Brendan Kelly KC

Brendan Kelly KC

"He is a natural advocate and one of the best KCs at the Criminal Bar. Juries love his natural, eloquent and persuasive manner and clients love his avuncular, tactful and caring approach in conference."

Legal 500 UK 2024
Year of call: 1988 KC: 2008
For enquiries please call: 020 7353 5324 or email vcard cv linkedin save

Criminal Defence

Alongside his fraud practice, Brendan’s jury-friendly style of advocacy has led to his instruction in some of the most serious criminal trials in recent years. In particular, he is requested for cases involving high-profile defendants; recent instructions include Ireland’s ‘highest ever profile case’, representing Irish rugby player Paddy Jackson in a rape trial, the defendant charged with the murder of Welsh schoolgirl, April Jones, as well as the son of a notable Conservative MP who was charged with serious offences of violence.

Brendan has also been a regular visitor to the Northern Ireland courts, where he represented with success in a series of terrorist trials. He is also one of the only English barristers to have appeared regularly in the Northern Ireland appeal court and divisional court.

Notable Cases:

R v MG

Brendan is instructed to represent this 13 year old defendant charged with the murder of his 12 year old friend.

R v JD

Brendan is instructed to represent this defendant charged with the manslaughter of his best friend caused by way of a single punch.

R v Z

Brendan is instructed to represent this defendant who is charged in a high profile matter. Using a firearm in the vicinity of a Christmas market.

R v Hill and others

Brendan led a team of lawyers in presenting this conjoined appeal before the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland. The lead ruling provided guidance to the Irish Courts as to the approach to disclosure where there had been convictions for offences relating to terrorism when it was now acknowledged that state informants had played an active part in the particular offence and further that the state were aware of and had authorised the same.

R v Jackson

Brendan represented Ireland and Ulster rugby player Paddy Jackson. Jackson was acquitted of rape following a high profile 9 week trial. Jackson and fellow rugby player Stuart Olding were accused of raping a woman in Jackson’s house in the early hours of 28 June 2016.

R v Webster

Brendan secured an acquittal for Xeneral Webster who was accused of murder following a fight with rivals. Webster allegedly attempted to throw a bottle of sulphuric acid over his 2 opponents but it was knocked from his hand and sprayed over a nurse who sat nearby. The nurse contracted sepsis and died 11 days later.

R v K

Brendan secured an acquittal for a Solicitor accused of Perverting the Court of Justice. The allegation, regarded unique in its kind, arose when a number of jurors alleged that the solicitor had been prompting and guiding his lay client when he was giving evidence before them. The Solicitor had been sitting behind counsel when the series of gestures were said to have occurred. The Solicitor was cleared of all charges.

R v JL

Acquitted of all charges in the longest ever UVF supergrass terrorist trial to be heard in Northern Ireland. Brendan’s client and his co-defendants were charged with more than thirty offences, including the murder of UDA leader Tommy English, kidnapping, hijacking, wounding, firearms offences and UVF membership. The case relied almost entirely on the evidence of so-called supergrasses Robert and Ian Stewart. After extensive legal argument, Mr Justice Gillen ruled that, in this case, the credibility of the principal witnesses was not such as to allow him to be satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the defendants. In his judgment he said that the Stewart brothers had been “ruthless terrorists who had lived on a daily diet of lies”, and that they were “witnesses of very bad character who have lied to the police and to the court; on some occasions wrongly implicated a number of men who were clearly not present at the crimes suggested”. The collapse of the case has led to significant debate over the future use of supergrass evidence. Brendan was instructed by John Greer at Reavey & Co.

R v Thakrar & Others

20 year old charged with the murder of three and the attempted murder of two others. Following a drugs transaction the defendant was said to have called a meeting to which all five victims were invited. He was said to have discharged in excess of 20 rounds of machine gun fire. The case lasted 8 weeks at St Albans Crown Court in front of Cooke J.

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