Elena Papamichael secures unanimous acquittal for child modern slavery victim after six-week trial

Friday 8 March 2024

Elena Papamichael is a member of the Garden Court Chambers Criminal Defence and Children's Rights Teams. She was instructed by Darrell Ennis-Gayle at Hodge Jones & Allen.

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Elena Papamichael represented a 16-year-old in an allegation of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. His defence was that he was a victim of modern slavery. After a six-week trial, her client was unanimously acquitted by the jury. Of seven defendants, Elena’s client was the only one to be found not guilty. 

Elena’s submissions led to a number of adaptations to the court procedure for her young client, including to allow him to sit in the well of the court, be addressed by his first name and flexibility for his attendance during the long trial where evidence did not directly concern him.

She advanced a preliminary submission that the Crown had failed to follow their own guidance in reaching decisions to prosecute in cases where there was a positive grounds finding by the National Referral Mechanism, arguing that this failure amounted to an abuse of process. 

In trial, she challenged evidence which might have prejudiced her client and cross-examined a police expert witness. She called evidence from an expert psychologist and put before the jury a number of helpful admissions based on disclosed material that she had sought from the Crown.

For more information on Elena's practice please visit her profile here.

Elena and other members of our Criminal Defence and Children's Rights teams can be instructed by contacting our clerks here.

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