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I can advise on pre-charge issues, provide representation at trial and, following conviction and sentencing, advise on whether you may have grounds for an appeal, and if so, conduct that appeal for you.
I have set out below some extracts from my Doughty Street Chambers profile, so that you can get a better idea of what I do.
If you wish to contact me with an enquiry, I would normally expect to be able to provide you with a provisional response within 7 days.
“A superb advocate who gets results” (Legal 500, 2020)
David Bentley QC is a highly regarded criminal defence specialist, whose practice encompasses a wide range of serious and complex crimes, including murder, terrorism, fraud, business crime and sexual offences.
In addition to his trial work, he has an extensive local and international appeals practice.
David has recognised expertise in dealing with DNA and other areas of forensic evidence.
He also acts in inquests – particularly where issues of police misconduct arise.
What the Guides Say
David is listed as a leading silk in Legal 500, and as a ranked QC in Chambers and Partners:
• “a superb advocate who gets results”. (Legal 500 2020)
• ‘He remains calm in any storm and his judgement is always spot-on.’(Legal 500 2017)
• Noted for representing defendants “in complex cases with joint enterprise issues.” (Legal 500 2018)’
• “long standing experience of handling leading cases...very good” (Chambers 2014).
• commended for his “diligence and cleverness” (Legal 500 2013).
• “DNA evidence is his thing, and he has the ability to understand forensic stuff that is not easy" (Chambers 2014).
• He has received judicial commendation for his “consummate advocacy.”
David has extensive experience in all aspects of homicide defence and appeal. He regularly defends in multi-handed “joint enterprise” trials, often on behalf of young and vulnerable defendants.
He is instructed in several upcoming multi-handed murder trials at the Old Bailey and elsewhere.
DNA and other forensic evidence
David has developed a particular specialism in DNA cases, appearing in many of the leading trials and appeals in this controversial field. This too has been noted by commentators, who state that “DNA evidence is his thing, and he has the ability to understand forensic stuff that is not easy" (Chambers Guide 2014).
This expertise includes "low template" DNA and complex mixed profiles, and he has extensive experience working with some of the foremost forensic scientists in this field. He has co-authored comprehensive articles on DNA law and practice published in The Archbold Review September 2012 and February 2011 and well-received features in the Law Society Gazette, January 2015 and March 2017. He was also interviewed by the BBC for their recent R4 documentary “Forensics in Crisis” and was quoted in a recent news story relating to DNA contamination fears in sex cases.
He recently co-presented a seminar on DNA transfer and new methods of DNA profiling.[add link to July 2019 paper from this event]
He is a member of the ICCA experts working group and is a contributor to the recently published “Statistics and Probability for Advocates” guide produced jointly by the Inns of Court School of Advocacy and the Royal Society for Statistics.
His forensic expertise extends to cases involving pathological and psychiatric issues. This has been deployed to successful effect in a recent “baby shaking” acquittal, and in an ongoing appeal.
David has extensive experience in providing focused pre- trial advice, trial representation and appeal advice. He also advises on related confiscation matters. He has advised professionals in relation to resisting or limiting the scope of PACE production orders and related issues of legal professional privilege (LPP) .
He has defended in numerous large scale frauds and in money laundering trials.
Recent cases include securing a substantial reduction for his client in a multi-£M SFO “hidden assets” confiscation claim, and representing a solicitor at her trial for fraud in relation to a major police operation targeting high-value defence costs order claims.
Earlier this year he successfully defended two solicitors facing a private prosecution alleging fraud – persuading the trial judge to uphold an application to dismiss/abuse of process.
He is a member of the Association of Fraud Lawyers.
David has successfully represented an alleged dissident IRA terrorist (the Masserene Baracks murders), and secured an acquittal in a case involving allegations of home grown terrorists leaving the UK to fight for ISIS in Syria.
He is currently instructed in a forthcoming terrorist trial in Manchester.
Potential miscarriages of justice are a particular area of interest, and he receives instructions on a referral basis on a range of serious cases – including being instructed to provide a second opinion, as assigned counsel by the Registrar of Criminal Appeals, and in cases involving referrals from the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).
He has several pending appeals. He is also advising on appeal in relation to a number of murder cases – some relating specifically to joint enterprise convictions based on the now discredited pre-Jogee foresight test and has recently authored an article on post- Jogee joint enterprise appeals for the Law Society Gazette. He is currently advising a doctor in relation to a CCRC referral against a conviction for an assault offence which has blighted his medical practice.
David was asked to advise jailed Malaysian politician and “PM in waiting”, Anwar Ibrahim, prior to his recent release and pardon. David identified a number of concerns over the safety of the conviction for Sodomy which were subsequently highlighted in a press conference. He was pardoned due to “a clear miscarriage of justice. Anwar subsequently agreed to be a guest speaker at a Doughty Street event about his case, and David was on the panel, and spoke about the legal issues that had arisen.
David accepts both public and privately funded instructions, and is accredited with the Bar Council to accept "public access" (direct) instructions in appropriate cases.
He has co-presented (along with leading US DNA expert Professor Dan Krane) seminars at Doughty Street Chambers and in-house with leading solicitors on recent developments in DNA law and practice. His most recent seminar related to DNA transfer and new methods of DNA profiling [add paper from event].
He was invited to speak at an international seminar at Cambridge University in August 2016 on the use of probability and statistics in criminal cases.
He has guest lectured to students on the Forensic Science Masters Course at UCL in relation to DNA and expert evidence.
He has lectured on aspects of money laundering, and has contributed to the BBC’s "Law in Action". David provides training for a range of organisations including a leading media organisation (on crime-related media issues), the Criminal Cases Review Commission, Liberty and the DCA.
He has provided bespoke in-house legal training to top-tier firms involved in business crime.
He has a keen interest in international legal issues, and in 2015 was invited by the Foreign Office to travel to Shanghai where he spoke at a UK-China seminar on UK criminal justice perspectives; also travelling to Hong Kong in 2016.
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