Chris Smyth

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Barrister

Chris Smyth has over 30 years’ experience as a criminal advocate, starting as a solicitor and being among the first in the country to qualify as a solicitor advocate. He made full use of his higher rights and developed a reputation for being an effective and determined advocate who was always well prepared.

Since being called to the Bar in 2006, he has been instructed in serious, sensitive and high profile cases; he has defended in attempted murder, multi-handed conspiracy to cause GBH, large scale drug operations and historic sex abuse involving multiple victims and he has been led in multi-handed murder. He also prosecutes and is on the CPS advocate rape panel.

He is able to combine the skills required of both a solicitor and barrister and is known for his practical, flexible and down to earth approach. He is adept at building rapport with clients and has considerable experience of dealing with those who have mental health problems or are otherwise vulnerable. He has embraced digital working and can be relied upon to provide feedback to those instructing.

The main areas of his practice are sex offences, violent offending, drugs offences, fraud, money laundering, offences of dishonesty, perverting the course of justice and confiscation.

He has acted in cases of sexual offending of the most serious kind. He successfully defended a man accused of trafficking women from Poland for prostitution, false imprisonment and multiple rape; he acted for a defendant, by then elderly and infirm, charged with rape and other serious sexual offences against his own children and then grandchildren over 40 years; and he secured the acquittal of a woman charged with serious sexual abuse of her daughter by exposing how the father was exploiting them both.

He has appeared in multi-handed drug conspiracies which have relied on extensive cell site analysis, voluminous telephone data and Mass Spectrometry. He defended one of three men found by police inside an industrial scale cannabis factory housed in sunken lorry containers; his client was acquitted, while the other two men were convicted. He also represented this client when he was acquitted in a subsequent trial of possession of a firearm.

Chris Smyth has prosecuted and defended complex fraud cases. He successfully prosecuted a husband and wife who used a declaration of trust and power of attorney to disguise their dishonesty in transferring substantial equity and re-mortgage monies from elderly relatives. His submission was upheld that it was an abuse of process to prosecute a post office manager charged with large scale fraud relating to discrepancy in takings hidden in weekly balancing where delay had arisen owing to lack of comprehension of the Post Office accounting system.

He was instructed by the CPS in Wales, on recommendation, needing counsel off circuit in view of professional difficulties to prosecute a pervert and perjury where a jury had previously acquitted on money laundering. The defendant had produced false documents and procured untruthful witnesses to account for the money and attempted similar tactics in the second trial but was convicted.

Chris Smyth has now been instructed to deal with the cash forfeiture in the Magistrates Court. He has a particular interest in confiscation proceedings and has defended claims for in excess of 1m and involving complex property and contractual issues. One such was where the defendant sold his property the day before a restraint order was imposed subject to a conditional sale agreement with opaque option to buy back; the court had to determine the extent and value of any interest retained.

As a former duty solicitor, Chris Smyth is familiar with practice and procedure at the police station and has extensive experience of dealing with motoring cases.

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