Circuit: South East
Employed Barrister: Crown Prosecution Service London
Elected as a Barrister Governing Bencher in 2022
PLEASE GIVE DETAILS OF YOUR ORGANISATION AND MAIN PRACTICE AREA(S).
I am an employed Barrister with the Crown Prosecution Service. I prosecute cases involving allegations of Homicide, Gang Violence, Firearms and Drug Conspiracies, often multi defendant and lengthy trials. I have been employed as an advocate with the CPS since 2006 and, prior to that, although I completed pupillage in Chambers, I have practiced in an employed capacity since 1999. Prior to the CPS I defended in criminal cases for some 10 years.
WHY DID YOU WANT TO BECOME A BENCHER?
Since joining Inner in 1995, I have always been impressed by how progressive and supportive the Inn has been. Its commitment to diversity and inclusion is second to none. When it was still relatively rare to see employed counsel practicing in the criminal courts, Inner invited me to speak to prospective barristers about alternative career paths and the employed Bar. Whilst I was already involved in Scholarship interviews, Advocacy Training and outreach programmes, I wanted to become more involved in the everyday running of the Inn and to play a part, however small, in helping to shape the Inn for the future so that it reflects the changing face of the profession. I also wanted others, who might also come from a different practice area or perspective, to be encouraged to become more involved in the Inn’s work.
HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT FINDING THREE BENCHERS TO PROPOSE YOU?
I received some fantastic support and encouragement from a Bencher with whom I had conducted Scholarship interviews. He was really encouraging when I tentatively enquired as to whether he thought I might be a possible candidate. Another of my proposers was a senior member of the Inn’s Advocacy Training Committee and he and my third proposer were both members of the Judiciary whom I had appeared in front of. I am not keen on soliciting support but all of my referees were incredibly positive about their own experiences of being a Bencher and in their encouragement of my application, so this made the process a lot less daunting.
HOW HAD YOU DEMONSTRATED YOUR COMMITMENT TO THE INN BEFORE APPLYING TO BECOME A BENCHER?
I had already spoken at the Inn on several occasions about being an employed barrister and had taken part in several schools and university outreach programmes as well as the mock interview schemes helpfully run by the Inn. I had also been interviewing scholarship applicants since early on in my career and had found the process so inspiring; being able to assist those who have the ability but perhaps not the means to enter the profession is so important and rewarding. In the year before I applied to become a Bencher, I had also become an advocacy trainer for the Inn. Being a part of the Inn had been an incredibly important part of my career for a long time by the time I decided to apply.
IN ONE SENTENCE, WHY DO YOU BELIEVE BEING A BENCHER IS REWARDING?
For two reasons; first to give back to the Inn when it has been such a supportive and progressive influence in my own career. Being a Bencher allows me to contribute to the progression of new practitioners, regardless of whether they are employed or self employed and to further the Inn’s commitment to a diverse profession. Second, to maybe inspire others who might think becoming a Bencher is not for them, for whatever reason that might be, and to show that the Inn is very much committed to a “One Bar” philosophy. More than one sentence but it is difficult to put so much positivity into one sentence!
NAME SOMETHING ABOUT THE INN YOU HAVE LEARNED SINCE BECOMING A BENCHER?
Just how much work goes into running the Inn and making it work so efficiently. It really is a Herculean task. Not just from the Bencher perspective but the tremendous amount of work, organisation and administration that is done by all of the staff employed by the Inn. The tireless effort is quite staggering and is underpinned by a real sense of doing the right thing for the profession, from students right through to senior members of the Bar. Everyone pulls together to ensure that Inner remains at the forefront of training and collegiate support.