Criminal Law

Band 3 Crime – Chambers and Partners 2021

Walnut House is a notable Exeter-based set which is well regarded for its handling of serious criminal cases. Members undertake work relating to crimes of the utmost gravity, including murder, serious assaults and sexual offences involving both adults and children, and are regularly instructed to act for both the prosecution and the defence. The set also houses considerable expertise in cases involving deaths caused by dangerous driving and high-value frauds.

Over the years our criminal barristers have appeared across the South West and nationwide. 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

Adrian Chaplin

Year Of Call : 1990; HoC

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. View Profile

Simon Laws KC

Year Of Call : 1991

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

“Centres his highly regarded practice on homicide, fraud and drug crime, with additional strengths in cases involving sexual offences. He is frequently engaged to defend and prosecute murders and serious drug conspiracies”

“An incredibly bright lawyer with a lovely manner”

Band 1 – Chambers and Partners 2020

View Profile

Paul Cavin KC

Year Of Call : 1995

Paul is a Door Tenant of Walnut House, with family connections to the South West. He is also Head of Chambers at 2 Harcourt Buildings in London. Paul specialises in homicide, fraud, corporate crime – particularly bribery and corruption but also money laundering, cyber crime, and proceeds of crime.
He is regularly instructed by the CPS and the SFO and was on the Attorney General’s Criminal List for many years. Before his call to the bar he trained as a solicitor at a city firm (where he gained experience in all aspects of commercial law before qualifying in the commercial litigation/fraud group). He is a member of the Private Prosecutors’ Association and the Fraud Lawyers Association. View Profile

Simon Burns

Year Of Call : 1992

Simon Burns is a specialist in criminal law undertaking prosecution and defence work. View Profile

Peter Coombe

Year Of Call : 1993

Due to an extended period of illness, Peter is not currently practicing or accepting any new instructions.

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

Heather Hope

Year Of Call : 1993

Heather was called in 1993 and after having practiced in a leading criminal set in London for 22yrs, moved to the South West in 2015. Heather has prosecuted and defended in large-scale drug cases, gang violence and firearms cases along with rape and serious sexual offences. Heather has also defended and prosecuted as a led junior in murder trials at the Central Criminal Court and as leading junior counsel in numerous trials more recently. Grade 4 and RASSO panel Counsel. 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 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). 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. 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. 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. View Profile

Dan Pawson-Pounds

Year Of Call : 2007

Dan has wide experience in all aspects of criminal law, quasi-criminal regulatory law, corporate investigations and international war crimes. He specialises in business crime, criminal law, terrorism and private prosecutions, both in court and in an advisory role.

Legal 500 2024 – Leading Junior Tier 1
Chambers & Partners 2024 – Band 3
Recorder (Crown Court) 2023 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. 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 Four advocate on the Crown Prosecution Service Advocate Panel and is also on the RASSO and Serious Crime Panels. 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. View Profile

Evie Dean

Year Of Call : 2019

Evie accepts instructions in both criminal and family law. She regularly appears in the Crown and Magistrates’ Courts where she prosecutes and defends in all stages of proceedings. She also acts for parents in both private and care proceedings from application stage through to contested interim and final hearings.

Since joining Walnut House after successfully completing a twelve-month pupillage in chambers, Evie has continued to enjoy a busy and varied practice. She has been complimented on her pragmatic and personable manner with her clients. View Profile

Sam Wysocki

Year Of Call : 2020

Sam has developed a diverse practice across Chambers’ family, criminal and civil teams, representing clients throughout the South West. He prides himself on his attention to detail, being approachable and offering pragmatic advice.
Sam completed his pupillage under the supervision of Hugh Cornford and accepted tenancy from Walnut House in October 2021. Furthermore, Sam successfully obtained his public access qualification in October 2022. View Profile

Zoe Kuyken

Year Of Call : 2021

Zoe recently completed a successful pupillage at Walnut House and as a result was offered a tenancy which she accepted. Prior to pupillage, she worked as a paralegal at a boutique agricultural law firm. During her BPTC, she volunteered as an Appropriate Adult, supporting children in police station interviews, and at Support Through Court, assisting litigants in person with the court process. She has also completed internships assisting a children’s charity with their policy documents, and in the privacy department of an international firm. View Profile

Azzam Bhatti

Year Of Call : 2017

Azzam has a mixed Civil, Criminal and Family practice at Walnut House.

View Profile