John McNamara

Year of Call: 2014

John specialises in defending individuals facing criminal allegations. He undertakes cases in crime, business crime, proceeds of crime matters and related civil proceedings.

Our specialist clerks can be contacted by email on or phone on 020 7332 5400. To contact our Chambers Director directly in relation to a specific members’ practice, please email


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, money laundering, violence and sexual offences. 

He is experienced in defending and prosecuting a range of proceedings arising from the Proceeds of Crime Act  2002 including restraint and confiscation, cash forfeiture, and account freezing and forfeiture hearings.

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.

“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 one of John's instructing solicitors 

John holds Developed Vetting ("DV") Security Clearance. 

Direct Public Access

John accepts instructions under the direct access scheme. This allows members of the public to instruct John directly to advise them on or represent them in suitable cases.

“You have been amazing ... thank you for your friendly, expert, caring and sincere help. You did a fantastic job.”

Feedback from a direct access client acquitted in a drink driving related case

Professional panel appointments

  • SFO Proceeds of Crime and International Assistance - C Panel (2020 - 2024)
  • CPS Specialist Proceeds of Crime Panel - Level 2 (2020).
  • CPS Specialist Fraud Panel - Level 2 (2020).
  • CPS General Crime Panel  - Level 2 (2018).

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.


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


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

Professional Memberships

  • Secretary of the Criminal Bar Association (2020-22)
  • Criminal Bar Association (Exec Committee 2018-20)
  • Young Fraud Lawyers Association.
  • London Irish Lawyers Association.

Criminal Defence + View All Specialist Areas

John’s principal area of practice is defending individuals facing criminal allegations. He defends in the most serious cases including cases of:

  • Allegations of violence including s18 GBH and violent disorder;
  • Sexual allegations including cases concerning rape;
  • Firearms, drugs and charges connected to alleged organised crime;
  • Money laundering, complex fraud and acquisitive crime.

"He is articulate and quick on his feet during a trial."

Feedback from an instructing solicitor 

John has worked on cases with clients ranging from high net worth individuals to very vulnerable young people. John undertakes serious cases in the youth court. He has completed the vulnerable witness training course. 

“John's cross examination of the main prosecution witness was impressive.”

Feedback from John's instructing solicitors on a case of section 18 GBH with a Certificate for Counsel in the Youth Court

John is regularly instructed in the magistrates' court to defend criminal matters on a privately funded basis. He accepts instructions in driving matters and has successfully defended a number of individuals facing drink driving and related charges.

John considers communication with instructing solicitors as vitally important and aims to provide a professional service to his clients. Before joining the Bar John developed significant experience in litigating criminal cases as a paralegal. He enjoys engaging with instructing solicitors throughout a case to achieve the best result for the lay client. 

Cases of Note

Financial Crime

Op Cornflour [2020]

Led junior, led by Dominic Connolly. Successfully prosecuted a £1.6 million Boiler Room Fraud at Southwark Crown Court. The trial concerned allegations of conspiracy to defraud and launder the proceeds of the fraud. The fraudsters sold non-existent investments in payday loan companies, cryptocurrency and pharmaceutical companies to vulnerable victims. The trial lasted for over 3 months. Convictions secured for all 3 defendants on all counts.

Serious Youth Crime

R v T [2021]

Junior alone. Youth court case with certificate. 4 handed gang rape of a 13 year old. All defendants aged between 12 and 13. Prosecuted by counsel +20 years call. Co-defence counsel for D2 and D3 +20 years call. Prosecution forced to offer no evidence on day 5 of trial. Application for non-conviction restraining order successfully resisted.

R v LM [2020]

Junior alone. John successfully defended an 18 year old of good character where CCTV showed the defendant slashing at an undercover police officer with a zombie knife over a foot in length. John recognised the symptoms of PTSD in the defendant and obtained an expert report. Defendant acquitted of attempted s18 GBH, attempted wounding and being in possession of an offensive weapon.

R v B [2019]

Junior alone. Youth court case with a certificate. A spate of robberies on taxi drivers and school children. Vulnerable witnesses gave evidence at court. 11 offences charged. John successfully had 4 dismissed at half time. The defendant was convicted of 1 offence after trial. YRO with ISS imposed. CBO application withdrawn by CPS after John made submissions that it was unlawful.

R v X [2018]

Junior alone (certificate for counsel). John represented an 18 year old of good character in the youth court. X was accused of attempted s18 GBH and s20 GBH. The trial lasted for 4 days. Following John's written and oral submissions of no case to answer the attempted s18 GBH was dismissed at the close of the prosecution case. John's client was acquitted of s20 GBH.

General Crime

R v AX [2018]

Junior alone. John secured an acquittal for his client charged with sexual assault. AX was of good character. The trial lasted 3 days and the jury acquitted John’s client after 45 minutes. Defence costs order granted.

R v AA [2018]

Junior alone. AA was first on the indictment charged with s18 GBH in a two handed cut throat. The second defendant blamed 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 careful cross-examination and jury speech AA was acquitted of s18 GBH with intent. Convicted of s20 GBH, as was the co-Defendant. Sentenced to 33 months, which is below the guideline starting point.

R v DF [2017]

Junior alone. 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 GP [2017]

Led junior (led by Queen’s Counsel) in case concerning allegations of sexual assault and false imprisonment before the case was discontinued by the prosecution. Defence costs order granted. Continued to be instructed in claim for wasted costs against the CPS.

Driving Offences

R v M [2020]

Instructed direct access for a defendant charged with being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle. Following a letter of representations and an argument regarding disclosure failings the CPS offered no evidence. Defence costs order granted.

R v F [2018]

John's client entered a guilty plea to being drunk while in charge of a motor vehicle. John persuaded the court not to impose penalty points; the lay client was concerned on the effect of penalty points on his work and work insurance. The court imposed a short disqualification and a small fine.

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 N [2017]

John's client was acquitted of failing to provide a specimen of breath when required to do so. John cross-examined police officers at length and adduced expert evidence to show that N suffered with anxiety. Defence costs order granted.