Joanna Staples

Call: 2003

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

She is considered by those who instruct her to “go above and beyond” in order to “provide her clients with a first-class service”. She is “meticulous in the detail of the cases in which she in instructed” and this approach has led to her receiving repeat instructions by professional and lay clients alike.

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 on the Grade 3 advocates’ panel and has prosecuted a number of multi-handed cases including conspiracies to commit serious violent and financial offences.

Examples of work undertaken in recent years: Joanna has been instructed as junior counsel in a baby shaking case, 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, a large scale fraud perpetrated across multiple European jurisdictions. She has been instructed alone in a conspiracy to rob £4.1 million pounds worth of jewellery, and a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, which included charges of the rape of a woman said to have been held in modern servitude.

Serious Violence and Drug related cases

R v TR and DH 2022 – Led junior prosecuting parents charged with causing or allowing serious injury to an 11 week old baby left with life-changing injuries caused by shaking. Involved complex expert evidence as to the causation of brain haemorrhages and bone fractures.

R v RA and others 2020-21 – Led junior defending a 16 year old 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 BS 2021 – Young man (13 at time) charged with the rape of 8 year old stepbrother.

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 two children under the age of 13. Case involved a paedophile network and child exploitation.

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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