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Shahida Begum

Year of Call: 2008

Shahida Begum is a specialist criminal defence practitioner. She has experience defending clients in a range of matters from serious violence and dishonesty, to drug supply and sexual offences and has experience with cases involving a cross-over with other practice areas.

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Shahida has also worked on cases raising immigration, family and housing law issues which has led to a specialism in defending refugees and victims of trafficking. Shahida also practises extradition and crime-related public law. Shahida has acted in several protest cases raising civil liberties issues and has a varied appellate practice having been instructed in several guideline cases.

CRIMINAL DEFENCE AND EXTRADITION

Overview

Shahida is a committed criminal defence practitioner. She is meticulous in her case preparation and has a reassuring manner with clients. Shahida has a wide range of experience.

Notable Cases

Violence

R v DCN - Gang-related attempted murder/s.18, vulnerable youth defendant. Leading counsel. Led John Connelly of Thompsons Solicitors.

R v SO-R - Junior advocate in gang-related murder. Led by Icah Peart QC. Telephone and cell site evidence. Multiple defendants, with conflicting defence accounts.

R v DM – Junior advocate in murder. Led by Bernard Tetlow QC. Novel legal argument about whether a police officer can give image comparison evidence where an expert has determined it would be unsafe to do so. CCTV and geo-spatial evidence. 

R v DH – Junior advocate in joint enterprise attempted murder and wounding with intent in the alternative. Led by Bernard Tetlow QC. The deceased had attended the defendant’s address with a knife and a hammer. The prosecution could not negate self defence in relation to the fatal wound but alleged that the defendant and his brothers then followed and attacked the deceased intending to kill him. CCTV and call data evidence.

R v DCN - Gang-related attempted murder/s.18, vulnerable youth defendant. Leading counsel. Led John Connelly of Thompsons Solicitors.

R v DH - Junior advocate in child cruelty linked to manslaughter charge of co-defendant. Led by Helen Johnson of Emery Johnson Astills.

R v MI - Junior advocate in conspiracy to cause GBH and possession of firearms. Led by Alex Taylor-Camara. Series of shootings in Bedford. Multiple defendants.

R v KP – Junior advocate in conspiracy to cause GBH and possession of firearms. Led by Minka Braun. ‘Shoot-out’ after a party. Multiple defendants. 

R v SG – Junior advocate in conspiracy to commit robbery and possesion of imitation firearm. Robbery of a high value vehicle with an imitation firearm. Multiple defendants. 

R v RV - Section 18 and robbery involving a firearm.

R v FA - Section 18, fracture to eye socket. Application to dismiss on causation.

R v AS - Robbery with a knife. Facebook identification.

R v TS - Multiple count indictment of affray, ABH, common assault and criminal damage.

Dishonesty/regulatory

R v NP – Junior advocate in conspiracy to commit burglaries and money laundering. Led by Minka Braun. Romanian nationals flown to the UK to commit commercial burglaries by abseiling into various locations. Multiple defendants. Call records, cell site, phone downloads, CCTV, surveillance, forensic, intercept and open source evidence from the UK and Romania. 

R v GN – Junior advocate in conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration. Led by Icah Peart QC. Thirty nine Vietnamese migrants died whilst being brought to the UK. On a separate occasion the defendant collected his nephew. Substantive offence accepted by the prosecution following negotiation and GN sentenced separately to other defendants. 

R v MA – Conspiracy to defraud. Unknown parties ‘spoofing’ banking customers and recruiting couriers to collect money from the couriers. 

R v SM - Trademark offences and breach of EU safety regulations. Application to dismiss on the basis 'not in the course of trade or business'.

R v IN - Multinational company in breach of planning regulations during London 2012.

Drugs

R v LA - Junior advocate in conspiracy to supply class A. Alleged county lines operation. Led by Nick Wrack. Multiple phones lines and extensive expert evidence including: DNA, mass spectrometry, cell site, drugs and forensic accountant. Multiple defendants.

R v CI - Junior advocate in conspiracy to supply class A. Joinder of two separate alleged operations. Led by Keir Monteith QC. Multiple defendants.

R v BL – Supplying class A to an undercover officer. Modern Slavery Act defence. 

R v SB – Conspiracy to supply class. Lead defendant. Duress and Modern Slavery Act defence. 

Sexual offences

R v BE – Rape. Complainant with several background issues. Several disclosure applications. 

EXTRADITION

Romania v DS - Specificity of warrant

Turkey v KZ - Alevi sought for ID card offences. Human rights and extraneous considerations

Turkey v IK - Alevi social justice activist in 1990s, accused of terrorism offences. Dual criminality, human rights and extraneous considerations

Turkey v KD - Alevi, Kurd and social justice activist in 1990s accused of terrorism offences. Dual criminality, human rights and extraneous considerations

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Financial Crime and Confiscation

Overview

Shahida is able to marshal large amounts of financial material and identify the key issues. Shahida has been instructed as a led junior and junior alone in several, large scale and complex fraud allegations. 

Shahida also has a great deal of experience in proceeds of crime matters. 

Shahida has experience conducting disclosure and LPP review for the FCA and SFO.

Notable Cases

R v AM – Junior advocate in multimillion fraudulent trading allegation. Led by Keir Monteith QC. Represented company director.

R v AH – Junior advocate in multimillion MTIC fraud. Led by Keir Monteith QC. Lead defendant. 

R v MR – Junior advocate multimillion divergence fraud. Led by Lalith De Kauwe. Multiple defendants.

R v MD  – Multimillion courier fraud. Multiple defendants. Prosecution offered no evidence after three week legal argument.

R v OK – Boots employee fraud. Multiple defendants. Complex legal argument about computer evidence.

R v JA - Junior advocate in conspiracy to control prostitution and money laundering over £2million. Led by Tom Wainwright. Multiple premises and bank accounts, jointly charged with three other defendants.

Serious Fraud Office - Instructed as disclosure counsel in restraint proceedings involving possible proceeds of crime from Ukraine, disclosure counsel in case involving allegations of bribery to secure contracts for currency production and independent LPP Counsel on the Rolls Royce investigation

R v AC - Southern Rail employee fraud

R v NW-E - Qualified barrister housing fraud. Confiscation resisted when Bristol City Council sought to pursue under the 'slip rule'

R v RZ - Ladbrokes employee fraud

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Criminal Appeals

Overview

Shahida is regularly instructed in appeals and has been involved in several guideline cases. Shahida has dealt with novel points of law and issues overlapping with other practice areas.

Notable Cases

R v JM [2017] EWCA Crim 1228 - Guideline case. Junior advocate in appeal against conviction and sentence. Led by Henry Blaxland QC. Joint enterprise murder. Effective participation of youth defendants and post-Jogee directions. Challenge to mandatory life sentences for youths

R v DCN [2019] EWCA Crim 910 – Appeal against conviction. Appeal allowed on the basis that there had been a material misdirection of law during the summing up, re-trial directed. Defendant found not guilty at re-trial.

R v AA [2017] 1 Cr. App. R. 33 - Guideline case. Remit of the protections for victims of trafficking charged with criminal offences

R v CS and LL – Junior advocate in appeal against conviction and sentence. Availability of s.45 Modern Slavery Act defence. Offences committed before the defence came into force but proceedings ongoing after.  

R v ZK - Remit of the reduction to be afforded to victims of trafficking in mitigation

R v OT - Appeal against conviction where Crown had not considered whether it was in the public interest to proceed where the appellant was a victim of trafficking and there was a nexus to the offence.

R v YH - Application for leave to appeal against conviction out of time. Refugee not advised of relevant defence who entered a guilty plea in 2009. The 'substantial injustice' test does not apply to non-change of law cases.

R v JM [2013] EWCA Crim 1051 - Guideline case. Junior advocate in appeal against conviction. Led by Tom Wainwright. Female who disguised herself as a male and had a relationship with another female, whether deception as to gender can vitiate consent

Romania v DS [2014] EWHC 1326 - Specificity of warrant and article 8, expert evidence on whether Brussels II applied

R v CY-H - Appeal against sentence. Sentencing judge erred in not assessing the culpability and harm in the absence of sentencing guidelines for 'endangering the safety of a railway passenger'.

R v DD [2015] EWCA Crim 521 - Appeal against sentence. Sentencing judge erred in not applying totality for burglary and dangerous driving offences.

R v AS – Appointed by Registrar. Appeal against sentence. Days on remand pending extradition not taken into account and sentence for manslaughter manifestly excessive.

R v IB – Appointed by Registrar. Appeal against sentence. Sentence for sexual offences manifestly excessive and non-indicted, non-admitted incidents taken into account in assessing dangerousness. 

R v PW – Appointed by Registrar. Appeal agasint sentence. Sentencing judge erred in double counting for use of a knife during robbery. 

R v NM – Appeal against sentence. Sentencing judge erred in double counting and pandemic considerations taken into account. 

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Youth Justice & Child Rights

Prior to coming to the Bar, Shahida worked at a school in east London as a mentor and is currently part of an initiative to encourage children from east London to consider careers in technology called the 'Inventors Club’. Shahida has defended young defendants in joint enterprise cases raising gang/drill issues, as a led junior and as a leading junior. Shahida successfully appealed a conviction of child defendant due to a bad character misdirection and went on to secure a not guilty verdict at re-trial. Shahida was also in instructed in R v McGill and others [2017] EWCA Crim 1228, a guideline authority on the need to consider the effective participation of children in the trial process. 

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Protest Rights

Overview

Shahida has represented several clients arising out of protests, raising human rights and complex legal arguments. Shahida understands the importance of the protest issues for clients and has often represented multiple defendants in joint cases.

Notable Cases

FJ v DPP - Section 14 order and obstruction of the highway. FJ was protesting corruption in the judiciary outside the Royal Courts of Justice

R v JD - Section 14 order and obstructing the highway. JD was protesting against fracking in Balcombe. High profile case which involved a Member of Parliament who was a co-defendant, Caroline Lucas MP

R v KB, CH and LE - Three defendants, s.14 order and obstructing the highway, linked to R v JD above (alleged offences occurred on the same day). Protest against fracking in Balcombe

R v CD - Obstructing an officer in the execution of duty and obstructing the highway. CD in student protest against cuts to university administration

R v AC - Aggravated trespass. Protest against the Bexhill-Hastings link road

R v OS - Aggravated trespass and common assault. Linked to R v AC, protest against the Bexhill-Hastings link road (occurred earlier in time but part of the same campaign)

R v MC – Conspiracy to steal and commit criminal damage. Animal rights. 

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Administrative and Public Law

Overview

Shahida has a keen interest in crime-related public law issues and sees the benefit of combining principles from both areas to improve the criminal justice landscape.

Notable Cases

FJ v DPP [2015] EWHC 3296 - Guideline case. Junior advocate in appeal against conviction. Led by Tim Owen QC. Legality of s.14 and proportionality of the prosecution.

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Notable Cases & News

Garden Court Chambers Crime Team shortlisted for Crime Set of the Year by Chambers Bar Awards 2021

We are delighted to announce that the Garden Court Chambers Crime Team has been shortlisted by the Chambers Bar Awards 2021 for Crime Set of the Year.

27 August 2021

Appeal against sentence allowed due to double counting and too high an uplift for aggravating factors

Shahida Begum of the Garden Court Criminal Defence Team was assigned by the Registrar to represent the applicant who had lodged his own grounds of appeal.

2 December 2020

Defendant found not guilty of murder, police officer’s imagery comparison evidence excluded

Bernard Tetlow QC led Shahida Begum, both of the Garden Court Criminal Defence Team, and were instructed by Tahir Mahmood and Yusuf Khan of Abrahams Law Solicitors.

18 November 2020

Defendant found not guilty of attempted murder and wounding with intent in a case involving a death

Bernard Tetlow QC led Shahida Begum, both of the Garden Court Criminal Defence Team, and were instructed by Arlene Mansoor of Shearman Bowen Solicitors.

16 October 2020

Vulnerable youth defendant acquitted after successful appeal against conviction and re-trial

Shahida Begum of the Garden Court Crime Team led John Connolly of Thompsons Solicitors and was instructed by Mutahir Ahmed of Thompsons Solicitors.

11 November 2019

Client found not guilty of £1.4 million fraud allegations after 6-week 'Gatwick Airport Parking' trial

Keir Monteith QC and Shahida Begum were instructed by Shahid Khan and Abraar Ayaz at Advice Wise Solicitors.

12 April 2019

Criminal Disclosure Referencer – Second Edition now published

Criminal Disclosure Referencer, Second Edition written by Tom Wainwright, Emma Fenn and Shahida Begum has been published. 

21 December 2017

Application for leave to appeal against conviction and substantive appeal allowed for refugee who was not advised of relevant defence in 2009

Shahida Begum was instructed by GT Stewart Solicitors to represent YH in an appeal against conviction.

25 October 2017

Extradition of Turkish social justice activist barred

IK was represented by Shahida Begum of Garden Court Chambers.

18 April 2017

Important Court of Appeal judgment for victims of human trafficking

A number of defendants and the intervener were represented by counsel from Garden Court Chambers.

15 February 2017

Garden Court wins Legal 500 crime set of the year award

The winners in these awards are chosen by the Legal 500 as a result of thousands of interviews with firms, sets and counsel.

8 October 2015

Trial collapses after defence submissions in £40million fraud case

Four of the defendants were represented by Keir Monteith, Clare Wade, Nerida Harford-Bell and Shahida Begum of Garden Court Chambers.

27 July 2015

Anti-fracking protesters cleared

Five anti-fracking protestors, including Green MP Caroline Lucas, found not guilty.

22 April 2014

Resounding victory for environmental protesters

After a 13-day trial, six environmental activists protesting against the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road have been acquitted of aggravated trespass.

14 March 2014

Students accused of obstructing police officers during peaceful protest acquitted

Three students accused of obstructing police officers during a peaceful protest at the University of Sussex have been acquitted. Shahida Begum and Owen Greenhall represented two of the defendants.

26 February 2014

Eleven anti-fracking protestors acquitted of all charges

Eleven protestors have been acquitted of all charges over their roles in the Balcombe anti-fracking protests of last summer. The defendants were represented by Shahida Begum and Stephen Knight of Garden Court Chambers.

13 January 2014

Victim of trafficking acquitted in Court of Appeal

A female victim of trafficking has had her conviction for possession of a false passport overturned in the Court of Appeal. The woman was represented by Shahida Begum.

3 December 2013

Garden Court International Barristers submit amicus brief to Colombia Supreme Court

A team of barristers led by Smita Shah submitted an amicus brief to the Criminal Chambers of the Supreme Court today in the case of the infamous 2005 massacre of the San Jose de Apartado Peace Community in Colombia.

23 January 2013

All related news

Background

Shahida attended school in East London then studied law at Cambridge University and King's College London. She undertook work experience with the BBC in Nairobi, voluntary work in Rio de Janeiro, a Legal Protection internship at UNHCR London and taught English in Guangzhou before coming to the Bar.

She served as Junior Representative on Garden Court Board of Directors, leading many initiatives to support junior members.

Shahida enjoys mentoring young people having previously tutored in schools and is on the Board of an initiative to encourage children from east London to consider careers in technology called the 'Inventors Club'.

She enjoys travelling, films and karaoke.

Publications

Co-author of 'Criminal Disclosure Referencer', Wainwright, Fenn and Begum (Bloomsbury - Second edition published December 2017).[Training and Seminars]Shahida conducts pupillage training and advocacy.

Shahida has conducted seminars on protections for victims of trafficking charged with criminal offences, disclosure, unexplained wealth orders, article 10 and 11 considerations in protest cases and how to challenge the use of drill music in prosecutions.

Training and Seminars

Unexplained Wealth Orders Explained
(Garden Court Seminar 2018)
The fundamentals of this emerging area of law, including the background, who they are targeted at, predictions and how we can help.

Disclosure: Something Changed
(Garden Court Seminar and LCCSA Conference Valencia 2018)
Recent cases, current problems and potential future changes to the disclosure regime.

Justification Defences: Direct action and freedom of expression
(Garden Court Webinar 2020)
Legal defences rooted in the idea that the actions taken by demonstrators are justified in law either as direct action to prevent a greater harm or as an act of freedom of expression. 

Challenging the admissibility of Drill music in criminal trials
(Garden Court Webinar 2020)
Examined how to challenge the introduction of Drill music evidence into criminal trials, or minimise its impact, to avoid miscarriages of justice. 

How the US and UK state criminalise Rap and how to combat it
(Garden Court Webinar 2021)
Discussed tactics on how to combat the state’s use of rap lyrics in prosecuting serious crime asking questions about both intention and subsequent consequences.

Education

  • Cambridge University, BA Law
  • King's College London, LLM

Professional Membership

  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Young Fraud Lawyers Association
  • Female Fraud Forum
  • JUSTICE

Languages

  • Bengali, Hindi, Urdu

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