Craig Harris

A criminal defence, sports disciplinary and asset forfeiture specialist

‘He has a superb eye for detail and grasps the issues in a case quickly, however substantial or complex the evidence.  An excellent tactician, appreciated for his thorough approach.  An impressive advocate and a pleasure to work with’

Ranked as a leading individual at the Bar by The Legal 500 – Crime, Fraud & Sports Law 2017

‘A high aptitude for dealing with thorny arguments’

The Legal 500, 2016

He has ‘Boundless knowledge’  

Young, Summers & Corker on Abuse of Process in Criminal Proceedings

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Craig has extensive experience conducting the most serious, complex and high-profile cases at trial, before the Court of Appeal, UK Supreme Court, European Court of Human Rights and numerous sports disciplinary tribunals.

He is qualified to act on a Direct Access basis, offering cost-effective, expert advice and leading representation to clients with direct access to their barrister. This service can be also accessed through intermediaries including agents, clubs and other organisations.

Recent criminal cases:

Recent sports work:

  • Appointed to sit on the Sport Resolutions Panel of Arbitrators and Mediators
  • The Football Association v Arsene Wenger – see the Commission’s decision here
  • Represented the FA at a high-profile Premier League player’s appeal against suspension
  • Panel counsel to Sport Resolutions and the League Managers Association
  • Sits as Chair of the England Boxing and FA National Anti-Discrimination disciplinary panels

Scroll to the bottom of this page for other high-profile clients, cases and press coverage by practice area.


Craig appears regularly in cases of murder, kidnap, serious violence, firearms, large-scale drugs operations including ‘Europe’s largest drugs conspiracy‘ and ‘the UK’s largest importation‘, arson, serious sexual offences and offences of dishonesty, including fraud and proceedings for perverting the course of justice.

He is also experienced in dealing with regulatory offences at all levels of the justice system.

His expertise includes:

  • Complicated conspiracy cases, centring around Organised Criminal Networks
  • Cases involving informants and Public Interest Immunity-protected material
  • Significant Trading Standards and Local Authority prosecutions
  • Sensitive cases concerning sexual misconduct and related matters
  • Advising independently on appeal following criminal conviction
  • Applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission

Craig has a particular interest in cases involving novel law and legal argument, as demonstrated in the notable cases section below, as well as those involving complex issues of expert evidence.

In that regard he has advised and represented notable clients across the spectrum of driving offences.

He is experienced in conducting all ancillary proceedings that arise particularly out of drugs, fraud, money laundering and other dishonesty cases and has contested multi-million pound confiscation proceedings, forfeiture applications and applications for disqualification of directors.

Craig also has experience of dealing with cases concerning the mental health provisions and historical allegations.  He has conducted cases centring on fitness to plead, not-insane automatism and insanity defences, and cases involving young and vulnerable defendants and witnesses.


Craig is appointed to sit as Chair of:

  • The Football Association’s National Anti-Discrimination Disciplinary Commission; and
  • The England Boxing Disciplinary Panel

He is also appointed to sit on the Sport Resolutions Panel of Arbitrators and Mediators (2018-2021)

Craig is retained on The League Managers Association and Sport Resolutions panels of counsel, advising and representing managers of clubs in the Premier League and EFL through the LMA and acting in a wide range of sporting disputes through Sport Resolutions.

He has acted for the Football Association and numerous other high-profile clients, appearing regularly before Football Association Regulatory Commission and Appeal Board hearings.

Many of these matters remain confidential.  Recent cases include:

  • Acting for club managers & head coaches (2017/18 season)
  • The FA v Arsene Wenger (2016/17 season) – see the Commission decision here
  • A high-profile Premier League player’s appeal against suspension arising out of the “Battle of Stamford Bridge” (Chelsea v Tottenham, 2015/16 season)
  • The Witton Park Rose & Crown FC v Black Bull AFC mass confrontation
  • Multiple on and off-field misconduct cases, including aggravated breaches of FA Rule E3
  • Violations of the “insider” betting regulations
  • Breaches of the Agents and Intermediaries rule

Other high profile clients from the sports world have included Thomas Hitzlsperger (former Germany international and Premier League player, “Der Hammer”), Derek Chisora (boxing) and Eric Hall (sports & entertainment industry agent).


Craig has also appeared before:

  • Licensing Committee hearings
  • Disciplinary tribunals
  • The County Court
  • The Coroner’s Court

He is available to conduct site visits and provide advice at all stages of the licensing process, from the application and renewal stage through to breach and revocation proceedings.


Acknowledged contributor to Young, Summers & Corker on Abuse of Process in Criminal Proceedings (Bloomsbury, 3rd ed.)

Policy Knowledge Event Lecture: A New Strategy to Tackle Dangerous Dogs – Assessing the Reforms to the Dangerous Dogs Act, May 2015

Please contact Craig by email or via Chambers’ clerks to discuss inviting him to speak at an event.

Notable clients, cases and press coverage by practice area:

Reported Appellate Cases

R v F [2014] EWCA Crim 2788:  Successful appeal against sentence – sexual offences – submissions described by the Court of Appeal as “skilled” and “carefully formulated”

R v Robinson-Pierre [2013] EWCA Crim 2396: Seminal case concerning interpretation of section 3(1) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 – extent to which liability is “strict” – prosecution application for leave successfully opposed at Supreme Court level – Press reports here and here

Harkins and Edwards v the UK (European Court of Human Rights, 2012; Application No.32650/07); Argued that extradition to the USA to face charges for an “execution style murder” and possible life imprisonment without possibility of parole would violate Article 3 of the European Convention – overturned the House of Lords decision in Wellington regarding application of the Convention in extradition cases – Led by Mark Summers QC – ECHR press release of judgment and press reports

R v Maurice Flanders [2011] EWCA Crim 2121: Appeal against sentence – dwelling burglary – multitude of antecedent burglaries – effect on sentence – application of section 153 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 vis-a-vis public protection in sentencing

R v Lyons [2010] EWCA Crim 155: Appeal against sentence against refusal of the single judge to grant leave – appropriate sentence for multiple breaches of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order – submissions described by the Court of Appeal as “exceptionally competent”, “bold” and “succinctly but forcefully made”

Homicide & Serious Violence


The murder of Shahena Uddin (Dec, 2015): Murder – familial homicide – death of vulnerable adult – Further press reports

The Surjeet Singh killing (2014): Conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent – violent disorder – stabbing – Press reports here

The Reece Menzies murder (2013): Alleged gangland murder – shooting – manslaughter verdicts – Press reports here


R v Halstead (2017): Alleged GBH with intent – chopping off index finger for drugs debt – Press reports here

R v Lightfoot (2017): Alleged false imprisonment – GBH with intent – threats to injure with a pneumatic drill

R v Islam (2017): Relating to a spree of shootings in tit-for-tat gang warfare around the Bedford area – shotguns and scorpion machine gun – Press reports here

R v Hamilton (2016): Alleged kidnapping at gunpoint – successful duress defence – Press reports here

R v Merice Brown (2015): Attempted murder – shooting – confession 10 years after the event – Press reports here

R v Darko-Kwakye (2014-2015): Leading counsel – Gangland kidnap for ransom – drugs deal gone wrong – second revenge kidnap followed – torture – firearms – hot irons – GBH – perverting the course of justice – see the trial Judge’s observations here

R v Garratty & Others (2013): Armed robbery – Flying Squad  – conspiracy to rob to multiple small businesses with live firearms – Press reports here

R v Bethel & Others (2013): Armed robbery – orchestrated raid of a high value goods storage facility – use of cable ties, CS gas and multiple getaway vehicles

Football-related violence:  Including West Ham and Sunderland violence (2014) – Violent disorder at the Wembley FA Cup Final amongst Millwall fans (2013) – Operartion Balconi (widespread violence between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham fans)

R v Sahil Patel (2010): Gangland drug-related kidnap for ransom


R v Hart & Others (2017): Conspiracy to import massive amounts of Class A drugs – dropped from light aircraft flown into the UK under radar – Press reports here

Operation Casino (2016): Conspiracy to flood the Midlands with Class A drugs trafficked from London

Operation Brutus (2015):  Widespread commercial drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy – Press reports here

R v Bhatia (2013-2014):  SOCA prosecution – multi-million pound drugs and cigarette importation – approximately 50kg of cocaine, 100kg of cannabis and millions of cigarettes imported through a bonded warehouse – Led by Oliver Blunt QC

Operation Nemesis (2013) – Acted for Scott Rafferty – family drugs “empire” – Press reports here

R v Dang & Others (Operation Opaque; Central Criminal Court, 2012): International organised crime syndicate conspiring to produce cannabis on largest ever scale in the UK – said to be the largest drugs conspiracy ever uncovered in Europe – acquitted following 4-month trial – Press reports here

R v Glen Cornick (Operation Beath II, 2011): The UK’s largest drugs importation – tonnes of cocaine and cannabis imported worth more than £100million – £28million confiscation proceedings conducted alone – Led by Oliver Blunt QC – Press reports here

The “K Network” (2011): Conspiracy to supply drugs from London to Norwich – flooding Norwich with class A drugs – represented a leading defendant

Fraud, Dishonesty, and Regulatory Offences

Re SS (up to 2017) – Retained in $billion international, multi-jurisdictional dividend arbitrage/withholding tax proceedings (Dubai) – Press reports here

R v Tamale (2017) – Alleged conspiracy to pervert the course of justice arising out of the murder of Khiry Ford

R v Bolster (2017) – An alleged fake “Botox” injection fraud by unqualified: medical practitioners” – Press reports here

R v Ashman (2016) – Alleged laundering of a drug-lord’s criminal proceeds – Press reports here

R v Iqbal (2015): Trading Standards prosecution – large-scale conspiracy to produce and import counterfeit clothing from Pakistan – confiscation proceedings pending

R v Karl Gilleeney – VAT fraud conspiracy

R v Smith (Operation Bugs, 2013): Trading Standards prosecution – conspiracy to defraud – national Sky box warranty fraud – Press reports here

R v S & Others (2013): Newham Borough Council prosecution – extensive HMO and regulatory/welfare offences charged against a limited company and its directors in person – successful application of the ruling in Sumal and Sons to stay confiscation proceedings worth more than half-a-million pounds

R v Omarov & Angelov (2013): Perverting the course of justice – alleged to attempt by a Russian billionaire and a head hotel concierge to “buy off” a prosecution witness – acted for the concierge – Press reports here

R v Nicholas & Smith (2012): Retained as leading counsel – DEFRA prosecution – animal welfare and “cattle ringing” fraud

Operation Icicle (2012): Large-scale car ringing and exportation conspiracy

Serious Sexual Offences

R v TM (2016): Attempted “stranger rape”- Press reports here

R v SH (2014): Rape following serious violence within relationship – issues surrounding application of the ‘section 75’ presumptions against consent

R v MH (2014): Rape – adult defendant with IQ of a child – fitness to plead in issue

R v MP (2012):  Alleged kidnap, false imprisonment and violent gang rape

R v RJ (2010): Sexual offences against children – historical allegations – multiple complainants – making and possession of indecent images

R v D (2009):  Perverting the course of justice – juvenile charged with making false allegations to have been victim of a double rape by two brothers

High Profile Clients

Thomas Hitzlsperger: Represented the former German international and Premier League football star, “Der Hammer” – Press reports here

Derek Chisora:  Represented the World Heavyweight title contender

Eric Hall:  Represented the flamboyant football and entertainment industry agent

Franz Drameh: Represented the DC Legends of Tomorrow actor

Tempa T: Represented the UK grime artist

Kent Police v Rusha:  Cash detention and forfeiture proceedings stemming from the infamous £50m Tonbridge Securitas depot heist

Legal 500: Leading Individual