John Kearney

Instructed as leading junior and junior counsel for the defence in all areas of crime at first instance and appellate level, including terrorism, murder, drug trafficking, fraud, money laundering, sex trafficking, serious offences of violence and sexual abuse. He has successfully appeared in the Court of Appeal on specific areas of law relating to disclosure, use of informants, ‘no comment’ interviews and perverting the course of justice.

John has a reputation for hard work and a complete application to cases in which instructed. He has an excellent knowledge of police procedure and excels in such cases. He has a background suited to serious fraud cases and terrorism and these specialities have developed into his main areas of work.

Notable cases


R v Morgan & others – Represented the main defendant in a three-handed murder by shooting and associated firearms charges.

R v Charlery – Leading junior in a manslaughter by defenestration allegation brought by the prosecution after conclusions drawn from the coroner’s inquest. Defendant acquitted after trial.

R v Samuel – Shotgun murder in the Midlands. Defendant extradited from Nigeria

R v Lynch & others – A multi-handed murder arising out of violence between two large gangs in the Luton area and a death by stabbing.

R v Fury & others – Attempted murder, armed robbery and cocaine drugs conspiracy case. Represented one of six defendants


R v Brooks & others – Leading junior representing one of four defendants charged with the largest Department of Work & Pensions fraud conspiracy on record. Acquitted after trial.

R v Spiropoulos & others – Leading junior representing a solicitor in a multi-handed housing property fraud conspiracy involving the purchase and sales of a number of properties to the value of some £2 million.

R v Dembacaj & others – Successfully represented one of seven defendants charged with a conspiracy to commit Proceeds of Crime Act offences.

R v Kremlacek & others – A multi-handed case of money laundering by Czech nationals.

R v Lycewycz & others – Succesfully defended one of six defendants indicted on a large-scale, trading standards conspiracy to defraud.

R v Dos Santos & others. Multi-handed fraud against the banking institutions. Acquitted after a two-month trial.

R v Nadim Khan & others. Further, multi handed trading standards fraud. Acquitted after a six week trial.


John is a specialist in relation to offences related to terrorism. He has previously represented the Islamic preacher Abu Hamsa, prior to his extradiction to the USA and also successfully represented Abdelbarry Abubaker, prior to him being extradited to the USA and prosecuted for international terrorism offences.

John has also been instructed in relation to a number of offences in relation to terrorism offences associated to Syria, Iraq and the Phillipines.

R v Alwerfeli – Successfully represented one of the nine defendants charged with conspiracy to commit murder and acts of terrorism in connection with the ‘ricin’ poison plot which received considerable media attention.


R v McDonald & others – successfully represented the main defendant in a case concerning the largest seizure of drugs on record by the West Midlands police. Over £9 million worth of drugs.

R v Johnson & others – Leading junior in a multi-handed heroin and cocaine conspiracy. This was a six month police operation which was undermined after an extensive analysis of the surveillance evidence and cross-examination of police officers involved resulting in the defendant’s acquittal.

R v Avazi & others – Leading junior in a multi-handed importation of 150 kilos of opium into the United Kingdom from Iran.

R v Droy & others – Acted in a multi-handed conspiracy to supply vast quantities of a variety of class ‘A’ drugs.

R v Demerkaya & others – A conspiracy to supply large quantities of heroin involving the deployment of undercover police in an operation targeting the drug trade from Turkey to the United Kingdom

R v Raza & others – A three-handed conspiracy to supply heroin stretching the length of England, the central issue of which was the entrapment by undercover police in a long-term operation. Case dropped after applications made by John for a specific item of disclosure.

Serious Violence

R v Spooner & others – Acted for the first defendant indicted in a multi-handed case involving drugs conspiracy, kidnap, torture and firearms offences.

R v May & others – Acted for one of the defendants in a multi-handed torture case facing allegations of blackmail, kidnap and serious violence.

R v Collins & others – Successfully represented one of three defendants facing cash-in-transit robbery charges. Conviction overturned and acquitted at re-trial.

R v Dennis & others – Leading junior representing the principal defendant in a multi-handed trial of the gang associates of those convicted of the murder of a solicitor in North London. This defendant faced several individual counts of serious violence and a conspiracy alleging commission of numerous robberies on the tube network.

R v McClelland & others – Represented four defendants charged with a series of armed robberies at commercial premises across the Midlands. A central issue in the case was the admissibility of covertly recorded conversations in the police cells.


R v Olali – Conviction for possession a firearm, silencer and ammunition overturned due to improper direction to the jury regarding scientific evidence and use to be made of defence case statement.

Sexual Offences

R v Atesogullari & others – Acted for one of a number of defendants charged with offences of ‘sex trafficking’ from Eastern Europe by an organised, international gang.

R v Drew & others – Represented one of the family which ran the ‘Silk & Lace’ escort agency, regarded as the largest escort agency in the country, facing charges relating to the control of prostitution.

John is an experienced advocate who has successfully represented a large number of persons charged with allegations of this nature.

Others of Note

R v Tomas – A human trafficking from the Netherlands case with foreign interception of telephone communication evidence.

R v Williams & others – Represented one of twenty-five defendants charged with serious public order at a football stadium.

R v Goss & others – Conviction overturned on the grounds of improper direction given regarding a ‘no comment’ interview.


Football, golf, music, film and travel.

Professional memberships
  • Criminal Bar Association

Furnival Chambers