Criminal Law

“Walnut House is blessed with some serious talent at both the senior and junior ends” Chambers Directory 2007. With two QCs and fourteen junior barristers based at Walnut House and specialising in criminal work, we are one of the leading West Country sets.

Over the years our criminal barristers have appeared across the South West and nationwide in cases of the gravest kind. The strength and depth of the criminal team contributes to the quality of the representation that we can offer to all our clients. Our experience at all levels allows us to deal confidently with technical, medical and forensic evidence and to advise on the selection of appropriate expert witnesses. Our criminal law barristers regularly provide training in criminal law and advocacy, to Judges, barristers and solicitors, both in the United Kingdom and abroad.

Rape and Sexual Offending

We have been at the forefront of criminal law in this area, appearing in cases of rape and sexual offending in the South West.  We deal with cases of adult and child complainants, and both recent and historic allegations by one or multiple complainants.  A number of our barristers acted in the prosecutions of two of the largest multi-generational child sex offences cases prosecuted in this country.

We are experienced in addressing medical, psychiatric and psychological evidence relevant to such cases. Members of Chambers have delivered training to solicitors and barristers on the Western Circuit on issues arising with vulnerable witnesses and special measures and have given training on the use of live-link equipment.

Murder, Manslaughter and Non-Fatal Violence

Our Criminal Barristers appear in many of the most serious cases tried in the West Country. They regularly act in murder and manslaughter cases ranging from organised killings to street violence, murder in the home and the death of children including babies.

Our Barristers are experienced in corporate manslaughter allegations. The depth of experience in dealing with cases of maximum seriousness contributes to Chambers’ strength in providing representation in cases of non-fatal violence at all levels.

Fraud, Commercial Crime and Confiscation

Members of Chambers, both Leaders and Juniors, regularly defend in cases of serious fraud and other commercial crime, and prosecute for the Serious Fraud Office and other bodies.

We have built on our long experience in this field to develop expertise in the newer areas of money laundering and confiscation. Members of Chambers can advise on issues of financial restraint, whether the order has been made in the Crown Court or the High Court.  Members of Chambers have delivered training on the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to both Barristers and Solicitors on the Western Circuit.

Driving Deaths and Motoring Offences

Cases of causing death by dangerous driving and motor manslaughter require great skill and sensitivity, and our criminal barristers have great experience in these cases, being well able to address the demands of witness and technical evidence, as well as supporting clients through the process.

More junior members of Chambers are happy to act for accused motorists in the Magistrates’ Court, particularly in cases of dangerous or careless driving and alcohol and speeding offences.

Regulatory Offences and Health and Safety

Members of Chambers are regularly instructed to prosecute and defend in regulatory offences, and many are on the Attorney General’s List of Advocates selected to represent Government departments.

We also advise Local Authorities and individuals on a range of criminal and quasi-criminal matters. The range of work includes Fisheries Offences, Agricultural matters, Planning, Health and Safety Cases, and Electricity Regulation.

Inquests and Enquiries

Our Criminal Barristers regularly act for interested parties at inquests and are regularly instructed on behalf of interested insurers in relation to deaths on the road.

We also have experience in dealing with Article 2 Inquests where there has been a death in custody or in consequence of police action.

Police and Professional Disciplinary

We are regularly instructed to represent Police Officers charged in criminal proceedings and our barristers also appear in Police and professional disciplinary enquiries.

Robbery, Theft, and Burglary

Members of Chambers act in cases covering the full range of offences of dishonesty.

Criminal Law team members

Simon Laws QC

Year Of Call : 1991

Simon Laws QC has practised exclusively in criminal law for 27 years. He represents both the prosecution and the defence.

“He has a really good reputation for his work in the area.”
Chambers and Partners 2018

simon.laws@walnuthouse.co.uk View Profile

Paul Dunkels QC

Year Of Call : 1972

Since becoming a QC in 1993 Paul Dunkels has prosecuted and defended in all types of serious crime, including cases of murder, manslaughter, fraud, drugs importation and supply and sexual offences.

“He’s a hugely experienced silk who knows it all and is a beautiful advocate.”
Chambers and Partners 2018

paul.dunkels@walnuthouse.co.uk View Profile

Adrian Chaplin

Year Of Call : 1990

Adrian is a highly effective and sought-after advocate with extensive experience of heavy-weight and sensitive cases before a broad range of courts and tribunals.
He advises in criminal, misconduct, regulatory and coroner’s court work. He is experienced in appeal cases and judicial review.

adrian.chaplin@walnuthouse.co.uk View Profile

Peter Coombe

Year Of Call : 1993

Peter is regularly instructed in cases of murder, manslaughter, attempted murder and other cases of serious violence.

peter.coombe@walnuthouse.co.uk View Profile

Mary McCarthy

Year Of Call : 1994

Mary is regularly instructed in cases of murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, rape and fraud.

“She’s an extremely good advocate, brilliant at cross-examination and very good tactically; she knows how to destroy the opposition.”
Chambers and Partners 2018

mary.mccarthy@walnuthouse.co.uk View Profile

Kelly Scrivener

Year Of Call : 2001

Kelly appears for both the Prosecution and Defence in all matters before the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division).

kelly.scrivener@walnuthouse.co.uk View Profile

Lee Bremridge

Year Of Call : 2003

Lee Bremridge is a criminal barrister experienced in all areas of complex and serious crime. Lee is known for dealing with serious cases, defending and prosecuting in equal measure.

lee.bremridge@walnuthouse.co.uk View Profile

Barry White

Year Of Call : 2004

Barry is an experienced junior, who defends serious criminal cases including violence, sexual offences, dishonesty and drugs. He also prosecutes and defends in regulatory & quasi-criminal matters.

barry.white@walnuthouse.co.uk View Profile

Bathsheba Cassel

Year Of Call : 2005

Bathsheba is a criminal barrister with a wealth of experience across all areas of complex and serious crime.

bathsheba.cassel@walnuthouse.co.uk View Profile

Joss Ticehurst

Year Of Call : 2006

Joss Ticehurst is instructed to defend and prosecute in cases involving the most serious criminal offences in the Crown Court, particularly those relating to allegations of rape, attempted murder, multi-defendant cases involving drugs and murder, and multi-defendant cases of fraud and drug conspiracies.

joss.ticehurst@walnuthouse.co.uk View Profile

Will Parkhill

Year Of Call : 2015

Regularly instructed to defend in matters involving the most serious violence including two recent allegations of Murder.

will.parkhill@walnuthouse.co.uk View Profile

Brian FitzHerbert

Year Of Call : 2008

Brian prosecutes and defends in all areas of criminal law. His practice encompasses murder, manslaughter, sexual offences, serious violence and organised crime. He is a Grade Three advocate on the Crown Prosecution Service Advocate Panel.

brian.fitzherbert@walnuthouse.co.uk View Profile

Felicity Payne

Year Of Call : 2010

Felicity is a common law barrister with an established and varied practice in all aspects of criminal and civil law. Felicity is thorough, practical and robust in her approach, whilst remaining personable.

felicity.payne@walnuthouse.co.uk View Profile

Emmi Wilson

Year Of Call : 2013

Emmi is a mixed common law barrister with established practices in all aspects of family, crime and civil. Emmi joined Walnut House in September 2014 having successfully completed a twelve-month pupillage in chambers, and since then has continued to enjoy a busy mixed practice. Emmi prides herself on being a personable and persuasive advocate who is both thorough and robust in her approach.

emmi.wilson@walnuthouse.co.uk View Profile