Nicholas Mather

Nick Mather has a practice which focuses on serious crime and the interface between civil and criminal law, with a particular focus on police investigatory powers, inquests, the proceeds of crime and regulation and compliance.

Serious crime

Nick has considerable experience in all areas of serious crime leading junior and junior. His specialises in fraud and white collar crime, bribery, drugs offences, and serious violence, in cases involving multiple defendants, large volumes of electronic evidence and long-running high profile investigations. Nick prosecutes and defends in cases involving the NCA (formerly SOCA), RSPCA, DEFRA and the SFO as well as the CPS at both branch and special casework levels.

He has been a  Grade 4 prosecutor on the CPS advocate panel since its inception, and a member of the Serious and Organised CrimeFraud and Proceeds of Crime specialist panels.

Fraud work includes substantial frauds committed against financial institutions in the UK and beyond, often with an “insider” element as well as revenue fraud, advance fee fraud and frauds committed by solicitors, bankers and accountants. He undertakes VHCC and private client work.

Nick has particular experience of immigration fraud, including acting as leading and led junior in a serious of trials arising out of Operation Berg Meeker a joint Home Office / HMRC operation involving over ten defendants in what is thought to be the largest fraud of its type involving the points based immigration system and PAYE fraud. He was instructed as both Leading Junior and 1st Junior in trials that in total ran for eight months. The operation involved vast amounts of evidence, requiring specialised knowledge of the immigration system, involved numerous government bodies and the use of iPads for presentation of evidence to the juries.

He has appeared in a number of significant cases involving the joint Metropolitan Police / UK Border Agency / Home Office Operation Swale. He led for the Crown in the cases of Koka and others (one of the largest immigration frauds to be prosecuted in the UK), led in the case of Sorthia and others (substantial fraud against the Home Secretary involving a manipulation of the HSMP scheme), led in the case of Shah and others (fraud involving educational qualifications and immigration applications). He led for the Crown in the case of Souleiman and others, a fraud involving the organization of sham marriages where the Defendants were the senior partner of a firm of solicitors and the entirety of the firm’s immigration department. He has recently led for the prosecution in the seven handed case of R v Sultan and others (Operation Tobin) a trial involving allegations against immigration advisors and accountants involved in a commercial scale fraud against the immigration system.

Nick has been involved in a number of prosecutions involving gambling fraud, and also acts in relation to licensing and regulatory matters. He has lectured in this field to the gambling industry and law enforcement. He has prosecuted numerous cases involving “cheat” teams, whether using complex technology or sleight of hand. Cases include those where “insider” elements appear, and those where computer systems have been “hacked”.

Nick has been instructed as leading junior and sole junior in cases involving bribery, including R v Swaibu an allegation involving football match fixing orchestrated by an international gambling syndicate. Nick has also provided advice in cases concerning bribery offences involving mutli-national companies.

He is regularly instructed in cases that involve money laundering, often with an international element and in particular those involving the National Crime Agency. He was instructed in Operation Heterodon, an international money laundering prosecution involving sums in the hundreds of millions.

Other fraud cases have included (as a junior) a vast fraud involving the sale of battery eggs labelled as free range eggs, the prosecution of a senior NHS consultant (as a junior) for a fraud involving artificial insemination. He prosecuted what is thought to be the largest example of internet romance fraud, arising out of Operation Podium (the London 2012 Olympics team).

Away from fraud Nick’s cases have included appearing as a junior in the first conviction for GBH by reckless infection with HIV (R v Dica), as well as cases arising out of Operation Manzana, involving child prostitution and the supply of drugs, and prosecutions resulting from Operation Aciento, which concerned the large-scale supply of class A drugs and firearms in West End nightclubs. He regularly deals with cases involving the importation of Class A drugs into the UK, including those where covert resources have been employed. Nick acted as leading junior in one of the first prosecutions for the importation and supply of so called “legal highs”.

Nick has been instructed in a number of cases involving the importation and supply of firearms, and is currently instructed to prosecute a series of trials involving a substantial OCG importing and distributing firearms within the UK.

Most of Nick’s cases involve the managing substantial volumes of evidence and disclosure often in electronic form beginning when he led the prosecution team in cases arising out of the May Day Riots in Central London in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

A particular area of expertise is handling cases involving sensitive public interest immunity and complex third party disclosure issues, such as informant evidence, covert surveillance and the interception of communications. He is adept at handling situations requiring both technical excellence and discretion, which has also given him a growing reputation for matters involving sensitive media or political issues, including those with “celebrities” or serving police officers as defendants. He has been instructed in cases under section 74 of SOCPA (re-sentencing of informants).

Police powers

Nick advises police, law enforcement agencies, businesses and individuals in relation to police powers, for example in relation to Warrants and Production Orders issued under PACE, POCA and terrorism legislation. Particular areas include the lawfulness of warrants, excluded and special procedure material and the execution of such orders. He regularly advises on issues of Legal Professional Privilege and other confidential material. He acts as independent counsel during the course of police searches and sifting and is accustomed to reviewing substantial volumes of complex material. He provides pro-active advice during the course of police investigations and is used to providing such advice in “real time” situations. He advises in relation to complex issues of PII and disclosure, often at a pre-action or investigative stage.

Inquests & inquiries

Nick is experienced at representing interested persons at inquests in the Coroner’s Court – whether families, insurers, companies or public authorities and is sensitive to the particular demands of such cases. He has a particular interest in cases which involve breaches of public duties or statutory requirements (for example deaths in custody, health and safety, police powers), whether involving the police or other public or quasi-public authorities. He frequently undertakes inquests in which Article 2 is engaged.

Recent instructions include the representation of the Gold Commander of the operation which led to the fatal shooting of Mark Saunders by the Metropolitan Police, deaths in prison custody and the representation of members of the emergency services.

Civil & criminal practice, proceeds of crime

Nick is regularly instructed in cases which involve a combination of civil and criminal law: advising and appearing at first instance and on appeal in courts as diverse as the Chancery and Family Divisions of the High Court, the Administrative Court as well as the Crown and Magistrates’ Court.

Recent cases have involved civil freezing orders, the interaction between the Proceeds of Crime Act and the law of foreign jurisdictions, and interventions on behalf of the Crown in ancillary relief cases.

Nick conducted the majority of forfeiture hearings generated by Operation Rize, and is presently instructed in the more complex and high value cash detention and forfeiture cases.

Regulation & compliance

Nick undertakes health and safety, consumer protection and medicines regulatory work, and is regularly instructed to advise in both contentious and non-contentious cases. He has been instructed in cases involving sports law, and has a special interest in horseracing and gambling matters.

Film, television, & the media

Nick is an experienced adviser to the media industry. He specialises in providing advice and support to film and television companies who are producing documentaries and dramas with a partial or substantial legal element. He has worked for independent production companies as well as both the BBC and ITV. He provides on-set advice to directors, cast and crew as and when required and is used to working within the confines of a tight production schedule. He provides pre-production advice to costume, art and design departments as well as script advice.

Recent work has included BAFTA award winning “Criminal Justice 2” for BBC1 (2009), “Silk” for BBC1 (2011 and 2012) “The Jury 2” for ITV (Autumn 2011), and Downton Abbey (ITV, Christmas Day 2011).

Notable cases

R v Koka and 6 others (Operation Gilberton) Substantial immigration fraud. Leading junior for prosecution at Isleworth Crown Court.

R v Mohammed Dica (First conviction for GBH by reckless infection with HIV)
[Inner London Crown Court, Court of Appeal (2004) QB 1257), Central Criminal Court, Court of Appeal (2) [Times, September 7 2005]. Junior for Defence.

Chaney v Capper and The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2010] EWHC 1704 (Ch): Chancery Division appeal in relation to abuse of process involved in bringing claim for relief in High Court in relation to cash detained under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Inquest touching on the death of Mark Saunders: Counsel instructed by Gold Commander in charge of police operation that led to fatal shooting.

Cannadine and Others v DPP [2007] EWHC (Admin): enforcement of speed limit on Tower Bridge.

Operation Manzana: child prostitution and drugs supply.

Operation Rize: vast safety deposit raid and cash seizure by Metropolitan Police

R v Dean Williams (murder: domestic violence) [Maidstone Crown Court]
Leave to appeal granted in relation to admission of evidence of previous incidents of stangulation. Junior for Defence.

R v Keesoondoyal and James (£1.5million fraud by accountant working for major Plc) [Cardiff Crown Court] Junior for Defence.

Operation Aciento: prosecutions resulting from large scale supply of Class A drugs and firearms in West End nightclubs (Metropolitan Police Clubs and Vice Squad). Prosecution Counsel.

R v C and 3 others: Kidnapping and torture of 17 year old

Counsel for the Crown in all cases arising from the May Day 2001, 2002 and 2003 disorder in Central London, including acting as junior in substantial case involving the lawfulness of police operational decisions in 2001. [Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court].

Junior counsel in R v P (J) involving historic allegations of systematic child abuse by family friend. [Isleworth Crown Court]. Junior for Defence.

Junior counsel in R v Ogede: drug trafficking by airline pilot. [Guildford Crown Court] Junior for Defence.

R v Varbanov and Kumanov (hi-tech cash machine fraud) [Middlesex Crown Court] Junior for Defence.

R v Milton McLymont (large volume passport fraud) [Middlesex Crown Court] Prosecution Counsel.

R v Lovell and Graham (Possession of firearms with intent). Junior Counsel for defendant in case involving fatal police shooting.

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