Carry On Trafficking

Claire-Harden Frost and Thom Dyke secured the convictions of three bungling conspirators who were involved in a potentially life-threatening conspiracy to bring illegal immigrants to the UK.  Henry Dunn, Christian King, and James Davis were all convicted at Snaresbrook Crown Court after two trials which took place in March and September.

Under cover of darkness on 6 November 2017, King and Davis attempted to launch a RHIB (Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat) from Dymchurch Beach in Kent.  As the hapless duo tried to unhook their boat from the trailer, they became stuck in the sand and had to abandon their 4X4 to the rising tide.

Davis was eventually able to launch the RHIB and piloted it overnight to France where he collected four Vietnamese youths.  The court heard evidence that the RHIB was wholly unsuitable to undertake such a dangerous journey, at night, across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.  Despite Mr Davis having brought protective clothing for himself the Vietnamese youths were left to shiver in jeans and t-shirts, without even a life jacket for safety.  The RHIB was not fitted with appropriate navigation lights and did not have a radio in the event of an emergency.

Despite the danger, Davis landed the RHIB on Folkestone Beach in the early hours of 7 November 2017, where the sodden youths were shepherded into a waiting vehicle, bound for an uncertain fate.

Fortunately, the conspirators’ activities hadn’t gone unnoticed by the authorities and they were subsequently arrested.  Davis initially denied any involvement telling the police he had been fishing.  It was a lie maintained by King at his trial.  He denied any knowledge of the plan to bring the youths to the UK and maintained he had simply been helping his friend Davis by launching the RHIB so Davis could indulge in a spot of night fishing in the Channel, despite not having any sea fishing equipment.  Dunn was linked to the offence after police analysed the phones of the other.  Dunn and King were organisers of the conspiracy and that all three expected to profit from this endeavour.

Sadly, recent years have seen a rise in the commission of this kind of offence as increasingly desperate and dangerous attempts are made by individuals to enter the UK.  The men convicted of this offence took advantage of the vulnerability of four young people who had no legal right to enter the UK.  The three conspirators were remanded into custody and will be sentenced on 11 October 2019.

Claire and Thom were instructed by the CPS Complex Casework Unit.

'Counter-Terrorism legislation in the UK after 9/11' - KCL lecture


On 18 February 2019 Thom gave a lecture on ‘Counter-Terrorism legislation in the UK after 9/11’, at King’s College London to students in the Department of War Studies, as part of the MA in Terrorism, Security, and Society.

The lecture examined the historical context to the UK’s counter-terror legislation, before going on to provide an in-depth critical analysis of the various ways in which the law has evolved to meet the changing terrorist threat.

Thom invited to join Advisory Group of the Centre for Criminal Appeals


Thom has accepted an invitation to join the Advisory Group of the Centre for Criminal Appeals.  The Centre is a charity committed to fighting miscarriages of justice and demanding reform in the area of criminal law. 

The Centre works to find cases with merit and high potential impact, and then investigates to uncover fresh evidence to show that a conviction is unsafe, or a sentence is unfair.  The Centre brings cases to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, the Administrative Court, and the Court of Appeal. 

Other Advisory Group members include Simon Ford (producer of the Rough Justice television series), Gareth Peirce (lawyer for Birmingham Six and Guildford Four), and Clive Stafford Smith (attorney, founder of Reprieve).

Thom is instructed frequently to both advise and represent clients in appeals to the High Court and Court of Appeal. Click here for more information as to his appeals practice.

'When Justice Fails' - YLAL lecture

On 13 September 2018 Thom spoke to the Young Legal Aid Lawyers on the subject of his appeals work and miscarriages of justice, together with Suzanne Gower, the Managing Director of the Centre for Criminal Appeals.

Thom and Suzanne were joined by Liam Allan, who spoke about his new project, ‘Innovation of Justice’.

The talk was kindly hosted by 39 Essex Chambers.


Thom secures acquittal in £0.5m fraud trial

Thom acted for the defendant, TG, in a complex fraud trial involving alleged losses of nearly half a million pounds.  TG was found not guilty by the jury after the three week trial at Guildford Crown Court.

The prosecution alleged that TG had moved in with his elderly mother following the death of his father.  He was said to have set out to systematically defraud her of her life savings by obtaining a power of attorney over her financial affairs.  Nearly half a million pounds was taken from her savings, with hundreds of thousands of pounds being spent on expensive renovation and building work.  Large sums were withdrawn in cash without any account of where they were spent.

The case involved a three-day cross-examination of the central prosecution witness in the case and presentation of complex financial evidence to the jury.  TG was acquitted of all charges.  Thom was instructed by Harrington Myers Solicitors.

Thom successfully prosecutes Uber driver and friend for “selling guns to straight killers”

Thom Dyke has successfully prosecuted an Uber driver (AK) and his friend (ES) for “selling guns to straight killers”.

On 23 May 2017, police had the pair under surveillance in North London.  ES was seen leaving his house holding a bag containing 17 rounds of ammunition and a handgun.  He got into the back of AK’s car, where he passed him the bag.  AK drove off towards the West End, but was stopped by armed police on the Strand.

AK and ES were arrested.  ES refused to hand over the PIN codes to his phones.  Police phone analysts were able to crack the security on ES’s phones and examine their contents.  They found a gallery of images showing ES posing at fire-ranges with handguns and firing them, as well a note with the title “sold guns to straight killers”.

ES was convicted by a jury of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, possession of ammunition with intent to endanger life, and refusing to give up his mobile phone pin code to police. AK, was found guilty of possessing a prohibited firearm and possessing ammunition without a license.  They are due to be sentenced on 06 August 2018 at the Crown Court sitting at Woolwich.

James Thacker and Thom Dyke: £7½ million fraudsters sentenced to 33 years' imprisonment

Fraudsters at the heart of a sophisticated global conspiracy to defraud over £7½ million have been given sentences totalling 33 years' imprisonment. The four co-conspirators were prosecuted by James Thacker and Thom Dyke, instructed by the CPS Complex Casework Unit. They fell to be sentenced after convictions were secured following a five week trial at Wood Green Crown Court before HHJ Perrins and a jury.

The conspirators targeted victims ranging from multinational companies to vulnerable elderly people. VS, US and AS were convicted of 19 counts in total including Conspiring to defraud elderly victims in New South Wales, Australia of their life savings, Conspiring to defraud Eli Lilly, the global Pharmaceutical company, Conspiring to launder the proceeds of criminal conduct, possessing articles for use in the course of or in connection with fraud, and possessing identity documents with improper intention.

SG pleaded guilty prior to the jury being sworn and faced additional counts of Conspiring to defraud Brockton Capital LLP, a private equity company, Conspiring to launder the proceeds of criminal conduct and Fraud by false representation in respect of a hijacked email account defrauding an elderly couple of their life savings.

VS received ten years' imprisonment. US and AS each received eight years' imprisonment. SG was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment.

In passing sentence, HHJ Perrins observed that:

"This was quite clearly an extremely well planned fraud, targeting people who were especially vulnerable…The impact on the elderly victims will have been profound, robbing them of their financial security at an age when they are unable to make good their loss…You were each at the very heart of the conspiracy."

Noting the roles played by each defendant, HHJ Perrins said:

"What the evidence shows, without any question, is that in the case of each of you fraud and dishonesty was at the very centre of your lives. You were each available to facilitate or participate in whatever fraud was suggested by other conspirators not before this court. You thought little or nothing of the consequences for others. It must follow that you were closely connected with other criminals who were able to identify vulnerable targets not only in this country but also overseas."

Court of Appeal success for Thom in sentencing appeal

The Court of Appeal today overturned a sentence imposed for serious and repeated breaches of a restraining order.  Mr O’Hagan, who was represented by Thom, sought to appeal his sentence on the basis that, in light of the recent case of R v Holgate [2017] EWCA Crim 638, it was manifestly excessive for the judge to have taken a starting point of 27 months’ imprisonment.

The Court of Appeal agreed with Thom’s submissions and reduced Mr O’Hagan’s sentence to one of 12 months’ imprisonment, which means that Mr O’Hagan will no longer be subject to further licence conditions.

The appeal was heard before Lord Justice Irwin, Sir Kenneth Parker and HHJ Aubrey QC.

Thom was instructed by GT Stewart Solicitors.

Thom is instructed frequently to both advise and represent clients in appeals to the High Court and Court of Appeal.  For more information as to his appellate practice, click here.

Successful outcome in the Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal today quashed an Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection ("IPP") imposed on Mr Damon Phillips in 2008 for causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Mr Phillips sought to appeal against his sentence, nearly nine years out of time, on the basis it had been wrong in principle to pass an indeterminate sentence. The Court of Appeal agreed to quash the IPP and replace it with an Extended Determinate Sentence ("EDS"), which means Mr Phillips will no longer be subject to licence requirements for the rest of his life.

Thom Dyke represented Mr Phillips in his appeal, which was heard before Lady Justice Sharp, Mrs Justice Laing and HHJ Farrer QC. Thom was instructed by GT Stewart Solicitors.

Thom is instructed frequently to both advise and represent clients in appeals to the High Court and Court of Appeal. Click here for more information as to his appeals practice.

Thom secures acquittal in historic sex case

Thom represented the second of two defendants accused of numerous counts of rape and indecent assault against a young complainant. The allegations dated back to the period between 1997 and 2000.

After a trial at Kingston Crown Court, which lasted two weeks, the defendant represented by Thom was unanimously found not guilty by the jury. His co-defendant was convicted and received a sentence of 17 years’ imprisonment.

Thom appointed to the CPS rape list

Thom has been appointed to the Crown Prosecution Service's specialist list of approved counsel who are permitted to prosecute rape and serious sexual offences.

Thom is a Grade 3 panel advocate for the CPS, and specialises in prosecuting and defending in serious criminal cases. For more detail about Thom's practice, please see the 9 Gough Square website.

If you wish to instruct Thom, please contact the clerks at 9 Gough Square by email to or telephone on 020 7832 0500.

Haigh costs JR heard at the Divisional Court

The Divisional Court today heard the application for judicial review by David Haigh, against a decision of the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, to award costs of £230,446 against him, following the withdrawal of his private prosecution. The case was heard by Lord Justice Gross and Mr Justice Nicol. Judgment was reserved.  

Background to the case can be found on the BBC.

Thom appeared on behalf of Mr Haigh, led by Alun Jones QC and instructed by Keystone Law.

Divisional Court rules on JR challenge to VRR

The Divisional Court has given useful guidance as to the scope of the Victim's Right of Review scheme.  In R (on the application of Ram) v Director of Public Prosecutions [2016] EWHC 1426 (Admin) (link), the claimant sought to bring a private prosecution against his ex-partner for perverting the course of justice.

The CPS took over the prosecution and offered no evidence. The claimant challenged the decision to offer no evidence, first via the Victim's Right of Review scheme and when that was unsuccessful, by way of judicial review.

Representing the claimant, the court praised Thom's advocacy, noting "the careful and elegant submissions advanced before us today by Mr Dyke".

Thom was instructed by Duncan Lewis Solicitors.

For details of Thom's expertise in public law, click here.

Thom appointed to LAA adjudication panel

Following a recommendation by the Chief Executive of the Legal Aid Agency ("LAA") to the Minister for Legal Aid, Shailesh Vara MP, Thom has been appointed as an Independent Funding Adjudicator and Costs Assessor ("IFCA").

As an IFCA, Thom will decide on appeals brought against the refusal of legal aid funding and assessment of costs. The appointment runs from 01 July 2016 for a period of two years. The National Appeals Review Panel was created by the LAA in 2013, with the aim of improving the consistency of decision making. 

Thom regularly advises both professional and lay clients on the funding and costs issues which can arise in private and publicly funded cases.  He has experience of challenging decisions on appeal, either by way of judicial review, or to the Senior Courts Costs Office ("SCCO"). 

LCJ gives judgment in IPP appeals

Judgment was handed down today by the Lord Chief Justice in the case of R v Roberts and others [2016] EWCA Crim 71 (link).  The Court of Appeal has provided further guidance in relation to appeals brought significantly out of time and the principles which apply to such applications.

This is of particular importance to those wishing to appeal against Indeterminate sentences for Public Protection ("IPP"), where appeals are often brought several years after the sentence was imposed.

Thom represented the appellant Mr Wakeling, and was led by Joel Bennathan QC of Doughty Street Chambers and instructed by GT Stewart Solicitors.

For details of Thom's expertise in criminal appeals, click here.

Thom instructed with Alun Jones QC on David Haigh costs appeal

Alun Jones QC and Thom Dyke have been instructed by Kaim Todner to judicially review a £230,000 costs order made against David Haigh, the former managing director of Leeds United Football Club.  The order was made in October 2015 following Mr Haigh's application to bring a private prosecution.  He alleged his former employers two GFH Capital executives, and their lawyer, former Gibson Dunn & Crutcher partner Peter Gray, engaged in “human trafficking” to lure him to Dubai where he is currently in prison.

For the background to the case, see coverage from BBC News, The Lawyer, The Daily Mail and The Guardian