- Location: Leeds
- Role: Assistant Solicitor
- Practice Area: Criminal Defence
Education and Qualifications
Higher Court Advocate
Ben is a Higher Court Advocate and represents clients in both the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts. He represents clients in the full range of criminal matters, from minor road traffic offences through to homicide.
He specialises in cases concerning misuse of police powers, particularly where there are issues of whether police officers have acted lawfully in arresting defendants, in searching them or their homes, in cases concerning the level of force they use against defendants or in cases concerning alleged public order offences. He has earned a reputation for securing acquittals in the vast majority of these types of cases, which usually involve complex legal arguments.
Due to this expertise, Ben also pursues complaints and civil actions against the police and public authorities. He is predominantly instructed in cases concerning assault, false imprisonment, trespass and malicious prosecution.
He joined GT Stewart in 2016.
Recent cases include:
R v C – representing a defendant charged with manslaughter, causing the death of a vulnerable adult and concealing a birth. High profile case where the defendant, together with their two co-defendants, are said to have been grossly negligent in the care of the defendant’s adult son, who ultimately died owing to complications arising from malnutrition. 6 week trial at Leeds Crown Court involving complex issues regarding duty of care.
R v N – represented a defendant charged with assaulting a police constable in the execution of their duty and being drunk and disorderly in a public place. The defendant was imprisoned unlawfully in the rear of a police van and was placed in handcuffs. He was assaulted by various officers when he tried to remove the handcuffs. He kicked out in order to defend himself and in doing so, connected with an officer. He pleaded not guilty and the case was set down for trial. However, following the submission of a written legal argument, the CPS discontinued the case.
R v W – represented a defendant charged with resisting a police constable in the execution of their duty. The defendant had no previous convictions. He had attended a football match when police officers took hold of him and placed him in handcuffs. He resisted and was sprayed with CS incapacitant spray. He was forced to the floor and hit his head. He was then arrested but taken to Hospital. At trial, after Ben cross examined the officer involved, the prosecution accepted that the police had acted unlawfully in detaining the defendant and therefore, offered no further evidence against him, thus he was found not guilty.
Actions against the police:
O v A Chief Constable – police officers forced entry to the client’s home, handcuffed them (without arrest) and kept them inside an upstairs bedroom. The claimant was prevented from standing up and they kicked out in order to defend themselves, connecting with an officer. They were arrested on suspicion of assaulting that officer and were taken downstairs, where they were forced to the floor after trying to prevent another officer searching them. The claimant was detained for more than 15 hours at the police station and was charged with assaulting two police officers, despite clear evidence that the client was, at all times, unlawfully detained. However, the prosecution withdrew the case at the first hearing at court, after accepting that the claimant’s initial detention in handcuffs was unlawful. Ben is currently advising the claimant regarding a potential civil action against the police force involved for assault, trespass, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.
J v A Chief Constable – the claimant was remanded into custody and awaiting trial for a very serious set of offences. It was revealed that evidence fatal to the prosecution case against the claimant had been obtained by the police. However, the claimant spent a further seven weeks on remand before the case was listed before the Crown Court, for the prosecution to offer no evidence, which then led to the claimant’s release from custody. Ben is currently advising the claimant regarding a potential civil claim against the police under the Human Rights Act regarding the delay in getting the case listed before the court.
M v Ministry of Justice – the claimant failed to attend court for a hearing. A warrant was issued for their arrest, although the judge ordered that the warrant be backed for bail. However, an error by court staff on the paperwork sent to the police meant that the police were informed that the warrant was not backed for bail. The claimant was therefore arrested, detained at the police station and taken to court, where she was produced in custody. A claim for damages in negligence was put to the MOJ, who then compensated the claimant.