Shona joined Chambers in October 2011 following the successful completion of her pupillage. She has a solid Crown Court and Youth Court practice, although she still receives regular Magistrates' Court instructions on both a public and private basis.
Shona has forged an established and substantial practice as a specialist youth barrister. She is often the first port of call when a solicitor wishes to instruct Counsel to represent a youth, often in complex and demanding cases, in either the Crown Court or the Youth Court. Her out-going yet down to earth personality is a valuable asset when dealing with youths, many of who often have mental health or learning difficulties as well as complex family backgrounds. Shona is often instructed to represent youths' accused of ‘gang' related offences. She has also developed a substantial practice defending sex cases prosecuted in the Youth Court. As a result of working in this field Shona has developed a detailed understanding of the law relating to effective participation, sentencing of young persons and related applications, such as IPNAs and CBOs.
Alongside her specialist practice, Shona has developed a specialism in representing both youth and adult defendants who suffer from a variety of mental health disabilities. This has ranged from understanding the particular communication difficulties associated with autism to clients who are in the midst of suffering from serious psychotic episodes. Shona's calm and dedicated approach to such cases has proved to be a real asset when finding a resolution to these often very challenging situations and as a result Shona is regularly Counsel of choice in cases where defendants or witnesses are vulnerable because of their age or their mental health.
Shona has acquired a varied breadth of experience in complex and serious crime including murder, assault, drugs, dishonesty offences, burglary, fraud, robbery, affray, arson and serious sexual assaults, including rape. Her commitment to every case means that both lay and professional clients receive a dedicated and high quality service.
Prior to commencing pupillage Shona spent a year working at Peters & Peters Solicitor LLP, assisting in the preparation of the defence of two British Airways executives facing prosecution by the OFT for allegedly engaging in a criminal cartel concerning passenger fuel surcharges.
Shona also has a specialist interest in international criminal law. Prior to coming to the Bar Shona worked in this field for several years, assisting defence teams before the Special Court for Sierra Leone, the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Prior to moving to The Hague, Shona lived in Phnom Pehn in Cambodia where she was working on the defence team for Noun Chea, the most senior surviving member of the Khmer Rouge to face prosecution for genocide and other international crimes.
Academically Shona has also completed a Masters of Jurisprudence in this field. Her research topic was the crime of aggression in international law and her 60,000 word thesis focused on the definitional and jurisdictional issues of this crime before the International Criminal Court.
R v MU & Others (Snaresbrook CC) - Shona is currently instructed to represent a 16 year old youth charged with Attempted Murder as a result of what is alleged to be a gang on gang reprisal attack in East London.
R v ZAF & Another (Harrow CC) - Shona is currently instructed to represent in a case alleging a series of s.18 and robbery charges arising out of an investigation conducted by Trident officers within the North London area. It is alleged that the defendants belong to the 'Sin City' gang and conducted a campaign of attacks against rival gang members over the course of one evening.
R v DC & Others (Brent Youth Court) - Shona was instructed to represent in a matter where an Advocate Representation Order had been granted to a 17 year old said to have gang affiliations facing allegations of ABH where the weapon used was a dog and the complainant was considered highly vulnerable due to her personal circumstances and the background allegations of gang rape made against the co-defendants. Ultimately, the Crown were persuaded to offer no evidence against Shona's client.
R v JC (Isleworth CC) - Shona was instructed to represent a 52 year old lady of good character, accused of abducting an unrelated 3 year old child from a shopping centre. Albeit diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic, the defendant was deemed fit to stand trial with the assistance of an intermediary.
R v AS (Harrow CC) - Shona was instructed to represent a vulnerable defendant on a case of alleged rape where the complainant and the defendant both had long-standing diagnoses of bi-polar disorder. The defendant was further hampered by a severe personality disorder which ultimately led to a decision not to call him to give evidence. Shona secured the defendant's acquittal in under 2 hours.
R v KU & Others (Snaresbrook CC) - Shona represented a 15 year old youth on an allegation of s.18 GBH arising out of a group stabbing in East London. After a week long legal challenge to the identification evidence, the Court ruled there had been behaviour bordering on the mala fides by the police officers in respect of the case against Shona's client and the case was successfully challenged in its entirety on a s.78 application.
R v KH (Blackfriars CC) - Shona was led by Brian Stork of 3TG in a 2-month trial defending a prolific graffiti vandal in BTP's largest ever prosecution of such crime. The defendant was charged with 39 counts of criminal damage and 1 count of perverting the course of justice.
R v JT & Others (St Albans CC) - Shona was instructed to represent one of 14 defendants in a 4-year conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, arising out of the establishment of the ‘Mario line' in the Hertfordshire area.
R v AN (Bromley MC) - Shona represented a 20 year old female of good character accused of stealing £1,000s worth of cash and jewellery from a friend's address. Shona had to deal with the service of both primary and secondary disclosure on the morning of trial as the DJ refused to consider any adjournment, and secured an acquittal in respect of all allegations.
R v SM (Harrow CC) - Shona represented the 1st defendant in a multi-handed GBH trial where her client was the only youth. Following conviction Shona secured a community sentence for her client, persuading the Court to sentence him on a basis akin to affray rather than GBH.
R v MM & Others (Harrow CC) - Multi-handed robbery case where Shona represented a 16 youth of good character. The Crown offered no evidence following a successful 4-day contested voir dire concerning the admissibility of identification evidence obtained in breach of PACE requirements.
R v JK & Others (Youth Court) - Multi-handed affray and assault trial following a school-ground fight with numerous young prosecution witnesses. Following a successful half-time submission Shona's client was acquitted of all the assault charges he faced.
LLB Law (Hons), 2.1, University of Durham
MJur, University of Durham
Bar Vocational Course, Inns of Court School of Law
Cecile Yahuda Scholarship, Inner Temple
Sir Joseph Priestly Award, Inner Temple
UK International Law Fund Scholarship, awarded by Prof James Crawford, University of Cambridge
South Eastern Circuit
Criminal Bar Association
Just for Kids Law