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Adam Feest QC

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Core Practice Area: Crime
Call: 1994, QC: 2016
Inner Temple
Education: BA(Hons) in Jurisprudence, Keble College, Oxford University 1989-92
Memberships: Criminal Bar Association, Western Circuit
Core Practice Areas: Homicide and other cases involving death; Serious violence and public disorder; Serious sexual offences; Complex fraud and money laundering; Drug trafficking; Cases involving vulnerable participants


Specialising in criminal law and associated quasi-criminal areas, Adam’s practice covers the whole spectrum of criminal cases. His expertise and reputation have led to him being instructed to deal with complex and important cases all over the country, including the Central Criminal Court, the Midlands, Winchester, Bristol, South Wales and the West Country. He also appears in the Court of Appeal. His advocacy, advisory and case presentation skills were publicly recognized by his appointment as Queen’s Counsel in 2016.

In his first few years in Silk, Adam has established himself as one of the leading criminal silks on the Western Circuit. Appearing for both the Defence and Prosecution, he has conducted cases involving complex expert medical and scientific evidence, particularly those involving the deaths of very young children, murders involving firearms and difficult issues of joint enterprise, and cases requiring sensitive handling of both vulnerable witnesses and defendants. His thorough preparation and detailed knowledge of the factual and legal aspects of the case in hand, coupled with his personable yet tenacious style in court, ensure that his case is put fairly, forcefully and to maximum effect.

Adam spent much of this year leading Berenice Mulvanny in prosecuting the case of Bob Higgins, the ex Southampton FC youth coach, for sexually abusing 24 boys over a period of 2 ½ decades. Arising from widespread media coverage of sexual abuse in football and sport generally, this prosecution attracted sustained national TV, newspaper and online coverage, and will be the subject of a dedicated documentary by a BAFTA award winning director due to be aired in 2020. Convictions were secured after an eight week re-trial (after a first Jury had been unable to agree verdicts on all but 2 of the 50 counts) which involved the extensive use of pre-recorded evidence, issues relating to hearsay after one of the victims had died before the re-trial and the calling of evidence which had been the subject of an unsuccessful prosecution of the Defendant in a 1991 trial.

Other recent cases of note include:

Operation Endorse, where Adam led Jodie Mittell in a case of a drug-related revenge shooting where the surviving victim and only other eye witness named two innocent local men as the culprits. Despite this, and in the face of significant challenge from the Defence (including Michael Mansfield QC) as to the way in which the case could be put to the Jury, Adam successfully secured the convictions of three London-based drug dealers – convictions which were subsequently upheld in the Court of Appeal.

Operation River, in which Adam represented the alleged gunman from a gang of burglars who shot a householder during a break in. This case involved detailed, complex and disputed cell site and other telephone evidence;

Operation Manner, involving the death of a 77 year old who was run down by a car fleeing the scene of an earlier road traffic accident. Leading Gemma White, Adam had to deal with a series of abuse of process arguments alleging corruption and bad faith against the Police and CPS. Overcoming these both pre-trial and during the case itself, Adam was able to present the evidence in such a way that the Defendant pleaded before the end of the Crown’s case;

R v Phillips and Skinner, where a 16 year old father caused fatal head and other injuries to his six week old son, in a situation partially caused, and then aggravated, by the neglectful actions of the child’s young mother.

In his earlier months in silk, Adam successfully prosecuted in a case involving the traumatic death of a toddler at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend, and a gross negligence manslaughter revolving around the duty of care owed by one partner to the other during and after extreme consensual sexual activity. Both cases attracted national media coverage. He has also defended in cases involving serious and historical sexual allegations in combination with more recent predatory sexual assaults, and in a rape which copied internet pornography downloaded by the Defendant.

Prior to taking silk, as a junior Adam spent most of his time involved in cases consisting of serious violence and public order, rape and serious sexual allegations (against both adults and children), multiple defendants, drugs, fraud and deception. He has also acted as junior counsel in murder cases. He was regularly instructed as a leading junior in complex, multi-handed cases, and in the last few years was instructed in a case involving the supply of cocaine and money laundering charges against 11 defendants, a 16-handed Vietnamese cannabis growing and money laundering conspiracy, a nationwide heroin supply conspiracy involving undercover officers, and 8-handed conspiracy to steal and burgle.

In the year or so prior to taking Silk, Adam was involved in a number of cases involving allegations of serious sexual assaults and rape, often involving vulnerable and young victims, as well as historical complaints. This allowed him to use the expertise he has acquired in this regard due to his involvement with the Western Circuit and ATC training programme teaching advocates how best to deal with such witnesses. Adam has also been involved in cases which involved allegations of murder by running down with a speed boat, gang-related attempted murder and other firearms offences, a single blow manslaughter dealing with causation issues, and a three-handed murder by members of the travelling community. He was also instructed in a case involving allegations of section 18 and false imprisonment within a relationship where the victim was too scared to make a complaint, and a serious aggravated burglary by an organised gang.

Of particular note, Adam was instructed as the prosecution junior in Operation Waterloo, a complex multi-cut throat murder with four defendants. Involving difficult hearsay issues relating to a main witness, wide-ranging pathological and forensic evidence, and a large volume of CCTV and telephone evidence. At a trial lasting 6 weeks in 2012 and 11 weeks in 2013, Adam conducted much of the case himself and successfully resisted the appeals against conviction in the Court of Appeal, appearing against four leading QCs.

In April 2010, Adam dealt with a three-month case which involved allegations of neglect of mentally incapacitated adults who were resident in a home at the time. In what is believed to be the first prosecution of its kind nationally. Complex medical, psychiatric, social care and other technical evidence had to be presented to a Jury in relation to a total of sixteen residents who it was said had been neglected. As well as dealing with criminal offences under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, this case also dealt with Health and Safety and regulatory issues. As a result of his involvement in this case, Adam was asked to speak at a multi-agency conference organised by Hampshire CPS dealing with the protection and prosecution of this type of offence, a seminar which was attended by representatives from CPS nationally, social services, local authorities, regulatory bodies and the police.

Being involved in Operation Orr in Hampshire, dealing with cases involving indecent images of children downloaded from the internet, he has acquired particular knowledge and expertise in relation to computer and internet evidence and its presentation to a court.

Recent Cases of Note include:

As Queen’s Counsel
Operation Manner (2019) – A murder allegation involving the running down of the victim by a car

Operation Quantum (2018/19) – The nationally reported case of Bob Higgins, an ex- Southampton FC youth team coach, prosecuted for decades of sexual abuse of 24 different victims

Operation Rosette (2019) – A case involving two brothers stabbing another man to death

R v Harvey (2019) – A murder case involving the defendant breaking into a house and stabbing the deceased (a man unknown to him), and then sexually assaulting a girl in a nearby house

R v Phillips and Skinner (2018) – Murder of a 6 week old baby by his very young father, and neglect of the child by his young mother

Operation Endorse (2018) – Attempted murder by a London based drug dealing gang of those thought to be from a rival gang in Portsmouth, where the victims wrongly named others as being the perpetrators

R v Downton and others (2017/18) – A case involving the shooting during a planned burglary of a householder.

R v Adams (2017) – Gross negligence manslaughter arising out of extreme consensual sexual activity

R v Eke (2017) – The murder of a toddler by the infliction of catastrophic abdominal injuries

R v Boyle  (2017) – The attempted murder of a complete stranger with a knife

R v Napier (2016) – The murder by stabbing of her partner by the Defendant

R v Darvill (2016) – The stabbing of an intruder into a house by one of the householders

R v Lester (2016) – Multiple historical rape and sexual assaults against young girls, with first generation indecent images, as well as recent aggravated burglary and sexual assault of a 9 year old

As Junior Counsel
R v J (2016) – Historical sexual offences going back 40 years on close family members

R v D (2016) – Multiple complainants of historical rape and sexual offences

R v Y (2016) – Instructed by NCA in case involving the alleged ordering of gun parts from abroad on the dark web

Operation Mohican (2015-16) – Leading Junior in multi-handed drug and money laundering conspiracy

Operation Sheraton (2015-16) – Leading Junior in multi-handed conspiracy to steal and burgle by an organized crime group across Southern England

R v Wilson and Dennis (2015-16) – Large scale conspiracy to import drugs, from mainland Europe, involving probe and other internationally obtained evidence

R v Purvis (2015) – Sexual assaults and distribution of indecent images by a convicted sex offender

R v P (2015) – Child cruelty by a mother on her own child

R v Doughty (2015) – Aggravated burglaries of vulnerable, elderly victims by a masked gang

R v Smithers (2014) – Manager of a nursing home charged with wilful neglect of an elderly and vulnerable resident

R v Old (2014) – Section 18 and false imprisonment by boyfriend within the context of an abusive and controlling relationship

R v Gerlach (2014) – Murder by running down in a speed boat

R v Perkins and Champion (2014) – Drug related false imprisonment, assault and torture

R v Redhead (2014) – Drug and gang related firearms offences and attempted murder

R v A (2013) - Historic allegations of serious sexual abuse, with associated bad character showing paedophile tendencies.

R v Mohammed and others (2013) - Eight-handed drugs and money laundering conspiracy.

R v Gilliver (2013) - Single blow manslaughter between serving soldiers, involving complicated expert evidence relating to brain trauma and alcohol.

R v G (2013) - Murder with knife where deceased survived incident and discharged himself from hospital, but later died of complications.

Operation Waterloo (2012/2013) – Four-handed cut-throat murder involving torture of the victim, and the disposal and setting light of the body. Re-trial occurred after main defendant pleaded having given evidence.

R v James (2012), R v Cramp (2012), R v Heaney (2011) – Ill-treatment of elderly residents of care homes in Leicestershire.

R v Thorn (2012) – Serious and life-threatening section 18 occurring during a pre-arranged fight where a knife was produced

R v Cannell (2012) – Historic allegations of serious sexual abuse on a complainant with significant and ongoing alcohol and mental health issues

Operation Paynter (2012) – Multi-handed conspiracy to produce and supply large quantities of cannabis, and connected money laundering and mortgage fraud offences involving a number of properties

R v Chambers and others (2012) – Three-handed murder and disposal of the body

Operation Hollow (2011) - A seven-handed conspiracy to steal involving the theft of cigarettes from a bonded warehouse worth over one million pounds

Operation Texas/Operation Madison (2011) - Two large drugs conspiracies involving class A, B and C drugs being trafficked from Manchester to South Wales
R v W (2011) - Possession of extreme pornography

Operation Cinders (2011) - Six defendants charged with conspiracy to burgle commercial premises across the South of England, and associated money-laundering offences
R v Edwards (2011) – Fatal accident of pedestrian walking on M4 at night
R v B (2011) - A man charged with historic and multiple rape and indecency, and taking indecent images
R v Bayton and others (2011) - A drugs conspiracy stretching from Devon to Manchester

R v Dobney (2011) - The Chief Druid of Avebury in relation to benefit fraud

R v Tee [2011] All ER (D) 231 (Feb) - Series of mortgage, benefit and credit card fraud

Operation Fawley (2010) - Leading Junior in a case involving allegations of neglect against the owner and manager of a residential home of sixteen mentally incapacitated residents under their care

Operation Approve (2010) - Junior Counsel in murder case involving an assault in a house where the victim remained in a coma for five months.

R v Belton [2010] All ER (D) 88 (Nov) – Misfeasance in a public office

R v D [2010] - A teacher alleged to have sexually abused multiple victims over many years.

R v C [2008] All ER (D) 370 (Apr)

Professional Qualifications & Appointments

Appointed to Attorney General’s List of Special Advocates 2005
Recorder 2009, authorised to try cases involving serious sexual allegations 2014
Tutor Judge for the Judicial College 2016
GMC legal assessor 2010-2018
NMC legal assessor 2010-2016