Keith is a leading criminal defence solicitor. He is based at our Harrogate office and is part of the criminal defence team. Keith also works out of the Leeds office and he is committed to providing the firm’s clients with the best criminal defence in Harrogate and North Yorkshire as well as across the country. As a criminal defence solicitor he enjoys a national reputation in his defence of sexual offences, historic sexual offences, fraud, murder, drug conspiracy and all other criminal defence work. He has helped make ABR solicitors one of the top ranked criminal practices in the country according to Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500.
Keith joined the firm in 2005 after qualifying as a solicitor in 2004. Appointed as a duty solicitor in 2006 he was a member of the Leeds criminal solicitor duty scheme for several years and is now a member of Harrogate criminal solicitor duty scheme. Keith obtained his Higher Rights of Audience in 2011 and can appear before all types of criminal court.
Keith represents clients at police station, magistrate’s court and crown court for all types of offence. Keith specialises in the defence of serious and general crime, fraud and confiscation. He is also an experienced defence solicitor in relation to terrorism offences and dealing with cases assigned to the Central Criminal Court under the terrorism protocols.
Regularly instructed by individuals on a private basis to act in their defence where legal aid is either not available or the individual has income that prevents them qualifying for legal aid. Keith has also acted for a number of clients that choose to pay privately for the experience and expertise that Keith brings to case.
Keith is described in an independent guide to the profession as a “good lawyer who does well in the Crown Court” (Chambers UK, 2013) and “one of the most creative lawyers I’ve come across.” (Chambers UK, 2012). Keith’s work has also made international, national headlines and local papers (Yorkshire Post and Yorkshire Evening News) for its impact on the criminal justice system as a whole and the nature of the cases that he has been instructed to act on. His work as a criminal defence solicitor has resulted in him acting on cases that attract a significant press interest both nationally and internationally either because of the nature of the case or the fame of the individual represented.
CW-v-DVSA (Administrative Court) – acted as advocate for the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency on an appeal by Case Stated in which the appellant was arguing that the continuing professional competence provisions were ultra vires and should be struck out. DVSA were successful in defending the claim. Instructed by Andrew Stewardson.
R-v-JM (Leeds Magistrates’ Court) – acted in the defence of a lady accused of neglect of her son. Following submissions made by Keith the case was dismissed by the Court after the prosecution closed its case. This was a matter that Keith was instructed on after another firm of solicitors advised the defendant incorrectly to simply accept the allegation.
R-v-SW (Harrogate Magistrates’ Court) – acted as defence solicitor for a man accused of assaulting his daughter. Keith made representations to the Crown that they should drop the case, however, the Crown reviewed the case and indicated that they would proceed despite the representations. Following cross examination of the complainant during which it was accepted that the complainant was the aggressor Keith made submissions of no case to answer and a not guilty verdict was returned without any evidence called on behalf of the defence.
R-v-TH (Bradford Crown Court) – acted as solicitor advocate for the defendant alleged to have stolen over £75,000 in cash from a gentleman that she was carer for. The defendant was acquitted after trial.
R-v-CW (Leeds Crown Court – acted as defence solicitor for a successful business man who was alleged to be responsible for causing permanent damage to the hearing of another male following a fight outside a public house. Instructed to act on a private paying basis Keith prepared the matter for the a contested trial at Court. During the trial the defence were able to demonstrate that the Crown could not prove that the defendant caused the injury in question. Originally looking at a sentence in the region of 4 years the defendant pleaded guilty to a lesser offence and was sentenced to a conditional discharge.
R- v-TM (Central Criminal Court) – provided advice and representation at the police station through to trial to Thomas Mair the man convicted of the killing of Jo Cox MP. Acted as defence solicitor throughout the trial which was allocated to the terrorism lists at the Central Criminal Court.
R-v-DB – (Leeds Crown Court) – defence solicitor and advocate for the lead singer of Black Lace. His confiscation order was agreed at a £1 available amount.
R-v-W – (Leeds Crown Court) – defence solicitor for a client who was amongst the first in the country charged with the offence of controlling and coercive behaviour along with other offences of domestic violence. Keith represented the defendant as his solicitor at the police station interviews and then prepared his defence in the crown court. The case was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service prior to trial.
R-v-N – (Canterbury Crown Court) – defence solicitor for a client falsely accused of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. Trial took place over 10 days and the Court invited a submission of no case to answer after hearing the defence case. Keith was thanked by the client for all the support offered in the preparation of the defence case and throughout proceedings.
Henderson-v-Crown Prosecution Service – Keith instructed Nicholas de la Poer of New Park Court Chambers. This was an appeal by case stated against a decision of the Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court. The appellant was convicted of three racially aggravated public order act offences and three “underlying” public order act offences based on the same facts. The High Court ruled that the decision was unlawful and in doing so ruled against the advice given to Magistrates’ Courts across the country. This case will result in a change to the national practice and settles once and for all the correct approach to alternative charges in the Magistrates’ Court. The result of the case is that the appellant had the three convictions removed from his record. A more detailed summary can be read here and the Guardian article on the case here.
A Youth-v-Director of Public Prosecutions – Keith acted as defence solicitor and original advocate in the case of a young man aged 17 who was sentenced by the Crown Court to a sentence that was twice what an adult with similar charges would have received. The case was appealed by case stated to a divisional court of the High Court and on the 24th February the appeal was heard. Nicholas de la Poerof New Park Court Chambers was instructed by Keith acting as defence solicitor. The Court found that the sentence passed was unlawful. In the ruling the divisional court have amended the law and how that has been interpreted by Court’s up and down the country. As a result of this case a youth defendant can no longer be sentenced to more than the equivalent adult defendant the court held that remarks that seemed to approve longer sentences for youths in LCC v DPP  EWHC 453 (Admin) were obiter and not law. It is anticipated that a number of texts on sentencing practice and criminal law will be amended to reflect the new position. For this defendant it meant the sentence was halved by the Court at a rehearing. The judgement can be found here.
R-v-L (Leeds Crown Court) – Defence solicitor for a successful businessman man accused of historic rape and other sex offences. The case was funded privately by the family. The accused was acquitted by the jury after a 7 day trial with the family thanking him for his “great advice and effort on our case…we really appreciate it”. Handpicked by client after careful research along with Nicholas Lumley QC of Park Court Chambers.
R-v-M (Leeds Crown Court) – Acting as solicitor-advocate Keith represented a man accused of making indecent images of children. Originally, the allegation was that there were over 3000 indecent images but following defence submissions this was reduced to around 800. At trial Keith acted in the defence of the accused who was found not guilty.
R-v-N (Leeds Crown Court) – Acting as solicitor-advocate Keith defended a man accused of armed robbery. Undertaking both the advocacy in the Crown Court and managing the preparation of the defence as solicitor Keith secured the acquittal after trial despite claims the man was identified as being present by eye witnesses and forensic evidence.
R-v-W (Leeds Crown Court) – Acting as solicitor-advocate Keith defended a man accused of making over 150 indecent images of children. The case was listed for trial but following representations made to the Crown by Keith the Crown reviewed the case and offered no evidence. This case involved admissions by the defendant that he had used chat rooms to contact persons over the age of 16. At early hearings the Court had tried to claim that the defendant did not have a defence to the charge at law but Keith disagreed with the interpretation of the law by the Court.
R-v-B (Leeds Crown Court) – Acting as solicitor Keith prepared the defence of a man accused of historic sexual offences from 20 years earlier. Using a variety of experts and careful research the defendant was acquitted of all charges after Trial.
R-v-P (Preston Crown Court) – acted for a defendant in a 12 defendant conspiracy relating to possession of firearms and the supply of class A drugs.
R-v-N (Liverpool Crown Court) – acted on behalf of a defendant in a 26 defendant conspiracy relating to possession of firearms and import of class A and C drugs.
R-v-D (Leeds Youth Court) – Keith appeared before the Youth Court and argued successfully that the prosecution should be halted as an abuse of process on the basis of delay and manipulation by the CPS of the charging decision.
R – JL Leeds Crown and Magistrates” Court) - Keith and Nick de la Poer set the new national procedure for the process to reduce compensation orders made alongside confiscation orders. In this case the outstanding compensation order of £35,000 was reduced to £0 following Keith’s and Nick’s careful work.
BPI-v-W (Newcastle Crown Court) – Confiscation proceedings brought by the British Phonographic Industry. Leading a team of other Fee Earners to prepare the case. The proceedings involved the reconstruction of all company spending over a 6 year period from both original material and suppliers including applications for over 50 witness summons. The prosecution sought a benefit figure of over £4 million pounds before agreeing an amount just over £2 million pounds. Additionally, the prosecution sought a finding of hidden assets at the same value as the benefit figure before eventually agreeing an available amount at a little over one hundred thousand pounds. The defence were also successful in excluding the defendant’s wife’s home from the eventual order.
R-v-V (Leeds Crown Court) – Confiscation proceedings relating to conspiracy to import drugs from Amsterdam. The prosecution sought a confiscation order of £54 million pounds following service of the defence response the order was agreed at a nominal sum.
R-v-A (York Crown Court) – Ponzi style fraud prosecuted by the CPS specialist fraud unit. Following a guilty plea the Court proceeded to confiscation. The prosecution, following the service of a defence response, agreed a benefit figure of just over three million pounds and an available amount of thirteen thousand pounds. The prosecution applied, at the invitation of the Court, for a financial reporting order this application was refused.
R-v-C (Leeds Crown Court) – Prosecution by the CPS. The defendant pleaded guilty to securing a loan against an estate in Scotland which he did not own after impersonating the owner.
“Just wanted to say thank you for sending Keith to represent myself on my last bail interview. Keith was excellent before and in the interview he really made sure I was well prepared and gave me excellent guidance throughout the interview and also put the police in there place with the words they were using.”
Client, anonymous for confidentiality
"I wanted to say a massive thank you to you for your great advice and effort on our case... we really appreciate it and express our sincere thanks."
Client, anomymous for confidentiality