MEMORABLE FIRST MURDER CASE
Michael’s first ever case as a Leading Counsel was defending a murder which was a front-page dismemberment trial at the Old Bailey, back in 1985. Nicholas Boyce had killed his wife, Christabel, and chopped and cooked her remains before disposing of her head in the River Thames at Hungerford Bridge. The defence sought a provocation manslaughter verdict. He was acquitted of murder after a jury retirement of less than an hour.
IMPRESSIVE RECENT MURDER CASE
Typical of the kind of impressive results Michael gets as one of the UK’s best murder barristers and QC’s, this case saw the acquittal against DNA odds of 1,000 billion to one!
In 2005 the body of a sex worker was found in the undergrowth of woods in the Red Light district of Liverpool. She had been viciously beaten and strangled. The investigation was of great local notoriety, with a serial confessor once charged and then silence for the following years until a Cold Case review.
A match was now made between DNA recovered from her blouse where it had been ripped open, a bandage on her ankles where she had been dragged into the woods, and crucially on her fingernails.
A “scientific breakthrough” allowed the prosecution to present the overwhelming probability that the traces came from David Butler. The scientific evidence was heard over 5 days with Michael challenging the validity of the Professor’s model and, in any event, relying on innocent transfer to explain the findings if they were accurate.
The sex worker had boasted in the weeks before of stealing £300 from a taxi driver, and the prosecution claimed that the Defendant, a cabbie, had driven his distinctive striped taxi in the area that evening as seen on CCTV. By the close of the evidence the Defence secured an admission that he was not the driver at the time.
FURTHER MURDER CASES SUCCESSES
March 2013 – not guilty verdicts on both murder and manslaughter
Michael acted for MM, as Arsenal fan who travelled to Liverpool for the Anfield match the next day. At a nightclub in the early hours there was a running argument between a number of Arsenal fans and another London man. MM’s defence was that he acted only as a “peacemaker”. The victim was punched to the floor then kicked to death, but MM had intervened only to try and stop the fight. Michael had to deal with further prosecution evidence of MM filmed in the back of a taxi straight afterwards, where he appeared to be gloating over the incident. MM was speedily acquitted of both murder and manslaughter.
November 2012 – shooting revenge killing
Murder acquittal. 1st defendant of 9 accused of a shooting revenge killing. After 6 week of evidence, Michael wins a legal argument and the Jury acquit.
Tony Martin Appeal – homeowner property rights
One of Michael’s most famous murder cases was that of the Norfolk homeowner who shot a burglar in the back. Michael became involved after the jury verdict that he was guilty of murder and persuaded the Court of Appeal to quash the conviction. Read more about it here
Jennings Murder – jury refusal to convict
This is the only ever trial where a jury refused to convict after a Defendant changed his plea to guilty in front of them. A man charged with murder was told by the trial Judge that he had no defence to manslaughter. The jury who had seen Michael cross-examine the important witnesses disobeyed all instructions from the court and repeatedly announced he was “not guilty” regardless of the law and procedure.
OTHER NOTABLE MURDER ACQUITTALS
Other notable murder trial results include the successful acquittal of a Defendant charged with the execution of a jeweller during an armed robbery, and the acquittal of a 13 year old girl charged with murdering her baby sibling twins and attempting to murder her mother . She had written in her diary “mummy must die tonight”.
Michael also achieved the acquittal of a man who fought back and stabbed his racist attackers, and the abused step-son who killed his tormentor.
He also successfully defended a drug dealer who preferred not to be robbed of his stock in trade.
Michael acted for the first defendant of 9 accused of a revenge killing after his client had a falling-out with his employer. GR was alleged to have recruited a gang who, armed with guns and knives, burst into the employer’s home and attacked him and others there. After Michael cross-examined the main witness, a long legal argument followed and led the Prosecution to offer no further evidence and GR was acquitted.