Clerking team

Mark Heald
Mark Heald

Senior Clerk - Criminal and Regulatory

Andy Booth

Lead Criminal Clerk

Joe Murphy

Criminal and Regulatory Clerk

Shell Edmonds

Criminal Clerk

Richard is a highly experienced and exceptional criminal and regulatory advocate. Called to the Bar in 1993, he has specialised in serious and complex criminal work for more than 25 years.

Additionally, Richard undertakes Inquest and regulatory work, including Police Misconduct Hearings, HSE, Environmental Agency and Trading Standards prosecutions.

Richard is fluent in several languages, including Mandarin, French, German and Spanish.

Crown Court & appeals

In crime, Richard receives instructions from both the Defence and Prosecution in Magistrates, Crown Court and Appellate levels and particularly in cases of the utmost seriousness including complex fraud, MTIC/multi-cell VAT frauds, drug trafficking, people trafficking, murder, corporate manslaughter, firearms offences, robberies, money laundering, proceeds of crime and sexual offences. Richard also accepts private work in all areas which includes private road traffic defence work.

Amongst the private work undertaken, Richard is regularly instructed by the Far Eastern community given his unique knowledge of the culture having previously studied, lived and worked in that region for a number of years, including the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong and Thailand.

In 1997/98, Richard was the first counsel in the country to successfully advance a defence which colloquially became known as ‘Medical Necessity’ in respect of cannabis cultivation, possession and possession with intent to supply. In the few years thereafter before the Court of Appeal eventually ruled that there was no such defence, Richard represented therapeutic users of cannabis throughout England and Wales. Richard takes pride in the fact that on no occasion following a contested trial, was a client of his ever convicted in such cases.

Richard is a Grade 4 Prosecutor and receives instructions from the Complex Crime Unit of the CPS and also undertakes advisory and advocacy work in respect of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in cases such as Fraudulent Evasion of Excise Duty, Multi-Cell VAT frauds and Proceeds of Crime. Richard has been instructed to prosecute the following Operations on behalf of CPS Fraud Group and HMRC. Orate/Oblivion/Tudor/Impervious/Ivanhoe/Applelamp/Redpepper/Cloudcastle/Cheshire/Oklahoma/Nautical.

Richard regularly receives instructions on behalf of the Defence in cases of Missing Trader Intra Community (MTIC) frauds as well as Multi-Cell VAT frauds.

Richard has been a specialist Rape and Sexual offences prosecutor for many years and undertakes both Defence and Prosecution work in this area.

Significant Cases

  • 2002 £3m amphetamine production operation
  • 2002 Gangland contract-killing (drugs turf war)
  • 2005 Contract killing of wealthy business man
  • 2006 One of the largest north Wales child sex abuse cases
  • 2006 £85m MITC/VAT carousel fraud
  • 2006 £1.7m print procurement fraud
  • 2007 Substantial money laundering case
  • 2009 Contract killing involving the use of illic SIM cards by prisoners
  • 2010 £1 million European Social Fund fraud
  • 2010 Large scale people trafficking case
  • 2011 Million pound Housing fraud
  • 2011 Multi-million pound international cocaine smuggling operation by use of private planes
  • 2012 Conspiracy to Defraud HMRC
  • 2012 Trial of Police Commander
  • 2012 Liverpool shooting trial
  • 2013 Gangland Murder
  • 2013 ‘Baby-shaking’ Murder
  • 2013 Multi-Cell VAT fraud
  • 2014 Defending in Mortgage Fraud
  • 2014 Prosecuting DBIS Director Disqualification Case
  • 2014 Prosecuting in VAT Repayment/Multi-cell VAT Fraud
  • 2014 Defending in Fraudulent Immigration ‘Sham Marriage’ case
  • 2015 Defending in Cocaine Smuggling case
  • 2015 Defending serving member of Special Branch in Rape case
  • 2015 Defending in Murder of a Solicitor
  • 2015 Prosecuting BUPA employee for patient abuse
  • 2015 Prosecuting Pension Fraud case
  • 2015 Prosecuting Red Diesel Fraud case
  • 2015 Defending in £10 million Amphetamine Sulphate production case
  • 2016 Defending in Human Trafficking Case
  • 2016 Defending in Firearms Conspiracy Case
  • 2016 Prosecuting Operation Katowice – Money Laundering Conspiracy
  • 2016 Defending ‘Body in Reservoir’ Murder Case
  • 2016 Prosecuting Large Scale VAT Fraud
  • 2016 Defending Hong Kong ‘Triad’ related case
  • 2016 Prosecuting Operation Kinshasa – Conspiracy to Disguise Criminal Property
  • 2016 Defending in OCG Money Laundering case
  • 2016 Prosecuting Operation Iceberg – VAT Fraud
  • 2017 Defending in Murder / Body Disposal case
  • 2017 Prosecuting Indecent Images case
  • 2017 Prosecuting Controlling and Coercive Behaviour case
  • 2017 Defending in Operation Toledo, large scale conspiracy to commit robberies
  • 2017 Defending in Firearm Murder case
  • 2018 Defending Large Scale Class A Drugs Supply Conspiracy
  • 2018 Prosecuting Sexual Assault case
  • 2018 Prosecuting Kidnapping and Sexual Assault case
  • 2018 Defending Multiple Sexual Assaults case
  • 2018 Prosecuting Sexual Activity with a Child case
  • 2019 Prosecuting Child Grooming case
  • 2019 Prosecuting Psychoactive Substance Supply case
  • 2019 Prosecuting Child Cruelty case
  • 2019 Defending in Human Trafficking case
  • 2019 Defending in Retail Export Scheme VAT Fraud case. (Chinese community)
  • 2019 Defending in Modern Day Slavery case. (Vietnamese community)
  • 2019 Defending in £4.5 million pension fund fraud
  • 2020 Prosecuting ‘Home Invasion’ Aggravated Burglary case
  • 2020 Prosecuting Male Rape case
  • 2021 Defending police officer accused of sexual offences. Case covered in the Daily Mail, the Lancashire Telegraph and the Burnley Express
  • 2021 – Defending in a ‘baby shaking’ murder case. Led by Julia Smart KC in a three-week trial at Chester Crown Court. They represented a mother who was found not guilty of both Murder and Causing/Allowing the Death of  a Child. The case involved a multiplicity of medical experts from various disciplines. The case was covered on the BBC and in the Manchester Evening News.
  • 2022 Secures freedom of pensioner charged with the murder of his terminally ill wife. The case received national press coverage including BBC NewsITV NewsSky News,  The Guardian and the Manchester Evening News.
  • 2022 Representing PC John Thompson, a Merseyside officer charged with Affray in a four week trial at Preston Crown Court. Found not guilty. The case was covered in the Liverpool Echo.
  • 2023 Secured the acquittal of an Australian national extradited to face trial in the UK for a number of counts of rape and attempted rape of a minor. The client had been incarcerated in Australia for five months following his arrest and a further six months in the UK prior to his trial. Following his acquittal he is due to return to Australia, where he will be reunited with his family.
  • 2023 Successfully defended a Firearms Officer with Cumbria Constabulary facing an allegation of Gross Misconduct before a Misconduct Hearing at Cumbria Police Headquarters in Penrith, relating to an alleged sexual assault of a member of the public. The case against the officer was dismissed on day two of the hearing following cross-examination of the alleged victim on day one. The officer’s character remains intact.
  • 2023 Following a four-week trial, successfully secured the acquittal of his Polish client facing an allegation of Conspiracy to Defraud HMRC of just under £2million in relation to an alleged excise duty fraud relating to 6.5 million cigarettes. Mr Orme’s client was the only defendant out of seven defendants to be found not guilty.
  • 2024 Following a five-day trial, secured the acquittal of a defendant charged with Rape and Non-Fatal Strangulation. The defence was able to demonstrate to the jury, who acquitted in 40 minutes, that the complaint was an entirely false allegation generated out of revenge, thereby saving an innocent man the ordeal of many years in prison.

Inquests & coronial

Richard additionally undertakes Inquest work and recently received instructions from the Police Superintendent’s Association successfully representing the interests of the Silver Cadre Commander in connection with the fatal shooting of a member of the public

Richard’s latest Inquest / Coroner’s Court case involves representing an interested party in a Death in Police Custody case.

Richard accepts instructions from families of the deceased

  • 2020 Inquest representing interests of Police Officer in Death in Custody case
  • 2024 Successfully represented the interest of an officer from Greater Manchester Police in connection with the death of David Molloy in custody. This case received coverage on Manchester Evening News and Bolton News.

Professional discipline

Police Misconduct

Richard accepts instructions in relation to Police Misconduct Hearings and is regularly instructed by Police Professional Standards to act as Legal Advisor to the Assistant Chief Constable of South Yorkshire in connection with such hearings

Richard also accepts instructions through the Police Federation to represent serving officers before Police Misconduct Tribunal hearings

  • 2019 Defending Police Officer over Serious Injury caused to member of the public
  • 2019 Defending in Misconduct in Public Office case
  • 2020 Defending in Misconduct in a Public Office case
  • 2021 Defending Police Officer in Misconduct in a Public Office case
  • 2021 Defending Police Officer in Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving case
  • 2023 Secured the acquittal of a serving Lancashire Constabulary Police Officer, a former Royal Marine, who was charged with assaulting an arrested and handcuffed male. On day three of the trial, District Judge Boswell sitting at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court, acceded to the defence submission of no case to answer and entered a ‘not guilty’ verdict.
  • 2023 Represented a police officer who was cleared of gross misconduct allegations after a woman sustained ‘significant’ injuries falling to the ground as a result of a ‘leg sweep’ performed on her during arrest. The case was covered in the Manchester Evening News.
  • 2023 Represented a police officer who was found not guilty on the third occasion the case was listed for trial.

Trading standards & consumer

Richard undertakes defence work in connection with prosecutions brought by regulatory bodies including the Environment Agency / Trading Standards / HMRC / HSE.

2017 Defending Company in Trading Standards Prosecution (Supply of Machinery Regulations 2008)
2019 Defending company representative in Environment Agency Prosecution under Waste Electronic Goods Regulations
2019 Defending Care Home Company Director for Care Provider Breaches


  • Leeds University
  • Fudan University (Shanghai, People’s Republic of China)


  • French
  • German
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Spanish


Richard is a visiting lecturer at the University of Law.