John McNamara

Year of Call: 2014

John is a dedicated criminal barrister. He specialises in crime, business crime and confiscation cases.

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John is a barrister practising in criminal law and all related areas. He is building a strong Crown Court practice representing defendants charged with a variety of serious criminal matters including fraud, firearms, grievous bodily harm and perverting the course of justice.

Instructing solicitors have observed that John goes the extra mile in cases involving young and vulnerable people. He places great importance on caring for the lay client throughout their case whether they are a business professional or a vulnerable person.

John is regularly instructed in the Magistrates’ Court on a privately funded basis to represent individuals in a range of general crime cases. He accepts instructions in driving matters and has successfully defended a number of individuals facing drink driving and related charges.

John is currently instructed as one of a team of disclosure counsel to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry.

Professional panel appointments

  • Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) appointed prosecutor (Grade 1).
  • Attorney General's Junior Juniors Panel.

Additional information

Prior to joining chambers, John worked as a paralegal for two years at Hickman & Rose Solicitors. During that time John assisted Jenny Wiltshire in various cases concerning manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter and historical sexual allegations.

While working in Hickman & Rose’s Corporate Crime department John was part of the team who represented the first LIBOR trader to be exonerated by the FCA's Regulatory Decisions Committee.


  • BBP Law School, BPTC; Very Competent
  • BBP Law School, GDL; Commendation
  • University of Warwick, BA (Hons.) History; 2.1


  • Ann Felicity Goddard Scholarship, Gray’s Inn (2017)

Professional Memberships

  • Criminal Bar Association.
  • Young Fraud Lawyer’s Association.

Asset Recovery, Civil Fraud & Confiscation

John accepts instructions in confiscation matters. He has defended in confiscation hearings in the Crown Court and enforcement proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court.

Both the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Metropolitan Police instruct John to prosecute cash forfeiture cases.  

Business Crime

John has been instructed by defence solicitors to review and analyse documents in the course of an FCA investigation of an investment banker in a case with multi-jurisdictional issues.

During his time as a paralegal, John worked on document-heavy cases (such as LIBOR) and has developed an understanding of the unique demands of financial criminal cases. He accepts instructions in financial and business crime cases.


John’s principle area of practice is defending individuals facing criminal allegations.

“We have been impressed by John’s preparation, client care and advocacy. It is clear he has a keen eye for detail. We have full confidence in his ability to do a fantastic job for our clients.”

Feedback from John's instructing solicitors

John also prosecutes for Local Authorities and other agencies in a range of matters in the Crown and Magistrates’ Court.

Before joining the Bar John developed significant experience in litigating criminal cases; he enjoys engaging with instructing solicitors throughout a case to achieve the best result for the lay client. 

Professional Discipline & Regulatory

John has been instructed by the Metropolitan Police to undertake a disclosure review of highly sensitive material, some pertaining to national security issues, for a police misconduct hearing. The material concerned the undercover operations of the Special Demonstration Squad SO12 and the alleged inappropriate sexual relationships between undercover officers and activists. The case has received significant press attention.

He accepts instructions in professional discipline and regulatory cases.

Cases of Note


R v AA [2018]

AA was the first on the indictment in a two-handed case where both defendants were charged with s18 GBH with intent. The second defendant was running a cut-throat defence blaming AA entirely. Prosecution witnesses recalled AA delivering numerous kicks and punches to the complaint. AA was also alleged to have held a weapon to the complainant’s face. The complainant suffered a brain haemorrhage, a skull fracture necessitating the removal of part of the skull and ongoing memory issues. Following extensive cross-examination and jury speech AA was acquitted of s18 GBH with intent. Convicted of s20 GBH. Sentenced to 33 months, which is below the guideline starting point.

R v DF [2017]

DF was arrested on the street with a taser which was allegedly disguised as a torch, a machete and a stab proof vest. DF was charged with s5(1A) Firearms Act offence subject to the statutory minimum 5 year sentence. Following representations drafted by John the CPS amended the indictment, charging a s5(1)(b) Firearms Act offence instead. DF was also charged with possession of an offensive weapon. Following extensive mitigation DF received a suspended sentence.

R v TL [2017]

John successfully defended a former soldier accused of failing to provide a specimen of breath when required to do so. TL suffered from PTSD as a result of his tour of Afghanistan. The prosecution disputed the defence medical evidence. Defence costs order granted.

R v JM [2017]

Instructed in committal for sentence in a case concerning producing indecent images of children. Successfully argued a suspended sentence was appropriate with a 5 year SHPO (the prosecution having sought an indefinite term).

R v MR [2017]

Represented a young vulnerable woman charged with robbery at the Crown Court. After extensive mitigation and issues relating to the crossing a significant age threshold, the sentence was deferred. At the same time acted in ongoing Magistrates’ Court proceedings for MR and drafted a letter of representations resulting in those charges being discontinued.

R v GP [2017]

Instructed as junior counsel (led by Queen’s Counsel) in case concerning allegations of sexual assault and false imprisonment before the case was discontinued by the prosecution. Continued to be instructed in claim for wasted costs.

R v K [2017]

Acted for a defendant charged who had fraudulently claimed a £20,000 lottery ticket. Following mitigation the sentence the court imposed was significantly below the sentencing guidelines range.

R v GE [2017]

Represented the defendant charged with perverting the court of justice in sentencing proceedings at the Central Criminal Court. The case involved issues concerning turning Queen’s Evidence and a disputed basis of plea. Suspended sentence imposed.

R v G [2017]

Instructed in four-handed, three-day youth court case concerning public order offences. Following representations G was the only defendant to have the case dropped against them at the halfway stage.