'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  Large sums were withdrawn in cash without any account of where they were spent.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 clerks@9goughsquare.co.uk 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

Court of Appeal hears conjoined IPP appeals

Thom appeared today in the Court of Appeal before the Lord Chief Justice, in one of thirteen conjoined cases concerning appeals against Indeterminate sentences for Public Protection ("IPP").  The specially convened court heard argument on the vexed question of appeals brought significantly out of time, and is expected to give guidance as to what principles should be applied.

Thom was led by Joel Bennathan QC of Doughty Street Chambers and instructed by GT Stewart Solicitors.  Judgment will be handed down by the court on 18 March 2016.

Court of Appeal praises Thom's advocacy

The Court of Appeal praised Thom's trial advocacy today in the case of R v Colukoglu [2015] EWCA Crim 1900.  Giving the judgment of the court, the Recorder of Westminster, HHJ McCreath said:

“We pay particular tribute to him...for the manner in which he conducted the trial, acting, we are fully satisfied, with total propriety and in the very best traditions of the profession."