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Marguerite Russell

  • Call: 1972
Marguerite Russell
Legal 500 UK Awards 2015: Winner
"Fearless, committed and highly intelligent"
Consultant Solicitor


Marguerite was one of the Founder Members of Garden Court Chambers and has been described on LinkedIn by one Consultant Solicitor at a leading criminal firm as:

“Fearless, committed and highly intelligent”

She practises at the highest level in crime, frequently as Leading Junior. She is known as having outstanding advocacy skills and is a gifted cross-examiner. She has a particular interest in areas of expert evidence such as DNA, cell-site, firearms, computer systems, handwriting, psychiatric evaluations, drug trace evidence etc. and enjoys keeping up to date with forensic techniques and research. Recently at Birmingham Crown Court she successfully cross-examined to exclude facial mapping evidence, thereby stopping the trial and achieving a directed not guilty verdict.

She has a reputation for very high rate of acquittals and has an outstanding overall success rate. She is considered to be expert on the Law of Abuse, Disclosure, RIPA and the use of expert evidence.

She has led in a significant number of high profile trials. The range of her defence work includes murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, wounding with intent, serious frauds, including multi million pound internet and carousel frauds. She specialises in high profile cases and has given seminars on bribery & corruption compliance, She has also lead in very high profile conspiracy cases involving allegations of offences related to “terrorism” such as conspiracy to cause explosions. She has frequently acted in major drug cases with multi million pound valuations and has appeared in cases of armed robbery, firearms supply and blackmail.

Forthcoming notable trials

January 2016 – R v Paul Lenton & Others, Southwark Crown Court
Instructed by Richard Cronin at O’Keefe’s Solicitors.

Stop press 2015 cases

R v Rowles, Croydon Crown Court
Marguerite successfully defended in a drugs conspiracy allegation of cocaine supply at Croydon Crown Court. The crown offered no evidence, after Section 8 disclosure applications were served on them on the first day of trial.

R v Ali Madhi, Bristol Crown Court
Marguerite successfully defended in a two-week conspiracy to supply cocaine at Bristol Crown Court.

Other recent cases

Marguerite acted as Leading Junior for one of five defendants charged with bribing public officials in Kenya, Mauritania, Ghana and the disputed state of Somaliland, a region of northwest Somalia that declared itself to be an independent country in 1991.

The prosecution alleged that, between 2009 and 2010, the defendant, acting as an agent, bribed members of Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission. Bribes were allegedly offered and paid by the defendants to secure lucrative contracts for a British-based company to provide printed materials for use in Somaliland’s presidential elections.

After a legally and factually complex trial lasting six weeks, the defendant client was acquitted unanimously by the jury. Three of the co-defendants were convicted of offences.

R v Forouhar + others  Isleworth Crown Court July 2015
Prosecution drop case against alleged kidnappers that claimed victim held for days and tortured after written S8 disclosure application submitted on behalf of first defendant by Marguerite Russell with Russell Fraser. Client released after months in custody. Solicitor Keith Wood at Lewis Nedas.

R v Kwame Speede and other (2013) Southwark Crown Court
Multi-handed kidnap, false imprisonment and blackmail case in which it was alleged the victim was waterboarded. After a successful abuse application at Southwark Crown Court in February 2013, there was a retrial in Autumn 2013 in which Marguerite’s client was acquitted on all counts.

R v J. French- Central Criminal Court-2012
Successfully represented a 56-year-old man with good character who was acquitted of assault.

R v Rae Johnston and another -Lincoln Crown Court- 2012
Marguerite made a successful application to permanently stay this trial as an abuse of process. This was as a result of cross-examination that exposed very significant disclosure failures on behalf of the police.

R v Petherick -Court of Appeal-2012
Marguerite successfully appeared in the Court of Appeal and got sentence reduced in a Death by Dangerous driving case. The case is reported in Crimeline as the Court gave Guidelines.

Cases in specific practice areas

Fraud and commercial cases

R v Alonge and others (2011)
Acted as Leading Junior – allegation of multi -million pound internet fraud and money laundering conspiracy- successfully got charges reduced.
The case was reported by The Voice and by PM News Nigeria.

R v Milka and others (2011) Croydon Crown Court
Acted as Leading Junior -in a multi -million pound internet fraud and money laundering conspiracy involving use of a Trojan worm.
The case was reported by the BBC and the Association for Financial Professionals.

R v Salmon and others (2010)
Large Scale Commercial theft.

R v Doherty (2009)
Fraudulent Trading

R v Pearson
Successfully acted as Leading Junior for the first defendant in the largest advance fee fraud to occur in Manchester, over 2500 Junior doctors were allegedly defrauded by tax advisors.


2011-12 R v Russell Knaggs and others [Operation Dearly] at Birmingham Crown Court
Marguerite acted as leading junior for the first named defendant. in a six-handed conspiracy investigated by the Serious Organised Crime Agency. It was alleged that the defendants conspired to import up to five tonnes of cocaine from South America to the United Kingdom in a number of separate enterprises. The trial lasted six months.
This case was reported by the BBC.

2012 R v Dennis Kelly
Leading Counsel at Liverpool Crown Court in a £166 million cocaine importation conspiracy. This case was reported in the Daily Mail.

R v Ward
At Woolwich and Norwich Crown Courts in Marguerite successfully led for one of the alleged leading conspirators in a major drugs importation case. her cross-examination, according to a well-respected international expert, revealed more information regarding covert recording systems than had ever before been disclosed in any court and it led to a Crown expert admitting that he had mislead a defence expert.

Other conspiracy offences

[2010] R v Smythe and others
Leading Counsel in a multi-handed conspiracy to handle stolen scrap metal consisting of the theft of many hundreds of vehicles. A case in which the conduct of the prosecuting authority resulted in the Crown offering no evidence after 5 day disclosure application in which serious and systemic failing of the disclosure regime were exposed. Later privately instructed by the Legal Services Commission and successfully recovered substantial costs against the Crown Prosecution Service.

R v Salih
Central Criminal Court Acted as Leading Junior in a case described in the media as “London’s largest gun conversion operation, which supplied hundreds of weapons to the underworld.”
This case was reported by the BBC.

R v Chun Yu and others
Southwark Crown Court Large scale people smuggling case
This case was reported by the BBC.


R v Gaisie (2012) and others
Kingston Crown Court – Cash in Transit Robbery case -losses valued at over £100,000.

R v Samuels (2011)
Snaresbrook Crown Court – Allegations of Kidnap and Assault of a thirteen year old boy-successfully reduced charges on indictment.

R v M. Walsh (2010)
Croydon Crown Court successfully acted in an Allegation of Attempted murder by stabbing.

R v C D’Aguair (2010)
Woolwich Crown Court successfully acted in an allegation of an Attempted murder by shooting.
This case was reported on the News Shopper website.

R v McInerney (2009)
Attempted Murder – shooting

Some notable cases

Marguerite has throughout her practice successfully appeared in cases that have received national media attention examples are:

R v Khalef and others – Central Criminal Court
Marguerite successfully acted as Leading Junior for a defendant acquitted in the “Ricin” terrorism case- the so-called Ricin Plot. An alleged Muslim fundamentalist plot to poison an infinite number of civilians. The first major post 9/11 ” terrorism” trial in the UK.
This case was reported by Fox News.

R v Murphy and others – Central Criminal Court
Conspiracy to Cause Exxplosions- Marguerite successfully acted as Leading Junior for the only defendant acquitted in the Electricity sub-station case an alleged IRA terrorism case.
This case was reported in The Independent.

R v O’Dhuibir and Sherry – Woolwich Crown Court
Known Whitemoor Prison Escape-Marguerite successfully acted as one of the counsel who got the trial stayed for abuse as a result of prejudicial press coverage in the Evening Standard of defendants involved in an alleged IRA escape from prison.
More information is available on the Government website.

Strangeways Prison Riot Trial – Manchester Crown Court
Acted as leading counsel in this prison riot case, which was Described as the worst prison riot in the UK.
This case was reported in The Guardian.

R v Barber and others (1985) Sheffield Crown Court
The Orgreave Miners Trial
The major trial arising out of the miners strike. As a result of defence cross-examinations of police witnesses based in part on defence photographic materials the Crown discontinued the trial and dropped the charges during the prosecution case.
More information can be found on the BBC website.

The Bradford 12 Conspiracy Trial [Leeds Crown Court,1982]
Acted as counsel in a 9-week trial, where 12 Asian men, known as the Bradford 12, were acquitted of charges of making explosive devices with the intent to cause damage to property and persons.

R v Thorne (1977) 66 Cr App R 6. Re.
One of the early supergrass cases.
More information can be found on the Rahman Ravelli Solicitors’ website.

Further information

Throughout her career Marguerite has been committed to developing understanding of equality and human rights issues both within the legal process and in society at large. She is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

This year Marguerite was honoured to be an invited speaker at the United Nations, NGO Conference in New York and at the 2012 International Conference on Law and Society in Honolulu where she presented on Women, Violence and Trafficking : Gender Issues in International Law.

She was also delighted to be invited to the Faculty of Law, Northern (Arctic) Federal University Arkhangelsk, in Russia where she presented a paper on “Internal and international trafficking in women: Arctic and northern realities, domestic and international law, and policy dilemmas

She was an invited speaker at a symposium organised for Madame Justice L’Hereux-Dube on her retirement from the Canadian Supreme Court. She advised Labour MPs and MEPs on crime issues as well as domestic violence, abortion, embryo experimentation and reproduction technologies.


  • The Impact of the Canadian Charter of Rights on Privacy in Canada‘ chapter in Developing Key Privacy Rights (Hart Publishing, 2002)
  • Towards Global Equality‘ (LSUC, 2002)
  • Peer reviewer for ‘Are We ‘Persons’ Yet? Law and Sexuality in Canada’ (University of Toronto Press, 1999)
  • Canadian Journal of Women and the Law 1990 – Women and Criminal Trials
  • 1990 Book Review, Queens Law Journal

Lectures and seminars

Marguerite taught University advocacy courses for post -graduate students in 1988-89. She has given seminars on Cross-Examination of Expert Witnesses, Trial Tactics and Speech Preparation, the Bribery Act and Covert Recording Systems.

She has been a contributor at a number of National and International Legal events and workshops, for e.g. in the UK at the Institute of Ideas in 2009. In 2010 she was a Participant in the International Conference on LGBT Human Rights, Copenhagen, Denmark July 27-29, 2009. Also at the international conference Exploring the Boundaries: An International Dialogue on Socio-Legal Feminisms, Holetown, Barbados, June 9-11, 2010 and she also attended at the Universidad Complutense Madrid in 2011 for Working Group Sessions on Fiscal and Gender Issues relating to fiscal issues, taxation and gender budgeting.