John's practice is principally in criminal defence. He appears regularly in the Crown Court in the Midlands and Western Circuits. Recent instructions include murder (with a child witness and intermediary), serious violence, kidnap, serious sexual offences (including rape, historic cases, offences involving children, youths and those with learning difficulties, indecent images), false complaints of rape, other offences of perverting the course of justice, (armed) robbery, burglary, money laundering, fraud, benefit fraud, organised shoplifting, drug supply/conspiracy/production, dangerous driving, confiscation and breaches of orders.
He communicates easily with a range of clients, especially the young and vulnerable, and has a comfortable and persuasive manner with juries. Strengths include comprehensive fact management, incisive understanding and application of the law and effective cross-examination. John pays special attention to the provision of written argument and advocacy. A recent application for a stay for abuse of process involved extension of the scope of the doctrine of autrefois convict.
He is frequently instructed privately in the magistrates' court and has represented clients in the youth court charged with grave crimes.
Four recent appellate cases of particular interest involve the challenging of findings of dangerousness, the following of sentencing guidelines, implementation of the principle of totality and suspension of sentences.
- R v C  EWCA Crim, 22 January 2014, implementing the principle of totality in a case involving sexual activity with a child and indecent images.
- R v S  EWCA Crim, 12 August 2014, the discretion to suspend a short sentence – issues of punishment and deterrence balanced against art.8 rights of the defendant's children.
- R v W  EWCA Crim, 19 April 2012, sentencing guidelines must be followed except in the rarest of cases, particularly in sexual offences involving children, even though the resulting sentence appears severe.
- R v de Andrade das Neves Soudo  EWCA Crim 1390, 12 May 2011, breach of trust in theft extended from 'classic' examples to the relationship between adult co-habitees.
- R v Jeffcoate  EWCA Crim 1079, 27 April 2010, wide judicial discretion in finding of dangerousness confirmed, despite favourable psychiatric report.
- Blows v Herefordshire Council  EWHC 666 (Admin), 17 March 2009, magistrates' court's decision not Wednesbury unreasonable that a convicted individual, one of the first pub landlords to be convicted of permitting smoking after the ban, pay full prosecution costs despite being the subject of an IVA.
- R v Southall  EWCA Crim, 7 July 2005, court activating suspended sentence on the commission of a further offence during the operational period not giving sufficient credit for compliance with community requirements.
John arrived late at the Bar after successful careers in agriculture, teaching (further education and prison education) and project management for a charity.
In his spare time John remains involved in farming (horses and beef cattle).