One of the UK’s Best Murder Barristers
Recognised as one of the UK’s best murder barristers and QCs, Howard Godfrey has acted in the full range of murder cases, including:
- contract killings
- domestic murders
- revenge killings
Murder is the most serious offence of all, and when Howard represents a client in a murder case, a very special type of preparation is called for.
First, as in all cases, Howard tries to make the client feel as relaxed and confident as possible. People charged with murder feel under tremendous strain and are very anxious. If they are to perform as well as possible, they must have confidence in their QC.
In searching for the best way to run the defence case, all available tactics must be examined with great care. A lot of time has to be spent going through all of the options with the client, explaining the benefits and drawbacks of each. It is critical that the client properly understands the plan of action.
In multi-handed cases, things can get even more difficult, especially when defendants try to blame each other. Here, there must be a carefully prepared plan to deal with hostile co-defendants. Often in these cases the greatest threat comes from a co-defendant rather than the prosecution – so they have to be derailed.
A lot of Howard’s cases involve allegations of joint liability. Here, the prosecution alleges that all defendants are liable even though only one had a weapon. These ‘joint enterprise’ cases require a very great effort by the defence team and Howard has successfully used complex legal arguments in these cases to avoid a guilty verdict.
Encrochat & Sky ECC Evidence | Murder Defence QC
Prosecutors are now regularly using Encrochat & Sky ECC cryptophone messaging as intercept evidence in criminal cases. The validity of this evidence is complex both legally and technically. Demonstrating Howard’s reputation as one of the UK’s best murder defence barristers, he has experience of arguing both the law and the digital forensic science – including the lawfulness of Targeted Equipment Interference Warrants under the “Investigatory Powers Act 2016.”
Some Sample Murder Case Wins:
No Case to Answer – Murder Stabbing Acquittal [ Y ]
Two youths were charged with murdering (by stabbing) another boy in a park. The prosecution was brought on a ‘joint enterprise’ basis, it being unclear who did the stabbing. The dangers and risk of a miscarriage of justice of this ‘joint enterprise’ approach in this particular case were argued in front of the judge at the end of the prosecution case. The judge upheld the defence submission and ruled that Y had no case to answer. A verdict of not guilty was recorded and Y was discharged.
Self Defence – Murder Acquittal[ V ]
V was tried for murder. The case against him was that he fatally stabbed a man at night during an argument outside a minicab office in South London. The defendant eventually admitted the stabbing but claimed it was done in ‘self defence’. The defendant gave evidence claiming self defence. He was acquitted by the jury.
Mother Child Killing – Not Guilty [ S ]
‘S’ Mother wascharged with killing her two babies. Defects were discovered during investigation procedures. These included the fact that the interview resulting in the alleged ‘confession’ to crimes had been conducted unlawfully. Other inadmissible evidence had been relied on as the basis for charges. The prosecution accepted Howard’s arguments and offered no evidence at the trial at the Old Bailey. Verdict of Not Guilty entered.
Prison Stabbing – Reduced Sentence[ H ]
Prisoner ‘H’ was serving a life sentence for murder. H was charged with the attempted murder of a fellow prisoner at a high security prison. No evidence was called by the defence. Howard's closing speech persuaded the jury that the accused had not intended to kill. The defendant was acquitted of attempted murder by the jury and convicted of lesser assault charge.