Year of Call: 1986
Queen’s Counsel: 2012
Direct Access qualified : 2011
Chambers & Partners – Ranked in both Financial & General Crime 2015-2018
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.”
“Sees angles others don’t and is a lawyer of great gravitas with a wicked sense of humour”
“The Complete Advocate”
“Fantastic at what he does,” he’s both “bright and very able.”
Legal 500 – Ranked as Leading Silk in both Financial & General Crime 2015-2018
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”
“Dedicated, fastidious and incapable of switching off his brain once he has a case in it”
“An excellent silk who takes the time to listen to his clients”
Regular legal expert guest on LBC News Radio. Recently introduced by Andre Morgan on LBC News London as “LBC News Radio’s foremost legal analyst” when discussing the fallout from the parole board decision in the case of John Warboys.
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
Click here to read Charles’ thoughts on the issues with disclosure in criminal cases in light of the recent collapse of the Liam Allen case.
Overview of Current Practice
Charlie’s 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] Charlie 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 and recently introduced as “our foremost legal analyst”. His successes, work ethic, style and good nature have seen him regularly ranked as a Leading Silk in both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 for both Financial and General Crime. Though a defence advocate by nature, Charlie has been inundated recently with requests to conduct Private Prosecutions in situations where lay clients feel the Police and Criminal Justice System have let them down.
The last two years have seen Charlie achieving remarkable results for clients charged with murder, rape and serious complex frauds. The acquittal he secured for Joshua Ratner in the long running trial at the Old Bailey arising out of a murder at HMP Pentonville, received notable coverage in national and local media. In the same year, he had similarly secured acquittals for Mustafa Alparslan at Southwark CC and Jamel Lonergan at the Old Bailey, also charged on indictments with murder. At Woolwich Crown Court, a long running rape case involving a vulnerable complainant resulted in yet another acquittal even when the defendant, a Turkish young man, wasn’t even present throughout his trial. Such is the high regard that Charlie is held in, that 2018 will see him appearing in plenty more high profile cases including representing Ryszard Masierak in the tragic M1 Lorry Crash trial due to take place in Aylesbury Crown Court and Omar Hutson in an alleged execution style killing at The Old Bailey.
Although a regular at The Old Bailey, Charlie, as his ranking as a Leading Silk in Financial Crime suggests, has been busy engaging in long running tax frauds, Operation Amazon [RvF] and boiler room frauds Operation Penco [RvH & others]. A number of complex frauds on which he has advised are due before the Courts in the forthcoming year.
Since taking silk in 2012, Charlie 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]. Other high profile instructions led to successes when representing the body guard of Rebecca Brooks in the prosecutions arising out of Operation Sacha and in early 2015, Charlie 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 Charlie represent other professionals, this time an accountant, at the heart of a massive property fraud [R-v-Entwistle & others].
He has become the go-to-brief in recent Turkish community based murders leading to his instruction in R-v-Alparslan. 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 Charlie 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 have seen Charlie engaged in the defence of John Davies [acquitted and subsequently to appear on Lorraine Kelly’s TV sofa], 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, Charlie defended in R-v-Johannes Woltering securing the unlikeliest of acquittals when indicted for importing 50 kilos of heroin to the UK from Holland in 2015 only to be arrested a month later for exactly the same upon his release. He is also a go-to brief in sex cases having been involved in many such cases over the length of his career including, more recently, defending in R-v-SM, in Oxford Crown Court, as part of the Operation Bullfinch historic children’s-home sex abuse investigation.
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, Charlie’ 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, Charlie has represented coaches before the LTA as well. Charlie’ experience of regulatory work includes his successful defence of one of the “Metric Martyrs”, Janet Devers.
Fraud & white collar cases: as seen in the overview above, complex fraud cases feature heavily in Charlie’ increasingly impressive track record over the last 10-15 years. Charlie 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 Charlie 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, Charlie 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, Charlie 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], Charlie 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, Charlie 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, Charlie never leaves any stone unturned in the pursuit of his client’s interests. This was demonstrated, as previously stated, 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 Charlie 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 Charlie 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, Charlie 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, Charlie 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, Charlie 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, Charlie 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. Charlie was appointed a Chambers Director in July 2008 and is regularly involved in the administration of chambers business as well as ensuring regulatory compliance.