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 murders, 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 3 Prosecutor, Gemma is regularly instructed to prosecute all areas of general crime in the Crown Court.

    Court of Appeal

    R v D et al (2018): Successfully appealed against sentence, securing the immediate release of the Appellant. Case reported in the Mirror and MEN.

    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.

    R v G (2018): Defended in a three week trial involving 14 counts of historic sexual abuse against young boys. Case attracted national press coverage.

    Operation Lenten (2017): Junior alone; defended in a trial 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 reported in the Daily Mail, the Mirror and the Sun.

    R v E (2017): Secured acquittals on three counts of Rape after 5 day trial.

    Operation Linear (2016): Junior Counsel; defending in a multiple defendant trial involving over 40 allegations of Rape, Trafficking, Sexual Assault and Assault by Penetration. Not guilty verdicts entered at half time.

    R v M (2015): Defended in 5 day trial involving allegations of serious Sexual Assault: not guilty verdict returned.

    Violent Offences

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

    R v X et al (2018): Defending in a three week trial; Causing Serious Injury to Children where injuries to one AP were life threatening. Case reported in The Times.

    R v P and W (2018): Murder, Junior Prosecution Counsel.

    R v M (2017): Murder; Junior Prosecution Counsel. Defendant received a whole life tariff.

    R v D and R (2017): Assisting an Offender (Murder); Junior alone defending. Not guilty verdict following half time submission.

    R v K (2016): Murder; Junior Prosecution Counsel. The Defendant received a 20 year minimum tariff.

    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 H et al (2017): Led junior defending in drugs conspiracy trial; value over £1 million.

    R v L et al (2017): Junior alone defending in Class A conspiracy case.

    R v K et al: Defending in drugs conspiracy; Crown offered no evidence on counts pertaining to Class A drugs after legal argument.

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