Joanna Staples

Call: 2003

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Throughout Joanna’s career she has “provided her clients with a first-class service” and is “meticulous in the detail of the cases in which she in instructed”. 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.

Since joining chambers, Joanna has been instructed in cases of homicide, rape, aggravated burglary, child cruelty, possession of firearms with intent to endanger life and robbery. An experienced criminal practitioner, Joanna has a particular understanding of those cases involving vulnerable defendants and witnesses, whether due to age, mental illness or other personal difficulty.

Recently, Joanna was instructed as led Junior in the homicide trial of a “botched exorcism” at the Central Criminal Court which resulted in acquittal (see notable cases below). Other recent successful cases include the acquittals of a masseur charged with sexual assault of a client, a young man charged with the rape of a young woman he had just met in a nightclub, a man charged with child cruelty and assault of his partner’s child who suffered unexplained injuries whilst in his care, a man charged with inciting sexual activity with a child, and a man charged with s.20 GBH following an incident during a football match.

She is currently instructed in a number of complex and serious cases due to be heard, both as led Junior – in the trial of two youths charged with the murder due to be tried in 2020; and as junior alone in the trial of four defendants charged with conspiracy to rob a large amount of high value jewellery; in the trial of Operation Concho, a large scale Class A test purchase operation and in the trial of two men charged with the rape of a person said to have been held in servitude.

Joanna is also on the Grade 3 advocates’ panel and has acted as led junior on a number of multi-handed conspiracy cases. She is also regularly instructed by Local Authorities to prosecute offences under the Fraud, Town and Country Planning and Housing Acts.

Serious Violence and Drug related cases

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 defendant charged with a joint enterprise offences of violent disorder and s.18 GBH (stabbing).

R v M and others 2018 – Junior alone defending allegations of possession of 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.

R v O and others 2015 – Junior alone in 5 handed alleged conspiracy concerning human trafficking, false imprisonment and assault. Undermining the prosecution case involved an in-depth analysis and understanding of a large amount of cell-site evidence and GPS mobile phone data.

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.

Complex cases involving mentally disordered defendants

R v H 2019 – Junior alone defending allegation of ABH against the defendant’s family member. Defendant found unfit to plead before actus reus heaing but fit to plead prior to sentence. Sentence imposed that allowed for immediate release.

R v TM 2017 – Junior alone defending allegations of False Imprisonment and ABH. Defendant received a Supervision Order following the jury returning the special verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

R v MP 2015 – Junior alone representing the defendant in his absence at a trial of the facts following a finding that the defendant was unfit to stand trial. Following cross examination of the witnesses on the credibility of their evidence the defendant was found not to have committed some of the acts with which he was charged.