother’s Scholar – 2011


  • Middle Temple
  • Northern Circuit
  • South Eastern Circuit
  • Amicus ALJ
  • Women in Criminal Law
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Health and Safety Lawyers Association
  • Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers


  • Deputy District Judge