Julia Smart QC – Associate Member

Email: clerk@stjohnsbuildings.co.uk

Phone: 0161 214 1500

Year of Silk: 2019

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“Always calm under pressure. Her preparation, decision making and judgement are outstanding. She is a worthy addition to the rank of Q.C.” Legal 500 2021

“Her closing speeches are compelling” Legal 500 2020

Julia is diligent in preparation, effective in cross-examination and highly persuasive in her closing speeches. She is frequently commended by the judiciary for her finely crafted legal arguments and by her clients for her unfailing tenacity in their defence.

In 2018 she was awarded Barrister of the Year at The Lawyer Awards following her outstanding work in the case of R v Liam Allan in which she uncovered exonerating text messages buried in a downloaded disc of 50,000 which the Crown had formerly maintained was not disclosable. The case garnered worldwide media attention. Not only did Julia’s diligence avert a serious miscarriage of justice, it triggered a nationwide review of disclosure in criminal cases.

Awarded Silk in 2019 at her first attempt, Julia is in demand and regularly instructed in some of the most serious cases at the Old Bailey and throughout England and Wales. She has been consistently ranked in Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 (in which she was shortlisted for Crime Junior of the Year 2019).

Julia also has a prominent media profile regularly invited to give her views on BBC News, Newsnight, Channel 4 News, Radio 4 and LBC. She has recently contributed to BBC 1’s Panorama “Getting A Fair Trial” and Radio 4’s Law in Action.

Expertise

  • Crime

    Julia has a high-profile criminal defence practice and is regularly instructed as leading counsel in cases concerning murder, manslaughter, serious sexual offences and fraud. She has a wealth of experience in successfully defending those facing rape and historic sexual allegations.

    Recent notable cases

    Murder/Manslaughter 

    R v SS: Chester Crown Court  Defending in a ‘baby shaking’ murder case. Led Richard Orme 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.

    R v KL: Central Criminal Court Five-handed murder leading for first  Defendant “cut- throated” by the other four Defendants.

    R v UO: Central Criminal Court Two-handed “execution style” murder. Leading for first Defendant “cut throated” by second Defendant.

    R v MG: Sheffield Crown Court Defending 76-year-old woman of good character charged with murder of her 78-year-old husband. Crown’s expert changes his view after Defence expert diagnoses a rare form of dementia. Crown accepts plea to manslaughter. Defendant sentenced to hospital order without restriction.

    R v MF: Liverpool Crown Court Leading for second Defendant of five. Murder in allegation of gang-related revenge shooting.

    R V RP: Central Criminal Court Defending student accused of murdering flatmate.

    R v JT: Central Criminal Court Leading for first Defendant of three accused of “manslaughter by flight”.

     

    Serious Sexual Offences

    R v LA: Croydon Crown Court Defending university student accused of rape. Case collapsed after Julia found exonerating text messages on a disc containing over 50,000 messages only disclosed to defence mid-trial. Case had world wide media coverage resulting in a countrywide review of disclosure in criminal cases.

    R v JH: Court of Appeal/ Inner London Crown Court Instructed as a “cold case” appeal for a music producer serving nine years imprisonment for historic rape/sexual assaults on five complainants. Defendant had previously been advised by his QC that he had no grounds to appeal. Julia was initially refused permission to appeal and renewed pro bono to the Full Court. Julia was given permission and overturned all convictions on appeal. At re-trial Julia argued severance into two trials as between complainants. The Defendant was subsequently acquitted of all counts.

    R v MB: Central Criminal Court Defending retired teacher in allegations of serious historic sexual abuse of former male pupils in 1980s.

    R v NK: Sheffield Crown Court 8-week trial defending in a five-handed Rotherham “grooming gang” case relating to historic allegations of 1990s.

    R v  KG: Warwick Crown Court Defending foster father accused of raping 12-year-old foster daughter. Acquitted following successful submission of no case to answer following Julia’s cross examination of child witness.

    R v NS: Snaresbrook Crown Court Defending foster father accused of raping 17-year-old foster daughter. Convictions successfully overturned on appeal on account of inconsistent verdicts. No re-trial ordered.

    R v IB: Blackfriars Crown Court Defending father accused of raping wife and stepdaughter having trafficked them from Romania.

    R v  NG: Wood Green Crown Court Defending teenage defendant alleged to have raped three boys aged 10-13 at their special needs school, videoing many hours of alleged rapes. Defendant with IQ of 64 and ADHD and intermediary.  All three complainants had intermediaries.

    R v RH: Southampton Crown Court Defending man accused of seriously sexually assaulting  4-year-old daughter of girlfriend. Successful submission of no case to answer after Julia’s cross examination of 5-year-old complainant.

    R v CH: Harrow Crown Court Defending elderly retired teacher in allegations of serious historic sexual abuse of five boys (aged 8- 12) at a prep boarding school in 1970s.

    R v DS: Birmingham Crown Court Defending in historic rapes allegations from 1970s on a girl aged 8- 14. Indictment stayed on the basis of a successful abuse of process argument re delay.

    R v DF: Wood Green Crown Court Defending retired teacher accused of serious historic sexual assaults on 7-year-old male pupil  in 1960s. Acquitted.

    R v DA: Huntingdon Crown Court Defending male nurse accused of assault by penetration on elderly patient. Acquitted.

    R v ED: Winchester Crown Court Four-week trial defending university student accused of raping three fellow students as they slept. Acquitted of all counts.

     

    Fraud/Financial Crime

    R v CS: Guildford Crown Court Business man charged with bribery to obtain contracts. Crown offered no evidence after Julia obtained specific disclosure of the entirety of the Defendant business computer and found exonerating emails which had not been considered by the Crown. Case featured in Radio 4’s Law in Action to which Julia contributed.

    R v AS: Inner London Crown Court Conspiracy to run brothels and money laundering over £12 million. Leading for third Defendant, two-month case.

    R v SD: Bristol Crown Court Complex mortgage fraud re foreign and domestic properties over £10 million. All Defendants acquitted after successful submission of no case to answer after two-month trial.

    R v RS: Croydon Crown Court Conspiracy to arrange sham marriages and money laundering over £1m. Julia represented the only Defendant of six to be acquitted.

    R v RA: Guildford Crown Conspiracy to defraud/money laundering- international property portfolio money laundering. Only Defendant of five to be acquitted after a five-week case.

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