George Payne

George Payne

Call: 2004

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Specialist areas: Murder, serious violence and sexual offences, Private client criminal defence, fraud white collar and business crime. George is an experienced jury advocate who has a reputation for his ability to argue passionately, fearlessly and effectively on behalf of those he represents. He acts for the defence in the full range of all serious criminal cases.

He has a methodical and scientific approach to preparing cases leaving no stone unturned. He is not afraid to confront the most difficult and seemingly impressive witnesses and cross-examines with experience and skill.

George has particular experience in dealing with high-profile criminal cases involving high levels of media attention. He has a track record of dealing with defending cases across the spectrum of crime including sexual offences, violence and organised complex and financial crime.

His trial experience includes the use of forensic scientific evidence for the defence and using his understanding to undermine that evidence when presented by the prosecution. This includes the analysis of fingerprint evidence, DNA evidence, mobile telephone cell site evidence and the enhancement and management of considerable volumes of CCTV evidence. He is also used to dealing with the assessment of expert medical evidence, including in cases involving post-mortem pathology and the complicated issues surrounding mental health and its impact on criminal responsibility.

George has experience in dealing with the largest, most complex and high profile of cases. He has acted for the defence in the largest joint enterprise murder trial in British legal history, the largest flying squad robbery investigation into the robbery of jewellers. In the summer of 2009 he represented one of the men charged with the Graff jewellery robbery where £40 million of diamonds were taken during a daylight armed raid at the Bond Street store.

Although he has experience in dealing with large and complex cases, he never loses sight of the pain felt by those who have been wrongly accused of serious criminal allegations. He regularly deals with cases of serious sexual offences where the allegation is made by only one witness for the prosecution and where his ability to get to the truth through cross-examination is central to the success of his case.

Serious high profile crime

R v DS (2024) Four-week trial at the Central Criminal Court charged with attempted murder before HHJ Leonard KC. Complex circumstantial case involving cell site/DNA/CCTV evidence before the jury. Unusually George Payne called the victim as a defence witness during the course of the trial. News story here

R v KM (2023) “Chief propagandist” KM was jailed for seven years after pleading guilty to seven terrorist offences. The cell called him “our very own Goebbels” in a group on messaging app Telegram. The case involved a complex psychiatric and psychological picture which made the work done before a guilty plea was entered very challenging. news story here

R v SD and another (2022) at Southwark Crown Court. Junior alone acting for defendant charged with a high profile mortgage fraud involving more than £13 million of pension savings being taken by in an enterprise mastermind by David Austin.  This case involved complex volumes of financial material.

R v KHR and others (2019) Led by Louise Sweet KC  in a trial for murder in 2019 before the Central Criminal Court involving the tragic murder of Jodie Chesney. The young defendnat, aged under 18 at the time, was acquitted of all charges. Case litigated by Carol Kehoe of Tuckers Solicitors.

As a leading junior in two trials – R v AL and 6 others (2013-2014) Conducting the trial and re-trial as leading counsel at the Central Criminal Court before HHJ Kramer KC and then the Common Sergeant of London.  The related to an allegation of murder which took place in the Stratford Westfield Shopping Centre the week before the 2012 Olympic Games in London. George led Sonal Sodha of Nexus Chambers in the first trial and Alison Pryor of 42 Bedford Row in the second.

This was a high-profile case included substantial volumes of mobile phone and CCTV evidence. Case litigated by Rosemarie Aniemeka. And Philippa McAtasney KC acted for the first defendant accused of murder.

R v CO and others (2011): Murder. Trial at the Central Criminal Court led by Queen’s Counsel (Trevor Burke QC). The Defendant was charged as part of the largest joint enterprise murder case in British history with 20 defendants. The Defendant was under the age of 18 at the time and the case involved the dramatic chase and attack of a schoolboy in a public place in London with a high level of media interest

R v TT and others (2010): Armed Robbery. Trial at Woolwich Crown Court as sole advocate. The Defendant stood trial as part of the largest jewel robbery in British history where over £40 million of diamonds were taken in a daring armed daylight raid on Graffs Jewellers of Bond Street

Murder:

George has had experience as a led junior in over 15 murder trials before the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey working with the very best King’s Counsel. These have often involved young vulnerable defendants where the prosecution say the murders are the results of conflict resulting from gang activity in London. These are particularly upsetting for the families of those accused and George works tirelessly to make sure that everyone is included in fighting for a successful defence. Cases include most recently the following:

R v DS (2023) Defendant, 67, killed Sarah Crump, 33, and “brutally” mutilated her body in her Southall flat in 1991.  He was cleared of murder in 1993, boasting that he had “got away with it”. He went on to kill another woman in 1999.  His earlier acquittal for murder was quashed by the Court of Appeal and he stood trial in 2023 before Mr Justice Simon Bryan at Inner London Crown Court.  George Payne argued the complex and voluminous bad character material before the trial Judge. News story here

R v DJ (2023) Defendant was accused of a “senseless” fatal stabbing outside a sports bar in Greenwich. Aged 38 he was acquitted of murder but was found guilty of manslaughter and grievous bodily harm with intent following a three-week trial at Woolwich Crown Court. The issue in the case was self-defence with legal argument in respect of a PTSD diagnosis forming part of what was resolved by the trial judge. News story here

R v RK and another (2021) Isleworth Crown Court. Led by Philippa McAtasney KC in a trial where two young people under the age of 18 were accused jointly of murder in a trial lasting four weeks before HHJ Johnson and prosecuted by Tom Little KC. (case moved from the Central Criminal Court due to the restrictions caused the Covid 19 pandemic). Case litigated by Sorcha Duncan of Tuckers Solicitors. Defendant acquitted of murder.

R v RW and 6 others (2020) Woolwich Crown Court. Led by Philippa McAtasney KC in a trial where 6 young people under the age of 18 were accused of a gang attack in London. Trial lasted three months before HHJ Kinch KC and was moved from the Central Criminal Court due to restrictions caused by the Covid 19 pandemic). Case litigated by Stephen Davies of Tuckers Solicitors.

R v YA and another (2020) Central Criminal Court. Led by Michael Holland KC in a trial for murder in July 2020 before HHJ Munro KC. Case litigated by Jim Meyer of Tuckers Solicitors.

R v KHR and others (2019) Central Criminal Court. Led by Louise Sweet KC in a trial for murder before HHJ Joseph KC. Case litigated by Carol Kehoe of Tuckers Solicitors.

R v JO and others (2018) Central Criminal Court. Led by Icah Peart KC in a trial for murder before HHJ Poulet KC. The case involved the high profile murder outside an East London boxing arena after a fight and was prosecuted by Crispin Aylett KC. Case litigated by Nick Inge and the defendant was acquitted of murder.

R v TA and others (2018) Central Criminal Court. Led by James Scobie KC in a trial for murder before HHJ Cook KC. The trial related to a gang motivated attack by young people aged under 18 with the backdrop of drill music forming part of the evidence the prosecution relied upon. Case litigated by Suzanne O’Connell of Tuckers Solicitors.

London gang violence

R v NSS and others (2021) Trial at the Central Criminal Court before HHJ Dhir KC prosecuted by Robert O’Sullivan KC leading Mark Halsey as junior alone. Case related to the repeated discharge of a firearm in a gang attack outside a primary school in daylight hours. The prosecution relied on a police gang expert witness to explain the use of the social media and music evidence against the Defendant. At the conclusion of the trial the Defendant was acquitted of all charges.

R v IG and another (2020) Three-week trial at the Central Criminal Court before HHJ Lickley KC. Conducting a trial as junior alone at the Central Criminal Court relation to an allegation of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life. Case prosecuted by two junior counsel. The defendant was said to be the “armourer” for the Harlem Spartans London gang. Evidence included complex gang evidence and the presentation of drill music videos and associated intelligence to the jury. The Defendant was aquitted of all charges.

R v DY and others (2019) Seven-week trial at Harrow Crown Court before HHJ Dean in relation to an allegation of attempted murder. Trial involved allegations of gang motivated violence including complex telephone, cell site, CCTV and background gang material. Case prosecuted by two juniors. Defendant acquitted of attempted murder.

Complex drugs allegations

As a leading junior leading Harry MacDonald of Furnival Chambers – R v SC and others (2019) 35 day trial before HHJ Curtis-Raleigh at Isleworth Crown Court. Trial concerned an allegation of conspiracy to supply class A drugs involving a ‘County Lines’ drugs operation between London and Swindon. The case involved a substantial amount complex telephone, cell site, observation and other evidence.

R v DO and others (2022) Wood Green Crown Court. Trial of three defendants charged with conspiracy to import over 100kg class A drugs. Trial lasted 20 days before HHJ Holmes and was prosecuted by the National Crime Agency. Co-defending with Mandisa Knights of Furnival Chambers. The defendant was aquitted.

Rape and serious sexual offending:

As a leading junior leading Harry MacDonald of Furnival Chambers – R v CJ and another (2017) Inner London Crown Court before HHJ Bishop. Trial lasting 7 weeks Conducting trial in 2017 as leading counsel at Inner London Crown Court in relation to an allegation of the neglect of four children and the sexual assault of a person under 13. Trial involved the consideration of a serious volume of social services, medical and school records. Case litigated by Nick Inge.

R v AK (2021) at Inner London Crown Court before HHJ Rowley. The case involved offences now classed as rape alleged by more than one complainant against a former teacher by pupils many years before at a London secondary school. The trial involved complex evidence called over a period of weeks and was prosecuted by Ross Cohen.

R v EU (2020) Wood Green Crown Court. Rape trial before HHJ Perrins relating to an allegation of rape while the complainant was sleeping and had consumed a substantial amount of alcohol.

R v RB (2017) Snaresbrook Crown Court. Rape trial involving an allegation of rape in the course of an alleged job interview. Unusually involved complex background material including the calling of a defence witness to suggest that he Complainant had previously brought a similar false allegation against another person. Litigated by Kelly Thomas of Tuckers Solicitors in Brighton.

R v DS (2017) Two serious historical sexual abuse trials at Inner London Crown Court before HHJ Wood KC, Mr Rec Brian O’Neill KC. The case concerned four complainants giving evidence in relation to historical sexual allegations said to have been committed in the early 1980s. Eventually the defendant was acquitted of all charges.

R v PS (2016) Kingston Crown Court. Familial sexual abuse allegation before HHJ Lamb KC involving one of the first uses of pre-recorded cross-examination of the Complainant. Defendant acquitted. At the conclusion of the trial.

R v SP (2015) Central Criminal Court. Trial in respect of making indecent images of children before HHJ Wide KC. Complex case relating to an international investigation into Azov Films, a Canadian company which sold illegal material using the internet. The case involved extensive challenge of technical evidence and Canadian law enforcement officials who gave evidence by videolink. The Defendant was acquitted and wrote after the trial:
“George – your defence and closing statement was a tour de force that made this whole surreal nightmare almost worth going through just to watch. There was no better defence I could have wished for and I thank God I had you on my side.”

Academic Qualifications

George initially studied Astrophysics at university and graduated with a BSc (hons) from University College London in 1999.
He was a university champion debater and won the John Smith Memorial Mace (formerly the Observer Mace) representing Lincoln’s Inn and England in 2002 being presented with the Mace by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace.
He read law at City, University of London and graduated with a LLB (hons) in 2002.
Having completed bar school at the Inns of Court School of Law in 2004 he was called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn.

Teaching and association memberships

George is a passionate believer in the constitutional independence of the bar of England and Wales and supports the teaching of members of the profession at all levels. He is an advocacy trainer at Lincolns Inn holding the highest grade of “Tutor Trainer”. He regularly teaches bar students, pupil barristers and new practitioners as part of the mandatory teaching programmes.
George is an elected member of the Bar Representation Committee of Lincoln’s Inn and represents the views of barristers at their collegiate body.
George is also a proud member of the Criminal Bar Association and the South Eastern Circuit Bar Mess.

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