Home > Tenants > Tom Wainwright

Tom Wainwright

  • Call: 2003
Tom Wainwright
Legal 500 UK Awards 2015: Winner 'Involved in challenging and high-profile cases spanning terrorism and human trafficking. Defends unled in significant cases' - Legal 500 2017 (Crime: General & Crime: Fraud)  

Ranked for Crime in Chambers and Partners Directory 2018

‘Gets to the heart of the issues’ – Legal 500 2016

‘Cross-examines expert witnesses with considerable skill’ – Legal 500 2012

‘Never gives up on a case’ – Legal 500 2011

A ‘terrier-like ability to unearth the weak points in the prosecution case’ – Legal 500 2010


Tom has always been a dedicated criminal defence Barrister, devoted to providing full and fearless representation.

Outside of work, Tom continues his support of those desperately in need of a strong defence in his following of Sheffield Wednesday FC and in captaining the Garden Court football team.


Tom has a formidable reputation as a passionate defender and a strong advocate. He is regularly instructed as Leading Junior Counsel in serious high-profile cases of significant complexity and legal importance. Tom is qualified under the ‘Public Access’ scheme and is able to take instructions direct from the public in appropriate cases.

Tom has a particular interest and experience in the following areas:

  • Serious Fraud and Confiscation: Tom has brought his analytical and advocacy skills to bear on large scale complex frauds brought by the Serious Fraud Office, Trading Standards and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills amongst others. He is particularly well-known for his expertise in confiscation proceedings and has co-authored ‘The Confiscation Manual’ – a practical guide to the proceeds of crime.
  • Protest Cases: As lead author on ‘The Protest Handbook’ Tom specialises in upholding protestors’ rights under Articles 8, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights and challenging the excessive or unlawful use of force by police officers. Tom’s practice in this area includes high-profile cases such as the ‘Rotherham 12’, the ‘Occupy Parliament’ demonstrations, R v Caroline Lucas MP and R v Zac King and Alfie Meadows.
  • Criminal Appeals: Tom acted in R v Bassett, the leading case on the offence of voyeurism and R v Court, the leading case on the definition of ‘keeping a disorderly house’. He also appeared as Leading Counsel in R v McNally which dealt with the question as to whether alleged deception as to gender could nullify consent in sexual offences. Tom has a strong track record in having convictions quashed and sentences reduced where previous Counsel had advised there was no merit and where the Single Judge has refused leave. He is more than happy to take instructions pro bono in relation to the merits of making renewed applications. Tom is the Treasurer for the Criminal Appeal Lawyers Association.

Notable Cases

Serious fraud, confiscation and regulatory

R v Ahmed, Southwark CC (2017 – 2018)
Leading junior for Defendant charged with a conspiracy to launder the proceeds of a series of brothels in central London, totalling millions of pounds over a period of years.

R v Reader, Woolwich CC (2018)
Led junior representing one of the Hatton Garden safety deposit box burglars in their confiscation proceedings. The burglary was said to be the largest ever in British legal history and attracted international publicity. Read reports from the Guardian here, the Independent here, the Telegraph here and the Mirror here.

R v Xu, Southwark CC (2016 – 2017)
Led junior defending in a private prosecution brought by a large hedge fund against a former employee in relation to the loss of millions of pounds worth of confidential intellectual property. Prosecution represented by two Queen’s Counsel, one junior Counsel, one corporate solicitors’ firm and one specialist prosecution firm. Case required detailed understanding of quantative analysis, computer coding and the use of Optical Character Recognition software.

R v Byrne, Southwark CC (2016)
Led junior and junior alone for the main Defendant in two prosecutions for large-scale ‘boiler room’ and land-banking frauds. Total alleged loss said to be in the region of £9m.

HSE v Mooney, Southwark CC (2015)
Multiple Health and Safety breaches alleged in criminal proceedings brought by the Health and Safety Executive, arising out of numerous shortcomings on a construction site.

R v Maclean, Truro CC (2014)
Leading junior in multi-handed fraud representing architect alleged to have secured fraudulent investments for multi-million pound building developments throughout Cornwall.

R v Moran, Southwark CC (2013)
Two week contested confiscation hearing arising out of the importation of cannabis on an industrial scale. Benefit to the Defendant alleged to be in the order of £60m.

R v Advani, Croydon CC (2009-2011)
Large scale fraud dating back to 1984 arising out of the collapse of the Johnson-Matthey Bank. The size and scope of the original investigation was a significant impetus in the establishment of the Serious Fraud Office.

Protest and public order cases

R v Saleem, R v Sultan, Sheffield CC (2016 and 2018)
Representing two of the ‘Rotherham 12’, all of whom were acquitted of violent disorder on the grounds that they were defending themselves and their community after a peaceful demonstration was directed into the path of far-right football hooligans. Ten defendants were unanimously found Not Guilty by a jury and the remaining two were later acquitted after the Prosecution offered no evidence against them, following revelations about the credibility of the Silver Commander in charge of policing the protest.

Read the reports from the Independent here, the Guardian here, Channel Four News here, The Mail here and Socialist Worker here

R v GP, Lewes CC (2016)
Defendant acquitted of violent disorder after confrontation with members of the EDL. Cut-throat defence against the other six defendants, all of whom were participants in the far-right ‘March For England’.

R v YI, Southwark CC (2015)
Defendant acquitted after a trial for violent disorder following her participation in the ‘Million Mask March’ in London on 5th November 2014.

‘Occupy Democracy’ City of Westminster MC (2015)
Together with Owen Greenhall, representing thirty protestors over a series of ten trials arising out of the ‘Occupy Democracy’ demonstrations in Parliament Square in Autumn 2014. A variety of charges involved leading to complex legal argument on a wide range of issues including Articles Ten and Eleven of the European Convention, challenges to the validity of the Parliament Square Byelaws and the definition of ‘sleeping equipment’ in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. Not a single demonstrator was convicted.

Read the press coverage here.

R v Lucas and others, Brighton MC (2014) Operation Mansell’
Representing Caroline Lucas MP and others charged with offences arising out of a peaceful sit-down demonstration, protesting against a fracking operation being set up outside the small village of Balcombe. Following a six day trial, not only were the Defendants acquitted of all charges but the District Judge went on to rule that the conditions imposed on the protest by the police were unclear, without proper foundation and unlawful.

Read the reports from The Guardian here and here, The Independent here, the Times here and the BBC here and here.

R v Zac King, Woolwich CC (2013)
On 9th December 2010, Alfie Meadows and Zac King were both struck on the head by police batons whilst peacefully protesting in Parliament Square against the exorbitant rise in tuition fees being introduced by the coalition government. Alfie was nearly killed by the blow. Both young men then found themselves charged with Violent Disorder and facing a Crown Court trial. Tom’s cross-examination of the Silver Commander challenged the Metropolitan Police’s decision to ‘kettle’ hundreds of schoolchildren until late at night in the middle of winter. After a four week trial, the jury returned within a short time to unanimously acquit both Defendants.

Read extracts from Tom’s cross-examination and closing speech here and here.
Read the New Statesman’s observations on the trial here and here.
Read the reports from The Independent here, The Guardian here and the BBC here.

R v Jahnke, Cambridge MC (2009)
Protestor who threw a shoe at Chinese Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao, acquitted.
Read reports in The Guardian (1 June 2009) here, The Guardian (2 June 2009) here and Time Magazine here.


Appeal cases

R v VSJ and others [2017] 1 Cr. App. R. 33; Archbold §19-464
Representing three out of the six appellants, all of whom were victims of human trafficking, in a specially convened conjoined appeal considering the relationship between the pre-existing law and the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the law on duress and the role of the Competent Authority.

R v McNally [2013] 2 Cr. App. R. 28; [2014] Crim LR 3, 207-223; [2014] Crim LR 7, 492-510; Archbold §20-10
Leading Junior in this key authority on what can and cannot vitiate consent for the purposes of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The young female appellant was alleged to have deceived another female into believing she was male prior to having sexual relations. Following an expedited hearing, the sentence of imprisonment was quashed and replaced with a suspended sentence leading to the appellant’s immediate release from custody.
Read articles in New Statesman here, the Mirror here and the Daily Record here.

R v Court and Gu [2012] 1 WLR 2260; [2012] 1 Cr. App. R. 36; Archbold §20-246
One prostitute, working by herself from an address and simply carrying out straight-forward sexual services was not sufficient to amount to the ancient common law offence of ‘keeping a disorderly house’.

R v Dale [2011] EWCA Crim 1675
Defence should have been allowed to call expert evidence to demonstrate that there was a body of opinion that cannabis assisted in the control of epilepsy. Conviction unsafe as a result and quashed.

R v Pimm [2009] All ER (D) 141; [2009] EWCA Crim 2019; Banks on Sentence 305.16
Partially severing the victim’s tongue was not ‘particularly grave’ harm for the purposes of the Sentencing Guidelines. Sentence reduced leading to appellant’s immediate release. Initially advising pro bono.

R v Bassett (2008) Crim LR 998; (2009) 1 Cr App R 7; (2009) 1 WLR 1032; Archbold §20-217
Leading case on the offence of voyeurism under section 67 and 68 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Conviction quashed by Court of Appeal who agreed that the reference to ‘breasts’ in s.68 does not include a man’s breasts. Defendant initially represented pro bono after leave to appeal refused by Single Judge.
Read reports in The Sun here, The Telegraph here and The Daily Mail here.

R v Eccleston and ors [2008] 2 Cr. App. R. (S.) 56; Archbold Sentencing Guidelines Supplement S-252
Applicability of Sentencing Guidelines Council Guidelines on Robbery to a pre-planned robbery of a large shop by three young people.


Serious crime

R v Brown, Inner London CC (2017)
Nurse accused of stealing drugs from children’s hospital, based on printouts from ‘Omnicell’ electronic drugs cabinets, acquitted following successful submission of no case to answer. Reported in the Evening Standard here.

R v Newland, Manchester CC (2017)
Led junior in the appeal and re-trial of what was described as ‘one of the most extraordinary and controversial criminal cases of recent times’ in which the Defendant was alleged to have adopted a male persona in order to have a relationship with their female best friend. High profile case which was reported in the Guardian here, the Mail here and the Telegraph here.

R v Thomas, Harrow CC (2016-2017) ‘Operation Kadu’
Defendant acquitted of involvement in a large scale conspiracy to manufacture and transfer firearms revolving around a illegal gun factory in North London which supplied converted weapons to criminal gangs.

R v Sofroniou, Chelmsford CC (2015) ‘Operation Usurp’
Leading Junior acting for Defendant charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs across the Home Counties.

R v SS, Wood Green CC (2015)
Mother acquitted of causing or allowing serious harm to her toddler. Sensitive case involving expert paediatric and neurological evidence.

R v Amin, Southwark CC (2013)
Leading Junior in trial of Defendant alleged to have assisted in disposing of the body of a young woman murdered by members of her family in a so-called ‘honour-killing’. Reported in the Telegraph here, the Daily Mail here, the Evening Standard here and ITV News here

R v Bacon and others, Sheffield CC (2012) ‘Operation Manifest’
Multi-handed conspiracy to supply cocaine and launder the proceeds of crime. Defendant alleged to be financier of large scale operation to supply controlled drugs in the South Yorkshire area.

R v West, Blackfriars CC (2011)
Defendant pleaded guilty to hitting a diner in a busy restaurant over the head with a wine bottle.  Reported in the Daily Mail here, the Telegraph here and the Mirror here.

R v Williams, Blackfriars CC (2010)
Defendant acquitted of serious assault on the basis that the smoking cessation drug Varenicline may have combined with alcohol to produce a state of automatism. Reported in the Mail here and the Metro here.



Criminal Disclosure Referencer‘ – Wainwright, Fenn and Begum
(Second edition, Bloomsbury – published December 2017)
Lead author on this detailed and important guide to the duty of disclosure in criminal proceedings.

‘The Confiscation Manual’ – Vaughan QC, Wainwright, O’Hara and McGuinness
(Sweet and Maxwell – published September 2015)
Co-Author of this practical guide to confiscation proceedings, providing a comprehensive yet accessible explanation of the law relating to the proceeds of crime.

‘Civil disobedience’; ‘Demonstrations: police rights and duties’
(Westlaw Insight Database)

‘No Defence: Miscarriages of justice and lawyers’
(The Justice Gap – June 2013)

‘Five pieces of law every protester should know’
www.guardian.co.uk – 1st May 2012

‘The Protest Handbook’ – Wainwright, Morris, Craig and Greenhall
(Bloomsbury – April 2012)
Co-author on the guide to all aspects of protest law from police powers to criminal proceedings, from occupations to civil actions.

‘Blackstones Guide to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008’ – Co-Author
(OUP. Published February 2009)


Seminars, Conferences and Talks

TransJustice Conference
(Garden Court in association with City University and Birkbeck, May 2016)
Co-ordinator and speaker at conference on challenges faced by trans and gender non-conforming people in the criminal justice system.

‘Sexual Offences’
(LexisNexis Live webinar – available here)

‘Fracking: The Protests and the Court Cases’
(Haldane Society Human Rights Lectures 2014 – available here)

‘Ancillary Orders for Financial and Corporate Crime’
(Webinar for ThomsonReuters – available here)

‘Policing the Neoliberal University’
(Defend the Right To Protest Public Event 2014)

‘Protest Law: What Every Protestor Should Know’ (2012); ‘Protest Law: Update’ (2014)
Two two-part podcasts for www.cpdcast.com

Tom has also delivered lectures and seminars for City University Law School, the Kent University Critical Law Conference and the Royal College of Art.