Richard Hearnden

Call: 1998

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Lockdown in 2020 meant Richard Hearnden spent a lot of time working from home and getting to grips with video hearings to the Crown Court. Since the resumption of jury trials last summer, Richard has been mercifully busy. The recommencement of trials have seen him act as leading counsel for the Crown in a murder, prosecuting offences of serious child sexual abuse, and grave gang-related violence, securing convictions in all cases. He also secured the acquittal, when acting for the defence, of a school caretaker accused of rape.

Before the pandemic, Richard secured the conviction of a choral conductor for horrific sexual offences against a child, in a particularly sensitive case.

Richard has had published articles in the legal press: Disclosure in Criminal Cases: it’s not Rocket Science (March 2018) and Live Links in the Crown Court (January 2017) and appeared in five cases cited in the 2021 edition of Archbold. Richard attended the CPS RASSO refresher course in October 2019.

Also in 2019, Richard led for the Crown in a major seven-handed trial of outlaw bikers charged with inflicting life-changing injuries on members of a rival motorcycle gang, as well appearing in serious fraud, historic sexual abuse and firearms cases.

Previously, Richard he has been instructed in child cruelty, organised crime, serious sexual offending and murder, which he prosecuted without a leader or a junior in May 2017. Since then he has appeared with a junior in two trials concerning substantial visa and immigration frauds and in multi-handed cases prosecuting serious organised drugs crime.

In 2016 Richard secured the convictions for bribery and corruption of two men concerned in the substantial embezzlement of public funds from the fire service, a father who sadistically treated his own children in the 1970s and 1980s and a number of men charged with raping strangers, the mentally ill and children.

In 2015 Richard acted as leading counsel for the Crown in the prosecution of ten defendants charged with fraud and money laundering the proceeds of a £3 million fraud on a well-known pay-day lender.

Earlier in that year, Richard appeared for the Crown in cases as diverse as breaching the licensing rules on the export of weapons grade graphite, carrying a loaded firearm on a transatlantic aeroplane and the trial of a dangerous serial rapist.

Richard has represented families, medical professionals and others in numerous coroner’s inquests before a coroner alone and before a jury. In 2012 he was instructed and appeared in a long death in custody jury inquest. Richard has also lectured on the subject to solicitors.

In previous years, Richard acted as leading prosecuting counsel in the trial of a cold case rape committed 25 years earlier by an infamous serial rapist. Also that year, Richard secured the convictions of a gang of four who had defrauded a leading insurance company of hundreds of thousands of pounds in a cheque fraud; the account manager and his accomplice from the private client division of a major clearing bank; two fraudsters engaged in a sophisticated travellers’ cheque scam and four foreign nationals engaged in a conspiracy to steal and launder the proceeds.

In 2011, Richard was instructed as junior counsel in the defence of a police officer accused of fraud and misconduct arising from the alleged embezzlement of a multi-million pound recruitment budget, and was instructed as leading counsel in the defence of a company director being prosecuted for breaches of environmental protection and international law.

Richard has advised prisoners seeking to appeal convictions or sentences. He has succeeded in overturning the conviction of a man accused of raping and beating his wife.

He was, in 2007, seconded to the Attorney General of the Cayman Islands for a time.

Richard teaches advocacy regularly to the pupils of Gray’s Inn, has given lectures to solicitors on indeterminate sentences, police powers and witness immunity and protection. He is a skilled lawyer who has appeared in eight reported cases, five of which are cited in the 2019 edition of Archbold. They are:

R v Mahboob [2014] 2 Cr. App. R. (S) 67 The Court of Appeal gave guidance on how a judge should spell out when to withhold a discount for a prompt plea of guilty.

R v M (A) [2013] 1 W.L.R. 958, [2013] 1 Cr. App. R. 5, [2013] Crim LR 327 Lord Judge CJ gave the judgment of the Court of Appeal about the stage of a trial when an objection to a jury irregularity must be made.

R v D (P) [2012] 1 Cr. App. R. 33
The Court of Appeal ruled that the failure of the trial judge to give a good character direction in circumstances where he had ruled he would do so, despite the accused having admitted criminal behaviour, made the conviction for rape unsafe. The dicta of the Court were queried by a full court presided over by the Lord Chief Justice, sitting with the President and Vice President of the Queen’s Bench Division in the later case of R v Hunter & Others [2015] 2 Cr. App. R. 9.

R v A (Ashraf) (2011) 175 J.P. 437
A Court of Appeal case where the necessity to give to a jury certain legal directions regarding hearsay evidence arising from an allegation of rape was decided and subsequently, coincidentally, referred to by Court of Appeal, with approval, in R v Hunter & Others [2015] 2 Cr. App. R. 9.

R v Golding [2007] 1 Cr. App. R. (S) 79, [2006] M.H.L.R. 272, [2007] Crim. L.R. 170
The Court of Appeal had to decide on the criteria needed to be proved before a judge can sentence an offender to a Restriction Order under the Mental Health Act 1983.

R (on the application of H) v Balham Youth Court (2004) 168 J.P. 177
A judicial review concerned with the circumstances in which a youth court is entitled to commit a juvenile to the Crown Court for trial.

R v Matthews [2004] Q.B. 690, [2003] 3 W.L.R. 693, [2003] 2 Cr. App. R. 19, The Times 28.4.03
The Court of Appeal ruled on whether aspects of the law against carrying a knife or other sharp implement in public breached the European Convention on Human Rights.

T v DPP [2003] Crim L.R. 622
Where the High Court (Administrative Court) defined the term “actual bodily harm” as including momentary loss of consciousness.