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Rabah specialises in serious crime and appeals, crime related public law, extradition, and international law.

Rabah has expertise in cases involving terrorism and national security issues.

Rabah is regularly instructed to defend allegations of murder, organised crime, and large-scale drugs or firearms conspiracies. He is sought in criminal cases characterised by complex evidence, complicated legal issues, and cross-jurisdictional elements.

Rabah advises on fresh appeals against conviction and sentence. He has advised on miscarriages of justice in murder cases and historic convictions. Rabah has appeared successfully both alone and led in the Court of Appeal, including in a recent case overturning a serious conviction on bias by the trial judge and lack of a fair trial. Rabah is expert in judicial review proceedings linked to criminal justice matters.

Rabah’s extradition practice encompasses cases from first instance to appeals in the European Court of Human Rights, and foreign or international proceedings. Rabah has experience working on high-profile, sensitive international law cases, including those involving sanctions, and serious human rights abuses such as extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detention.

Background

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

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 also assisted with the representation of Guantanamo Bay detainees. Rabah has delivered strategic litigation training abroad.

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.

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 KA (Old Bailey) – junior counsel in four-week trial for first defendant charged with attempt murder and possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. Alleged group hunt of victim, and point-blank shooting to his stomach with sawn-off shotgun captured on CCTV. Defendant was acquitted.

  • R v BC (Old Bailey) – currently instructed as junior counsel for first defendant in nine-handed murder trial; alleged sophisticated ploy where body of deceased transferred from location of killing to distant ‘deposition site’ in black holdall bag. 

  • R v LB (Old Bailey) – currently instructed as junior counsel for first defendant in conspiracy to murder and attempt murder (x 2) involving execution-style shootings of two brothers within six weeks.

  • R v MH (Old Bailey) – currently instructed to represent defendant in nine-handed conspiracy to possess a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life, linked to contract killing.

  • R v SA (Snaresbrook Crown Court) – currently instructed to represent defendant in four-handed attempt murder, involving stabbing outside Stepney Green Underground Station.

  • R v AA (Southwark Crown Court) – currently instructed to represent defendant indicted on money laundering and diversion fraud charges, linked to £15 million+ losses perpetrated by a notorious international organised crime group.

  • R v MGS (Snaresbrook Crown Court) – currently instructed to represent defendant in six-handed conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and possession of firearms.

  • R v MS (Croydon Crown Court) – junior counsel in ‘designated national lead case’ preparatory hearing, challenging admissibility of ‘EncroChat’ material on novel arguments. ‘EncroChat’ was an encrypted communications network. In 2020, the French authorities infiltrated the ‘EncroChat’ network and intercepted mass communications data. UK authorities seek to rely on intercepted communications against MS to demonstrate he is in joint control of a London organised crime group.

    Rabah is instructed as sole counsel in a number of other, serious ‘EncroChat’ cases, including R v SS (Kingston CC, first on a seven-handed indictment), and R v CJ (Ipswich CC, first on a four-handed indictment).

  • R v SM (Wood Green Crown Court) – represented defendant charged with possession of a loaded firearm in his local council estate. Prosecution relied on DNA evidence, and SM’s presence where firearm was found. Defence case involved rigorous questioning of experts on limitations of DNA evidence in attributing direct, ‘time-stamped’ contact, and disinviting guilt by association. Defendant was acquitted.

  • R v HN (Croydon Crown Court) – represented defendant charged with wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH s. 18). Both complainant and defendant were intoxicated on Class A drugs and alcohol. Defendant was acquitted.

  • R v TR (Portsmouth Crown Court) – represented first defendant on a seven-handed indictment, charged with being involved in a half million-pound county lines conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. TR was 16-years-old. Prosecution refused to refer TR to the National Referral Mechanism, despite indications he was a victim of trafficking. The jury were discharged on fourth week of trial, as a result of successful NRM referral facilitated by counsel, which found TR was a victim of human trafficking. Re-trial raised issues under Modern Slavery Act, and abuse of process where victims of human trafficking are prosecuted. Court and prosecution ultimately accepted TR was a victim of trafficking at time of offence.

  • R v Piers Corbyn (Westminster Magistrates’ Court) – junior counsel in Piers Corbyn trial for breaches of COVID-19 regulations during protests. Piers Corbyn was acquitted on one charge, and received an absolute discharge in respect of the other.

Criminal Appeals

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

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.

Examples of recent cases include:

  • R v Brown [2021] TBC – successful appeal; judgment pending.

  • CPS v White [2021] EWCA Crim 141 – successful appeal against sentence for supply Class A drugs, resulting in immediate release. Court agreed starting point for street dealer feeding addiction was lesser role, and pre-sentence report should have been ordered. Novel point on court power to recommend licence conditions on release.

  • AF v Regina [2020] – successful appeal against conviction; currently under reporting restrictions pending re-trial.

  • Omar v Regina [2020] EWCA Crim 684 – successful appeal against sentence of 7 years’ imprisonment for supply of Class A drugs (x 6), and offer to supply 1kg of Class A drugs. Court confirmed correct approach to sentencing ‘offer to supply’ offences, and significant features of totality.

  • Thomas v Regina [2019] EWCA Crim 2426 – appeal with leave on a point of law, in relation to use of untested hearsay evidence during an assessment of dangerousness.

Administrative and 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 has a track record of successful public law challenges to decisions by State agencies in the field of criminal justice. He is regularly instructed to challenge decisions made by the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Parole Board, and other public bodies.

Examples of recent cases include:

  • GM v Surrey Police (2021) – successfully challenged failure by Surrey Police to refer for charging decision a half million-pound fraud against an NHS-funded medical practice, perpetrated by an employee. GM received full apology from Surrey Police, and the investigation was re-opened in line with pleadings.

  • FD v Metropolitan Police (2020) – represented FD, a young man of good character, issued with an unlawful caution. Drafted grounds for judicial review; after being lodged, led to caution withdrawn and expunged from FD’s records. Metropolitan Police implemented individual learning points for all officers involved, citing ‘unacceptable decision-making’ in line with grounds.

  • 22 Students v Manchester County Council and MMU (2020) – represented 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.

  • LL v CPS (2020) – 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 (2020) – 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 (2019) – represented 14-year-old of good character charged with a minor Public Order Act offence; Crown discontinued prosecution after pre-action correspondence.

  • FK v HM Prison Service (2019) – assisted in 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 and appeals, including successful arguments related to suicide risk under Article 2, and prison conditions under Article 3. Rabah has defeated warrants on Article 8 arguments.

Rabah has represented clients in extradition cases involving a range of jurisdictions, including Spain, Italy, Romania, Lithuania, and the US; and relating to offences from million-pound corporate tax evasion and money laundering, to murder, manslaughter, and allegations of membership of proscribed terrorist organisations.

Rabah has experience seeking Rule 39 interim relief, and making applications under Article 34 to the European Court of Human Rights, including in a recent case, led by Ben Cooper QC and Mark Summers QC, concerning a US extradition request to the UK for a man wanted for a 1991 murder in California. Rabah also has experience in extradition proceedings in foreign courts, and international criminal courts.

International Law

Rabah has expertise in public international law, with a focus on international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law.

Rabah has been led in high-profile, sensitive cases. He is familiar with the use of various international law mechanisms to progress a case, including applications before UN bodies and Special Rapporteurs, and proceedings in international, regional, and overseas/domestic courts.

Civil, Regulation and Professional Discipline

Rabah is instructed in civil proceedings arising out of criminal investigations, principally financial crime matters. He has secured a number of successful outcomes in restraint proceedings, including in a recent £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. He 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. He has appeared on both sides of Environmental Protection Act 1990 and Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 prosecutions. Rabah accepts instructions in professional discipline cases, and has presented cases for various regulatory bodies.