Benjamin Newton is a specialist criminal advocate. He is consistently instructed to defend those accused of the most serious and complex offences, and regularly appears in significant and high profile cases. He has particular expertise in financial crime and in cases involving issues of civil liberties and human rights.
In addition to criminal trials, Benjamin regularly advises on and conducts fresh criminal appeals, and has expertise in extradition law, courts martial proceedings, licensing, and criminal-related public law.
Benjamin writes a quarterly column, Life in Crime, in the Solicitors' Journal, and has contributed chapters to Human Rights in the Investigation and Prosecution of Crime, edited by Jonathan Cooper OBE and Madeleine Colvin (OUP 2009), and Taylor on Criminal Appeals, edited by Paul Taylor (OUP 2012). He also regularly presents accredited lectures and seminars on areas of criminal and extradition law.
Benjamin has a wealth of experience defending in short jury trials across the whole spectrum of criminal offences, ranging from large-scale drug trafficking to serious sexual allegations.
Benjamin is consistently instructed to act for defendants charged with the most serious of offences. Current cases and previous effective trials include:
Benjamin has established a reputation for dealing meticulously with complex cases of financial crime, and with issues of forfeiture and confiscation. He is regularly instructed as led junior in relation to substantial allegations of fraud and money laundering. He benefits from an academic background in economics and is particularly adept at dealing with issues of forensic accounting. Benjamin also has experience in licensing matters and in defending companies prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive.
Benjamin has significant specialist expertise in relation to direct action and protest cases, regularly appearing on behalf of activists motivated by concerns for animal rights, climate change, the war in Iraq, and other causes. He has been involved in many of the most high profile cases of recent years, including defending (with Rebecca Trowler Q.C.) the second of six defendants who faced the first effective trial for interfering in the contractual relations between an animal testing organisation and a third party (s145 SOCPA 2005), and also defending (with Edward Rees Q.C. and Sarah Elliott) the twenty activists who planned to shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, the case that gave rise to the media revelations surrounding undercover police officer Mark Kennedy.
In 2012 Benjamin defended Trenton Oldfield, the protestor who swam into the path of the University Boat Race. Benjamin is currently instructed on behalf of Jairo Dos Santos in relation to the disclosure to the Mail on Sunday of expenses claims by officers protecting former prime ministers and royalty (a defence of public interest). His previous effective trials include:
In addition to first instance cases, Benjamin has a broadening appellate practice, and was a contributor to Oxford University Press’s recently published Taylor on Criminal Appeals, edited by Paul Taylor. Significant cases include:
Benjamin frequently advises and appears for requested persons in extradition matters on appeal to the High Court, particularly where it can be argued that extradition will breach their human rights. He also (together with David Rhodes) provides comprehensive training to solicitors on the conduct of first instance cases.
Benjamin has appeared for defendants before Courts Martial on numerous occasions, for offences including assault occasioning grievous bodily harm, absence without leave, and publishing or distributing racist material (contrary to s19 Public Order Act 1986).
Lawyers for Liberty
Friends of the Earth
Criminal Bar Association
Criminal Appeal Lawyers Association
Extradition Lawyers Association
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