Mandisa Knights

Call: 2013

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Areas of Expertise

Serious Crime

Mandisa has developed a strong criminal practice primarily defending on a broad range of matters including violence, dishonesty, drugs, possession of weapons, public disorder and sexual offences. She also receives private instructions.

Mandisa has been described as an “extremely able and skilled advocate who is a formidable opponent”. Her passion for justice and extensive knowledge of case law enable her to expertly structure her arguments and persuasively deliver her points. This has ultimately led to a reputation for being a barrister who fearlessly advocates for her clients. A case involving a knife-point robbery expected to last 2 days was dismissed after 3 hours following a submission of No Case to Answer when she successfully challenged the Crown’s identification evidence.

Those who instruct her comment on only ever receiving positive feedback. Consequently, she is often personally requested for both Magistrates and Crown Court representation. Her open minded and non-judgemental approach to cases mean that clients immediately warm to her. Mandisa shows an ability to make people feel at ease during the most challenging of times.

She is known for fighting difficult cases whilst maintaining a courtroom manner that has earned her the respect of both judges and opponents alike. She has the ability to look outside of the box and find angles to a case that may previously have been overlooked. Her relatable advocacy style allows her to effectively connect with juries and benches. These attributes combined, frequently lead to obtaining favourable outcomes, even in unlikely circumstances or where the evidence against the defendant has appeared overwhelming. This was recently demonstrated when Mandisa argued that the complainant consented to an assault and a verdict of Not Guilty was returned within 15 minutes.

“As an instructing solicitor I feel confident in Mandisa’s representation and to me that is extremely important. I select barristers who I trust will put up a fight for our clients, those who work hard, are knowledgeable, confident and approachable. Mandisa incorporates all of these qualities.”

 Mandisa was appointed to the CPS panel of advocates at grade 1 in 2015.


Notable Cases

R v G (Inner London Crown Court) 2017

Secured an acquittal on both counts of Threats to Kill and Affray involving a client suffering from mental health problems where the evidence against him appeared overwhelming. Trial judge commented that Mandisa “hit exactly the right point with the jury to secure the acquittal which ultimately resulted.”

R v L (Blackfriars Crown Court) 2017

A Guilty Plea was entered on the day of trial for an offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Mandisa secured a conditional discharge with no costs awarded; a considerably lesser sentence than his co-defendant who had pleaded guilty at a much earlier stage.

R v S (City of London Magistrates Court) 2017

Thirteenth offence for possession of cannabis. S had previously received three prior sentences of community penalties where the last order had been breached. The Bench considered a custodial sentence before Mandisa’s submissions led to a conditional discharge being passed.

R v M (Central Criminal Court) 2016

Hung Jury for an offence of Burglary. Mandisa achieved the most unlikely outcome where a jury could not find a verdict in a trial at the Old Bailey that posed immeasurable difficulties from the outset. M had 46 previous convictions for burglary and throughout the course of proceedings made an allegation of sexual assault against the complainant.

R v A and another (Camberwell Green Youth Court) 2015

Youth charged with two offences of attempted GBH with intent and possession of an offensive weapon. Acquitted of all three charges following a two day trial.


Other Experience

Prior to coming to the Bar, Mandisa co-founded SoA Leadership Charity, developing future leaders in Sierra Leone supporting personal development skills, public speaking and advocacy. The Honourable Society of Inner Temple awarded the Joseph Priestley Scholarship to aid the charity’s endeavours. Mandisa and her co-workers facilitated a trip to the United Nations supported Special Courts, Sierra Leone as part of their Peace and Conflict initiative. This allowed the young leaders to interact with Judges and barristers to better understand the role international law played in the aftermath of the civil war. SoA Leadership continues to strive from strength to strength.

Mandisa also spent some months in Uganda conducting a research project on the International Criminal Courts whilst working in Kampala Associated Advocates.

Closer to home, she is keenly involved within her community most recently participated as a panellist in an event in London focused on issues affecting Black Britain, “Black Lives and More”.


Education and Awards

City Law School, BPTC (Very Competent)

LLB Hons. Law and Human Rights, University of Essex (Upper Second Class)

Joseph Priestly Scholarship (Inner Temple)

Southend and District Law Society Prize (University of Essex)