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‘Rabah commands great presence in the courtroom.’ ‘He seems to miss nothing. His legal submissions are scholarly, meticulous, and excellent.’

Rabah specialises in crime and appeals, extradition, and crime related public law. He has particular experience and an interest in cases involving trafficking, terrorism and national security issues, where fundamental rights are often most at risk.

In addition to experience defending allegations of modern slavery, drugs or firearms conspiracies, and serious violence, Rabah is regularly instructed in criminal cases characterised by highly technical evidence, cross-jurisdictional elements, and complex legal and human rights issues.

Rabah provides advice on fresh appeals against conviction and sentence. He has appeared successfully both alone and led in the Court of Appeal. Rabah’s extradition practice encompasses cases from first instance to appeals in the European Court of Human Rights, and foreign or international proceedings. Rabah is expert in judicial review proceedings linked to criminal justice matters. Rabah offers expertise in financial crime, including related civil issues, such as restraint proceedings.

Excellent with the law and a fearless advocate, Rabah approaches each case with unwavering passion and commitment.

Background

Rabah completed his master’s degree in law (BCL) at the University of Oxford, specialising in criminal justice, security, human rights, and international criminal law.

Rabah has a strong background in international crime. After Radovan Karadzic’s conviction for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, Rabah was a member of the Karadzic Appeal Team at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Rabah was the Oxford Bonavero Institute Fellow, and then the Bertha Justice Fellow at the international human rights NGO, Reprieve. He worked extensively on terrorism and national security matters, including cross-jurisdictional cases involving the UK and US. Whilst at Reprieve, Rabah assisted with the representation of Guantanamo Bay detainees, and worked on legal challenges to the lawfulness of US drone strikes, and UK and German complicity, particularly through mass surveillance and intelligence sharing. Rabah also delivered human rights training abroad.

Crime

Rabah is an experienced trial advocate. He has represented defendants in serious, lengthy, multi-handed, and legally complex trials.

Examples of recent cases include:

  • R v MS – Rabah is currently instructed as junior counsel to represent MS in an EncroChat preparatory hearing, challenging the admissibility of technical surveillance evidence. EncroChat was marketed as a highly encrypted communications network, utilising modified handsets. EncroChat was infiltrated by French and Dutch law enforcement authorities in mid-2020, who used a covert hacking update to intercept communications between users over a number of months. UK authorities, involved from the outset, now seek to rely on these intercepts as evidence against MS to demonstrate he is in joint control of an OCG that engaged in the large-scale distribution and supply of Class A drugs. This case involves detailed assessment of technical evidence, and cross-jurisdictional surveillance issues. It also calls for an analysis of complex areas of law, including provisions of the Investigatory Powers Act, intelligence and information sharing regimes in EU and domestic law, and aspects of foreign law.

  • R v Piers Corbyn – Rabah is currently instructed as junior counsel to Ben Cooper QC, representing Piers Corbyn in multiple trials where he is charged with breach of COVID-19 regulations for attendance at various protests. On one occasion, Mr Corbyn was arrested by Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) officers. Following a number of robust disclosure challenges, it was revealed Mr Corbyn’s movements had in fact been monitored in police intelligence briefings, which were previously withheld. This case involves issues of abuse of process, an asserted lack of clarity in COVID-19 regulations, and the compatibility of the selected enforcement of these regulations with human rights provisions, particularly in relation to the propriety of a blanket ban on protests in light of the right to freedom of association (Article 11 ECHR) and freedom of expression (Article 10).

  • R v SMG – Rabah is instructed to represent the defendant in a six-handed county lines trial involving allegations of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and possession of firearms.

  • R v SM – the 29-year-old defendant was accused of possession of a loaded, prohibited firearm in his local North London Council Estate. The prosecution relied on DNA evidence on the bag, sock, and muzzle of the firearm, each inside the former, in addition to SM’s presence with a group of lifelong friends close to where the bag was found. The defence case involved, first, rigorous and coherent questioning of experts on the limitations of DNA evidence in attributing direct, ‘time-stamped’ contact to a named person, and, secondly, disinviting guilt by association. The jury delivered unanimous verdicts of Not Guilty in under 3 hours.

  • R v SK – the 16-year-old defendant was charged with an armed robbery. The prosecution relied on a mixed profile DNA link on a helmet seized at the scene of the robbery. The defendant was acquitted.

  • R v HN – the defendant was charged with an offence of wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH s. 18). Both the complainant and defendant were intoxicated on Class A drugs and alcohol. The defendant was acquitted.

  • R v TR – Rabah represented TR, the first defendant on a seven-handed indictment, accused of being involved in a £half-million county lines conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. TR was 16-years-old at the time. The prosecution refused to refer TR to the National Referral Mechanism, despite indications he had been a victim of trafficking. The jury were discharged at the end of the fourth week of trial, as a result of a successful NRM referral facilitated by counsel, which ultimately found that TR was indeed a victim of human trafficking. The re-trial raised issues under the Modern Slavery Act, and in relation to abuse of process where victims of human trafficking are prosecuted. The court and prosecution ultimately accepted that TR was a victim of trafficking at the time of the offence.

  • R v RT – the defendant was charged with supplying Class A drugs, having been induced by an undercover officer (‘UCO’) to do so over a five-month relationship based on the selling and buying of stolen goods. Defence case involved an application to stay proceedings as unlawful police entrapment, including cross-examination of the undercover officer on his compliance with statutory regulation of covert surveillance under RIPA, and relevant codes of conduct.

  • R v SW – represented 15-year-old in South London stabbing (GBH s. 18), where defendant had arrived at a pre-arranged meeting armed with a machete for self-defence purposes, because he anticipated a set-up. Successful outcome.

  • R v EM – represented defendant accused of dangerous driving during a police car chase. Three police officers asserted EM was driving, and he claimed to be the passenger. Following cross-examination of the officers, successful acquittal at half-time.

  • R v DM – secured acquittal of defendant in assault trial after cross-examination of police officers revealed previously undisclosed CCTV footage of the incident at Pret A Manger, which was not listed in the schedule of unused material, and significantly assisted the defence case. At the end of the trial, the prosecution were criticised by the judge at the ‘prospect of a miscarriage of justice’ due to disclosure failures.

Criminal Appeals

Rabah has a significant practice in criminal appeals. He is instructed to advise on appeals against conviction, and sentence. He is often granted leave by the Single Judge to take an arguable point before the full court.

Rabah recently represented the Appellant in Regina v Mustafa Omar [2020] EWCA Crim 684, a successful appeal against a sentence of 7 years for supply of Class A drugs (x 6), and offer to supply 1kg of Class A drugs, where £30,000 cash was recovered. Rabah achieved a significant reduction to the overall sentence. The Court also confirmed the correct approach to sentencing ‘offer to supply’ offences, and important features of totality.

Rabah appeared in the Court of Appeal in another recent reported case, with leave purely on a point of law, in relation to the use of untested hearsay evidence during an assessment of dangerousness (Thomas v Regina [2019] EWCA Crim 2426).

In his appearances before the Court of Appeal, Rabah has been praised for the excellence of his oral and written submissions, with the Court ‘paying tribute to the clarity and focus’ of his advocacy.

Crime Related Public Law

As a previous Judicial Assistant to Swift J (the Judge in charge of the Administrative Court), Rabah brings invaluable skill and insight to judicial review proceedings.

Rabah also has a track record of successfully challenging charging decisions, cautions, and other decisions in the field of criminal justice, through the use of public law.

Examples of recent cases include:

  • DF v Metropolitan Police [2020] – instructed in judicial review of an unlawful caution issued to a man of good character.

  • MH v CPS [2020] – instructed in judicial review of decision to prosecute child victim of trafficking following positive conclusive grounds decision by the Single Competent Authority, and substantial delay of nearly two years in decision-making by the CPS, causing MH to turn 18 years old in the intervening period.

  • 22 Students v Manchester County Council and MMU [2020] – instructed to represent 22 students in pre-action correspondence with Manchester County Council and Manchester Metropolitan University, following ‘lockdown’ of student halls through purported use of COVID-19 regulations.

  • LX v CPS – represented youth of good character charged with bladed article offence, after being found self-harming outside her foster home with a kitchen knife. Secured out of court disposal after judicial review of charging decision initiated.

  • CD v CPS – represented youth of good character charged with supply of Class C drugs at school. Secured out of court disposal after judicial review of charging decision initiated.

  • R v KC – represented 14-year-old of good character charged with a minor Public Order Act offence; secured adjournment to initiate judicial review proceedings against the charging decision, following which Crown discontinued prosecution.

  • R v KD – represented defendant charged with two assaults against hospital staff, whilst under a Section 37 hospital order at Broadmoor Hospital. Case revolved around application of CPS guidance on prosecution of mentally unwell defendants; matter discontinued after pre-action correspondence.

  • FK v HM Prison Service – pre-action correspondence in judicial review of prison transfer which interfered with prisoner’s Article 3 (rehabilitation) and Article 8 (family visitation) rights. Transfer reversed.

Extradition

Rabah has experience in the broad range of issues in extradition proceedings, including speciality and dis-aggregation of sentences as a bar to extradition; suicide risk under Article 2; prison conditions under Article 3; abuse of process and double jeopardy; and dual criminality.

Rabah also has experience in urgent applications to stop removal (including in a recent terrorism case involving a UK resident), and assisting with submissions in foreign courts in relation to UK prison conditions as a bar to incoming extradition.

Rabah has further assisted in cases involving extradition to international criminal courts.

Notably, Rabah recently assisted Ben Cooper QC and Mark Summers QC in an application for Rule 39 interim measures and Article 34 relief (on Article 2 and 3 grounds) to the European Court of Human Rights, against a US extradition request to the UK for a man wanted for a 1991 murder in California.

Civil, Professional Discipline and Regulation

Rabah deals with the following categories of civil and regulatory matters.

Rabah is instructed in civil proceedings arising out of criminal investigations. He recently secured a number of successful outcomes in restraint proceedings. He is currently instructed in an £11.2m, multi-jurisdictional boiler room fraud, giving rise to a cross-jurisdictional, all assets restraint order.

Rabah is instructed in civil liberties work, including advising on claims for false imprisonment by the police and public authorities. Rabah recently secured a settlement of £15,000 for an asylum seeker who was unlawfully detained by the Home Office.

Rabah is instructed in environmental and regulatory matters. Rabah has represented tenants in complaints for statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (‘EPA’), and has appeared on both sides of EPA and Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 prosecutions. Rabah has further represented claimants in challenging DVLA decisions for revocation of licence on medical grounds.

Rabah accepts instructions in professional discipline cases, and has presented cases for various regulatory bodies.

Publications and Seminars

Rabah was previously a research assistant at the University of Oxford, and a Teaching Fellow at SOAS, University of London. Rabah continues his academic engagement, and is frequently invited to speak at conferences, and present papers in academic settings.

Examples of recent publications/seminars include:

Lay Participation in Criminal Proceedings (June 2020) LSE

Covid-19: Entitlement of defendants awaiting trial to apply for bail (April 2020) Law Society Gazette

The Duty to Prosecute and International Law (Geoffrey Nice Foundation) - international criminal law conference in Dubrovnik

Transitional Justice, Amnesties, and the Duty to Prosecute International Crimes (Geoffrey Nice Foundation) international criminal law conference in The Hague