Robert Bryan

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As both Junior and Leading Junior Robert’s work covers the wide spectrum of serious crime including homicide, sex-offending, serious fraud and drug conspiracies. As Junior alone he has successfully defended attempted murder, and has both prosecuted and defended in a number of motor vehicle death cases. He has built up an expertise in ‘document’, ‘images’ and ‘computer’ cases as commented on in the 2019 Chambers and Partners Directory having been identified in that field initially by the 2014 Legal 500.

Robert is regularly briefed both to prosecute and defend in multi-complainant cases of sexual offending (including historic abuse cases and offences against children). He is on the Crown Prosecution Specialist Rape Panel. 

In addition to his practice in civilian Criminal Courts, Robert receives instructions to appear before Military Tribunals defending servicemen and women against allegations of criminal conduct and service discipline offences.


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Qualifications

  • Called to the Bar 1992
  • LLB (Hons)

Associations and memberships

  • Member of Middle Temple
  • Western Circuit
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Association of Military Court Advocates
  • Proceeds of Crime Lawyers’ Association
  • Grade 4 CPS Prosecutor

Publications

  • Criminal Law Today (Thomson Reuters) Spring 2012 – “Norris & Dobson and the tale of the minimum term” concerning the sentencing of Stephen Lawrence’s killers.
  • Criminal Law Today (Thomson Reuters) Summer 2013 – “Sexual offences act 2003, notification requirements for those under 18″.
  • Contributor to Halsbury’s Law Exchange

Notable cases

HOMICIDE & SERIOUS VIOLENCE

R v Dorey [2017] Portsmouth Crown Court - Successfully defending at trial a case of casing death by careless driving. Expert evidence in the case involved not only accident reconstruction, but toxicology and pharmacology, traffic light sequencing, GPS and Garmin sports devices.
Portsmouth News part 1
Portsmouth News part 2

R v Madden [2017] Winchester Crown Court - Successfully defending at trial as Junior Alone a man charged with the attempted murder of his landlord. The Defendant twice stabbed his landlord in the back with a large kitchen knife.

R v X & X [2016] Southampton Crown Court - Prosecution of 3-week trial of parents who had allowed their daughters to suffer severe chronic neglect. The children were identified when one of the girls moved to a new school and teaching staff noticed a smell of “rotting meat” or “as if something had died”. She was found to have such an infestation of head lice that her hair was moving - lice were found all over her body and dead lice in her socks and on her feet - and she had iron deficient anaemia. The Consultant Paediatrician described it as the worst case of neglect she had seen in over 30 years of paediatric medicine, and was the worst case of neglect ever seen by other examiners.   

R v Moynihan [2015] Winchester Crown Court. Teenage defendant charged with murder, led by Alastair Malcolm QC. BBC article.

R. v. Fagan & Barnard [2013] Winchester Crown Court – Defending 24-year old woman accused of Causing Death by Careless Driving who admitted to Police that she was driving; it subsequently transpired that she had lied under instruction from her then boyfriend who told her to swap seats with him moments after the fatal crash. The Police were eventually persuaded (in the lead up to her trial for the driving matter) that she was not the driver by a recording him making admissions to her. She pleaded Guilty to Perverting the Course of Justice. Daily Mail article.

R. v. C [2013] Portsmouth Crown Court – Prosecuting, against Nigel Lickley Q.C. and Maria Lamb, the mother of a19-day old infant in a baby-shaking case. The baby was left with severe neurological and life changing injuries.

R. v. Harris [2011] Southampton Crown Court – Prosecuting night time sex attack on lone female student asleep in her flat. Case investigated by Hampshire Police Major Crime Department (Hampshire Police OP Chromo). Mirror article

R. v. Caddick [2010] Liverpool Crown Court – Defending motorcyclist who caused the death by dangerous driving of his girlfriend who was riding as pillion passenger on his motorbike.

R.v. Denton [2010] Kingston Crown Court – Defending Special Constable and Scenes of Crime Officer charged with causing death by dangerous driving (involving crash reconstruction and forensic examination of CCTV and mobile telephones). 

R. v. P Brown [2009] Winchester Crown Court – Defending Attempted Murder and rapes on lone girl walking home at night:

R. v. Vine [2008] Winchester Crown Court – Led by Michael Hubbard QC for the defence of teenager who kicked a male to death.

R. v. Batty [2007] Portsmouth Crown Court – Defending motorcyclist accused of causing death by dangerous driving arising out of allegation of racing during which the second rider collided with an invalidity scooter.

R. v. Cambray [2007] Court of Appeal – Defending learner driver convicted of death by dangerous driving having driven over sea wall, the car landing on a small child playing on the beach. Appeal against conviction and sentence.

R.T.R. 128(10), C.A. ([2006] EWCA Crim. 1708) CLW/07/08/1 & CLW/07/08/

R. v. Johnston [2004] EWCA Crim 2806, 5th Edition Banks on Sentence paragraph 118.32

Led by Michael Hubbard QC, murder committed by defendant using a car as a weapon

R. v. Lockwood [2001] Winchester Crown Court – Lead by Anthony Davies QC for the Defence of murder committed in domestic circumstances.

R. v. Gibson [2000] Winchester Crown Court. Lead by Christopher Leigh QC for the Defence in soliciting to murder trial.

R. v. Blyth [2000] Winchester Crown Court.Lead by Anthony Davies QC for the Defence in a murder committed by a young man who stabbed a friend during the course of an argument.

R. v. Browning & Browning [2000] Winchester Crown Court – Lead by Anthony Davies QC for the Prosecution of manslaughter by gross negligence of publicans who served a customer with enough alcohol to kill him.

FRAUD & MONEY LAUNDERING

R. v. LG [2018] Portsmouth Crown Court - Defence of female defendant for alleged money laundering of proceeds of a drugs conspiracy. The prosecution offered no evidence at the start of the 6th week of trial.

R v Ashton [2018] Luton Crown Court - Prosecution of the in-house accountant for a Evangelical Church Charity who over many years defrauded the charity of sums in excess of £2.5 million pounds. The money was spent on the Defendant’s “second-life” which he enjoyed with his mistress - it went on luxurious holidays, horses, helicopters and funding an extravagant lifestyle. See press link to BBC report here.

R v Lai Lan [2017] Portsmouth Crown Court – successful prosecution, on behalf of SEROCU, of drug dealer who used the ‘Darknet’ marketplace and bitcoin payment methods.

R. v. Choudhry and others [2016] Reading Crown Court - Prosecution of three conspirators for their part in a $460,000 fraud on PayPal investigated by the Cyber Crime Unit of South East Regional Crime Unit as Operation Cobalt.  

R v. Hedges[2015] Southampton Crown Court –Defending a CEO on charges that he defrauded the charity for which he worked by filing fraudulent expense claims and claiming monies in lieu of holiday to which he was not entitled.

R. v. Burge [2014] Portsmouth Crown Court – Defending the central conspirator in a 6-handed conspiracy to defraud (23 individuals were investigated) listed for an 8-week trial. The case related to applications (the value in excess of £900,000) for grants for Commercial Fisheries and Fishing from European Fisheries Funds administered by the Marine Management Organisation. At the commencement of the trial successful negotiations with the Prosecution lead to two pleas being entered to False Accounting and the imposition of a short suspended sentence. See link below for more information.

R. v. Tague [2014] Portsmouth Crown Court – Successfully defending at trial the owner of a road haulage company said to be the organizer behind an attempt to remove £1/2 million from the UK concealed in tyres being transported on a lorry which was stopped by UKBA Officers at Portsmouth Ferryport.

R.v. Evans and others[2014] Winchester Crown Court – Defending as Leading Junior (with Unyime Davies) the Director of a metal fabrication business in an 8-week conspiracy to supply cocaine in Hampshire and Surrey.

R. v. Humphries [2013] Winchester Crown Court – 5-week prosecution of £1/3 million fraud committed on Government Agencies by an NVQ Training Provider.

R. v. Timmins and others [2013] Portsmouth Crown Court – Prosecuting gang for the supply of cocaine in Hampshire continuing over a number of years (and associated money-laundering offences). Instructed by CPS Wessex Complex Case Unit.

R. v. Emosivwe and others [2012] Exeter Crown Court –Defending alleged main conspirator in a conspiracy to defraud on-line retailers by a gang who used stolen credit card details to make purchases throughout the UK. The Prosecution dropped the case prior to a month-long trial listing.

R. v. Jaafar and others [2012] Cardiff Crown Court –Defending in a conspiracy to defraud the Royal Mint (Matthew Jewell representing a co-conspirator). The Prosecution did not proceed at Trial as the Defendant had left the Country.

R. v. Batt [2012] Southampton Crown Court –Defending in a conspiracy to defraud South West Trains by businessmen who used forged First Class rail season tickets and car parking permits.

R. v. V & V [2012] Portsmouth Crown Court – Defending in case involving alleged child trafficking for exploitation from Eastern Europe and linked benefit fraud by illegally obtaining UK National Insurance Numbers. Case prosecuted by Hampshire Constabulary’s Serious & Organised Crime Unit as Operation Landings.

R. v. Ojo [2011] Southampton Crown Court – Defending in money laundering case with value in excess of £500,000 transferred through Western Union by shopkeeper and Western Union agent.

R. v. Chowdhury [2011] Winchester Crown Court – Defending in property/investment fraud occurring within the Bengali and Bangladeshi communities valued in excess of £700,000.

R. v. Williamson [2011] Portsmouth Crown Court – Defending in multi-count, million pound self-certification mortgage fraud.

R. v. T Brown [2010] Defending with Karim Khalil QC anarchist cookbook collector and dealer.

R. v. Ferguson [2010]  Portsmouth Crown Court – Defending fantasist nurse said to have claimed to be a doctor:

R. v. Brindle [2009] Bournemouth Crown Court – Leading Junior (with Ruth Ball) in cocaine smuggling conspiracy involving multiple trips with drugs on each run having an estimated value of £1million

R. v. Cole; R. v. Keet [2007] Court of Appeal – Admissibility of hearsay evidence when sole evidence is from unavailable hearsay witness. Appeal against conviction.

1 W.L.R. 2716, [2008] 1 Cr.App.R. 81(5), [2007] 8 Archbold News 2, 172 J.P.N. 196, [2008] L.S. Gazette, March 28, 16; sub nom. Reg. v. Cole; Reg. v. Keets, The Times, October 2, 2007; sub nom. Cole v. Reg.; Keet v. Reg., 72 J.C.L. 274, C.A. ([2007] EWCA Crim. 1924) CLW/07/31/6

R. v. Ward [2007] Portsmouth Crown Court – Leading Junior for the main defendant in bogus building work fraud.

R. v. Inett [2004] Worcester Crown Court – Lead by Michael Hubbard QC in £550,000 SFO fraud matter

R. v. Jones [2003] Portsmouth Crown Court – Leading junior for defendant charged in a conspiracy to supply heroin

SEXUAL OFFENCES

R v Ashley [2018] Portsmouth Crown Court – The ‘Grindr rapist’ case

Robert Bryan recently concluded a three week trial at Portsmouth Crown Court involving a ‘dangerous and manipulative’ defendant charged with a string of serious sexual offences. Sam Ashley, also known by the surname Davis, had denied all 10 charges relating to attacks in 2016. He drugged and raped three men he met through the dating app Grindr and a fourth he met at a rugby club. One victim, a student, described Ashley ‘forcefully’ raping him whilst he dipped in and out of consciousness.

He was found guilty of four rapes, four charges of administering a substance with intent and two counts of attempted rape. In his sentencing remarks, Judge Melville QC told Ashley he was ‘dangerous, calculating and manipulative’. He was sentenced to 23 years. For more information see press links below:

  1. BBC
  2. Daily Mail (mid trial report)
  3. Daily Mail (end of trial report)
  4. ITV

R v Scott [2018] Maidstone Crown Court - Prosecution of Kent Police IT employee for the online sexual grooming of young girls over the internet.

R v Seath [2017] Portsmouth Crown Court. Prosecution of a middle-aged man who attempted to abduct a schoolgirl from outside her school as she was walking home. The Offender had been following schoolgirls in the days leading up to the attempted abduction. See press below:

1. Daily Mail

2.The Sun

3. The Mirror


R v Herman [2016] Dorchester Crown court. Successful prosecution of sexual offender who attacked victims in their homes.

1. ITV

2. Dorset Echo

3. Dorset police website

R v Shepherd [2016] Dorchester Crown Court. Successful prosecution, over the course of three separate trials, of prolific paedophile.

1. ITV

2. BBC

3. The Guardian 


R v Cummins [2016] Winchester Crown Court. Defendant initially charged with 30 counts of rape (many multiple incident), 2 counts of supplying drugs and 3 of possession of drugs. Defendant only charged with sexual offences due to being apprehended for drugs offences: the victims were unaware of the attacks, as the defendant had drugged them before filming the abuse. Police found the footage on his mobile device after examining it for evidence relating to drug offences.

R v Elkins [2015] Winchester Crown Court. Leading Junior in an 8-week trial (leading Chloe Jay, Solicitor Advocate, Shentons, Winchester) for the first, of six defendants, accused of historic sexual assaults on four females (including the attempted rape of a 10-year old) dating back 45+ years.  

R.v. Halahan [2014] Portsmouth Crown Court. Defending 84-year old former Church of England Parish Priest on 40-year old allegations of abusing a choirboy

  • Court of Appeal [2014] EWCA Crim 207

R.v.P [2014] Portsmouth Crown Court. Prosecution, against Maria Lamb leading Louisa Bagley, in month-long trial of man for serious historic sexual offending against members of his family, recent voyeurism involving hidden cameras and possession of indecent images.

R. v. K [2013] Portsmouth Crown Court. Prosecution of 81-year old man for the historic serious sexual assault of 9 young girls on an Indictment containing 39 counts; the offending spanned the period 1955 to 2000.

R. v. Cooper [2012] Winchester & St Albans Crown Court – Prosecution of 47 year old on-line paedophile who met a 12-year old via a social networking site by pretending to be a 15-year old girl. He befriended and groomed the child, and having met up with her he took her to his home and raped her. Having been reported missing a man-hunt took place involving Hampshire, Hertfordshire and Essex Constabularies. Searches of his home lead to Police identifying a 15-year old from Coventry, a previous victim of the Defendant; she had herself been groomed from the age of 14 by the Defendant, leading to a full sexual relationship extending over a number of months during which she became pregnant. During the course of his involvement with that victim he filmed himself abusing her.

R. v. Chartres & Chartres [2012] Portsmouth Crown Court. Successfully defending prominent businessman against allegations of historic rape and sexual abuse.

R. v. Harris [2011] Southampton Crown Court – Prosecuting night time sex attack on lone female student asleep in her flat. Case investigated by Hampshire Police Major Crime Department (Hampshire Police OP Chromo).

R. v. Thorn & Thorn, R. v. Lambert, R. v. Puckett [2011] Southampton Crown Court – Prosecuting series cases of serious sexual assaults and neglect on children and grandchildren by family members and friends.

R. v. Maddams [2011] Portsmouth Crown Court – Defending teenage pupil who formed relationship with school girl leading to webcamming and an incident of sexual intercourse.

R. v. P Brown [2009] Winchester Crown Court – Defending Attempted Murder and rapes on lone girl walking home at night:

R. v. Tanner-Dare [2006] Portsmouth Crown Court – Lead by Alastair Malcolm QC for the prosecution in case involving grooming and child sex offence committed by registered sex-offender.

R. v. H [2006] Winchester Crown Court – Leading Junior for the prosecution in historic incest, rape and sexual abuse trial spanning 37 years involving 7 complainants.

R. v. B [2005] Portsmouth Crown Court – Lead by Anthony Davies QC for the Defence of husband (non-English speaking and also deaf and blind) accused of domestic violence and rape within an arranged marriage.

Attorney-General’s Reference No.1 of 2001 (Arthur John Anthony M.)

[2001] Serious indecent assault on child by close family member

[2001] 2 Cr.App.R.(S.) 469

COURT MARTIAL

R v Lieutenant M [2018] Bulford Military Court Centre - Defence of Naval Lieutenant who misguidedly misused money he was entitled to claim for Continuing Education Allowance in order to meet debts he had accrued securing the immigration into the UK of his young daughter. On a Guilty plea whilst the Lieutenant was dismissed he was not otherwise sentenced and no financial penalty was imposed.

R v Musician Higginson [2017] HMS Nelson Military Court Centre - Defence of Royal Marine Bandsman who stole more than a dozen musical instruments, valued at about £19,000 from the band and fellow band members over more than a year in order to pay off substantial debts. On a Guilty plea and using references and a psychiatric report whilst the bandsman was dismissed he received a short period of detention, rather than imprisonment, no financial penalty was imposed.

R v Sgt F-S [2017] HMS Nelson Military Court Centre - Defence of a senior Royal Marine clerk for thefts of substantial quantities of cash destined for foreign operations.

R v Pte M [2017] Bulford Military Court Centre - Defence of a Private charged in relation to barrack room ‘banter’ which went too far.

R v L Cpl S [2017] Bulford Military Court Centre - Defence of a LCpl prosecuted for causing grievous bodily harm to a fellow soldier whilst both were serving in BATUS, Canada.

R v AET G [2017] HMS Nelson Military Court Centre - Defence of a Naval technician charged with sexually assaulting a female colleague.

Other cases of note

R. v. Jackson [2011] EWHC 1628 (QB) High Court of Justice – Representation of convicted murderer on an application to review an existing minimum term set for a murder committed in 1985, but prosecuted to conviction in 2000. Submissions concerned the applicability of Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights to Schedule 22 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, and whether the correct tariff, when setting the minimum term for a murder committed under a previous regime, had been used.

R v. Oaten [2016] Winchester Crown Court – Prosecution of serving Thames Valley Police Officer for computer misuse and unlawful data disclosure.

1.BBC

2. Thames Valley Police

3. Oxford Mail

Directory recommendations

2019

For the sixth year running Chambers & Partners have given Robert their highest accolade – a ‘rated individual’ recommendation. They state:

"He is incredibly well organised, incredibly calm and always in control". "He is very thorough and extremely good in relation to computer offences or indecent images".

Legal500 have also recognised Robert's ability by recommending him, stating in their 2019 directory:

"A very safe pair of hands".

Previous Years

In the 2018 directory it states:

"He is well prepared, knowledgeable and shows a level of understanding towards the clients which helps put them at ease. He delivers clear and easy to understand advice".

In the 2017 directory it states:

"He is extremely thorough, he's good on the law and he takes good legal points".

In the 2016 directory it states:

"He is very good at putting vulnerable clients at ease. He has achieved some outstanding results as a trial advocate, effectively pulling rabbits out of hats”.

In the 2015 directory it states:

“Prosecutes and defends a range of criminal cases, including complex fraud cases and cases concerning historic sexual abuse allegations“.

In the 2014 directory it states:

[Robert] is noted for his experience in handling complex sexual offences and fraud cases. He both defends and prosecutes.

In the 2013 directory it states:

Handles serious crime, sexual offences and fraud. His recent cases include R v Harris, in which he acted for the prosecution handling a sexual attack.

In the 2017 directory it states:

"Juries instinctively know to trust him".

In the 2016 directory it states:

“He argues fiercely and will not leave a stone unturned”.

In the 2014 directory it states:

"He has noteworthy expertise in cases involving document or computer related offending"

In the 2012 directory it states:

“is building a notable practice in serious offence and violence cases”.