David Rhodes


Year of Call

David Rhodes

Ranked as a leading junior in crime in Chambers & Partners 2016. David is a specialist criminal advocate praised equally for his skill in cross-examination and closing speeches as he is for his persuasive written advocacy.


Recent instructions included allegations of homicide, rape, historic sexual abuse, sexual offences against children, serious violence, fraud and drug trafficking.


In addition to criminal trials, David advises on and conducts fresh criminal appeals and is a contributor to the leading textbook, Taylor on Criminal Appeals (OUP 2012). In the last year, he appeared twice before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in appeals against murder convictions from the Caribbean.


David also has expertise in extradition, courts martial, crime-related public law, actions against the police and inquests.



David has contributed chapters to Taylor on Criminal Appeals, edited by Paul Taylor (OUP 2012): The Law of Public Order and Protest (OUP 2010); and Human Rights in the Investigation and Prosecution of Crime, edited by Jonathan Cooper OBE and Madeleine Colvin (OUP 2009). For many years he wrote a quarterly column, Life in Crime, in the Solicitors' Journal. He also regularly presents seminars on his specialist areas of practice.



David is approved as a pupil supervisor by Middle Temple. Before being called to the Bar, David worked for a Member of Parliament. David is captain of the King's Bench Walk Cricket Club (‘The Devil’s Advocates’), a wandering team of barrister-cricketers.

Serious Criminal Offences

David is consistently instructed to act for defendants charged with the most serious of offences. Recent instructions include:

  • R v Bouzemada & Others Central Criminal CourtThis case arose out of the murder of a nursery school teacher out celebrating her birthday when she was caught in the cross-fire of a gangland turf war. Three men were later convicted of her murder. The Crown then prosecuted four people, including Bouzemada, for perverting the course of justice and assisting the murderers by harbouring them shortly after the murder and then concealing and destroying mobile phones whilst one of the murderers fled to Brussels. The case was prosecuted by Treasury Counsel. David acted alone for Bouzemada.
  • R v JR - Central Criminal Court. Murder. David was a led junior representing a young man alleged to have been involved in a fatal stabbing incident, with over 40 eyewitnesses (JR was the only defendant acquitted).

Death by Driving

In recent years, David has successfully defended a number of death by driving cases and has particular expertise in dealing with the scientific and expert evidence involved. David would prefer not to name his clients for obvious reasons. His work in this niche area has taken David to Crown Courts all over the country.

Serious Sexual Offences

David regularly appears in cases relating to the most serious allegations of sexual offending, including cases attracting publicity and requiring careful case strategy and delicate conduct both in and out of court.

  • R v KJ  - Oxford Crown CourtCurrent instruction. The Defendant is accused of a number of counts of Rape of a Child. The case is unusual in that the 8 yr old complainant was unable to articulate her allegations in her ABE interview. The Crown’s case is advanced almost entirely through hearsay evidence of recent complaint to others, including to another 8 yr old girl.
  • R v MI Croydon Crown CourtDavid acted for the defendant in allegation of ‘historic’ rape and child sexual abuse. The Prosecution case was that MI abused his position as a Scout leader in the early 1990s to groom and abuse an 11 yr old girl. She alleged that she became pregnant by him and that he procured for her an abortion aged 13, after which he subjected her to violent rapes, including one involving another woman. The defence case was that the complainant was a fantasist and involved consideration of so-called ‘false memory syndrome’. The trial judge commended David for his skilful cross-examination of the complainant. Following a successful submission of no case to answer, the jury were directed to acquit the defendant on all 10 counts.
  • R v Shaun Colclough  - Snaresbrook Crown CourtDavid was instructed to defend a renowned fashion photographer accused of sexually assaulting a number of nude models in his Hackney studio. The Defence case was that the models had colluded with each other to bring down the defendant who had exploited their images and as such, required the most careful and skilful cross-examination of each complainant, because of the defendant’s previous conviction for raping an 85 year old woman 18 years earlier. This case attracted widespread interest in the media. Please see here.

Criminal Appeals

David advises on and conducts fresh criminal appeals and is a contributor to the leading textbook, Taylor on Criminal Appeals (OUP 2012). In the last year, he appeared before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in a number of appeals against murder convictions in the Caribbean.

  • Travis Duporte v The Queen [2015] UKPC 18 Privy Council - Appeal against conviction concerning an ‘execution’ style murder in St Christopher and Nevis. Led by James Wood QC.
  • Andrew Milton & Dennis Campbell v The Queen [2015] UKPC 42 Privy Council – This case was something of a cause celebré in the British Virgin Islands. It was appeal against conviction concerned particularly gruesome case concerning a conspiracy to kill Milton’s sister during which her flatmate was strangled and thrown from the balcony of an apartment block. Led by Tim Moloney QC.
  • R v Babar Ali Shah [2015] EWCA Crim 1250Appeal against conviction for attempted murder. This was an unusual case because the appellant contended that his original solicitor was conflicted to the extent that he knew the victim of the crime and had hampered the conduct of his defence at trial. The case involved cross-examination of the entire legal team that represented the appellant in the court below including QC, junior counsel, solicitor and paralegal. It also involved seeking disclosure relating to the alleged corruption of the original solicitor who had been prosecuted for perverting the course of justice and fraud and had been investigated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. The case was prosecuted by Treasury Counsel. David was led by James Wood QC.


David has appeared in some important extradition cases in recent years:

  • India v Velu [2016]Current instruction: One of the longest running and most complex extradition cases currently before Westminster Magistrates. Mr Velu is sought for extradition to India for trial alleged terrorist offences committed in the early 1990s. In fact, Velu stood trial on this matter between 1993-1996, when he was granted bail. By 2002, the court still had not reached a verdict and 12 judges had been ‘removed’ from the case. In 2003, Velu was granted asylum in the UK from this very prosecution. In 2007, he became a British citizen which then exposed him to the prospect of extradition once more.
  • Poland v Simao [2013] - One of the very few successful defences of a extradition request based on prison conditions in Poland. The Court found that there was a real risk that if returned to Poland, the prison system could not protect a black African man (accused of sexual offences against a white woman) from inhuman and degrading treatment contrary to Article 3 ECHR.
  • Agius v Malta [2011] EWHC 759 (Admin). - This was a landmark judgment which puts human rights issues back at the heart of extradition cases. The case overturned a series of authorities which had stated that requesting states which were signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights could be assumed to abide by their Convention obligations and so there was "no need to make any enquiry at all" into concerns that human rights would be violated.
  • O'Connell v Judicial Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife [2010] EWHC 2957 (Admin) [2010] EWHC 2957 (Admin). - A British man was saved from 5 years in a Spanish prison after the High Court quashed the order for his extradition as being oppressive. David represented Daniel O'Connell before both the District Judge and the High Court. In this important decision, Moses LJ held that the passage of time of a "mere" 3 years could be considered "plainly oppressive" in the particular circumstances of this case.

Protest Cases

David has particular expertise in protestor cases. He has represented activists and dissidents from anti-capitalists to naturists to climate change activists arising from protests around the country. David is co-author of the leading practitioners textbook: The Law of Public Order and Protest (OUP 2010).

David was part of the defence team in R v Pawling and Others which forced the collapse of the high-profile prosecution of alleging a conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass at the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire, after they unmasked the undercover police officer PC Mark Kennedy who had infiltrated the environmental movement.

David represented the ‘Drax 29’ - anti-climate change activists who ‘hijacked’ a train carrying 42,000 tonnes of coal to Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire. He defended them all the way from their trial at Leeds Crown Court in 2009 to the overturning of their convictions before the Court of Appeal in 2014 on the basis of the Crown’s failure to disclose the role of the undercover officer and agent provocateur, PC Mark Kennedy: Bard and Others [2014] EWCA Crim 463.


Other cases include:

  • "The Panton House Protest" - The alleged 'storming' of Panton House in Piccadilly (home to Xstrata mining corp) by Occupy London Protestors. All 16 defendants were acquitted of public order charges.
  • "The Halloween Picnic case" - The last prosecution for participating in an unauthorised demonstration in Parliament Square. David led the judicial review of the prosecution and conducted the subsequent trial.
  • "The Naked Cyclist" – David represented the naturist Richard Collins (‘the naked cyclist’) on appeal to the Crown Court arguing for Mr Collins' right to freedom of expression (that his naturism went to the core of his identity) and that s.5 of the Public Order Act 1986 was never meant to deal with public nudity.
  • R v Laporte and Christian ("the Haringey Civic Centre case") [2011]. More than 200 anti-cuts protestors were alleged to have 'stormed' Haringey Civic Centre.
  • R v Gillet and others ("The Manchester Airport 6") - The trial of a group of climate change activists who locked themselves onto an aircraft on the runway at Manchester Airport.

Courts Martial

David has significant experience of defending service personnel before the General Courts Martial, especially in Germany. Recent cases include:

  • R v Corporal PR - Court Martial, Germany – successful defence of a corporal charged with rape. The case involved issues of capacity to consent.      
  • R v Trooper Mulgrew [2012] EWCA Crim 2008. David represented Trooper Mulgrew at his Court Martial in Germany and on appeal to the Court of Appeal (CMAC) - in a multi-handed s.18 GBH trial involving cut-throat defences. Unlike a jury, the basis on which a Court Martial Board reaches its verdict can become known to the defence during the sentencing process. David argued that the factual basis of the verdict was perverse and unsafe in the absence of a direction on self-defence. The Court of Appeal quashed the convictions because of the lack of a direction on self-defence.


BA (1st Class Hons) – University of York

Visiting Scholar – University of California, Berkeley

M.Phil – Lincoln College, University of Oxford

PDGL – City University



Criminal Bar Association




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