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Paul Williams

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Core Practice Area: Crime
Call: 1990
Memberships: The Criminal Bar Association


Paul Williams is an associate member of Devon Chambers with an extensive leading Defence practice. He has over 20 years continuous experience at the Bar and has successfully led in a number of large and complex trials involving organised crime. He regularly appears for the Defence in serious fraud, drug conspiracies, and murder cases. Paul has a special interest in electoral law and has defended in high profile electoral fraud and corruption cases. He has a specialist knowledge in the Representation of the People Act 1983 and linked legislation.

Paul also has experience of representing persons through the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

He also has very many years experience of Confiscation litigation which has evolved over the last two decades through Statute and Case Law into the current Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

In addition, Paul has extensive experience of “supergrass” trials including being involved in the first acquittal in the long running series of long trials where the chief prosecution witness was the supergrass Michael Michaels at the high security Crown Court at Woolwich.


Notable cases

R v Moran: Central Criminal Court (2010)
A manslaughter case involving complex issues of causation which required extensive and very technical cross examination at trial of the Crown’s Pathologist.

R v Brovarsky: Southwark Crown Court (2010) 
A multi-handed fraud involving organised crime by Defendants from Ukraine. The case concerned the use of HMRC online income tax self assessment system to obtain fraudulent repayments of income tax. The Defendant was a principal in the conspiracy. Over £6.9million in repayments were fraudulently claimed by the conspirators. Over £3million was paid into 690 bank accounts linked to and controlled by the conspiracy. The number of fictitious identities used for self assessment purposes was in excess of 1200.

R v Azhil Khan: Birmingham Crown Court (2010)
A re-trial of a very high profile murder trial which had resulted in the conviction of the Defendant in 2006 arising out of the notorious Aston riots in Birmingham. The Court of Appeal had ordered a re-trial as a result of fundamental flaws in the prosecution disclosure process which failed to reveal to the Defence at the original trial the existence of exculpatory covertly recorded police cell conversations between the Defendant and his cell mate. The Jury acquitted the Defendant at the re-trial.

R v Burns: Basildon Crown Court (2010)
A large multi-handed drugs conspiracy involving the importation and distribution of nearly 4 tons of Cannabis: the case was a SOCA prosecution. Due to the size of the case and number of Defendants the case management required two linked trials.

R v Sinniah Pathmanathan: Harrow Crown Court (2010)
A multi-handed housing benefit fraud carried out over a period of 15 years and involving a sophisticated and professionally planned DSS fraud by several generations of the same family. The Defendant was the most senior member of the family.

R v Sanchez: Southwark Crown Court (2009)
A very sophisticated fraud involving the fraudulent selling of over £1,000,000 worth of airline tickets from within a properly licensed travel agency specifically targeted and purchased by the conspirators to avoid the regulatory regime designed to protect the airlines from such frauds.

R v Hasko: Woodgreen Crown Court (2009)
A massive international identity fraud involving East European Defendants which, according to the Judge, was at least on a scale equivalent to the leading sentencing authority on identity fraud: R v Velev.

R v Rookwood: Central Criminal Court (2008)
A high profile murder case. It involved a large scale urban/ public disorder where two rival London gangs fought a battle on the streets which resulted in the death of one leading gang member and the near death of a second. It was one of the very first cases to require the practical application of the House of Lords decision in R v Davis (June 2008) involving witness anonymity and the legislation passed in consequence of that landmark case. In Rookwood there were 34 anonymous prosecution witnesses some of whom were potentially of assistance to the Defence. Inevitably therefore, the case required complex issues of disclosure and admissibility to be resolved.

R v Nabaraja and Others: Southwark Crown Court ( 2008 )
A large multi — handed trial in which the Defendants were alleged to be involved in international organised crime.The Defendants were a gang of Sri Lankans with alleged links to the Tamil Tigers who were engaged in a multi – million pound global credit card conspiracy to defraud the clearing banks of the United Kingdom. When a fellow Sri Lankan refused to join the conspiracy he was allegedly kidnapped and held to ransom. Over the course of several days he was allegedly tortured and threatened with death. The hostage was eventually released in a sting operation by armed Police who recovered guns from the gang’s stronghold. At trial the Indictment was “Stayed” after a voir dire lasting 6 weeks, and involving live evidence from senior CPS lawyers, when the Trial Judge Ruled that a fair trial was impossible because the Prosecution’s disclosure process was flawed.

R v Bham and Others: Leeds Crown Court ( 2007 ) 
Large scale multi – million pound car insurance fraud involving a long running conspiracy to fabricate car accidents using high value motor vehicles with euro — cloned identities which had been stolen abroad and brought into the UK. In addition to complex issues of disclosure – it was alleged some of the Defendants had close personal links with the “London bombers” and were arrested in a joint operation between the Met and West Yorkshire Police arising out of the investigation into the London bombings (Operation Theseus) - the case also raised very sensitive issues involving religious and community matters and how they could all be successfully addressed and integrated within the normal trial process.

R v Grell: ( 2007 )
Trial involving a high profile politician who was accused under the RPA 1983 of stating falsehoods against a rival electoral candidate whilst out campaigning for re – election.

R v Azil Khan: Birmingham Crown Court ( 2006 )
Very high profile multi – handed racist murder arising out of the Aston riots in Birmingham. (See also 3 above: re-trial, 2010)

In addition, Paul Williams has represented Defendants in connection with serious and organised crime in the following areas:

  • Large scale drugs conspiracies to import and supply drugs, including SOCA prosecutions

  • People smuggling / trafficking conspiracies
  • White collar fraud, including SFO Prosecutions

  • Large scale DSS fraud

  • Credit card fraud

  • Conspiracy to rob

  • Blackmail

  • Kidnap
  • Rape and serious sexual assault

  • Teenage gang crime
  • Murder

  • Manslaughter

  • Attempt Murder

  • GBH

  • Death by Dangerous Driving.
  • Perverting the Course of Justice

  • Arson

  • Money Laundering