Joanna Staples

Call: 2003

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Over the past 19 years Joanna has successfully defended in cases of the utmost gravity including homicide, people trafficking, conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, possession of firearms with intent to endanger life, fraud and armed robbery.

Joanna “provides her clients with a first-class service” and is “meticulous in the detail of the cases in which she in instructed” (Instructing Solicitor). This approach has led her to being instructed in the most serious of criminal cases, trusted by her instructing solicitors and lay clients alike to “go above and beyond” in order to achieve the best possible result (Instructing Solicitor).

Joanna excels at deconstructing a case, finding its weaknesses and exploiting poor investigation. By way of example, Joanna was instructed in a people trafficking case in which, having fought hard for disclosure of the complainant’s telephone and cell site evidence (initially deemed unnecessary by the Court), the Crown were forced to offer no evidence once the evidence revealed exactly what Joanna suspected it would; that the complainant had comprehensively lied about her movements and false imprisonment.

Joanna has recently been instructed as led Junior in a gang related “ride out” murder, a homicide trial described as a botched exorcism where 7 family members stood trial charged with the homicide of their relative and a parental baby-shaking.  Instructed as junior alone in a conspiracy to rob £4.1 million pounds worth of jewellery, a large scale fraud perpetrated in multiple European jurisdictions and a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, which most unusually involved charges of the rape of a woman said to have been held in servitude by the gang.

An experienced criminal practitioner, Joanna has a particular understanding of those cases involving vulnerable defendants, whether due to young age, mental illness or other personal difficulty.

Joanna is also on the Grade 3 advocates’ panel and has acted as led junior on a number of conspiracy cases. Joanna considers it vital to understand how both sides operate as this enhances her ability to identify where the opposition may have fallen short.

Serious Violence and Drug related cases

R v RA and others 2020-21 – Led junior defending a 16 yo alleged gang member charged with the murder of an opposing gang member in a “ride out” murder in East London.

R v OH and others 2020 – Junior alone defending on a conspiracy to rob £4.1 million pounds worth of jewellery, defence involved cross-examination of the complainant as to his knowledge and participation in the theft of the stolen items.

R v LF and others 2020 – Junior alone defending D1 in a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs which most unusually involved charges of rape of a woman said to have been held in servitude by the gang (cuckooing).

R v I and others 2019 – Led junior defending one of seven family members charged with the manslaughter of their relative in what the Crown described as a “botched exorcism”.

R v M and others 2018 – Junior alone defending a youth charged with joint enterprise s.18 GBH (D1 of five defendants charged with stabbing a rival as part of “postcode” gang activity).

R v M and others 2018 – Junior alone defending D2 in a conspiracy to possess firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

R v J and others 2018 – Junior alone defending conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and money laundering via international bank transfers.

R v H and others 2017 – Junior alone defending allegation of fraud as part of a multi handed conspiracy to commit credit card fraud.

R v AT and others 2017 – Junior alone defending allegation of multi handed joint enterprise possession of firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

 R v G (and K) 2016 – Led junior in a two-handed murder trial. Case concerned defence expert evidence as to the effects of anterograde amnesia following heavy alcohol consumption.

R v PK and others 2016 – Junior alone in a large-scale conspiracy to commit Immigration offences – defended an individual alleged to have taken TOEIC language tests to facilitate non-EU nationals’ Home Office applications to remain in the UK.

Serious Sexual Offences

R v L 2019 – Junior alone defending 18 year old man charged with oral rape of a female following a night out in a local nightclub.

R v K 2018 Led Junior defending allegations of historic sexual abuse against children under the age of 13.

R v O 2017 Junior alone defending allegations of historic and recent sexual abuse involving complainants with various mental health disorders and child witnesses.

R v T 2016 – Junior alone defending allegations of arranging to commit child sex offences. Trial halted at half time following a successful submission of no case to answer. Successfully argued that messages sent by the defendant could not prove the necessary intent to the criminal standard, being as consistent with fantasy as intent.

R v K 2016 – Junior alone defending recent allegations of sexually assault of a 7 year old child while in a position of trust over a period of 2 years. Case involved the use of pre-recorded cross examination of the child under s.28 YJCEA 1999 and an intermediary.

R v D 2016 – Junior alone defending historic allegations of rape of his sibling on multiple occasions when both the complainant and the defendant were children.

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