Nicholas qualified as a Barrister at the Inns of Court School of Law, London in 2001. From there he worked for a prominent London Firm supervising a team of lawyers dealing with serious crime and complex fraud cases. Whilst in London he also qualified as a solicitor and a Higher Rights Advocate. He moved to Bath in 2011 and has become a familiar face on the Western Circuit.
Nicholas’ practice is diverse but mainly focuses on serious sexual or violent offenders. He is a Crown Court trial advocate who has appeared in the Court of Appeal on a number of occasions and has experience in conducting Judicial Review Proceedings in the High Court.
He also specialises in issues surrounding police misconduct, the revocation of unlawfully administered police cautions, firearms offences, firearms licensing procedure and firearms licensing appeals.
“In my view client care is everything. It is a natural skill to sit down with someone without prejudging them; to listen to them carefully, to use simple language and explain the legal process and possible outcomes. Client’s become highly reliant upon your advice; they need to be confident in you and your abilities. There is so much at stake: injustice, sentences of imprisonment, loss of work, accommodation, respect of family and peers, publicity and so on. You cannot underestimate the responsibilities in such a role. You start by listening.”
Although predominantly instructed on a private basis Nicholas occaisionally accepts legally aided cases from defendant’s charged with serious offences, offences where there is clear injustice or vulnerable/disadvantaged clients.
“When I moved from London to Bath I thought I might end up dealing with less interesting cases. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. The variety of cases I deal with is incredible. One day I might be involved in sentencing a rape case at Bristol Crown Court, the next day I will be at the police station dealing with a student who is covered in bruises and can’t remember what happened. I couldn’t ask for a more diverse and challenging case load.”
Nicholas is a member of the Law Society, is Police Station Accredited, Criminal Litigation Accredited and Criminal Advocacy Accredited.
Prior to entering law he studied geology at Kingston University and worked as an engineering geologist and consultant dealing with contaminated land, landslip, collapsed mine workings and geotechnical design.
The Criminal & Motoring team were recognised in the 2017 edition of The Legal 500, the UK's leading guide to law. They said:
The ‘committed and hard-working’ team of lawyers attract praise for having ‘a wealth of experience in the area of criminal defence law’.
The team are also noted in the well respected Chambers & Partners Guide ranking in the top tier.
Despite what others say Nicholas is an outstanding cook currently specialising in Japanese style food. He is an avid reader of good quality (and science) fiction. He has been known to suffer periods of physical exercise by swimming and climbing mountains (Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis and Snowdonia in 2015). He is also a keen motorcyclist having covered around 2500 miles in 2015 riding through France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Holland with a tent strapped to his 750cc.
Areas of Expertise
- Crown Court Trials
- Serious Fraud
- Historical sexual offences and images cases
- Firearms offences and licensing
- Revocation of cautions
- Revocation/amendment of court orders
Recent Notable Cases
June 2019 Bristol Crown Court: defendant faced a one week trial following an allegation of rape. Defence experts instructed to consider DNA evidence and to provide a psychological report for the defendant who had been profoundly affected by the allegations. After an hours deliberation the jury returned with an unanimous acquittal.
May 2019 Bristol Crown Court: sentence for Sexual Communication and attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity. Undercover police officer case. Crown had charged an attempt under s.8 Sexual offences Act 2003 but were persuaded that s.10 was appropriate (i.e. that the child was under 16 as opposed to 13). Suspended sentence 20 weeks.
Apr 2019 The Queen (on the application of D) v. The Director of Public Prosecutions, judicial review of Crown’s decision to prosecute a child for the making of indecent images where a Youth Conditional Caution was otherwise appropriate.
Feb 2019 Durham Crown Court. S acquitted of 3 charges regarding AB and C images. Forensic evidence revealed the images were found within unallocated clusters on the defendant’s devices and there was insufficient evidence that they had been created by a deliberate and intentional act by the defendant.
Jan 2019 L and his wife’s marriage had broken down irretrievably. Both had remained in the same home months after in an effort to resolve issues of finances and future child contact. The environment at home was difficult for both parties and the children who witnessed ongoing parental alienation. One of the children indicated that the father had bitten her and the matter was referred to the police. Despite our efforts to persuade the Crown that there was insufficient evidence or the evidence they did have was not credible the matter went to court. Given the age of the children a specialist intermediary was required to assist the children and a ground rules hearing was listed to ensure that they were dealt with as carefully as possible. Fortunately an application to dismiss the case was successful.
Nov 2018 A tip off to the police resulted in a firearms search of defendant’s property and location of a taser torch which is both a prohibited and disguised weapon under the Firearms Act 1968. Such firearms result in the court applying the statutory minimum sentence of 5 years. Defendant stated he had found the weapon on his premises after someone had left it there. He had never taken it out in public and was not aware that it was prohibited. A basis of plea was submitted but rejected by the Crown. Matter was listed for a trial of issue and the Learned Judge accepted much of what the defendant had asserted. During sentence the Learned Judge was persuaded that exceptional circumstances applied and the defendant avoided the 5 year minimum term.
2017 Represented four students accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm who claimed they were acting in self-defence against a male with a known history of violent offending. All were acquitted.
2018 Representing an elderly man who threatened the occupants of a car he believed had clipped his car and failed to stop. Whilst photographs showed him in possession of a long length of wood possibly a baseball bat or similar he was acquitted of affray.
Operation Hydra (Feb 2017) Bristol Crown Court. Representing 13 defendants at Bristol Crown Court charged with supplying Class A drugs in Bath during a large scale undercover police operation. County lines cases involving criminal gangs from London and other cities converging on Bath and taking over the flats of vulnerable persons suffering from mental health issues, drug addiction and poverty.
March 2017 Bristol Crown Court. An internet crime case representing a male in possession of indecent images of children. Whilst there was some admission of guilt the defendant was overcharged on the basis that his computer contained a significant number of images that had been automatically, not consciously saved by him. Accordingly the Crown was persuaded to remove a number of charges and to accept a basis of plea which substantially reduced the defendant’s liability.
Defendant was advised on addressing his offending behaviour prior to sentence. This resulted in him receiving a suspended sentence having persuaded the court that he had gone to great lengths in respect of his rehabilitation. A prison sentence may have undone much good work.
Feb 2017 Winchester Crown Court. Privately represented a male who sold Class A drugs to an undercover police officer at BoomTown Fair. A starting point of four and a half years indicated that an immediate custodial sentence was almost unavoidable but strong community and family ties, charity work and excellent references resulted in a suspended sentence.
Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset v W (2016) Mr W had his shotgun certificate revoked following an incident where he was alleged to have threatened to shoot a dog. He disputed having said this and a licencing appeal was listed at Bristol Crown Court. The defendant succeeded and his licence was returned.
2016 – Stranger rape resulting in issues of dangerousness and risk of life sentence.
2016 Bristol Crown Court: Prominent Bristol Personality accused of being in possession with Class A drugs with intent to supply. Whilst he admitted to being in possession of the drugs he indicated that he was not aware that he had them. Acquitted unanimously by jury following retrial.
2016 Magistrates Trial. Client acquitted at trial accused of racially aggravated public order offence. There were a number of prosecution witnesses making this a difficult trial but the hard work of the defendant’s family resulted in the acquisition of CCTV evidence that exposed the complainant as the aggressor. Defence costs recovered.
2015 Bristol Crown Court, Court of Appeal. Appeal conviction. A case where the Crown Court Judge refused the defence of removing a trespasser to be put before the jury as the defendant had no proprietal rights in the property. Successful on appeal resulting in academic articles and citation in Blackstones Criminal Practice (A3.64, A3.66)
Day (Edina)  EWCA Crim 253 (common-law defence of removing a trespasser), serious offences
2015 Bristol Crown Court, appeal sentence Vulnerable transgender defendant sent to male prison. Very significant press interest and pressure resulting in her eventually being moved to a female prison.
2014 Operation Henotic: Bristol Crown Court Represented 14 defendant’s in a large scale undercover police operation dealing with the supply of Class A and B drugs in Midsomer Norton.
2013 Bristol Crown Court Defendant charged with the very serious offence of aggravated burglary having been accused of entering the complainant’s house and threatening him and his partner. Acquitted by unanimous jury verdict. This acquittal caused immense relief to the defendant who faced a sentence in excess of 10 years imprisonment if convicted.
2012 Junior brief, Swindon Crown Court defending an “Unlicensed Gangmaster Case” where the defendant was alleged to have supplied between 60 and 70 workers illegally over a period of more than three-and-a-half years.
Please note, if Nicholas is in court or otherwise unavailable a friendly member of the team will be able to speak to you and will put you in touch with Nicholas as soon as possible.
“A tenacious advocate with real zeal and an eye for detail.”