Nicola has been appointed to the Counter-Terrorism specialist panel at Grade 4 (the highest non- Silk grading).
She has previously been led in a terrorism case in which detailed submissions were made as to the various meanings of ‘jihad’ in Islamic teaching and culture, securing a partial acquittal (R v N)
TAB: Serious Sexual Offences:
As a member of the RASSO panel for prosecuting Serious Sexual Offences Nicola has undertaken extensive training in dealing with vulnerable witnesses and has frequently used intermediaries when both prosecuting and defending.
She is authorised to judge such cases when sitting as a Crown Court Recorder and as an advocate often appears against Silks.
R v K:
Nicola represented an international rugby player charged with two ‘strangling’ rapes and assaults. The case attracted significant press attention after it became known that he was a recent student at Princeton University.
R v F:
In December 2020 she was Leading Counsel for the Crown in a case brought consequent to the victim’s right to review, which involved the systematic grooming and sexual exploitation of a very vulnerable young person at a specialist play centre for children with learning difficulties. Previous complaints had been overlooked and Nicola advised on an indictment incorporating charges invoking the protection afforded those without capacity to consent. Complex legal points were argued against a QC for the defence and psychiatric and psychological evidence was adduced to support the prosecution case. She advised on the instruction of a speech and language therapist as an expert witness in addition to assistance at trial from an intermediary. A conviction was secured in this difficult and sensitive case.
In July 2019 she was Leading Counsel for the Crown in the first prosecution of Child Sexual Exploitation within the Orthodox Jewish communities of London and Manchester. The prosecution involved highly sensitive cultural issues and community sensibilities as well as extremely vulnerable complainants (as young as 12) and a wider international paedophile ring and suicide pact aspect. Witnesses were located both in the UK and abroad, and an attempt to pervert the course of justice by indirect intimidation of witnesses was tried alongside the substantive counts. A trial software system was employed for the first time by the Metropolitan Police to search and review the extraordinarily high volume of electronic material seized. Nicola and her junior were involved in the assessment of the ‘robustness’ of the consequent disclosure product.
As Defence counsel she has often been selected to represent young people charged with the most serious sexual offending, including stranger rape of an adult by a 14 year old with learning difficulties, and Incitement (of children) to sexual activity by an immature young adult with multiple vulnerabilities. In the latter case, following a negotiated plea and the adducing of expert medical and psychological evidence, she secured a suspended sentence for her client.
She was also instructed to represent a client charged with a notorious series of ‘stranger’ sexual assaults and attempted rape of young women committed over a year on the campus of Surrey University and linked by forensic evidence found at the scenes (R v D)
Cases frequently involve a cross-jurisdictional element: sex-trafficking to the UK in one case; luring a teenager abroad with the promise of legitimate employment before attempting to pay for sexual services in another (R v McG).
Nicola regularly prosecutes complex cases involving violence against Women and Girls, in particular where the complainant is especially vulnerable . She recently prosecuted a case in which, having met her online, the defendant subjected a young woman who was registered blind to what was described by the trial judge at sentence as a “night of sexual torture and humiliation” involving non-fatal strangulation and rape. (R v CA, Snaresbrook C C, 2021)
She is currently instructed, leading Margia Mostafa, to Prosecute a campaign of 6 stranger rapes, involving the used of knives and a hammer against young women followed from Camden Town tube station and raped on their doorsteps. (Op. Madryn, Wood Green C C, case ongoing)
She is also instructed, leading Oliver Doherty, to defend a foster carer accused of grooming and committing multiple sexual offences against two of his foster daughters and a third complainant. (R v S, Canterbury C C, case ongoing)