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Icah Peart QC

  • Call: 1978
  • Silk: 2002
Icah Peart QC
Legal 500 UK Awards 2015: Winner
"He handles high-profile and complex homicide cases."

Legal 500, 2017


Icah has been in full-time practice since his call to the Bar in 1978. He became a tenant at Garden Court in May 1987, having spent the first years of his career at 9 Stone Buildings and 76b Chancery Lane. Icah has always been first and foremost a criminal defence practitioner, although he has also undertaken both general civil and family work in the past. Additionally, he has experience of both inquests and courts martial, and sits regularly as a Recorder in the Crown Court at a variety of locations in London and the south east. He is authorised to sit in cases involving serious sexual allegations and is authorised to sit as a Recorder at the Old Bailey.

Icah’s criminal practice has been for many years of the ‘heavyweight’ variety. Even as a junior, Icah led in cases where allegations included murder, attempted murder, rape, armed robbery, large-scale conspiracies to import and supply drugs, fraud and public order offences. Icah has always been particularly keen to defend in cases which have political, civil libertarian, or racial dimensions.

As a member of Chambers, Icah is often engaged in cases in London. However, he has travelled to the provinces to conduct defence work throughout his career and since taking silk, he continues to make himself available for work outside the capital. In addition, in recent years, Icah has accepted instructions to conduct the defence of clients abroad. Coming from a working class, mixed heritage background, Icah has a ‘down to earth’ and pragmatic approach to his work, and win or lose, will always give 100% commitment to his clients. He is recommended in both the Legal 500 and Chambers UK,where he has been described as a “solicitors’ favourite…who manages to achieve the difficult art of being a likeable brief whilst refusing to pull any punches in court”.

Icah is ranked for crime in Chambers UK 2019 and Legal 500 2019.

He handles high-profile and complex homicide cases.”
Legal 500 2017 (Crime, Tier 3)

His work includes a range of complex homicides.”
Legal 500 2016 (Crime, Tier 3)

Notable Cases

As a junior, Icah defended in cases arising from the troubles in Ireland and from the Southall, Brixton, Bristol and Tottenham disturbances in the 1980s, as well as in cases arising from the miners’ strikes of the same era.

In more recent years, Icah has led for the defence in a number of high-profile cases, often with great success. These high-profile cases have included the cases of:

R v Salmon – 2019 – Birmingham Crown Court – 20 year old Reggie Salmon was one of six defendants tried on an indictment alleging murder, manslaughter and conspiracy to rob. He alone was acquitted on all counts on a submission of no case to answer at the close of the prosecution case.

R v Tyrone Farquharson – 2018 – Old Bailey – 3-handed, 2 month long murder case involving teenage defendants, in which the deceased was allegedly attacked with zombie knives and an axe and died of multiple stab wounds.

R v Jerome Osbourne – 2018 – Old Bailey – Widely reported 5-handed case, which lasted 7 weeks, in which the defendant was charged with the murder of Luther Edwards in July 2016 outside York Hall in Bethnal Green after boxing event. Acquitted of murder and convicted of manslaughter only.

R v Sabrina Kouider – 2018 – Old Bailey – Nationally reported case which took place over 3 months, in which the defendant and her co-defendant were both charged with murdering their French nanny and burning her body in the back garden of their home. The case involved cut-throat defences and the defendant herself suffered from a major mental illness.

R v Oliver-Rowlands – 2018 – Old Bailey – 5-handed, teenage “postcode” gang murder case involving cut-throat defences.

R v Tashika Mothen – 2017 – Grand Court, Cayman Islands – 30 year old mother of 4 charged with attempted murder by shooting x 2; threats to kill; possession of a firearm; GBH x 2; and ABH x 2 in an alleged revenge attack. Acquitted on all counts after a month-long trial.

R v Craig Smith – 2017 – Liverpool Crown Court – Widely publicised five week case involving the alleged murder of a two year old child by his de facto step-father (The “Teddy Tilston” case). The case involved extremely complex medical evidence relating to causation. Defendant convicted by a majority.

R v Muanza – 2017 – Old Bailey – 14 year old defendant in five week cut-throat gang-related murder case.

R v Wiltshire – 2017 – Old Bailey – Six week cut-throat murder case in which the defendant and his partner each blamed the other for the murder of their 16 week old baby in a case which attracted national media attention (“The baby on the bus” case). Acquitted of murder and manslaughter. Convicted of child neglect only.

R v Phillips – 2017 – Croydon Crown Court – Three week murder trial involving mental health and alcohol addiction issues.

R v Richards – 2016 – Old Bailey – Teenage Defendant charged with gang – related, joint enterprise murder. After a 10 week trial, acquitted of murder, convicted of manslaughter.

R v Syeedy – 2016 – Manchester Crown Court – Defendant alleged to have been inspired by ISIS to murder an Imam in a case which attracted national media attention.

R v Bacon – 2016 – Snaresbrook Crown Court – Defendant alleged to have murdered his partner of 36 years following her decision to sell their home. The case involved complex psychiatric issues.

R v Butler – 2016 – Old Bailey – Defendant alleged to have murdered of his six year old daughter in a ten week trial which attracted widespread national media coverage. The case involved extremely complex medical issues in relation to causation.

R v Corette – 2016 – Old Bailey – Defendant guilty of the manslaughter of his mother  by reason of diminished responsibility rather than murder as alleged.

R v Gatewood – 2016 – Leeds Crown Court – Defendant acquitted in 7 -handed, six week trial, alleging joint enterprise, drug-related murder by shooting.

R v Wade – 2015 – St. Albans Crown Court – Defendant acquitted of “one punch” manslaughter.

R v Alam – 2015 – Chelmsford Crown Court – Lead defendant in 6- handed, eight week trial alleging gang-related murder.

R v Campbell -2015 – Old Bailey – Teenage defendant in 3 handed murder, alleged to be  drugs related.

R v Sawyers – 2015 – Old Bailey – Lead defendant (aged 15) in a 3-handed cut-throat murder and robbery.

R v Furniss – 2014 – Nottingham Crown Court – Lead defendant in 3 – handed, nine week trial, which alleged a contract killing by shooting. Convicted by a minimum majority.

R v Rahman – 2014 – Old Bailey – Lead defendant (aged 18) in 6-handed alleged gang murder.

R v Noor Omar – 2014 – Old Bailey – A murder trial in which the defendant was accused of shooting and killing a young man. The defendant was unanimously acquitted by the jury after only 90 minutes of deliberation. This case was reported in the Wandsworth Guardian. 

R v Tesfay – 2014 – Kingston Crown Court – Four week re-trial of a defendant charged with murder by use of an illegal sawn-off shotgun in an alleged gang shoot-out. Although the defendant was captured on CCTV footage shooting at the victim twice, he was only convicted by a majority verdict.

R v Tayyib – 2014 – Old Bailey – Four-handed, six-week murder trial, in which Tayyib was the only defendant acquitted. This case was the subject of a BBC documentary, Guilty by Association.

R v Mikhaimar – 2014 – Old Bailey – Seven-handed, three month gang-related murder of Hani Abou El-Kheir.

R v T – 2013 – Kingston Crown Court – Defendant charged with murder by use of a sawn-off shotgun in alleged gang shoot-out. The incident was captured on CCTV. Hung jury. Re-trial 2014.

R v Jamal Walters – 2013 – Old Bailey – Two month, five-handed, cut-throat murder and conspiracy to cause GBH trial. Case arose out of an alleged gang revenge attack. 18 year old Defendant acquitted on all counts.

R v Kevin Richards – 2013 – Old Bailey – Five month, ten-handed, cut-throat, murder and conspiracy trial. Defendant acquitted on all counts. This case received a great deal of publicity because one of the defendants was a high profile football and entertainments agent, whose clients included Ashley Cole and Rio Ferdinand. Although he was third on the indictment, Kevin Richards was universally acknowledged as being the most important defendant in the case, being variously described as the “lynchpin” and the “bottleneck”. His acquittal ensured the acquittal of most of the other defendants in the trial.

R v Dale Williams – 2012 – Old Bailey – Lead defendant in a three month, eight-handed alleged gang murder trial.

R v Powell – 2012 – Old Bailey – Five month re-trial – Defendant convicted by minimum majority of attempted murder and possessing firearm with intent – see below

R v Mudassar – 2012 – Newcastle Crown Court – Conspiracy to defraud and to breach immigration controls. Defendant acquitted

R v Michael Williams – 2012 – Liverpool Crown Court – “Operation Greengage” – Defendant one of three men forming the ruling tier of an international organised crime group involved in the importation into the UK of drugs, guns and ammunition. Acquitted of 2 of the 4 conspiracies alleged against him.

R v Maroof – 2011 – Stafford Crown Court – Five-handed conspiracy to murder by shooting.

R v CB – 2011 – Snaresbrook Crown Court – Daughter of well known show business celebrities acquitted of “glassing” alleged victim.

R v BB – 2011 – Kingston Crown Court – Son of ex-cabinet minister convicted by minimum majority of sexual assault.

R v Powell – 2011 – Old Bailey – Five month trial in which the Defendant charged was with 7 others on an indictment alleging murder, attempted murder, possession of firearms with intent and perverting the course of public justice. All defendants convicted save for the Defendant and one other, in respect of whom there was a hung jury. This result was viewed as remarkable by many, in the light of the fact that the Defendant – whose defence was self defence – was to be seen on CCTV footage pursuing his victim and shooting him five times.

R v Freeman -2011- Nottingham Crown Court – Possession of firearm – defendant acquitted by the jury in seven minutes

R v Arachchi – 2011 – Southwark Crown Court – Defendant indicted with fraudulently conspiring to launder the proceeds of crime (said initially to be £69m, later revised down to £39m). Acquitted

R v Krasniqi – 2011 – Leeds Crown Court – Lead defendant in a case in which three Muslim prisoners at HMP Wakefield (each serving a life sentence with a minimum tariff) faced allegations of attempting to murder Radislav Krstic, a Serbian war criminal serving 35 years for aiding and abetting genocide. Acquitted of attempted murder and convicted of GBH only, thus avoiding an indicated whole life sentence for the more serious offence and receiving a custodial term which did not extend the tariff

R v Jumah – 2010 -Old Bailey – Lead defendant in multi-handed “Matalan Murder” – Defendant pleaded guilty to organising the robbery, but not guilty to murder. Acquitted of murder; convicted of manslaughter only

R v Silingis – 2010 -Old Bailey – Lithuanian defendant in multi-handed case acquitted of murder and rape

R v Wilson – 2010 – Bristol Crown Court – Defendant acquitted of blackmail

R v Whyte – 2009 – Old Bailey – Lead defendant, a successful record producer, only one of seven accused acquitted of the murder of one man and of conspiring to murder another in a case involving the first black “supergrass”

R v Zajovic – 2009 – Old Bailey – Gang related multi-handed murder. 17 year old defendant acquitted

R v Thompson – 2009 – Old Bailey – 15 year old defendant one of seven in “The Honeytrap Murder” (This case was the subject of a BBC3 film “My Murder” in 2012 and inspired the 2015 feature film “Honeytrap”)

R v Gunter – 2009 – Old Bailey – 15 year old defendant one of only two out of seven accused acquitted of murder

R v Bhatessa -2009 – Snaresbrook CC – Defendant charged with rape of one woman and attempted rape of another. Acquitted of all save a single offence of sexual penetration

R v Costa – 2009 – Old Bailey – “The Oxford Street Stabber” – Defendant acquitted of murder

R v Viera – 2008 – Court of Appeal – Five Judge Court of Appeal, presided over by the Lord Chief Justice, decided anonymous hearsay was inadmissible on an interlocutory appeal by the Crown. Defendant acquitted of murder in multi-handed gang related shooting (Reported as R v Mayers)

R v Desnoes – 2008 – Old Bailey – 15 year old defendant acquitted of murder in multi-handed “post code” gang killing

R v Gray – 2008 – Court of Appeal – 14 year old defendant’s murder conviction quashed on causation point

R v Amos – 2008 – Winchester Crown Court – Defendant in multi-handed animal rights case

R v Davis – 2008 – Croydon Crown Court – Defendant charged with murder but acquitted of that offence and convicted of manslaughter only

R v Rodgers – 2007 – Old Bailey – Defendant acquitted of murder of alleged drug dealer

R v Jaswal – 2007 – Old Bailey – Defendant in multi-handed murder case acquitted of murder and convicted of manslaughter only

R v Gordon – 2007 – Old Bailey – Lead defendant in complex gang-related murder

R v Emeh – 2006 – Old Bailey – Defendant acquitted of murder in multi-handed gang killing

R v Mason – 2006 – Bristol Crown Court – Defendant acquitted of murder in 10-handed case involving multiple gang killings

R v Muir – 2005 – Old Bailey – “Dog chair murder” – Widely publicised case in which the defendant was acquitted of murdering his friend in a row over a dog. Defendant pleaded guilty to manslaughter

R v Alvis – 2005 – Old Bailey – Defendant acquitted of gang-related drug murder

R v Toby Edwards – 2005 – Maidstone Crown Court – The “body in the bag” murder.Defendant (an ex soldier) acquitted of killing an alleged drug dealer

R v Morgan – 2005 – Old Bailey – Defendant a member of the So Solid Crew involved in shoot-out resulting in the murder of a love rival

R v Roberts – 2005 – Old Bailey – Lead defendant in complex gang killing following the Notting Hill Carnival

R v Kerlit – 2004 – Old Bailey – “Murder in the Gherkin” case. Defendant acquitted

R v Briscoe – 2004 – Old Bailey – Lead defendant in gang rape case acquitted

R v Mills – 2003 – Old Bailey – Lead defendant in complex conspiracy to rob and murder. Acquitted of murder; convicted of conspiracy to rob after a re-trial.

R v Yones – 2003 – Old Bailey – Widely reported case in which the defendant admitted the “honour killing” of his daughter.

R v Mahrad – 2002 – Northampton Crown Court – The ‘Ross Parker’ race murder case. Of the four accused, only Mahrad was acquitted

R v Maddison – 2002 – Nottingham Crown Court – Defendant acquitted of the murder of a DJ

R v Jackson – 2002 – Old Bailey – Defendant acquitted of murder by shooting

R v Ranique Edwards – 2002 -Old Bailey -Defendant, aged 12, was the youngest defendant to stand trial for murder at the Old Bailey for 100 years He was acquitted.

Reported cases include Wiltshire and Baker [2017] EWCA Crim 1686; Boateng[2012]All ER (D) 104 (May); AG’s Reference (Nos.32, 33, 34 and 35 of 2010)[2010] EWCA Crim.2900; Mayers[2008] EWCA 2989; Taylor[2006]AER(D)32; Kiffin[2005]AER(D)361;Grant [1996] 1 CAR 73; McKecknie and others [1992] 94 CAR 51; Birmingham and others [1992] CLR 117; Phillipson [1990] 91 CAR 226; Inner London Crown Court ex p Benjamin [1987] 85 CAR 267; and O’Loughlin and McLoughlin [1987].

Positions held

Icah has previously held the post of vice-chairman of what was the Bar’s Race Relations Committee. He has in the past been an elected member of the Middle Temple Hall Committee and a co-opted member of the Middle Temple Executive Commitee. He is now a Bencher at Middle Temple. Icah was appointed as an Appeal Steward for the British Boxing Board of Control in 2012.

International work

In the autumn of 2010, Icah was a member of the five person Bar Human Rights Committee delegation which taught criminal procedure at the Law School of Tanzania, based at the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Icah was assigned to the list of counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 2011. In 2012, Icah was one of two Garden Court barristers who spent a month in South Africa assisting with the training of lawyers employed by the South African Human Rights Commission. In 2013, Icah travelled to Nigeria with an ISLP colleague to assist in advocacy training for lawyers employed by the Nigerian Ministry of Justice. In 2014, Icah returned once again to Tanzania with one other to teach criminal procedure at the Law School of Tanzania. In 2017, Icah successfully defended a young mother charged with multiple counts (including attempted murder by shooting x 2) in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands.

Other activities

Icah’s many interests include his three children, cycling and Reading FC, which he has supported since childhood. Always a keen sportsman, Icah has in the past played both football and rugby at club level. He was once, many years ago, a karate champion, holding a knockdown karate title at middleweight level for the south east of England. Nowadays, he restricts his sporting activities to pursuits of the non-contact, non-competitive kind.