Michael has a busy practice in criminal defence. He has represented in a number of murder trials in recent years as well as human trafficking, serious drug offences, revenue fraud and sexual offences.
Michael is well respected for his flair before the jury and his ability to hold the confidence of the court and clients alike. He has a friendly, approachable and highly creative style. Additionally, his human rights work in Strasbourg comprises many landmark cases.
Michael's criminal defence practice includes a variety of serious cases. These involve serious sexual allegations, both historical and current, representing a number of defendants in terrorism cases recently including defendants who had returned from Syria having joined anti-Assad forces there.
He is currently instructed in a number of homicide cases involving disputed scientific and medical evidence as well as cases involving mental health issues. Additionally, Michael represented Anthony Small, an ex-commonwealth champion boxer charged with terrorism glorification offences for the YouTube channel he produced.
LM – Secured an acquittal at the Central Criminal Court for the defendant, the lead defendant in this murder trial involving a shooting in Luton. The detailed cross-examination of the chief prosecution witness and additionally the firearms expert effectively destroyed the prosecution case theory. The case received national press coverage.
AC – Maidstone Crown Court – Nov 2019–Jan 2020. Secured an acquittal for murder for the young defendant in a multi-handed case involving county lines operation where there were cut-throat defences. The case received press coverage.
CB – Stafford Crown Court – May-June 2021. Secured an acquittal for murder and manslaughter in this murder allegation where the prosecution alleged the defendant was the primary party. A co-defendant was convicted of the killing contrary to his, and the Crown's case. The case received national press coverage.
GA – This was a four-handed case and Mr Atkins was the lead defendant. Secured acquittals for murder, attempted murder and Robbery. Mr Ivers QC conducted the bulk of the cross-examination and the lead speech, the defendant accepted stabbing both alleged victims alone but in self-defence. The case received national press coverage.
CB – Warwick CC – Sept-Oct 2021. Secured an acquittal for murder, manslaughter and GBH in this trial involving a group attack by 5 individuals. The defendant was the only defendant acquitted of all charges yet had been alleged by the crown to be the lead defendant and to have committed the actual stabbing. The police accepted under detailed cross-examination that their CCTV analysis was wrong in important and decisive regards. The case received national press coverage.
SM – Guildford CC – Nov-Dec 2021. The defendant was acquitted of murder and attempted murder. The defendant was alleged to have knocked two individuals down deliberately with his vehicle and then reversed over them up top 4 times. A powerful counter-narrative was developed concerning the attack on the defendant and its consequences. The case received national press coverage.
NB – Michael represented the defendant, charged with murder with a complex expert evidence rubric concerning causation in respect of the fatal injuries where the client was acquitted of murder. He is often and is currently instructed in a number of homicide cases involving disputed scientific and medical evidence as well as cases involving mental health issues. Michael is wholly comfortable around scientific issues.
DO – Michael secured an acquittal for the lead defendant in the multi-handed trial of David Osadebay, aka the Grime music star Cbiz, charged with organising a gangland murder. This case involved considerable cross-examination around vast and often misleading social media evidence. The case received national press coverage.
AT – He secured an acquittal for murder in a complex multi-handed case for the defendant where there had been complex cut-throat elements between the defendants. The defendant was convicted of manslaughter. The case received national press coverage.
JT & ML – In two trials at the Central Criminal Court he needed to expertly tackle complex psychiatric issues; in JT after 4 weeks the defendant was found to be unfit in a trial where 4 psychiatrists had given evidence and in ML a complicated historical medical and diagnostic rubric needed to be tackled, again involving complicated and conflicting expert evidence.
R v JR - A murder allegation connected to a failed drug deal
R v F - A multi-handed gang murder involving an execution with a submachine gun
R v K - An honour killing
R v P - A gang murder from west London involving some of the first arguments concerning anonymity
R v MC - An attempted murder alleged to have resulted from resentment over a failed relationship
R v F - The Camden Town gang stabbing
R v M - A notorious stabbing in Reading town centre
R v G - A multi-handed murder within the Nepalese community
Michael has represented a number of defendants in terrorism cases recently including defendants who had returned from Syria having joined anti-Assad forces there: R v N at the Central Criminal Court and R v S at Woolwich Crown Court. These were the first cases of their type, thus engendering heavy press interest. Michael's previous experience of chairing the Kurdish Human Rights Project gave a valuable insight into the geopolitical situation in Syria and the various groups operating there.
Additionally, Michael represented Anthony Small, an ex-commonwealth champion boxer charged with terrorism glorification offences for the YouTube channel he produced. This was a pivotal free speech case where he secured an acquittal.
R v KH - Defendant charged with terrorism offences, with free speech issues at the centre of the trial.
R v S - Terrorism cases involving a defendant who had returned from Syria having joined anti-Assad forces there
R v AS - Ex-commonwealth champion boxer charged with terrorism glorification offences for the YouTube channel he produced in a pivotal free speech case
R v N - Terrorism cases involving a defendant who had returned from Syria
R v SK - Substantial terrorism trial involving complex issues around social media evidence and evidence from an undercover operative
R v OK - Complex trial involving issues around Legal Professional Privilege. Charged with terrorism offences in prison, he was acquitted
R v C - A terrorism case involving a landmark decision on the ambit of the Terrorism Act
Michael has also conducted a number of cases involving serious sexual allegations, both historical and current. These include representing Ilyas Ashar, an 84-year-old who faced trial for offences of historical sexual abuse of a deaf-mute girl who was kept in conditions of servitude for many years in Manchester. The case received extensive press coverage and involved cross-examination of a highly vulnerable complainant (through an intermediary) in circumstances where cross-examination by previous counsel, at an original trial, had been heavily criticised by the Court of Appeal.
Other notable cases
R v S- A large-scale people-trafficking conspiracy involving serious sexual offences
R v S - A multi-handed highly complicated revenue fraud
R v X - A large-scale fraud concerning false student visas and a fake education institute
R v B - A conspiracy trial involving 18 armed robberies
R v IK- The Prospect Park murder in Reading
R v S - The first professional 'hit' with a machine gun
R v P - Murder involving a missing body
R v DC- Armed escape from Staines Magistrates Court
Court of Appeal
R v Shazib Khan & Others - A leading case concerning sentencing in terrorism cases
R v Navabi  EWCA Crim 2865 - First appeal concerning Immigration Act Offences
AG's Reference R v Arbuah  EWCA Crim 2632 Sentencing - Firearms cases
R v Kalar  EWCA Crim 1097 - Sentencing - Imprisonment Public Protection
R v Kaur  EWCA Crim 2883 - Presence alone as sufficient evidence
R v Robin Woods  EWCA Crim 1147 - Expert evidence - Rape cases
R v Wright  Crim L.R. 510 - Agreed Submissions
R v Smith (Trevor) 9802692Z3 - Identification
R v Powar - see above - Anonymity
As legal adviser to the Kurdish Human Rights Project, and former Chairman of the respected NGO, Michael has conducted numerous cases before the ECHR concerning Kurdish Applicants, including Ocalan v Turkey representing the PKK leader before the court concerning the failure to hold a retrial suggested by the Court in the previous Grand Chamber hearing.
Grand Chamber hearings at the ECHR are rare and Michael has conducted two in recent years.
Chiragov v Armenia is a pivotal and landmark case concerning internally displaced persons and ethnic cleansing which arose from the expulsion of Azeri Kurds from Nagorno Karabak. There were complicated jurisdictional issues and issues around 'continuing violation' since the actual expulsions occurred prior to Armenia and Azerbaijan signing up to the Convention. Some 1300 other cases depend upon the result of the case - thus it being heard in the Grand Chamber in an unusual direct referral. Azerbaijan (still having no control over the region in their own borders) joined as an interested party.
Ines Del Rio Prada v Spain is the most important case from Spain before the Grand Chamber in many years and concerns one of Spain's most notorious ETA terrorists and the legality of the so called 'Parot Doctrine' created by the Spanish Supreme Court in 2006 whereby a retrospective change to remission rules meant her serving a far greater period in prison. Many other ETA prisoners were affected. Articles 5, 7 and 14 are engaged. The issue is highly politically charged in Spain: the government there have made a number of comments about interference by the ECHR in domestic policy (mirroring comments made by politicians in Britain). This again is the test case upon which many other cases depend. The case thus involves not only careful handling in terms of its legal uniqueness but is complicated in its political dimensions.