Narita Bahra QC

Narita Bahra QC

"She has a unique style in front of juries, who like her approach." "A very polished operator; tenacious and fearless."

Legal 500 2020
Year of call: 1997 QC: 2019
For enquiries please call: 020 7353 5324 or email vcard cv linkedin save

Criminal Defence

Narita has an established defence practice focusing on organised crime (including overseas drug cartels, firearms and armed robberies), murder and serious sexual offences.

Her reputation as an artful tactician who achieves successful results has merited instruction as counsel of choice by both professional and lay clients in heavyweight cases.

Narita is experienced in cross-examining expert witnesses, vulnerable witnesses, jury handling, identifying inadequacies in the prosecution case and challenging non-disclosure. A Barrister who takes great pride in leaving “no stone unturned” in the forensic preparation and presentation of her cases.

Narita advises and appears in Criminal Appeals where she provides clear and focused oral and written advice to both lay and professional clients.

Narita has appeared before the Court of Appeal Special Court.

Narita is currently instructed to seek adjudication upon a point of law in the European Court of Human Rights.

Cases

R v A (November 2018) Leading

Appeared for the first defendant in three multi handed drugs conspiracies (leading).

The prosecution alleged the client was involved in a leading role in three separate conspiracies; arranging the exportation, production and supply of Class A, B and C drugs through prestigious universities. The Crown alleged that the drugs were supplied in UK universities and flown out of the UK in private jets for young high net worth purchasers. The Sentencing Council’s definitive sentencing guidelines indicated that the client could have faced a sentence in the region of 20 years imprisonment, in the event of conviction.

The Crown sought to rely on a combination of cell site, digital media, telephone and DNA evidence to secure a conviction against the client.

Shortly before the trial the prosecution “cracked” the defendant’s locked iPhone. Following a disclosure request the prosecution made a Public Interest Immunity application.

Narita succeeded in excluding evidence obtained from the unlocked phones on the grounds of unfairness to the defendant. As a result of representations made by the defence the Crown offered no evidence against the client. Not Guilty verdicts were entered on all counts.

R v I (October 2018) Leading

Secured an acquittal for client charged with multi-million-pound conspiracy to manufacture, import, export and distribute Anabolic Steroids (Class C drugs). Arrests were made after the large volumes of drugs were seized Internationally and at a London airport. The Prosecution alleged that the client was one of six individuals involved, in the mass manufacture and production of anabolic steroids, in specialist laboratories. The Prosecution sought to rely upon evidence against the client, of his company and business dealings, spanning over 9 years. The case involved having an extensive knowledge of Medical Health Regulatory Association Regulations, Guidelines and Home Office licensing procedures. After extensive preparation and representations by the defence team, the Prosecution agreed to Offer No Evidence against this client alone.

R v R (August 2018)

Following a 4 week trial the client was cleared of his involvement in the murder of 74-year-old jeweler. The prosecution alleged that the deceased was abducted whilst walking home from his jewellery shop on 24th January by the client and 3 other men. The men tortured and beat Mr. Jogiya for information before dumping him in a country lane. The client was the only defendant to be acquitted despite all co-defendants attributing sole responsibility for the murder on him.

National Press Coverage.

R v K (March 2018)

Client was acquitted of Rape. The case gained national media coverage after I exposed disclosure failings. This case was referred to the DPP for review on grounds of disclosure failings.

National Press Coverage.

R v K (January 2018)

Client was acquitted of sexual assault in a Mayfair night club following the disclosure of vital CCTV evidence. The case gained national press coverage after the police failed to hand over vital security footage until the first day of trial. The footage, which was described as containing ‘nothing of interest’ by police resulted in the acquittal. The Judge ordered an enquiry into the disclosure failures by the CPS and Metropolitan Police. The CPS conceded there had been an ‘unnecessary or improper act or omission’ in respect of the disclosure failure.

National Press Coverage.

R v S (April 2016) Leading

Client was one of six defendants from Diego-Garcia, tried on a fourteen-count indictment including allegations of gang rape, sexual activity with a child, sexual exploitation and historic grooming offences. The six child witnesses were females aged between 13 and 15 years at the time of the alleged offences. Intermediaries were utillised to assist the complainants. The client was the only defendant who faced allegations made by three complainants. The case involved complex strategic and tactical decisions which enabled successful legal arguments to be mounted. Narita identified significant flaws in the prosecution disclosure exercise and its impact on the integrity of the investigation and trial.

This resulted in the prosecution offering no evidence on all counts, prior to the close of the prosecution case.

R v R (December 2015) Leading

Secured an unanimous acquittal for client, who was one of seven defendants tried for Conspiracy to Commit Violent Disorder. Case was prosecuted by Treasury Counsel, due to the sensitive religious, cultural and political aspects. It was alleged that violence was planned as revenge as a direct retaliation against the followers of those who had desecrated the Sikh holy scriptures in Punjab, India previously over an eighteen month period. My instruction of experts enabled the successful exclusion of damaging material. The client’s case was distinct from all other co-defendants and therefore, involved exercising judgement in the forensic analysis and presentation of the case.

R v H [2015]

Secured the unanimous acquittal of an Assistant Headteacher charged with six sexual offences. The case took over 26 months to complete due to novel and complex legal argument, relating to challenging Computer Expert Evidence. The Court ruled in favour of the defence submissions, which challenged the reliability and means by which the alleged images had been obtained and attributed. The jury acquitted of the remaining sexual offence allegation in less than 10 minutes at the retrial.

R v B (January 2018) Leading

Client was acquitted on all counts of human trafficking and sexual exploitation following nine days of cross examination of the complainant, extensive legal argument on disclosure and abuse of process. The Crown offered no evidence when they conceded that evidence existed which significantly undermined the complainant’s account and the disclosure process. Received national media attention because the client’s plight demonstrated the devastating impact prosecutorial negligence can have on the lives of those accused of a crime – the client spent 13 months in custody during which time she gave birth to a son with a genetic disorder. She and her son spent the first five months of his life in prison.

The Judge ordered an inquiry. The Judge observed “that there appeared to have been a wholesale failure on the part of the prosecution to deal with disclosure properly”. The judge observed that the defence had made repeated focused requests for disclosure but the court had been fundamentally misled at pre-trial hearings and applications to extend the custody time limits as to the strengths of the case, the CPS’s handling of disclosure and the prosecution’s trial readiness. The CPS and police were criticised by the judge for “serious errors” in their handling of the case stemming from the failure to accurately record and properly review unused material.

The Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor gave evidence on oath and accepted the CPS had fallen short in this case and apologised to the Court. He indicated an independent review into the case had been launched and would be provided to the DPP as well as the Court in an effort to identify what went wrong and ensure such mistakes were not repeated.

International and national media coverage.

R v P (September 2017)

Secured a Rape acquittal for a Director at Universal Music.

National Press Coverage.

 R v F ( September 2017) Leading

Client was the sole defendant acquitted out of sixteen defendants allegedly involved in four shootings in Bedford. Prosecuted by the tri-force collaboration arrangement including Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, Counter Terror Intelligence Unit and the Regional Organised Crime Unit. Defence succeeded due to deployment of strategic and tactical judgement.

National Press coverage.

R v L (May 2017)                                                                 

Client who ran a renowned Holistic Energy Healing Service acquitted of sexual assaults. A series of targeted disclosure requests resulted in obtaining email, what’s app and text messages between the complainant, client and other customers which enabled the defence to demonstrate that the complainant was unreliable. The Prosecution conceded that the material resulted in a necessary review of the evidence and later conceding that there was no longer a realistic possibility of conviction.

National Press coverage.

R v M (May 2017)

Client tried along with eight other defendants charged with a Conspiracy to supply class A drugs (to the value of three million pounds) spanning over two years. The prosecution alleged that the client played a leading role in the conspiracy by providing drugs to co-conspirators during a drought resulting from police closure of drugs factories. The prosecution sought to secure convictions based upon covert surveillance, automatic recognition plate evidence, CCTV, telephone evidence and cell site analysis. The prosecution alleged that the conspiracy spanned across the UK. Relied upon telecommunications experts to successfully challenge the prosecution evidence.

National Press Coverage.

R v M (January 2017)

Client faced a forty-six count Indictment, alleging an array of rapes and sexual offences against two step children. Successful legal argument resulted in the court directing that the counts to be tried be reduced to twenty-four. The case was factually complex because one of the complainants had reported the same alleations to the police six years earlier however, the Crown Prosecution Service reached a decision not to proceed to prosecution on the first occasion. The court allowed the prosecution to adduce evidence of the earlier complaint, the reasons it was not prosecuted and bad character evidence of similar fact, namely evidence from his young spurned mistress that the client had groomed her since she was a child. The client’s mistress gave evidence of incidents which the Prosecution alleged were strikingly similar to the index grooming behaviour alleged against the client.

The client’s case was simply that no alleged incidents had occurred and all complainants and his mistress were fabricating allegations, as a result of the affair becoming uncovered. The client was unable to provide any tangible proof of this motive.

Detailed written requests for disclosure during the course of the trial resulted in uncovering a witness who had been in contact with all of the witnesses prior to and during the police investigation. Narita demonstrated through cross examination that this witness had contaminated all accounts.

Unanimously acquitted on all counts within an hour.

R v M (August 2016) Leading

Client was alleged to be the ring leader in a conspiracy to supply firearms and ammunition to the UK criminal underworld. The five co-defendants were tried previously and imprisoned for a total of 45 years. It was alleged that whilst serving his sentence for possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, the client was directing operations, selling and distributing reactivated firearms and ammunition from his prison cell using an unauthorised mobile telephone. The client directed that purchased weapons should be reactivated at a workshop run by former Polish soldiers. More than 40 guns were sourced, including AK-47’s. Only 8 reactivated firearms out the 40+ linked to the gang were recovered.  The case revolved around cell site and computer evidence. Experts on cybercrime were material in the case.

National Press Coverage

R v B (August 2016)

Instructed to a represent a high profile senior Solicitor in criminal proceedings emanating from civil proceedings in the Family Court. The charges were brought under the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004. The case was unusually prosecuted by two senior CPS Lawyers and Queen’s Counsel due to the serious and unusual nature of proceedings. Post charge, advised on disciplinary hearings before the SRA and the Office for Supervision. Defence submissions and evidence obtained over the course of a year resulted in the prosecution offering no evidence on all counts. Not guilty verdicts were entered on the first day of trial.

 R v B (July 2016)

Instructed to represent a client charged with managing an industrial cannabis factory within a disused Mill.

The factory was described by the media as “an industrial large scale set-up”.  Illegal immigrants from Vietnam, were provided with a phones and food, but were living in squalid conditions and were prevented from leaving the mill. The prosecution case relied upon telephone and CCTV evidence which linked my client directly to the organisation and management of the operation. Narita’s focused written advocacy challenging the expert evidence resulted in the Crown offering no evidence on the first day of trial.

National Media Coverage.

R v A (July 2015) Leading

Successfully defended in the Aylesbury Child Sex Abuse Trial. Eleven defendants were tried on a fifty-one count Indictment. Narita’s client was one of two defendants who faced allegations by all complainants. The prosecution alleged the complainants came from troubled backgrounds and wanted to feel grown-up when they were befriended by the men, who groomed them by showering them with inexpensive gifts such as alcohol, DVDs, food and occasionally drugs. Narita mastered all of the evidence and unused material in order to make a series of successful legal submissions. Narita deployed skillful, focused and deft cross examination which resulted in all substantive counts against the client being discharged at the close of the prosecution case. This resulted in only one count being left to the jury to deliberate upon.

National Press Coverage.

Graff Diamond Robbery

Narita was instructed as a leading junior for the fourth defendant in the largest diamond heist in British history [£40 million] at Graff jewellers, London. The case rested on expert evidence of face recognition, APNR and cell site.

National media coverage.

R v P (2015)

The Crown alleged that the client (aged 21) had attempted to murder the complainant by carrying out a savage and ferocious stabbing and then leaving the complainant for dead. The case was tried before the Resident Judge at Stafford Crown Court. Narita successfully cross-examined twenty eye witnesses who were present at the time of the alleged stabbing. The jury acquitted client in less than an hour.

R v C (2015)

Successfully defended the only sixteen-year old in a twenty defendant Class A Drugs Conspiracy. The prosecution alleged the client played a significant role in this established and large-scale operation.

The case involved deploying my experience of handling a vulnerable defendant. Narita identified that the client was suggestible and easily influenced by authority and adults. An Educational Psychologist and Psychiatrist were instructed and defences of suggestibility and duress were advanced. An intermediary was appointed to assist the client’s communication and enabled the client to participate effectively in the trial. The Police’s failure to acknowledge developmental differences between the client and adult co-defendants during all the searches and interrogation context was a live issue in the trial. Narita demonstrated the strengths and limitations of a youth’s memory, their communicative capacities, their social styles and orientation to adult questioners, and their susceptibility to suggestion.

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