Year of Call: 1989
Clerk: Nigel East
William Hughes is a criminal law specialist with a mixed Prosecution and Defence practice. The Legal 500 2019 recommends him as a Tier 1 silk, commenting that "his practice covers the gamut of serious crime cases."
In Silk William is consistently instructed to prosecute and defend in cases of complexity and notoriety, including Homicide, Organised Crime, Serious Sexual Offences and Historic Child Abuse Investigations, and Serious Fraud.
William appears regularity in Appellate Courts, including historic matters referred by the CCRC for both Appellants and the Respondents. In addition to the above, as a Junior William was regularly instructed in respect of Regulatory and Disciplinary Tribunals, Coroner's Inquests and by Local Government Departments.
William Hughes QC is ranked as a leading individual in the Crime section of Chambers & Partners 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Recommendations include
'He handles a wide range of serious criminal offences, particularly drugs-related cases, and is noted for his excellent client manner.
“He gets superb results”
The Legal 500 2017 reports that he is "a specialist in criminal law".
Since taking Silk, William has primarily represented Defendants charged with Homicide and Serious Violent Crime, Historic Sexual Offences and other grave crime, particularly those cases with vulnerable defendants and witnesses.
William has continued to be instructed in Serious Fraud in which he specialised as a Junior, including VAT and Revenue fraud, fraudulent trading, money laundering and related confiscation proceedings.
William has extensive experience of defending drug related crime, and resultant drug trafficking and CJA, DTA and POCA confiscation proceedings.
In Silk, William has continued to be instructed in the Prosecution of Multi-defendant Organised Crime Gangs (OCG) by the Organised Crime Division and Central Fraud Group
William is consistently instructed by CPS “Countrywide” to prosecute those cases of a sensitive and complex nature, including Homicide and Historic Abuse of Children.
He is regularly instructed to represent the Crown in CCRC referred appeals, particularly those of a sensitive and complex nature.
As a Junior William was appointed to the A list of the Attorney General's list of Prosecution Counsel. William has vast experience of Serious and Complex Fraud, including several Carousel VAT prosecutions, Income Tax and Duty Evasions. Wide experience in International drug prosecutions, including related POCA, DTA civil and criminal legislation. Wide experience of PII and Disclosure in complex investigations, both as Silk, and as a Junior (often as Disclosure Counsel). As a Junior was regularly instructed on behalf of Westminster City Council, the City of London Corporation and other London local authorities to advise and represent their interests.
Cases of interest include (Defence):
R v ST – Attempted Murder – June /July 2017
R v B – Internet Grooming – September 2017
R v JC – Isleworth March – August 2016 (Silk alone) – Successful Defence and representation of Business man of good character charged with Cheating the Revenue (VAT fraud) over many years. Matter eventually dealt with by Civil COP9 proceedings
Ali (and Charlton) V R – February 2016 Court of Appeal – CCRC referred appeal against Idris Ali’s manslaughter conviction arising from the notorious murder of 15 year old runaway Karen Price (“Little Miss Nobody”) in Cardiff in the early 1980s. Appeal based on alleged malpractice of South Wales Police in 1980s and 1990s, and extensive scrutiny of related SWP miscarriage of justice cases from same periiod (National Press and TV coverage)
CCA Judgment 8th March 2016  EWCA Crim 52
R v AM – Kingston January/February 2016 (Silk alone) – Successful Defence of Business owner of Good Character charged with unlawfully wounding his business partner
R v GW Reading September 2016 (Silk alone) – Representation of Grandfather charged with recent and historic sexual abuse of family members
R v SC – Canterbury(Silk alone) – Defence of father from Religious Minority charged with “Honour” Assaults and Neglect of family member
R v Eve – Guildford – May/June 2015 (Silk alone) Defence of multi-complainant historic sexual allegations over 30 year period (Local press coverage)
R v Koshin – Central Criminal Court March/April 2015 – (Silk leading) Defence of 17 year old charged with Murder in multi-handed gang killing (cut throat defence) – (Local TV and National Publicity)
R v LI – C– (Silk Leading) Successful defence of 17 year old charged with Murder in multi-handed killing on West London Estate. (Local TV and National publicity)
R v Pillay & Others – Luton Crown Court – July/August 2014 and Court of Appeal, May 2015 (Silk Leading) Defence of gunman hired in “Muslim Love Triangle Shooting”. Cut throat defence. (National TV and Press coverage, including Crimewatch)
R v Rudder & Others – Hove Crown Court – January/April 2014 – (Silk leading) – Successful defence of female defendant charged with murder and high value burglaries by gang operating in South East England (Local and National publicity – “The Sussex Antique Murder”)
R v Florowski & Another - Central Criminal Court 2013. (Silk leading) Murder, attempted murder and arson by foreign national. (Local and National publicity).
R v Weinreb - Wood Green 2013. (Silk alone) Successful defence of attempted murder and GBH (local press coverage).
As Junior Counsel
R v Lopez - Central Criminal Court 2013. Gang-related, multi-handed GBH violent disorder (defendant the subject of cut-throat by all other co-defendants).
R v Tidy & Another - Reading 2012. Baby shaking and abuse by parents of young baby (National publicity).
R v Batchelor - Croydon 2012. Long term, high value VAT fraud (National Publicity). R v McLaughlin - Reading 2012. Stranger rape. Defence of teenage boy with behavioural problems (ADHD).
R v Tran & Another - Luton Crown Court 2011-2012 and The Court of Appeal. Inland Revenue Fraud, money laundering and people trafficking. Extremely complicated case. Successful appeal of Sentence on starting point for credit afforded for guilty plea during trial.
R v Sexton and others - Reading Crown Court, October 2009. Successful defence of defendant charged with conspiracies to rob (robberies of cash handling security staff) and burglaries. (National publicity.)
R v Dickson - Lewes Crown Court, October 2009. Historic rape and sexual abuse of hospital inmate with borderline personality disorder over by Nurse.
R v James and others - Southampton Crown Court, 2009. Young defendant from the Travelling Community. Substantial media coverage, marking it out as one of the most infamous "Cowboy Builders" cases. Multiple elderly and/or vulnerable victims. Extensive legal argument (re multiple conspiracies), unsuccessful appeal to CCA by Crown of Judge's terminatory ruling (National TV & Press coverage). R v P Rooney - 2008. Led Junior for defendant responsible for fatal M25 coach crash. (National publicity & TV coverage).
R v G Rooney - Reading Crown Court, 2008. Gang related, multi- handed violent disorder. R v C - Harrow Crown Court, 2008. Successful defence of inter-marital rape and GBH.
R v Parkinson - Canterbury Crown Court, 2007. Defendant acquitted of large-scale importation. Unusual combination of defences (duress and "cut-throat" of paramilitary co-defendant).
R v Imran - Reading Crown Court, 2007. Leading junior for defendant acquitted of conspiracy to supply class 'A' drugs.
R v Griffin - Southwark Crown Court, 2007. Defence of Private Investigator charged with corruption and misconduct in public office with two others. (National publicity & TV coverage).
Operation Solo – Cardiff July 2017 Multi-defendant Murder and Perverting Course of Justice Prosecution resulting from murder of Polish National in Newport in January 2017
R v Seeney – Birmingham Crown Court – May 2017 (Silk alone) – Prosecution of Kidnap and Manslaughter
Jeanette Burke v R – Court of Appeal February 2017 (Silk alone) – Acted for the Respondents in CCRC referred historic drugs conviction
R v Morgan – Newport Crown Court – November- December 2016 (Silk leading Michael Hammett of 9PP) Prosecution of the Millionaire "Escort-Murderer", described by the national press as "one of the most notorious murders of 2016". Defendant unsuccessfully relied upon the partial murder defences of Diminished Responsibility and Loss of Control,
R v Pike – Cardiff Crown Court – September 2016. (Silk Leading) Prosecution of Drug related murder
Operation Beta – Birmingham Crown Court June – September 2016 (Silk Leading) Prosecution of Organised Crime Gangs resultant from a major West Midlands Police investigation into Class A drugs supply throughout the Midlands and Countrywide. All fourteen defendants charged convicted of offences including conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, Possession of Firearms and Ammunition.
R v Squelch – Canterbury Crown Court March 2016 – Silk Alone. Murder in workplace (Local Press and TV)
Court of Appeal February 2017 – appeal against conviction dismissed – (issue Diminished responsibility post R v Brennan)
R v Davies and Davies – Chester Crown Court February/March 2016 (Silk leading) – Prosecution of two defendants for historic Child Abuse arising from Operation Palliall, the largest investigation into historic abuse in North Wales Children’s homes in the 70s and 80s (National Press and TV coverage)
R v Rowe – Canterbury Crown Court January/February 2015 (Silk Alone) Prosecution of Margate Pensioner Murder (Local Press and TV coverage)
R v Ineomo & Others - Kingston Crown Court, 2013. (Silk alone) Prosecution of multi-defendant long-term VAT reclaim fraud.
As Junior Counsel
R v Jones - Chichester Crown Court, 2012. Prosecution of predatory paedophile. Historic sexual abuse of a pair of adolescent brothers (one with learning difficulties) over decades.
R v Koli - Southwark Court of Criminal Appeal, 2012. First UK prosecution of a breach Serious Crime Prevention Order. Guideline case with regard to sentence.
Op Rust & Stag - 2011. Disclosure counsel in Evasion and Bonded warehouse frauds.
R v Harries & Others - Canterbury Crown Court, 2011. (Leading) Prosecution of Pan-European criminal gang responsible for importing substantial quantities of prohibited drugs. Significant involvement of international investigative agencies.
R v Baybasin - Woolwich Crown Court, October 2010. (First Junior in Silk led team of 3) Prosecution of the "Godfather" of the Turkish "Mafia", responsible for importing 90% of all Heroin into the UK. (International media coverage).
Westminster City Council v Makowski - Central Criminal Court, 2010. Prosecution of Rogue Trader locksmith. Advised multiple Trading Standards Agencies (Scambusters) from pre-charge stage. Multiple vulnerable complainants (Media interest, including an entire edition of BBC TV's "Watchdog").
R v McGuffie, Weekes and others - Kingston Crown Court, 2010 and April 2016. (Leading - 3 trials and subsequent confiscation). Prosecution of International Criminal gang in respect of drug importation business. Involvement of multiple international investigate agencies.
R v Van Helsdingen and Lowe - Kingston Crown Court, 2009. Prosecution of multi-agency of large scale South African passport fraud. (Case included the first use of restricted use undertaking per SOCPA.) (National & International publicity).
R v Chohan and others (Op Develop) - Birmingham Crown Court, 2004-2008. 1st Prosecution junior in 3 related multi-defendant trials; . £1/2 million Excise fraud; £100 million MTIC VAT fraud; Laundering (prosecution of professional man (AN) and his sister, wife of first defendant for laundering). CCA ref R v S Chohan  EWCA Crim 3175
(£28 million confiscation order obtained against defendant fleeing jurisdiction. Also dealt with all other aspects of confiscation.) (National publicity - main defendant remains SOCA top ten most wanted).
R v Uddin and others (Operation Venison) - Southwark Crown Court, 2002-2004. Prosecution junior in then largest ever (£125 million) MTIC VAT fraud. (National publicity & TV coverage)
Re Michael Melchert - Chelsea Coroner's Court, 2012. Acted for landlords of "ramshackle" premises in which deceased was killed in fatal fire.
Re Frank Ogburu - Southwark Coroner's Court, 2010. Acted on behalf of 4 police officers in a "death in custody". An African man, restrained post arrest, died at the hands of four police officers in a culturally diverse area of London. Complex medical and factual issues. (National press coverage)
Re Ricky Bishop [Deceased] - Southwark Coroner's Court, June-July 2003. Acted on behalf of six police officers in death in custody inquest. (National press coverage).
Education and Qualifications
BSc (Hons) Law and Chemistry - Leicester Polytechnic (now De Montford University)
BVC (Inns of Court School of Law)
Appointments and Memberships
Chairman of the Kent Bar Mess
Former Recorder of the South Eastern Circuit (2004-2006) (Elected)
SEC Executive Committee (2004-2009) & (2016 to present)
Director of Education SEC
Committee Member of the Criminal Bar Association (Elected Committee Member 2007-2010)
Trustee, Ex-Secretary and Ex-Treasurer of the Criminal Bar Association's Kalisher Scholarship Trust
Executive Committee Member Association of London Welsh Lawyers
Committee Member Fraud Lawyers Association
Gray's Inn Advocacy Trainer