Nick Robinson is a criminal specialist involved in serious criminal cases. His work often involves cases relating to and arising from organized crime including murder, attempted murder, drug conspiracies and serious violence. He also has expertise in defending in cases involving serious sexual offences including rape, indecent and sexual assaults. Nick is skilled in appellate advocacy having appeared in 30 appeals before the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division), namely 9 appeals against conviction and 21 appeals against sentence, and he represented the Appellant in a Commonwealth Caribbean appeal against a murder conviction at the Privy Council.
Recent Crown Court trials have involved indictments alleging murder, attempted murder, rape, sexual assault of children aged under 13, inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, conspiracy to import Class A drugs, possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, possession of firearms without certificates, child cruelty and neglect, mortgage fraud and armed robbery (Defence); inflicting grievous bodily harm, exposure, indecent assault, possession with intent to supply, fraud and burglary (Prosecution).
In 2004 Nick was an intern at the Independent Jamaica Council of Human Rights in Kingston, Jamaica working on death penalty cases having won a scholarship through the Centre of Capital Punishment Studies (University of Westminster) and the European Commission. Nick continues to be instructed as Counsel in appeals against conviction from the Court of Appeal in Jamaica to the Privy Council.
Nick is a Grade 2 CPS Prosecutor and he also prosecutes for the National Probation Service, Department for Work & Pensions, Revenue & Customs and Local Education Authorities.
Nick is recognised for his professional and friendly manner when representing and advising clients. As one client recently commented: “Just wanted to express my thanks, for the confident, reassuring and supportive way that Mr Robinson has handled my case. At short notice he has been able to defend me to his confident best. His caring and clear way in which he dealt with me and my family and friends was top notch”.
R v Peter Stewart  UKPC 11 - Appeal against conviction for murder from the Court of Appeal of Jamaica to the Privy Council.
Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
R v Edirin-Etareri  EWCA Crim 1536;  2 Cr.App.R.(S.) 641(82), C.A. - Appeal against a sentence (with Leave of the Single Judge) of 12 months’ imprisonment for knowingly having custody of counterfeit banknotes, contrary to section 16(2) of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981. The Court held that 12 months’ imprisonment was not manifestly excessive. This case was reported and is now a leading authority. The commentators of CLW [14/42/10] called the Judgment “depressingly predictable” before stating that “it is surely unforgivable when the liberty of a 21-year-old person who has never been in trouble before is at stake to overlook that in [analogous] cases [of Miller and Forde], the offenders were being dealt with for more serious offences (under ss.14(1) and 15(1) of the 1981 Act) that carried a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, whereas an offence under section 16(2) carries a maximum of a mere two years’ imprisonment”.
R v H  EWCA Crim 168 - Nick represented the Appellant in his appeal against sentence. The Crown Court Judge had imposed a sentence of 4 years, reached a finding of "dangerousness" and passed an extended license period of 6 years. The Court of Appeal agreed that the sentence was manifestly excessive and wrong in principle. The sentence was quashed and substituted with a term of 2 years and 8 months. As the sentence was less than 4 years the finding of dangerousness and the extended license were also quashed.
R v Mark Lee H  EWCA Crim 855 - Nick represented the Appellant in his appeal against conviction and sentence. The Appellant had been tried and convicted by a jury in respect of serious sexual offences. He appealed against his conviction on the basis of information that came to light after the trial, which indicated that the Prosecution had failed to disclose relevant evidence. The Prosecution's investigation resulted in an admission by them that there had been a material non-disclosure. The Court of Appeal held that whilst this caused them "considerable concern" the convictions were not unsafe. The appeal against sentence was allowed. The Court of Appeal quashed the sentence of 3 years and substituted it with a term of 2 years.
R v Mansell  - Nick represented the Applicant in her appeal against conviction for murder at Winchester Crown Court: BBC News.
R v Melling  EWCA Crim 742 - Nick represented the Appellant in his appeal against conviction for murder at Liverpool Crown Court having pleaded guilty to the murder of his son: BBC News.
R v Smyth  EWCA Crim 385 - Nick appeared on behalf of the Appellant who successfully appealed his sentence of 18 months. The hearing took place over two days and the Court (Lord Chief Justice, Mackay J and Sweeney J) unanimously allowed the appeal, quashed the sentence of imprisonment and substituted it with a 2-year community order with a mental health treatment requirement.
R v Morris  EWCA Crim 350 - Nick represented the Applicant in his application for leave to appeal against his sentence of 16 months, which had been imposed by HHJ Harrow at Bournemouth Crown Court in November 2012. The sentence had been passed for 6 offences of breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order ("SOPO"). Nick argued that the sentence was manifestly excessive in terms of its length; that it should have been less than 12 months imprisonment. The second ground of appeal was that the sentence should have been suspended and a programme requirement attached, namely a Sex Offender's Treatment Programme. Whilst the Court rejected the second ground, they allowed the application for leave in respect of the first. Their Lordships held that the sentence of 16 months was manifestly excessive. This was quashed and substituted with a sentence of 10 months.
R v Knight  EWCA Crim 2486 – Nick defended the Appellant in his appeal against a conviction for rape on the principle ground that the trial Judge erred in refusing to admit the evidence of the complainant’s previous false complaint of rape. The Court dismissed the appeal although it clarified the law in relation to the grounds for admitting such evidence, namely there must be a ‘proper evidential basis’ for concluding that there was a previous false complaint. Fulford J held (at para.50) that Nick’s submissions were “detailed and able”.
R v Windle  EWCA Crim 2379 - Nick represented the Appellant in his appeal against sentence. Mr Windle successfully appealed against a sentence passed upon him at Oxford Crown Court. The learned sentencing Judge had wrongly imposed a sentence pursuant to section 116 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. The Court of Appeal held that this was unlawful because section 116 was not in force at the time having been repealed in April 2005. Nick was instructed as fresh Counsel following the Crown Court proceedings on the basis of his experience of Appellate advocacy:
R v Sherriff  EWCA Crim 2381 - Nick represented the Appellant in his appeal against a sentence of 9 years for an offence of wounding with intent contrary to section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. In the judgment (at paragraph 8) Lord Justice Aikens held: "Mr Robinson has presented the arguments very concisely, clearly and persuasively".
R v McDonald  EWCA Crim 1757 - Nick represented the Appellant in his appeal against sentence from the Crown Court at Bournemouth. He had been sentenced to 32 months for an offence of inflicting grievous bodily harm contrary to section 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. The appeal was successful and Moses, LJ; Field, J and Keith, J reduced the sentence to 18 months.
R v Dillon  EWCA Crim 1454 - Nick represented the Appellant in an appeal against three convictions for sexual and indecent assaults on children. Owing to material misdirections in the Judge's summing up, Nick successfully argued that the convictions were unsafe and accordingly the convictions were quashed.
R v Ahmed  EWCA Crim 775 - Successful appeal against sentence for a sexual offence. The Court of Appeal substituted a sentence of six months' imprisonment with a community order.
R v Lewis  EWCA Crim 1510 – The Court reduced a sentence of 16 weeks to 10 weeks in respect of an offence of possessing a bladed article in a public place.
R v Woodcock  EWCA Crim 1347 – The Appellant received a sentence of 7 years and 6 months for six offences of dwelling burglary and a single offence of aggravated vehicle taking. The Recorder’s starting point for the burglaries was 9 years. Blair J held (at para.11): “It is submitted by Mr Robinson, who has argued this case well for the applicant, that this is excessive”. The Court agreed and quashed the sentence and substituted it with one of 6 years and 4 months.
R v Moss  EWCA Crim 2896 and  EWCA Crim 252;  Crim.L.R. 560, C.A. - Appeal against conviction revolving around (i) the admissibility of recognition evidence of police officers, (ii) Turnbull, (iii) Code D of PACE 1984, (iv) the jury being invited to look at a still image (from CCTV footage) of a person that is alleged to be the accused, and (without the benefit of any body mapping evidence) contrasting this with the defendant in the dock.
R v Jacobs  EWCA Crim 3074 - A contested confiscation hearing where the Crown sought to confiscate over £200,000 resulted in an appeal to the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division). The Court acknowledged (at para.15) the “draconian” nature of the POCA regime.
R v Kluver  EWCA Crim 3237 – Successful appeal against sentence. The Court of Appeal reduced a compensation order of £23,000 to £2,880: see Bournemouth Echo. Moses LJ held (at para.4): "There is ample authority for the proposition that counsel for the defence has so skilfully identified both in his written grounds and in his oral submissions and we are indebted to Mr Robinson for them".
R v Bennett  EWCA Crim 1032 – A sentence of 21 months’ imprisonment for an offence of making a threat to kill was reduced to 15 months on the basis that the Crown Court Judge afforded insufficient weight to the cogent mitigation in the case (good character, young family, provocation caused by partner’s infidelity, full admissions, guilty plea and ill-health). Davis J held (at para.10): “Mr Robinson, on behalf of the Appellant, has put the case very well”.
R v Fitch – Successful appeal against a conviction for failing to provide information, contrary to section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, on the basis that the requirement “to give” information does not include an obligation to ensure its safe receipt (this was an appeal by way of “case stated” to the High Court).
R v AP - Nick represented a defendant in a high-profile multi-million pound fraud at Winchester Crown Court that involved 5 defendants, 41 counts and over 20,000 pages. The issues in the case included the effect of police misconduct upon the fairness of the investigation and the integrity of the evidence in the case. The defendant was found not guilty: Bournemouth Echo.
R v NR - Nick represented NR who was tried for the murder of his father at Winchester Crown Court. The Crown’s case was that the victim was murdered for his money. The Defence case was that the defendant was mentally unwell as a result of childhood trauma and he denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility and loss of control. Accordingly there was a significant amount of competing psychiatric evidence and a long and complex history of mental ill health. The novel issue in the case involved whether the jury were entitled, in the absence of direct evidence, to infer a loss of self-control. Nick was led by Michael Vere-Hodge QC: BBC News.
R v JW - Nick represented the defendant who faced an indictment containing two counts of indecent and sexual assault. The allegations were historic and related to the defendant’s granddaughter. The defendant denied the offences and contended that they were the product of malice and/or fantasy. The evidence in the case involved extensive unused material including third party material from social services and the complainant’s school. The defendant was acquitted of both counts.
R v TS - The defendant killed one of her two children and severely injured the second following an attempt to commit suicide by fire. This was a highly sensitive and high profile case involving complex psychiatric evidence and periods of assessment under section 35 of the Mental Health Act 1983. The Crown accepted pleas to manslaughter and arson instead of murder and attempted murder owing to compelling expert evidence that supported the defence of diminished responsibility. The sentence hearing was not straightforward as it involved the victim impact evidence of the children’s father in open court. Moreover, Dingemans J had to resolve the discrete issue of whether to pass a sentence of imprisonment or a hospital order. He passed the latter and careful submissions were advanced in support of an order without restrictions, which was the ultimate sentence of the Court: BBC News.
R v LM - Nick represented the defendant who was charged with Exposure contrary to section 66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Two 16-year-old girls alleged that the defendant exposed his penis in the communal showers at a family leisure centre. The defence was that the complainants were mistaken. The defendant was acquitted after a trial at Bournemouth Crown Court.
R v RH – Nick defended an 83 year-old defendant at his trial in respect of an indictment alleging historic familial sex offences. The defendant was found not guilty of three of the four counts.
R v KS - Border Force Officers at Heathrow Airport intercepted a package sent from Istanbul that was destined for the defendant at his business premises in the UK. The package contained seemingly innocuous items including a chessboard. However, this was hollowed out and secreted in a hidden compartment was 2kg of pure Opium. The defendant was charged with importation of a prohibited item, namely a controlled drug. The issue in the case was whether the defendant was responsible for the package and its contents. The case was investigated by the National Crime Agency and prosecuted by the Crown. Reliance was placed upon the fact that a similar chessboard was discovered at the defendant’s home and postal and flight records proved that he had strong links to Istanbul and Turkey. The defendant was acquitted after a trial at Bournemouth Crown Court.
R v SM - The defendant was charged with handling stolen goods, namely the goods stolen in an elaborate fraud by insiders against a multi-national company. Her employer had interviewed her about the alleged offences. Following applications for disclosure it came to light that there was evidence that the investigator had coerced, pressured and intimidated the defendant, who was a young lady of good character, into confessing to the crimes alleged (and had done likewise to other staff). The defendant had been promised that there would be no police involvement should she admit the offences. The employer seemingly broke this promise and the Crown prosecuted her and others. The preliminary legal issue in the case, which was the subject of an application to stay proceedings as an abuse of process, was whether it was fair for the defendant to be prosecuted in such circumstances. Following the resolution of issues of fact, as the investigator denied making such promises, Nick’s argument was successful and resulted in the Crown offering no evidence against his client.
R v CS - Nick represented the defendant who faced a five-count indictment alleging serious sexual offences against a child, namely his stepdaughter, when she was aged 7 years. The case involved issues of disclosure and admissibility of third party material relating to the school, social services and medical records of the complainant. The defendant was acquitted after a week long trial at Bournemouth Crown Court.
R v HK – Nick represented the defendant who was found not guilty of sexual assaulting a young girl following a week long trial.
R v SM - Nick represented the defendant who faced an indictment alleging an offence of inflicting GBH with intent. Four doormen alleged that the defendant in an unprovoked attack kicked one of their number thereby fracturing the complainant’s leg and kneecap. The defendant averred that any injury was an accident and the consequence of their excessive force towards him. The case involved issues of bad character, CCTV and the analysis of medical evidence. The defendant was acquitted after a trial at Bournemouth Crown Court.
R v TA - Nick successfully defended TA who was charged with Possession with Intent to Supply a Class A drug. The defendant was tried by a jury at Dorchester Crown Court. He was searched as he entered a nightclub to celebrate New Year's Eve. A small bag containing 40 Ecstasy tablets was found tied to the drawstring of his trousers seemingly concealed between his legs. His defence at trial was that they were nothing to do with him and in a rush he had put on trousers belonging to someone else and he was unaware that the drugs were concealed within the clothing.
R v RB – Nick’s client was charged with inflicting GBH with intent following a stabbing at a shopping centre in Poole. The defendant pleaded guilty and following submissions and expert evidence was made the subject of a Hospital Order: Bournemouth Echo.
R v IF – Nick represented the defendant who was charged with exposure contrary to section 66 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The defendant had entered a family tennis club, took his clothes off and proceeded to masturbate. When interviewed under caution the defendant stated that his drink had been spiked and he did not, and could not, intend to cause harassment, alarm or distress. Nick persuaded the Court to stay the proceedings as an abuse of process because the police had failed to obtain a sample of blood or urine from the defendant whilst in police custody. The failure to do so deprived the defendant of a defence, namely automatism, which he raised in his police interview and which the interviewing police officers seemingly ignored.
R v DL – Nick represented the defendant in respect of an indictment alleging conspiracy to supply 10kg of heroin and transferring criminal property. Following legal argument the Crown accepted pleas to lesser offences and the defendant received a community order.
R v GC - Nick represented the defendant at his trial in respect of an allegation of inflicting GBH with intent. The defendant was alleged to have bitten the victim's nose off during an altercation. The defendant denied being responsible and averred that another male also involved in the incident was to blame. The case involved expert forensic Odontologists who contrasted the suspects' teeth with the bite mark inflicted upon the victim. After 9.5 hours in retirement the jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict.
R v KB - Nick defended KB at his trial at Dorchester Crown Court. Charged with two others, KB was alleged to have been the leader of a gang in prison who perpetrated a revenge attack against a fellow inmate. The defendant denied being involved in the assault and was found not guilty by the jury (unanimous verdict).
R v NN - Nick represented the defendant at his trial where he was found not guilty (unanimous verdict) of possession with intent to supply a controlled substance of class A. The Crown alleged that the defendant threw away 71 wraps of heroin and cocaine when he was approached by two police officers for a stop and search. The defendant denied this and said that the drugs were nothing to do with him and he had been “set up” by the police.
R v LR - Nick represented the defendant at his trial where he was found not guilty (unanimous verdict) of inflicting GBH with intent. The Crown alleged that the defendant ‘bottled’ the complainant before kicking the unconscious victim to the head seven times. The defendant pleaded guilty to a lesser offence and whilst he accepted using a bottle he contended that he used it in the heat of the moment to protect his friend. He accepted going over the top in defending his friend and he denied kicking the complainant or intending to cause him GBH.
R v JH - Nick represented the defendant at his trial in respect of a multi million pound mortgage fraud involving over 11 defendants. JH had been charged with 3 counts of mortgage fraud relating to properties he purchased between 2004 and 2006. JH was found not guilty of 2 of the 3 counts and received a suspended sentence for the charge that he was found guilty of: “Three trials, 11 defendants and a multi-million pound mortgage fraud: how house-buyers and mortgage brokers conned banks out of £3m".
R v LW - Nick represented the defendant at his sentence hearing at Bournemouth Crown Court before HHJ Wiggs. LW committed an armed robbery using a hand gun at a HSBC bank in Broadstone, Dorset after drug dealers he owed money threatened to kill his son if he didn't pay up: BBC News and Daily Echo.
R v LD - Nick represented the defendant at his trial with respect to an allegation of wounding contrary to s.20 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. The jury found him not guilty (unanimous verdict) of the offence. It had been alleged that the defendant had stabbed the complainant with a kitchen knife during an altercation at his home address. The defendant argued that the injury was an accident that was caused whilst he was defending himself from the complainant who was at the time suffering from a psychotic episode.
R v SH - Nick represented the defendant at his trial in relation to an allegation of inflicting GBH with intent, contrary to section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861; and in the alternative, an allegation contrary to section 20 of the same Act. The jury returned unanimous verdicts of not guilty in respect of both counts. SH's defence was that he was acting in self-defence when he himself was assaulted during a homophobic attack in Boscombe, Bournemouth in December 2011.
R v DF - Nick represented the defendant at his trial in Dorchester Crown Court. DF was charged with having an offensive weapon, namely a knuckleduster; assault occasioning actual bodily harm and battery. The allegations arose after an altercation on Trinity Street in Weymouth. The jury found Mr Ford not guilty of all counts: Dorset Echo.
R v BH - Nick's client was found not guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm (majority verdict) following a 3-day trial at Bournemouth Crown Court. It was alleged that he punched and broke the jaw of the complainant in an "off the ball" incident during a 5-aside football match in Dorset. The jury concluded that he had been acting in self-defence.
R v KP - Nick's client was found not guilty (unanimous verdict) of being the owner of a dog that was dangerously out of control in a public place. The allegation related to an incident that occurred at Whitecliff Park in Poole, Dorset in the summer of 2011 and the case was reported in the national press. The jury found that the dog was not "dangerously out of control" as is required by section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.
R v GD – Nick represented a defendant charged with rape. The alleged offence was said to have occurred in the 1990s when the complainant and defendant worked as a waitress and DJ respectively at a well-known hotel in Hampshire. The jury returned an unanimous verdict of not guilty after a week long trial at Bournemouth Crown Court.
R v RD – Nick represented one of five defendants in a high profile case arising out of an armed robbery at a farm in Bloxworth, Dorset and an elderly victim. The first four defendants were charged with robbery and Nick’s client with handling stolen goods, namely 5 shotguns. After a 5-week trial before HHJ Harvey Clark QC and a jury at Bournemouth Crown Court, RD was unanimously acquitted: BBC News.
R v BP – Nick mitigated on behalf of a defendant who pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual activity with a girl under 16 and arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sexual offence. He was found not guilty of a sexual grooming offence.
R v LC – Nick mitigated on behalf of a defendant convicted of being involved in a conspiracy to supply cocaine, worth £25 million wholesale and £125 million on the street: Bournemouth Echo.
R v PH - After a four-day trial at Southampton Crown Court, Nick's client, a National Express Coach driver, was found not guilty of two counts of dangerous and careless driving. PH had lost control of his coach in the New Forest in the late evening, drifting onto the hard shoulder, up an embankment and into foliage before crossing three lanes of the motorway and coming to a stop on the hard shoulder. The 49 passengers on a journey from London Victoria to Poole were said to have been “shocked” and “frantic”. Nick successfully argued that his client had not fallen asleep as alleged, but had suffered from an episode of automatism/unexplained loss of consciousness and the jury unanimously agreed. His further argument, that the driver's decision to proceed on to Ringwood soon after the initial incident did not constitute either dangerous or careless driving, was also successful: Daily Echo. This case involved extensive expert evidence of a Neurologist and a “Sleep Expert”.
R v AT - Led Junior in a six-handed conspiracy to import Cocaine. The case involved a sophisticated international drug-smuggling operation utilising car fuel tanks. Multi-jurisdictional disclosure issues arose and the case reportedly involved the first ever extradition of a co-defendant from Brazil: BBC News.
R v DC - Nick’s client was found not guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, contrary to section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act, following a trial at Portsmouth Crown Court. The Judge held that there was no case to answer owing to unreliable and unsafe identification evidence.
R v MH – Nick defended an accomplished and renowned mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, was found not guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm following a week long trial at Bournemouth Crown Court.
Appeals against conviction
R (RSPCA) v CG - Successful appeal against two convictions for offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
R v CH - Successful appeal against conviction. The Appellant had been convicted of using threatening, abusive and insulting words and conduct at a league football match (AFC Bournemouth v Swindon Town) so as to cause harassment, alarm and distress. On departing the ground he had shouted comments and directed derogatory gestures towards the away fans thereby provoking disorder. On appeal, despite the finding that his conduct was in fact threatening, the appeal was allowed on the footing that given the context no one was likely to have been caused harassment, alarm or distress.
R v JF - Successful defence of a youth charged with two offences, namely an offence of killing a deer contrary to the Deer Act 1991, and in the alternative cruelty to a deer contrary to the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996: see the Daily Mail.
Magistrates’ Court (Road Traffic)
R v MH – Client was found not guilty of failing to provide a specimen of urine despite the absence of medical evidence; this followed legal argument as to what constitutes a “failure to provide”.
R v AP – Police arrested the defendant who was driving his Ferrari whilst under the influence of excess alcohol. The Court was persuaded to find “special reasons” not to disqualify the defendant on the basis that the defendant’s two friends laced his drinks without his knowledge or consent. The defendant was absolutely discharged.