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David Emanuel

  • Call: 1996
Legal 500 UK Awards 2015: Winner
"He appears for the defence in high-profile and challenging cases."

Legal 500, 2019

"Mr Emanuel has made extremely helpful, well-expressed and gracefully expressed submissions while under some fire from their Lordships."

Court of Appeal in R v Salam [2012] EWCA Crim 2264

Latest News

  • December 2018: The Court of Appeal reduced the custodial part of an extended sentence from 21 years to 18 years in the case of an offender convicted of a series of rapes. The offender had been 18 years of age at the time of his commission of offences. David, who did not appear in the Crown Court proceedings, persuaded the Court of Appeal that the sentencing judge had not given sufficient weight to the offender having only recently attained the age of 18.
  • November 2018: At the Old Bailey, David successfully applied to vacate the plea of a Defendant who had pleaded guilty to attempted murder. David persuaded the Judge that a combination of the Defendant’s then-undiagnosed mental illness and his previous counsel’s inability to meet him in person for a full consultation meant the plea should, unusually, be treated as equivocal.
  • August 2018: At Cardiff Crown Court, after a second retrial, David’s client was finally acquitted of a conspiracy to rob a jeweller with firearms. In a highly unusual set of facts, the prosecution argued that a series of messages between the defendant and an unidentified third party were evidence of an actual planned robbery, whereas the defence successfully persuaded the jury that they were nothing more than a fantasy discussion about a crime that was never intended.
  • June 2018: David represented (alone) ex-professional boxing champion, Anthony Small, at his trial at the Old Bailey for the encouragement of terrorism contrary to section 1 Terrorism Act 2006 at the Old Bailey. After a four day trial and nearly 10 hours of deliberation the jury acquitted. See Asian Image and the Metro.
  • May 2018: In a judgment described as “exceptional” by Mr Justice Ouseley, David obtained permission to judicially review the CCRC for their refusal to refer a 2004 murder conviction to the Court of Appeal. David had drafted the application which they refused. The case involved complex fresh evidence relating to neuropathology. After lengthy consideration of the judgment the CCRC have now decided not to contest the judicial review and have agreed to undertake a fresh review of the case.

Ched Evans

  • In the Summer of 2013, David was approached by the family of Ched Evans to consider whether there were any grounds to make an application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). David had not been involved in the case before. After a comprehensive review he considered there were arguable grounds of appeal. He submitted a detailed application to the CCRC application in 2014: see NewsNorthWales and  The Telegraph. The CCRC (exceptionally) agreed to give the case level one prioritisation based on David’s written submissions: see BBC.
  • On 5th October 2015, the CCRC announced that the case would be referred to the Court of Appeal for a full hearing. The CCRC accepted that based on David’s submissions there was a real possibility that the Court of Appeal would quash the conviction: see BBC.
  • 21st April 2016: After a two day hearing where fresh evidence was heard, the Court of Appeal (David was led at the hearing) held the conviction to be unsafe and quashed it, ordering a retrial which was heard in October 2016 at Cardiff Crown Court – see Sky Sports News and The Daily Post.
  • On 14th October 2016, after a two week re-trial at Cardiff Crown Court, Ched Evans was found not guilty of rape – see ITN.
  • Contrary to some reports and opinions, the decision of the Court of Appeal, in this case, to allow evidence of a complainant’s previous sexual history to be admitted into evidence under section 41(3)(c)(i) Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 sets no new legal precedent. The Court of Appeal explained in its detailed judgment why it reached its decision based on the exceptional circumstances of Mr Evans’ case. The Court’s decision – which endorsed the view of the CCRC and which was approved by the trial judge at the retrial – does not in any way open the floodgates to the admission of evidence of a complainant’s previous sexual history in other cases.


David is regularly instructed in all varieties of serious criminal cases, including murder. He has particular experience in complex fraud and money laundering cases.

He is also a highly experienced appeal lawyer with an extensive practice advising and representing convicted prisoners on the merits of out of time appeals against conviction and sentence. In 2014 he was led in the Supreme Court acting for interveners in a case of public importance relating to post-conviction disclosure and regularly appeals for appellants in high-profile cases.

He has a multitude of experience appearing in the Court of Appeal and is unflappable in high-pressure situations, regularly drawing praise from their Lordships for his written submissions and persuasive advocacy.

David is registered with the Bar Council to undertake public access work, meaning he can be instructed directly by members of the public in appropriate cases.

In January 2018 he was the winning member of the Crime Team of the Year award at the prestigious 2018 Modern Law Awards (Modern Law) for work in the successful appeal against conviction in the case of David Sellu, consultant surgeon whose manslaughter conviction was quashed: See News.


David studied law at Bristol Polytechnic before going to the University of Cambridge where he studied for his Masters in Criminology. While at University, David worked part-time in a mental health resource centre where he organised activities for those users living in the community. Having always been fascinated with all matters related to the criminal justice system, particularly the impact it has on the individuals who come into contact with it, David gained experience with a number of agencies as a volunteer before studying for the Bar. He worked for JUSTICE as a case worker examining possible miscarriage of justice cases before the CCRC had been set up. David worked for the Knightsbridge Crown Court Witness Service advising and supporting witnesses in Crown Court trials and he has been involved in training new volunteers. He also worked in the Visitors’ Centre at Feltham Young Offenders Institute with inmates and their families.


May 2018: After a six-week duty evasion trial at Wood Green Crown Court, and after a successful submission of no case to answer on money laundering charges, the jury acquitted David’s client of the main allegation.

At Aylesbury Crown Court on 22nd February 2018, the prosecution of five men for money laundering and evasion of duty offences collapsed three weeks into the trial due to the prosecution’s failure to comply with its disclosure obligations. All five defendants were acquitted. David was leading counsel for the main defendant and took the lead in submissions that led to the case collapsing: Read our news item on this.

David regularly defends in serious and complex cases including multi-handed murders and serious frauds.

October 2017 – February 2018 – Junior counsel for one defendant in 10 handed historic rape and grooming trial at Oxford Crown Court.

August 2017: In a highly unusual case, David Emanuel secured an acquittal in a murder case where the victim died 9 years after he was stabbed and the defendant was already convicted of attempted murder. Led by Peter Wilcock QC. See press coverage.

August 2017: Represented Liverpool FC footballer, Lloyd Jones, at his sentence for affray and assault at Gloucester Crown Court. Successfully persuaded the court to pass a community penalty. David’s plea in mitigation was widely reported. See Mirror.

April 2017, after an 8 week trial at the Old Bailey the jury acquitted David’s client of murder and manslaughter. The defendant, a mother of two young children, was the victim of long-term domestic violence at the hands of her partner who she stabbed to death with a kitchen knife after an incident at their home. David, who was led, conducted a number of the legal arguments in a highly complex case involving non-defendant’s bad character, police breaches of the codes of conduct, hearsay and expert evidence admissibility. The case attracted  national media coverage, including on the BBC, the  Guardian and The Telegraph.

July 2016: In a joint enterprise case, David’s client was acquitted on one count of murder, four counts of attempted murder and one count of violent disorder. The judge at the Old Bailey directed the jury to enter not guilty verdicts after hearing legal submissions – see press coverage.

January-March 2016: Leading counsel in 8 week complex money-laundering/alcohol diversion fraud trial at Southwark Crown Court.

April 2015: Acted as junior counsel for Ben Carr in the trial at Winchester Crown Court of the high-profile murder in the New Forest: Sky News

In March 2014 at Southwark Crown Court, David’s client was acquitted of allegations of conspiracy to defraud after a six-week trial. The case involved an alleged multi-million pound mortgage fraud on Barclays Bank and centred on highly technical and complex expert evidence relating to chartered surveyors and commercial property valuations.

In 2013, after an 18-week-long trial at Preston Crown Court, David’s client was acquitted of murder, attempted murder and causing an explosion in the high-profile case of Dale Cregan and others. The case involved the murder of four people including two police officers. David’s client was charged on a joint enterprise basis with Cregan in relation to the first case in British criminal history to involve the detonation of a military grenade. The jury acquitted unanimously. This case was reported widely across the media including in The Guardian.

He has also appeared in a multi-million pound counterfeiting case (reported by the BBC), a multi-handed armed bank robbery case, a multi-million pound gold smuggling VAT fraud, a multi-handed international telecoms revenue fraud as well as the successful mortgage/banking fraud at Southwark CC.

CCRC and Appeals

David is a highly experienced criminal appellate lawyer and is ranked by the Legal 500 in this category.

David regularly appears in the Court of Appeal and is instructed to conduct appeals (conviction and sentence) in cases he has not been involved in before.

On 15th November 2016, the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction of consultant surgeon, David Sellu, who had been convicted of gross negligence manslaughter in 2013 in relation to his care of a patient he was treating. David, who was led, represented Mr Sellu at the appeal which involved complex expert evidence and consideration of the legal directions to be given to a jury in such cases. The Court did not order a re-trial. The case has been the subject of extensive media coverage – see BBC

He has a busy practice reviewing cases of prisoners who are seeking to make out of time appeals or applications to the CCRC. This mainly involves convictions but David regularly advises prisoners in relation to sentences of imprisonment for public protection.

The review work entails a thorough consideration of the papers and can lead to the discovery of apparent irregularities in the trial process in cases where the individual has previously been advised no grounds of appeal existed.

This is an important area of David’s practise which involves him scrutinising the trial process, previous counsel’s conduct, the judge’s summing up and considering the complaints and concerns of convicted defendants. David always advises fully on all points raised by concerned and convicted defendants and will give full and frank advice whether positive grounds exist or not.

As a result of his work David has succeeded in having a number of convictions quashed and a number of sentences of IPP quashed in circumstances where trial counsel had advised there were no grounds of appeal.

Notable successes have included:

In August 2016 David applied for an extension of time and leave to appeal against the sentence imposed in a serious rape case. The applicant’s previous barrister had advised him he had no grounds to appeal. The single judge refused leave to appeal but David took the case to the Full Court who accepted David’s submissions and granted the extension and leave before reducing the sentence from 12 years to 9 ½ years.

In November 2015 the CCRC referred a sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection to Court of Appeal on basis of David’s submission that the Judge had failed to consider an extended sentence.

In June 2015, the Court of Appeal amended the terms of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, on the basis of David’s application.

In April 2014, the Court of Appeal quashed the convictions in the cases of two separate appellants convicted of rape on the basis of David’s written and oral submissions. Both appellants released from custody as a result. In both cases the appellants had been advised by their original trial counsel that no grounds of appeal existed.

In May 2013, the Court of Appeal quashed the convictions in a 2009 case of historic sexual abuse where trial counsel had advised at the time that there were no grounds of appeal. David reviewed the papers and identified 6 defects. The Court ordered there should be no retrial.

In October 2012, the Court of Appeal quashed a sentence of Imprisonment for public protection in a case where an imam had been convicted of raping a child in the mosque. The Court agreed with the submission that as the appellant would always deny the offence he would never be able to pass any relevant courses and as such would be “stuck in the system”

In April 2012, the CCRC referred to the Court of Appeal the conviction for murder in 1998 of Kevin Samuel Cole. David was sent the papers in 2004 and identified a previously overlooked breach of the PACE Codes of Conduct in relation to critical identification evidence. As a result of David’s application, the CCRC (after lengthy consideration) sent the case back to the Court of Appeal in 2012 with the full appeal against conviction heard in front of the Lord Chief Justice.

This was the third murder that the CCRC has referred following an application drafted by David.

Notable Appeal Cases

R v David Sellu [2017] 1 Cr. App. R. 24

Consultant surgeon’s conviction for gross negligence manslaughter quashed. Guidance on proper directions on meaning of gross negligence

R v Rashid [2016] EWCA Crim 1677

Sentence for rape reduced from 12 years to 9 ½ years

R v Murray [2016] 2 Cr. App. R. 31

Guidance given on when directions as to defendant’s lies in police interviews are necessary

R v Evans (Chedwyn) [2017] 1 Cr. App. R. 13  (Note: Strict reporting restrictions apply regarding the naming of certain witnesses in this case)

Conviction for rape quashed. Fresh evidence and consideration of the exceptional circumstances when a defendant can call evidence regarding a complainant’s previous sexual history

R v Hunter and others [2015] 2 Cr. App. R. 9

Leading authority on good character directions – Specially convened five judge Court of Appeal, Lord Chief Justice presiding, heard conjoined appeal of five appellants (two of them represented by David) – guidance provided to all courts

R v RT [2014] EWCA Crim 743
Conviction for rape quashed due to defective directions on good character, distress/demeanour of complainant and complaint evidence.

R (on the application of Nunn) v Chief Constable of Suffolk [2014] 2 Cr. App. R. 22
Supreme Court decision on the ambit of post-conviction disclosure duties

R v S.B. [2013] EWCA Crim 899 
Convictions for historic sex abuse against appellant’s sister quashed by Court of Appeal as judge’s directions on complaint evidence, good character, delay and standard of proof were all deficient. Prosecution application for retrial refused.

R v Khan (Mohammed Hanif) [2012] EWCA Crim 2361
Sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection quashed in case of an Imam convicted of raping a young boy in his care. The Court stated “we think that there is great force in the submission made by Mr Emanuel both in his written advice and orally that, if the appellant continues to deny responsibility for his offences, and if imprisonment for public protection is imposed, he will either not be eligible to take part in courses and/or he will never be regarded as having addressed the problems in fact. He would then never be regarded by the Parole Board as being eligible for release on licence and he will be ‘stuck in the system’”.

R v AC [2011] EWCA Crim 1430
It is of fundamental importance that where there is evidence of recent complaint that the jury are given a direction that the complaint evidence does not come from any independent source. Conviction quashed. No retrial ordered.

R (on the application of Arshad) v Southwark Crown Court [2011] All ER (D) 31
The Administrative Court, in allowing the claimant’s application for judicial review, held that the judge’s order extending the claimant’s custody time limit would be quashed in circumstances where there had been delay in the production of evidence by the crown prosecution service contrary to an order of the court.

R v Joseph and Others [2011] EWCA Crim 894
Where a defendant has a very low IQ it may not be appropriate to impose an IPP despite an assessment of dangerousness in circumstances where the individual may not be capable of completing educational and rehabilitative courses as he may end up stagnating in the system and never being released. IPP quashed.

Attorney General’s Reference No.19 of 2008 (Dexter Andrews and Others) [2009] 1 Cr.App.R.(S.) 397
Prosecution’s argument that determinate sentence of imprisonment for hijacking of a lorry by defendant with previous convictions for robbery was unduly lenient on the basis a sentence of IPP should have been imposed was rejected by the court.

R v MW [2008] EWCA Crim 3901
Where a judge fails to give proper directions on good character, lies, and delay, and where a judge fails properly to sum up the defence case, the conviction cannot be regarded as safe.

R v Wheeler [2008] EWCA Crim. 688 (Criminal Law Week 08/15/2)
Where a defendant, as part of his defence to a charge of rape, had relied on a number of factual assertions that were not in dispute, but which he had not mentioned prior to giving evidence, the judge had been incorrect to direct the jury, pursuant to section 34 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 that they could rely on his failure to mention those facts as capable of founding an inference of guilt.

R v Barwell [2007] EWCA Crim 2561
A sentence of imprisonment for public protection was inappropriate where there was evidence to suggest that a defendant’s repressed paedophilic tendencies could be controlled and minimised with effective treatment.

Att.-Gen.’s References (Nos 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29 of 2006) (R v Artan and others) [2007] 151 S.J. 1299, C.A. Guidance on appropriate sentences for offenders committing robbery on the transport system.

R v Boyle and Ford [2006] 150 S.J. 1151 CA
Effect of a fundamental misdirection in section 34 CJPOA 1994 cases on safety of conviction.

R v Wingrove [2006] 1 Cr.App.R.(S.) 232(41), C.A.
Importance of credit for guilty plea in sexual offences cases.

R v Feuer [2005] All ER (D) 95
Extended sentence (licence period) unnecessary and quashed where licence period of the determinate sentence is long enough to manage risk in the community.

R v Gibson [2004] 2 Cr. App. R. (S.) 451 (84), CA
Where a legitimate expectation is given that a defendant will receive a drug treatment and testing order, it will be unjust to impose a mandatory minimum sentence of three years for domestic burglary under section 111 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2002.

R v Birchall [1999] Crim LR 311 CA
The first domestic authority to recognise that a failure to give accurate directions in adverse inferences from silence cases could amount to a breach of Article 6 European Convention on Human Rights.


  • Good Character, Misdirected, Published on Crimeline, November 2017. See the article here: Crimeline News
  • Practice Note explaining the Court of Appeal guidance on good character directions; PracticalLaw.com September 2015 
  • Legal advice to remain silent [2004] 5 Archbold News 6 (co-author Anthony Jennings QC) (Updated June 2005)
  • Adverse Inferences from Silence– an update [2001] 9 Archbold News 6 (co-author Anthony Jennings QC)