Harry McDonald

Harry MacDonald

Call: 2010


Harry MacDonald is an established advocate with a busy practice. He specialises in the prosecution and defence of serious crimes. He has acted, either as leading junior, led junior, or as junior alone, in a wide range of cases involving the gravest allegations of violence, drugs, dishonesty, and sexual offending. Harry has particular experience of the complex issues that arise in disclosure or expert heavy cases and multi-defendant trials.

Harry has also enjoyed considerable success in appellate jurisdictions. He also has an excellent grasp of issues that are regularly present in private prosecutions and many quasi-criminal proceedings.

Notable Cases

R v DM and others 2021/2022 (Maidstone Crown Court): Instructed on behalf of a Defendant charged, alongside three others, with Murder. The trial, before Mr Justice Cavanagh, features extensive forensic (DNA and blood pattern analysis), pathological, CCTV, and telephone evidence, including detailed metadata analysis. Led by Pippa McAtasney QC.

R v MR 2021 (Lewes Crown Court and Court of Appeal): Defence of an exceptionally premeditated acid attack by a junior doctor on his ex-partner, also a junior doctor, inflicting devastating, permanent injury. The sentence imposed in the Crown Court was the subject of an Attorney General’s Reference. The case attracted national and international media attention. Case as junior alone.

R v KD  2021 (Sheffield Crown Court): Acted for a young Defendant arrested for two attempted murders on consecutive days. The life-threatening stabbings were each charged as Section 18 offences, and sent for trial as grave crimes. Case as junior alone.

R v MHD and others 2021 (Southwark Crown Court): Represented the first Defendant in relation to numerous criminal property and drugs offences. The trial, involving three Defendants and lasting 8 weeks, was the first in a series of high value international money laundering prosecutions by a CPS team including silk, junior counsel, and disclosure counsel. The case involved assimilation and analysis of over twenty thousand pages of evidence. Led by Benjamin Gordon.

R v JR 2021 (Maidstone Crown Court): Successful Defence of forced labour charges; the Defendant was alleged to have “cuckooed” drug dependant Complainants and violently forced their service and participation in the Class A drugs trade. Case as junior alone.

R v KB and others 2021 (Wood Green Crown Court): Appeared as leading counsel on behalf of a Defendant charged with a conspiracy to commit forced labour offences; tracking children to serve in the Class A drugs trade. The case was prosecuted by silk and junior. The Defendant was acquitted following legal argument at the close of the Crown’s case. Led Christopher Waymont.

R v OG 2021 (Lewes Crown Court): Privately funded instruction of a Defendant charged with rape alleged to have occurred some years ago when both he and Complainant were children. The case involved extensive S41 YJCEA legal argument and analysis of telephone download material.  Led by Pippa McAtasney QC.

R v DM 2021 (Lewes Crown Court): Successful defence of historical allegations of serious sexual abuse by an uncle upon his two nieces, then under 10 years old, in the late 1970s. The case involved numerous applications for disclosure and legal argument pursuant to S41 YJCEA and S100 CJA concerning previous historic sexual allegations within the family. A particularly unusual feature of the case was a successful application to turn hostile a family member defence witness. Case as junior alone.

R v JL 2020/2021 (Lewes Crown Court): Defence, at trial (2020) and retrial (2021), of a historical allegation of assault by penetration upon the child daughter of the Defendant’s ex-partner. The Complainant was between the ages of 7 and 8 at the time of alleged offence, and 14 at the time of trial. Consequently, the case involved an extensive ground rules hearing in relation to cross examination of the Complainant. Case as junior alone.

R v JG 2020 (Lewes Crown Court). Prosecution of the murder of a British Airway’s employee, in her own home, by her colleague and partner. The Defendant had previously been convicted of violently robbing the deceased. This and other behaviour in the relationship were the subject of extensive bad character and hearsay applications. The latter largely sought to adduce material from the deceased’s diaries, chronicling her relationship with the Defendant. There was also extensive, forensic (DNA and blood spatter), pathological and CCTV evidence.  The Defendant was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 28 years. Led by Richard Hearnden

R v DM and SB 2019/2020 (Southwark Crown Court): SB acquitted of assisting an offender (murder).  DM convicted of murder at retrial after first jury failed to agree.  The first trial took place at Hove CC before Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb and the retrial took place at Southwark CC before Mr Justice Hilliard. The murder took place in Brighton when D1 was delivering drugs to Abdul Deghayes.  Cause of death multiple stab wounds.  Trial issues included multiple bad character applications concerning the main witness and deceased.  There was substantial telephone evidence.  Forensic and expert evidence in relation to drugs.  SB appeared remotely at retrial – issues surrounding remote attendance during pandemic.  Led by Pippa McAtasney QC.

R v DH and SB 2020 (Snaresbrook Crown Court): 2 Defendant aggravated burglary trial heard at Snaresbrook Crown Court.  The two Defendants, each armed with a lock knife, targeted a property believed to contain a large quantity of gold jewellery. They were confronted by a neighbour, a retired police officer, but did not produce the knives. The trial raised complex issues of intent in the context of aggravated burglary and involved numerous, successfully resisted, bad character applications. Case as junior alone.

R v RL. 2019 (Croydon Crown Court): Represented the Defendant, who was accused of importing over 6kgs of high purity cocaine into the country through Gatwick Airport. The trial involved a considerable body of expert evidence concerned with the mechanics of international drug smuggling, with specific focus upon cases where a Defendant’s luggage has been “ripped into” by others operating outside the jurisdiction. Case as junior alone.

R v SC and others 2019 (Isleworth Crown Court): Represented a Defendant charged as part of extensive, “County line”, Class A drug dealing conspiracy throughout a two-month trial. The case required analysis of large volumes of telephone and associated evidence.

R v MR. 2019 (Woolwich Crown Court): Prosecuted a Defendant alleged to have branded his wife with a hot iron (S18). The trial included complex evidence from a forensic pathologist on the mechanics of burns injuries. Case as junior alone.

R v KF, CM and PM. 2019 (Woolwich Crown Court): Prosecuted three defendants accused of participation in mass, serious violent disorder at a football match between Millwall and Birmingham City at “the Den” football ground in London. The trial involved extensive analysis of voluminous CCTV evidence. Case as junior alone.

R v AA 2018 (Canterbury Crown Court): Prosecuted multiple sexual allegations against a very senior member of the Egyptian armed forces in a highly sensitive case attracting national media interest. Case as junior alone.

R v RS and others 2018 (Lewes Crown Court): Represented a Defendant alleged to have laundered money on behalf of an extensive Class A drugs conspiracy covering the South of England and generating millions of pounds in revenue. Case as junior alone.

R v JF. 2018 (Lewes Crown Court): Successfully engaged to reopen a guilty a plea to attempted S18 and subsequently represent a Defendant alleged to have deliberately rammed a motorcyclist with his car at speeds in excess of 80mph on a busy dual carriageway. Case as junior alone.

R v IS 2018: Represented a Defendant, the proprietor of a letting agency charged with slum landlord offences. Legal submission advanced on the Defendant’s behalf led to dismissal of the case. Case as junior alone.

R v CJ and another 2017 (Inner London Crown Court): Appeared as led junior on behalf of a father accused of serious sexual abuse and neglect of his own children. The trial, heard over 7 weeks, required robust analysis of the prosecution disclosure exercise and intensive consideration of huge volumes of third party material served during the trial.

R v MW. 2017 (Court of Appeal): Represented a Defendant on appeal against sentence imposed for serious sexual offending against children. Successfully advanced legal submissions based on the sentencing judge’s approach to mitigation concerning the Defendant’s age and personal circumstances. The immediate custodial sentence imposed was substituted for a suspended sentence order. Case as junior alone.

R v AH 2017 (Portsmouth Crown Court): Successfully representation of a Defendant accused of perpetrating a serious home invasion armed robbery in a sensitive case requiring management of a large quantity of third-party material. Case as junior alone.

R v CS and others 2016 (Basildon Crown Court): Successful representation of a Defendant charged with conspiracy to defraud over the course of a six-week trial at Basildon Crown Court. The prosecution relied on huge quantities of digital material. The case attracted extensive national media interest. Case as junior alone.

R v CS and others 2016 (Lewes Crown Court):  Acted as the Crown’s disclosure counsel prior to and throughout the trial in a highly sensitive homicide case.

R v AC 2016 (Lewes Crown Court): Prosecuted a leading silk in relation to a bomb hoax allegation involving the threat of an explosive device aboard an aircraft at Gatwick Airport. Case as junior alone.

R v AW and another 2015: Harry represented a youth, enjoying certificate for appointed counsel, in relation to an allegation of arson with intent to endanger life. The case required careful examination of the causation of the fire, the young Defendant’s mental health and his capacity to form the requisite intent for the principle or alternative offences.

Qualifications and Associations

LLB (Hons) – Southampton University (2009)
BVC – (2010)
LLM (Hons) (Merit) (2011)
Harry acts a mentor to student barristers through the Lincoln’s Inn Debating Society.
Harry has been engaged to provide training to the Police through drug expert training programme.
Harry has also provided training to National Crime Association and border force officers.
Harry is the Secretary of the Surrey and South London Bar Mess

Panel Memberships

Harry is appointed as a CPS panel advocate at grade 3.

  • Legal 500 leading individual 2017