Annie Johnston


A highly experienced leading junior and is a master tactician working relentlessly to ensure that her clients are dealt with expeditiously and successfully. Her back catalogue is impressive and is second to none.

Often appears in cases prosecuted by the SFO and is instructed to defend in high profile cases including “missing trader” “carousel’ and “advance fee” frauds. Also has experience defending in complex money laundering trials, cases involving organised crime including murder, corruption and drug trafficking. She also appears in the VAT tribunal.

In one of her most recent cases [R v X High Court Queens Bench Division] she successfully represented a Russian client who was being blackmailed - applied for a Norwhich Pharmaacal order against the relevant telephone companies in order to track the down the perpetrator of the alleged threats of blackmail.

Another of her recent high-profile cases was Regina v Webster [Operation Elvedon], where successfully represented the former deputy editor of The Sun on a charge of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

Confiscation, Civil Recovery and Asset Forfeiture

Frequently instructed in High Court Restraint work and has a wide experience in applications to Discharge or Vary Property Freezing Orders, Restraint or Receivership Orders.

She is often asked to provide advice to individuals and companies in pre-charge and ancillary matters such as financial services regulation, issues of disclosure and privilege, restraint proceedings, seizure and due diligence.

Annie possesses a wealth of experience in this area due to the nature of her practice in dealing with fraud/drug cases of exceptionally high value. She has appeared in the Court of Appeal and lectured on this topic.

Regulatory and Disciplinary Proceedings

Annie has appeared before various regulatory bodies including the GDC and GMC.  She regularly appears in the VAT Tribunal on behalf of those appealing against the refusal by HM Customs to repay VAT following assertions of VAT/MTIC fraud.

She also appears in cases involving health and Safety, and recently wrote an article called “Who’s bad” for the Health and Safety Practitioner.

Read more


  • Called to the Bar 1990
  • LLB 2:1 Law Hons

Associations and Memberships

  • Member of the Inner Temple
  • Criminal Bar Association

Notable Cases

Appeals and CCRC

R v Blackwell – Represented appellant in the Court of Appeal whose conviction was over turned, As a result advised the Government in relation to the laws of anonymity.

R v D – Represented appellant in Court of Appeal whose conviction was over turned on a murder charge.

R v Luxworth - Represented defendant whose conviction was over turned in the Court of Appeal.

General Crime

R v Otis Ferry – Represented son of singer Brian Ferry on perverting the course of justice, blackmail.

R v Sean Brosnan – Represented son of Pierce Brosnan on charge of assault.

R v Keogh & O’Conner – Official Secrets Act - Represented a defendant charged with offences under the official Secrets Act trial was held in camera.

Organised Crime

R v Sadushi – Extradtion Albaninan convicted in absence of quadruple murder.

R v Morton – Represented architect who was alleged to have murdered his wife with no body ever recovered.

R v Gill (Operation Guinness) – Represented defendant in a large multi handed conspiracy to supply class A drugs into the UK.

R v Gordon – Represented defendant on a gangland shooting in retribution for the “Shakespeare murders”

R v Stromberg - Represented defendant on importation of 380 kilos of pure cocaine.

R v Mason – Represented one of 11 young defendants on charge of murder gang warfare stabbing.

R v Kujo – Represented defendant on a charge of murder.

R v Lowe  - represented female defendant on charge of murder the issue being could the victim have stabbed himself causing his own death.

R v Dominguez – represented female defendant charge with money laundering arising from activities of a Columbian Cocaine Conspiracy. At the time said to be the largest trial ever to be prosecuted.

R v Martinex – Represented defendant connected to the Columbian Cartel charged with importation of large amounts of 100% pure Cocaine.

Fraud and Financial Crime

R v X – Largest “Boiler Room fraud” over £100m Southwark Crown Court

R v X – Largest MTIC VAT fraud prosecuted in the UK with alleged losses of over £350 million

R v Mahmood & Others (Operation Exhort) - Linked mortgage and insurance fraud – 42 handed fraud involving car insurance “cash for crash” and mortgage fraud.

R v X & Others – One of the principle defendants in a conspiracy to steal the pension fund from a large London company.

R v Peter Foster – Represented the infamous Peter Foster who was extradited back from Australia to face fraud charges relating to slimming tablets and slimming tea sold.

R v S (Operation Hayrick) – A case described by the HMRC as “the biggest ever case of its kind” involving an alleged 160m MTIC mobile phone fraud.

R v Hart & others (Operation Onset) – Representing one of 6 defendants in a multi million pound MTIC fraud involving the sale of mobile phones imported into the UK and sold creating a VAT liability of £140million.

R v X (Operation Steamroller) – One of 7 defendants in 3 connected alleged”boiler room” fraud the total amount invested £100 million. Described by the SFO as the biggest fraud to be prosecuted by them.

R v Turner (Operation Rust) – Represented one of 6 defendants on a multi million pound diversion fraud involving alcohol and cigarettes.

R v Varian – Represented Company Secretary on a VAT fraud.

R v Crowe – Represented defendant on a multi million pound MTIC fraud involving computer chips and mobile phones.