Ben Irwin

Call: 2006


University of Leeds, History BA(hons) (2003).
College of Law, London: GDL (2004), BVC (2005).



SFO prosecution panel advocate, level B
CPS prosecution panel advocate, level 3

Recorder (Crime) South Eastern Circuit



Ben is an experienced and highly regarded barrister specialising exclusively in criminal law and associated fields.

His particular areas of specialism include:-

Fraud and Financial Crime

Ben has extensive experience in serious and complex fraud (including SFO, CPS and FCA prosecutions) as well as POCA and confiscation generally.

Between 2014-2016 he was employed by the Serious Fraud Office as an Investigative Lawyer. He dealt with two highly complex cases arising out of the financial crisis of 2007. One of his cases concerned an allegation of fraud in the £100’s of millions, the other involved investigating suspicious activity in the very heart of the financial system.

Serious Violence

Regularly instructed in cases of serious violence including numerous s.18s, robberies and allegations involving weapons and gangs etc.


Highly experienced in cases concerning drugs supply and has acted in countless cases with issues around conspiracy, intent, duress and test purchases.

Civil Applications

Ben regularly acts for Kent police and individuals in applications for SHPOs, SROs, DVPOs as well as in firearms licencing matters.

He is also frequently called on by companies and private clients to assist in road traffic prosecutions.


Ben is experienced in mutual legal assistance and in extradition cases where he acts on behalf of requested persons both at first instance and on appeal.
He has acted in conviction and accusation cases and is able to advise on the applicability of bars to extradition, human rights considerations and bail etc.
He readily accepts instructions from the first stage of proceedings through to appeal in the Administrative and Divisional Courts.


Recent Cases of Note


Currently instructed by the SFO in a major ongoing fraud investigation;
Instructed to defend in a substantial European distribution fraud conspiracy to be tried in the summer;
Instructed to represent the first defendant in a very substantial Trading Standards fraud to be tried in the autumn.


R v Anthony Smith – defending a father accused of causing or allowing serious harm to his infant child;
R v Kader and ors – defending in a multi handed people smuggling conspiracy;
R v Khan and ors – prosecuting a multi-handed people smuggling conspiracy;
R v GM – defending a step-father accusing of the sustained sexual abuse of his step-daughter;
R v Pollard and others – prosecuting a multi-handed conspiracy to murder (led by Simon Taylor);
R v Bolokor and others – prosecuting a multi-handed county lines drug conspiracy (8 defendants, all convicted);
R v Kral – prosecuting a gun running conspiracy;
R v JC – defending a man accused of historic rapes of his sister when they were both children.


R v LH (Maidstone Crown Court) – one of three men tried for alleged involvement in a major wine investment fraud. Acquitted of all charges. LINK.
R v CF (Inner London Crown Court and Central Criminal Court) – Two trials over the course of a fortnight, acquitted of weapons charges following an attempted murder in the first trial, acquitted of possession with intent to supply crack cocaine in the second trial (after having been arrested in a car with large quantities of drugs, cash and a drugs phone in his pocket).
R v Singh and Sharma (Isleworth Crown Court) – successful prosecution of a gang of robbers who targeted elderly and vulnerable Indian women in Southall for their jewellery, case involved extensive CCTV, cell site.
R v Ali (Wood Green Crown Court) – s.18 stabbing, gang attack. Acquitted after trial.
Operation Mirror – SFO investigation into agreements between Barclays and Qatari investors during two capital raisings effected in June and October 2008.

Reported cases / others

Nicklas v District Court of Jelenia Gora, Poland [2010] All ER (D) 17 (Jul). High Court extradition appeal focused on meaning of deliberate absence and the right to a retrial.
Newman v Chief Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2009] EWHC 1642 (Admin). Case stated appeal concerning legislative provisions surrounding football banning orders, hearsay and disclosure.
Ex parte Wadud – successful Judicial Review of a decision to impose a caution in unlawful circumstances (acting for Wadud vs the Metropolitan Police).

Other notable cases

Has successfully represented protestors exercising their democratic rights (whether through novel means or otherwise).
Secured a defendant’s acquittal on the basis of duress after he absconded following the first day of trial and was tried in absence.
Drafted Privy Council petitions after reviewing Caribbean murder convictions pro bono.
Spent 18 months as a Case Review Manager at the Criminal Cases Review Commission, can advise on appeal whether direct from an adverse verdict / ruling or via the CCRC.

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