Year of Call: 1986
Queen’s Counsel: 2012
Direct Access qualified : 2011
Chambers & Partners – Ranked in Financial Crime
Opinions “Wins plaudits for being a highly switched-on silk whose criminal defence practice spans the range of privately funded and legal aid work. Tax and boiler room frauds feature in his key caseload.”
“The Complete Advocate”
“Fantastic at what he does,” he’s both “bright and very able.”
Legal 500 – Ranked in both Financial & General Crime
Opinions: “Charles Sherrard QC’s cross-examination is like missile strikes and just as effective!”
“His recall of facts and detail is frightening, but always accurate”
Regular expert guest on LBC News Radio
Legal advisor to The Sun regarding Ched Evans acquittal and relevant law.
Expert contributor on Channel 1 Europe TV to Bengali community on Cyber Crime & Money Laundering
Chairman of Pupillage
Specialist practice areas: Serious Crime, Drug Conspiracies & Production, Criminal/Civil Fraud, Regulation/Compliance, Asset Forfeiture, Sports, Health & Safety, Police Disciplinary, Inquests & Public Inquiries
Twitter : @charliebrief
Overview of Current Practice
Charles’ resourceful and powerful tactical expertise, together with a dedicated hands-on preparation and management of his cases, have lent themselves particularly well to murders, financial crime and regulatory law. Regarded by others as “the complete advocate” [Chambers & Partners : Financial Crime Ranking 2015] Charles has bucked the trend by being continuously busy and constantly in demand, so much so that he has been a regular go-to expert for LBC News Radio in the last few years. He gained significant credit and media coverage for his unstinting and powerful defence of Kweku Adoboli [aka The UBS Rogue Trader] taking on the might of the Swiss Bank and securing unexpected acquittals on all false accounting counts despite the seemingly overwhelming evidence. The sentence for the abuse of trust fraud was significantly lower than expected given that $3.2bn was the largest ever to come before a UK court. Another notable client, unpopular with many, but successfully acquitted of a large scale income tax fraud, was Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, better known as Tommy Robinson [ex leader of the EDL]. In early 2015, Charles secured the acquittal of Stuart Jones, son to Sir David Jones, in the fraud and feud arising out of the capital raising by the board of JD Sports in 2009. Similar success in the white collar field has been achieved in Carousel Frauds in Liverpool [Operation Forbear] securing the only acquittal in the whole operation, and not guilty verdicts for a solicitor said to be at the heart of a fraud on the Olympic Development Authority [Operation Cavalcade] in a long running fraud trial at Southwark. Other notable and high profile fraud cases have seen Charles represent other professionals, this time an accountant, at the heart of a massive property fraud [R-v-Entwistle & others].
2016 has seen him continue to remain in the forefront of complex trials, be they murder, fraud or sex related.
He has become the go-to-brief in recent Turkish community based murders. The trial of R-v-Coskun, at the Old Bailey, received regular press coverage since it involved the execution and body disposal of a former Turkish hitman during which Charles was repeatedly commended by The Common Sergeant for his tenacity and cut-throat skills in a particularly serious, complex and challenging case.
Other murder trials in 2016 saw Charles defend Denny Da Silva in a drive-by shotgun gang killing, and successfully represent Omar Afrah, acquitted in a multi-handed North London gangland killing and attempted killing.
Away from murders, Charles defended in Operation Penco, a boiler room fraud combined with a land-bank fraud, that ran for over 2 months at Southwark Crown Court swiftly followed by defending in R-v-SM, in Oxford Crown Court, as part of the Operation Bullfinch historic children’s-home sex abuse cases.
Ever since being engaged in such high profile cases as The Millenium Dome Heist, Victoria Station Murder, The Michael Michael drug conspiracies, PKK terrorist and UBS Rogue Trader cases, Charles’ services have been much sought after.
Regulatory law: This is a growing feature within his pratice. He currently acts as standing counsel for an international investigation company engaged in evidence gathering for civil and commercial litigation as well as advising on cyber crime both domestically and externally. As a keen and active tennis player, Charles has represented coaches before the LTA as well. Charles’ experience of regulatory work includes his successful defence of one of the “Metric Martyrs”, Janet Devers.
Murders: At the highest end of the criminal scale, murder trials have featured significantly in Charles’ practice, especially since taking silk, seeing him join the ranks as one of the well-respected regular at the Old Bailey. 2016 saw Charles engaged in a succession of murder trials for a whole host of firms of solicitors. Most recently he secured the acquittal of his client in Operation Leweston on murder, manslaughter and even Section 18 and is awaiting verdicts in another Turkish community based murder taking place at Southwark Crown Court. 2015-16 had seen him defend in a diet of multi-handed murders including securing the acquittal of Matthais Auguste in a particularly nasty and unpleasant cut-throat murder case with his younger brother. Gang related crimes are frequently part of his diary, whether from within the North London communities especially. A recent high profile case involved the representation of John Davies [Cardiff Crown Court], wrongly accused of murdering his wife in India. Charles’ continued and dogged pursuit of disclosure and avenues of investigative enquiry, caused the Crown to ultimately offer no evidence. Despite being acquitted, he was pursued for insolvency fraud while he was on the run. In 2015, Amersham Crown Court still saw him acquitted of 5 counts despite his absence. With or without client, Charles will pursue every avenue available. 2015 also saw Charles defending Juanila Smikle at Nottingham Crown Court. The case received daily media coverage in the midlands given that it involved the killing of a 7 year old grandchild and daughter. Ms Smikle avoided trial for murder and was only convicted of cruelty.
Fraud & white collar cases: as seen in the overview above, complex fraud cases feature heavily in Charles’ increasingly impressive track record over the last 10-15 years. Charles has devoted himself to detailed and successful case preparation in a large number of MTIC frauds tried in Liverpool, Birmingham, Northampton and London. In 2011, he was engaged as leading junior representing a key defendant in Operation Ghast, tried at Southwark Crown Court. This not only involved the first ipod carousel, but involved extensive evidence concerning the FCIB. The latter has become a common theme in such frauds, and Charles was a speaker on the panel of an FCIB Seminar, held in Birmingham last year in conjunction with Alias Dass and others. He addressed an impressive audience on abuse of process within MTIC cases. Also at Southwark, Charles was lead counsel for a property ‘finder’ in a complex fraud involving the actual theft of houses including amendment of land registry details.
Gangland and gun crime: In 2011, Charles acted as junior counsel for one of the key defendants, acquitted of murder and manslaiughter, in what became known as the ‘Victoria Station Murder‘, involving 21 youths charged with murder arising out of West London college rivalries. He appeared as junior in a number of gang murders involving the MDP and other such organisations too. As seen by his representation of R-v-Bernard [DJ Rascal], an execution of a rival drug baron, and R-v-Daniel Collins [Peckham Young Gunz], Charles is popular and familiar with this ever increasing part of the litigation landscape. Successfully defending R-v-Dwayne Roberts [Central Criminal Court] and R-v-Jerome Andrew [Wood Green Cr Ct] and securing their acquittals, led to recommendations and further instructions, such as R-v-Johnson [Central Criminal Court] and R-v-Abdirizak [Central Criminal Court].
Despite expectations of aggressive tactics from many, Charles has demonstrated an ability to exercise sensitivity when required especially when representing youths, as exemplified in his handling of the case of R -v- H, a murder trial involving a 16 year old accused of killing his mother and brother and attempted murder of his father. His handling of young witnesses in a child killing case received praise from both High Court Judge and intermediary.
ADDITIONAL AREAS OF PRACTICE:
Drugs & Asset Forfeiture : His time is not spent solely unpicking complex fraud allegations or defending gangland murders. International drug conspiracies and production of drugs, including crystal meths and ecstasy are one of his specialities. Whether it is a case involving the illegal use of Police undercover agents, cut-throat defences between transporters, manufacturers and dealers, or lengthy surveillance operations covering different international jurisdcitions, Charles never leaves any stone unturned in the pursuit of his client’s interests. This was demonstrated most recently when securing the acquittal of Johannes Woltering at St Albans CC concerning allegations that he had exported 50 kilos of cocaine from Holland while on licence of a similar offence in Sweden. He was extradited to the UK but acquitted in less than 2 hours of all charges and able to return to his country a free man. Gaining an insight into the forever changing drugs world is seen by Charles as key to staying up-to-date with current criminal practices. Assiduous case preparation, research and professional client care are just some of the main reasons many solicitors cite for instructing Charles so regularly.
Notable other drug related clients include: Sylvia Allpress [benchmark judgment in C of A for confiscation], Asnat Akram, Mohammed Din, Riaz Mohammed, Warwick McNay, Adil Khan & Jerry Coffey.
Sexual Offences: Whether as a leading junior or in silk, Charles has a wealth of experience in handling the most complex and sensitive sexual offence cases and clients. 2015 saw him defend, in R-v-T at Snaresbrook Crown Court, a step relative accused of abusing both genders in 4 generations of the same family. When the need arises, Charles seemlessly moves up the gears in cross examination from the careful handling of young and vulnerable witnesses to the dynamic and aggressive tactics where the need arises. Whichever approach is necessary, he has the skill to pull it off.
Health & Safety and Inquests: For a number of years, Charles has been instructed on behalf of insurance companies. He has appeared in the Oxford Coroners Court representing a Police Officer responsible for a multiple road fatality, the Hornsey Coroners Court concerning the death of a yard operative crushed by a lorry load of beans, an inquest concerning the death of a young man from drowning and numerous Health & Safety and Death by Dangerous Driving cases. In all areas, the cases receive the utmost sensitivity in their handling.
As the former chair of Furnival Chambers’ pupillage committee, Charles has always demonstrated a commitment to ensuring a smooth-running and successful pupillage process while providing professional, hands-on training. Building for the future of chambers is always of paramount interest and concern. Charles was appointed a Chambers Director in July 2008 and is regularly involved in the administration of chambers business as well as ensuring regulatory compliance.