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Call: 1999
Inn: Middle Temple - Blackstone Entrance Exhibition Scholarship
Email: apenny@4bb.co.uk


Longstanding experience of defending in heavyweight cases involving murder, armed robbery, kidnap, large scale drug conspiracies and those accused of being involved in organised crime. Substantial experience of "white collar" crime, including cases involving breach of trust, banking frauds, long firms, "phoenix" companies and frauds against the government.

Experience of defending those facing high profile allegations including:

  • The successful defence of the man accused of attempting to murder Securitas Robber, Paul Allen
  • The successful defence of John Henry Sayers in 2018 who was accused of conspiracy to murder in respect of the Tup Tup Palace shooting in Newcastle
  • The 2017 case involving the attempted bombing of the London Underground
  • The successful defence in 2016 of a man who faced rape allegations in the full glare of substantial media attention
  • A police officer accused of misconduct in public offence for failing to investigate sexual allegations fully. Case involved substantial documentation and required knowledge of extremely intricate aspects of police procedures
  • In 2016 representing the man who was shot by the Metropolitan Police firearms officers after a six hour siege in Brixton

Successful appeal against conviction in circumstances where the Crown conceded that it had failed to deal with disclosure adequately in the context of an alleged violent rape allegation see Regina v Matthew Poole [2017] EWCA Crim 208, 2017 WL 01032027.

Professional disciplinary defence work, confiscation and cash seizures.



  • R v DS (2017) Defence of young man with autism who built a viable homemade bomb and left it on the Jubilee line train on the London Underground. DS was alleged to have developed an interest in extremism and to have built the improvised explosive device in accordance with the directions provided in an Islamic State publication. Led by Richard Carey-Hughes QC.

  • R v TM and others (2016) Defence of a man accused of causing a significant number of ATM explosions in London and elsewhere as part of an organised crime group.

  • Attorney General's Reference (Nos.74, 75, 76, 77 and 78 of 2014) (R. v Cassidy) [2014] EWCA Crim 2535; [2015] 1 Cr.App.R.(S.) 30 Defence of Cassidy who pleaded guilty to explosion offences where ATM/cash machines were targeted. The Attorney-General referred the case to the Court of Appeal on the basis that the sentence passed was too lenient and it has become the leading case in this area.

  • Murder and other serious violence:

  • R v LT (2019) Led by Kieran Vaughan QC in the successful defence of LT who was accused of attempting to murder Securitas robber Paul Allen and his daughter.

  • R v JHS (2018) Led by Michael Holland QC, successful defence of John Henry Sayers who was alleged to have ordered the drive-by shooting of a doorman in Newcastle. John Henry Sayers was a "target criminal" for the Northumbria Police and said to be the head of an Organised Crime Group. He was tried at the Central Criminal Court over a 3 month period by a protected jury who acquitted him of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life.

  • R v OL (2016) Defendant convicted of unlawful wounding but acquitted of attempted murder, where a drug dealer was stabbed all the way through the abdomen in a "County Lines" style drug dispute.

  • R v JF (2016) Defence of a man who pleaded guilty to assaulting a sports journalist causing substantial brain injury.

  • R v AVN (2014) Successful defence of a man accused of attempted murder where the issue was identification in a Vietnamese gangland shooting in a restaurant led by Patrick Upward QC.

  • R v Braithwaite (2009-10) Murder of a young man where self-defence advanced. Background of gang violence with significant issues arising in relation to the admissibility of the bad character of numerous prosecution witnesses, giving rise to the widely reported Court of Appeal judgment: R v Braithwaite [2010] EWCA Crim 1082; 2 Cr App R 18 (2010) 174 JP 387.

  • Organised Crime and Drug Offences:

  • R v JC and others (2019) Leading Junior in the successful defence of JC who advanced duress during a 4 week trial of allegations of kidnap, false imprisonment, s18 GBH and blackmail in circumstances where the victim was driven off the road and attacked with a hammer and acid, before being held hostage until a substantial ransom was paid.

  • R v SM and others (2019) defence of SM who faced allegations various allegations relating the prohibited ammunition, firearms, restricted ammunition and black powder. The Metropolitan Police described the case as "one of the Met's largest-ever seizures of ammunition and explosive substances in recent times".

  • R v MR and others (2018) successful defence of MR at the Central Criminal Court in respect of allegations of kidnap, false imprisonment and administrating a noxious substance in circumstances where the hostage alleged he had been held against his will for 9 days in various locations.

  • R v DG and others (2017) Defended DG who pleaded guilty to "one of the UK's biggest ever cannabis operations".

  • R v HN (2017) Crown offered no evidence in a firearms case after Skeleton Argument served addressing the adequacy of DNA evidence.

  • R v CH and others (2013) & (2017) Widely reported case where a chain of convenience stores were targeted by a gang with firearms. CH gave Queen's Evidence and was sentenced to 6 years' imprisonment on the basis that the starting point should have been 18 years:
    When CH was released in 2017, Abigail represented him again in respect of further armed robberies

  • R v NS (2015) Defence of NS who was alleged to be the head of a conspiracy to supply 30kg of 90% pure cocaine.

  • R v JC and others (2015 - 6) Defence of a man who avoided an immediate custodial sentence in circumstances where he allowed an organised crime group to use his outbuildings to produce industrial amounts of cannabis.

  • R v GW and others (2014 – 5) Defence of a man accused by the NCA of large-scale importation of drugs as part of an alleged organised crime group.

  • Serious Sexual Offences:

  • R v JH (2017) Successful defence of a step-father accused of abusing his step-daughter.

  • R v PP (2016) Successful defence of a man accused of raping his Botox nurse in the street.

  • R v AJ (2014) Successful defence of a man accused of raping his girlfriend in the context of a "controlling" relationship.

  • R v BK (2013) Successful defence of a prominent member of the Roma Community who was accused of raping his niece over a prolonged period of time.

  • R v DM (2013) Defendant, who had substantial learning difficulties, acquitted of multiple allegations of rape where he had admitted assaulting the Complainant with a baseball bat.

  • Cases involving children:

  • R v LK (2014) Child Cruelty - Successful defence of a father accused of assaulting his autistic son.

  • R v MF (2014) Defence of a mother with learning difficulties who was accused of breaking her 5 week old baby's arm. Prosecution agreed that the most appropriate way of dealing with the case was to caution the defendant.

  • Fraud:

  • R v MC (2019) Successful defence of MC after a 5 week trial faced an allegation of money laundering arising from a banking fraud.

  • R v SS (2013) Deputy Official Receiver of Croydon convicted of breach of trust fraud.

  • R v CR (2012) Accountant convicted of substantial breach of trust fraud in the context of phoenix companies. Case concerned unwritten agreements/work culture, careful consideration of banking evidence and the relevance of the importance of the employee to the business structure.

  • R v Leon Dussard (2009) Bank Clerk defended in a banking fraud and money laundering enterprise where money eventually laundered in a bureau de change and sent to Cyprus. Sentence of 30 months reduced to 15 months by Court of Appeal Regina v Payaspyrou and Leon Dussard [2009] EWCA Crim 1065.

  • R v PS and another (2008) Prosecuted by Queen's Counsel and a junior in the successful defence of a Company Director who was alleged to have signed a statement that was used in the High Court in an effort to defeat a bankruptcy petition. Case existed in the context of a large-scale fraud.

  • R v A-D & Others (2007) Leading Junior in the successful defence of high value mortgage and benefit fraud trial. Case included direct challenge to the standard forms of the claim and the relevant definition.


  • South Eastern Circuit
  • Criminal Bar Association


  • BA (Hons) English Literature 2:1 (1995)
  • Common Professional Examination (1998)
  • Bar Vocational Course (1999)