Biography

Sarah has a busy and varied criminal practice. She appears primarily in in the Crown Court, and occasionally in the Magistrates Court and the Youth Court.

She practises in all areas of crime, including offences against the person in both domestic and non-domestic contexts, drugs, possession of offensive weapons, driving offences, offences of dishonesty including burglary, theft and fraud, as well as breach proceedings and behaviour orders proceedings.

Sarah is able to grasp complex legal issues quickly and possesses mature strategy skills for her level of seniority. She is meticulous in her preparation and in the presentation of her cases at trial. She is also very approachable, puts her clients at ease, and she always ensures that her clients fully understand court proceedings and the strengths and weaknesses of their cases to allow them to make fully informed decisions. She is a confident advocate who is committed to representing her clients’ interests actively and fearlessly.

In the Crown Court, Sarah represents and advises clients at PTPHs, all interim hearings and at trial. She also appears in sentencing hearings in which she regularly secures very favourable results for her clients. Please see Notable Cases section for more details.

In the Magistrates Court, she has represented clients in numerous first appearances, sentencing hearings and bail applications. She has successfully opposed applications for special measures and made successful submissions on venue for trial. She has also represented clients in summary trials and contested Criminal Behaviour Order applications. She made successful submissions on issues of service and notice in an application to discharge a Restraining Order 16 years after the order was made, where the police and CPS had difficulties notifying the victim of the application; the application was granted and the Restraining Order discharged.

Sarah had previously completed pupillage with us, during which she shadowed and assisted John-Paul MacNamara in R v JM (Croydon Crown Court), a multi-handed trial for conspiracy to sell firearms and ammunitions, in which our client was the only Defendant to be acquitted – please click here for more details. She also assisted John-Paul in R v AS in Southwark CC where she drafted a skeleton argument to quash counts on the indictment arguing that the indictment was overloaded; following minor amendments from John-Paul, the application was made and succeeded. From a 9-count indictment, two counts were left to lie on the file as a result, two were deleted following the complainant’s admission to having lied, an alternative count was further deleted and the jury returned a not guilty verdict and three guilty verdicts on the remaining counts. She has generally gained extensive experience in drafting legal arguments, sentencing and legal research.

In her rather limited spare time, Sarah teaches advocacy as a tutor with the Education department of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn on BPTC students courses and residential weekends. She also volunteers to mentor and/or assist those seeking pupillage.

Notable Cases

R v D (2019) Kingston-upon-Thames CC – trial on one count of possession of a bladed article where Sarah ran a defence of ‘good reason’. Following conviction, Sarah secured a sentence of 7 weeks, departing substantially from the mandatory minimum 6 months sentence for second knife offences. For more details, please click here.

R v AU (2019) Snaresbrook CC – trial for possession of class A drugs with intent to supply.

R v DB (2019) Blackfriars CC – trial on one count of assault on an emergency worker. Sarah argued that the emergency worker had used unnecessary force against the defendant, thereby assaulting him and acting out of the exercise of her functions.

R v RGZ (2019) Isleworth CC – Sarah argued that a s20 GBH should be subject to a dismissal application in the absence of lack of medical evidence on the nature of the injury, namely a broken ankle, and opining on causation. The Crown subsequently accepted a plea to assault occasion actual bodily harm. Sarah secured a suspended sentence for the defendant who was also in breach of a community order.

R v PL (2019) Kington CC – Appeal against sentence allowed, reducing the original 10 months imprisonment sentence to 18 weeks for breaches of a SOPO. Please click here for more details.

R v LW (2019) Inner London CC –  sentence for PWITS class B and possession class A. Sarah secured a community order after she persuaded the sentencing Judge following lengthy submissions that the defendant’s role fell within the ‘lesser role’ category of the sentencing guidelines, albeit category 3. She argued that there was only limited financial gain but the absence of a drugs operation would deprive the defendant from benefiting from the factors which would otherwise place him having a lesser role, where the supply was not a commercial activity.

R v EO (2019) Camberwell Green MC – trial for offering to supply cannabis and PWITS. Following conviction, the District Judge gave a strong indication that he would pass a custodial sentence and the only issue was whether or not to suspend it. Sarah successfully persuaded the District Judge that, upon the Court’s own findings, the offence fell within the lower category in the sentencing guidelines and therefore a Community Order was appropriate. The District Judge departed from his original indication and imposed a 12 months Community Order with two requirements:100 hours unpaid work and up to 20 days Rehabilitation Activity Requirement.

R v TL (2019) Bexley MC – acquittal following trial for using threatening and abusive behaviour causing harassment, alarm or distress with the intent to do so. The allegation arose in a domestic context.

R v NL (2019) Croydon MC – acquittal on four charges: assault by beating and criminal damage (prosecution offered no evidence following submissions), obstructing / resisting a constable in the execution of their duty, and assault by beating of an emergency worker (officers found to have acted unlawfully). Please click here for more details.

R v PB (2019) Woolwich CC – appeal from the Youth Court against conviction for possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.

Background

Prior to joining GT Stewart Solicitors & Advocates, Sarah was in court daily acting as a Family Court advocate where she represented legally aided clients in domestic violence and children proceedings involving domestic violence, both at trial and in interim hearings.

Sarah was also a personal assistant to a leading silk whose practice focused on Crime, Actions Against the Police, Immigration and Inquests. Sarah gained extensive experience drafting applications and opening notes, and assisting with case preparation and trial strategy in criminal proceedings, including sexual offences and murder trials. She also carried out work on appeals to the Court of Appeal against conviction and sentence.

She had previously volunteered with the Prisoners’ Advice Service for two years and advised prisoners on all matters relating to their detention and their rights as prisoners.

Memberships & Accreditations

The Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn
Criminal Bar Association: www.criminalbar.com

Women in criminal law: www.womenincriminallaw.com

Education and qualifications

BA (Hons) Criminology and Law
Graduate Diploma in Law
Bar Professional Training Course (Very Competent)

Other interests

Rock climbing, football, basketball, inline skating, snowsports, music, travel

Criminal Defence

Meet the team
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