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Keir Monteith

  • Call: 1994
Keir Monteith
"His understanding of the case law is second to none."

Legal 500, 2019

"Regularly up against the National Crime Agency." "Recommended for his defence experience in multimillion-pound fraud trials."

Legal 500

Keir Monteith is a highly sought-after leading junior who represents clients facing heavyweight criminal allegations. He has been instructed in numerous murders, industrial scale Class A drug importations and conspiracies, multi-million pound frauds, multi-million pound confiscations, and escape from custody cases.

Keir is ranked for criminal law in Chambers UK 2019.

Keir represents clients facing heavyweight criminal charges throughout the UK. His skill as an advocate is second to none, and he achieves seemingly impossible acquittals. Keir’s commitment comes from a firm belief in the absolute principle that everyone, no matter what the evidence may appear to be, is innocent until proven guilty. He is meticulous in his preparation and provides a first-class service for all his clients.

He has been instructed in numerous murders, industrial scale Class A drug importations and conspiracies, multi-million pound frauds, multi-million pound confiscations, and escape from custody cases.

Notable cases

In 2018 Keir has represented the lead defendant in the Heathrow baggage handlers case [RvJ]. An importation allegedly involving 100 kilos of Class A drugs. He was also instructed in a high profile 3 month immigration corruption case [R v H] which attracted national publicity; secured acquittals for a chemist who was alleged to have shipped out boxes of drugs from the company’s pharmacy and represented the lead defendant in a large scale conspiracy to import 30 kilos of cocaine [ The Birmingham Barber case ] and the first defendant in a 200 to 500 kilo cannabis conspiracy.

In January 2017, Keir obtained five acquittals in a long-running multi-handed conspiracy to rob trial at the Central Criminal Court [RvK]; represented N in a high profile gross negligence manslaughter [RvN] and in April obtained a not guilty verdict in a perverting the course of justice allegation [RvG]. In July 2017he represented M in a high profile Misconduct in Public Office case [ The Sheffield helicopter case] and secured an acquittal. He was also instructed in RvFB an allegation of a gang land murder. The client was found not guilty.

In 2016 Keir represented a 15-year-old who faced allegations of a conspiracy to commit GBH, which was said to be the catalyst for a mob of 17 to murder a 16-year-old. The defendant was first on the indictment. Keir was a leading junior and the rest of the defendants and the prosecution were represented by silks and juniors. The defendant was acquitted.

Keir represented Adam Deacon in an important case. The jury agreed with Keir’s submission that as Mr Deacon was mentally unwell at the time of the alleged offences he should not be held criminally responsible for his actions. They found Mr Deacon not guilty.

In 2015 Keir was leading junior in an Operation Elvedon Misconduct in Public Office case in which a Belmarsh prison officer was accused of selling so called sensitive information to a journalist. The appeal was heard by the Lord Chief Justice and an application has now been lodged before the European Court of Human Rights. The case received national press coverage, including the BBC, the GuardianPress Gazette and Chartered Institute of Journalists.

R v Jabir
A multi-handed allegation of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and two counts of assisting an offender. The defendant was linked to a broad daylight shooting in London. Jabir pleaded guilty to two counts of assisting an offender. Following a ‘half time’ submission by Keir, the Judge dismissed the possession of firearm allegations against Jabir and also the two other co-defendants. (Reported by the Independent).

R v Baptiste
Acted as leading junior in a four-handed allegation of murder with a linked allegation of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with firearms. The firearms included a MAC-10 Submachine gun capable of firing over 1,000 rounds per minute that had been used in a murder. The trial involved controversial disclosure issues involving an anonymous witness.

R v H
Keir was trial counsel (without a leader or junior) where both the prosecution and two defendants were represented by a QC and a junior each. This was a multi-handed case involving allegations of kidnapping and an armed robbery of a bank in Birmingham. Despite the presence of DNA evidence in a vehicle central to the crime, and cell site evidence placing the defendant near the scene, his client was acquitted of all counts. (Reported by the BBC).

R v Dubb
A multi-handed allegation of murder. Two vehicles containing up to 10 people descended on a bar in Bilston. One of the men produced a gun and fired a shot into the crowd outside the bar, which resulted in a death at the scene. The defendant was acquitted at ‘half time’. (Reported by the Birmingham Post).

R v Sammuels
Keir led in a double-handed armed robbery allegation relating to a number of off licences, where the suspects used handcuffs and guns to commit the robberies. The defendants faced a further allegation of conspiracy to rob. The prosecution evidence ranged from identification and facial mapping to surveillance, DNA (from gun and balaclava) and analysis of alleged residue from exploding bank notes.

R v Harriot
Keir led in a drive-by shooting involving allegations of gangland violence where a pump action shotgun was repeatedly fired at a car containing passengers, on a separate occasion fired at an occupied house and a further allegation of threats to kill. The defence used a combination of duress and identification for their arguments. The client was acquitted of both shootings, and the threats to kill.

Some of Keir’s other cases include:

  • representing a solicitor in a trial that consisted of over one million documents and a post-trial investigation into whether the main prosecution witnesses had committed perjury;
  • a law student on allegations of perjury;
  • the largest radio game show deception (reported by the Daily Mail);
  • allegations of a multi-handed fraud conspiracy relating to eBay, where the client was acquitted (reported by the Manchester Evening News);
  • one of the first sexual allegations based almost entirely on email evidence, involving an undercover officer in America and the UK. This case also concerned PII applications relating to Strap security.


Keir is regularly instructed in the Court of Appeal and is able to compile compelling written advocacy. One example is the case of Trim, where Keir obtained leave five and a half years out of time, and the sentence was reduced from an indefinite sentence of imprisonment for public protection to a community order.

In the case of Robson, after being advised by trial counsel and two other lawyers that there was no appeal against his murder conviction, Keir, acting pro bono, drafted the Grounds of Appeal and, seven years out of time, took the case to the full court. He obtained leave to appeal and the conviction was quashed.

Notable cases

R v PK [2017] EWCA Crim 486
Exceptionally, conviction quashed despite plea of guilty, appeal 9 years out of time and recent adverse caselaw [R v Ordu]. Keir persuaded the Court of Appeal that a defence would “quite probably” have succeeded at trial. Reported in Criminal Law Review.

R v RN [2016] EWCA Crim 1564 (ongoing)
Leading junior in Operation Elvedon misconduct in public office case in which a Belmarsh prison officer is accused of selling sensitive information to a journalist. The appeal is predicated on Article 10 arguments. An application is now before the ECtHR.

R v Samuels [2014] EWCA Crim 1852
Keir’s oldest and most loyal client, on a life licence at the time of the offence, had a trial and was convicted. Initially sentenced to nine years but after Keir’s submissions this was reduced to six years. See also R v Samuels [2005] EWCA Crim 3051 for details of his previous application to the Court of Appeal.

R v Cope [2014] EWCA Crim 2187
Despite Mr Cope’s trial counsel writing an advice that said he did not have grounds for an appeal, Keir made an application almost a year out of time. This was granted and the sentence was reduced by one year.

R v Miah [2013] EWCA Crim 1891
Despite the reduction in sentence being just three months, Keir was able to persuade the Court of Appeal that an important point of principle was at stake and it was necessary for the court to intervene.

R v Uyiekpen [2008] EWCA Crim 1457
Appeal against conviction for possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply. Conviction quashed.

R v Robson [2006] EWCA Crim 2749
A conviction for murder was quashed and a verdict of manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility was substituted where the trial judge had delivered a jury direction on diminished responsibility along the same lines as that which was held to be a misdirection in R v Dietschmann (2003) UKHL 10, (2003) Crim LR 550.

R v Crosse [2005] EWCA Crim 53: The Lewes prison tennis ball case
The appellant tried to throw a tennis ball containing class A and C drugs over the prison wall. After a successful abuse of process submission in the Crown Court regarding the Class A drugs the eventual sentence was successfully appealed as well.

R v Pepper and others [2005] EWCA Crim 1181
Guidance on extended sentences under the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 s.85. This case also involved Strap security.

DPP v Jones [2002] EWHC 110 (admin)
Right to protest and public order notices.

R v Hatami [2001] EWCA Crim 1653
Appeal against conviction for unlawful wounding where the alleged victim was stabbed in the back and leg and was initially on life support. Part of the incident was captured on CCTV and was witnessed by a number of people in broad daylight. Conviction quashed.

R v Heggart Archbold [2002], p. 1,257,
The issue of disclosure and the old ‘custom’ of blacking out telephone numbers on CAD reports should stop.

Keir also specialises in civil liberties law and defending protesters, including allegations of large-scale conspiracies to commit criminal damage or violent disorder, allegations of harassment and other violence. He has also been instructed in many successful anti-EDO cases including the infamous ‘super-glue four’ case, the ‘die-in’ at Churchill Square in Brighton and allegations of criminal damage and actual bodily harm at one of the many EDO protests. In each case, all the defendants were acquitted.

After three years of practice, Keir became one of the founding members of Acre Lane Chambers and joined Garden Court in 2002.

Keir is an elected executive member of the Criminal Bar Association, has worked for Oxfam and the NSC.