John McNamara

Year of Call: 2014

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

Our specialist clerks can be contacted by email on clerks@5sah.co.uk or phone on 020 7332 5400. To contact our Chambers Director directly in relation to a specific members’ practice, please email dscothern@5sah.co.uk

Overview

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 was instructed as disclosure counsel to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry for 8 months. He was also instructed as disclosure counsel to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

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.

Professional panel appointments

  • CPS Specialist Proceeds of Crime Panel - Level 2 (2020).
  • CPS Specialist Fraud Panel - Level 2 (2020).
  • CPS General Crime Panel  - Level 2 (2018).
  • Attorney General's Junior Juniors Panel (2017).

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.

Education

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

Awards

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

Professional Memberships

  • Criminal Bar Association (Elected Executive Committee Member 2018 onwards).
  • Young Fraud Lawyers Association.
  • London Irish Lawyers Association.

Criminal Defence + View All Specialist Areas

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

"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

Crime

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 charges. 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 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 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.

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 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.