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.

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.