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John Coffey QC and Christopher Bertham destroy a prosecution allegation of murder

John Coffey QC and Christopher Bertham secured the acquittal of Ryan Wood, who was charged with his brother with the murder of a man outside a nightclub in Grays. The prosecution alleged that the two brothers attacked the man brutally and without any provocation by punching, kicking and stamping on his head.

Ryan denied the offence, as he had not been part of any attack on the deceased. Chris Bertham pursued requests for disclosure of material that undermined the case against Ryan and the credibility of the main prosecution witness.
The prosecution persisted in asserting that Ryan Wood acted in a joint enterprise to murder with his brother; the jury at Chelmsford rejected that assertion unanimously.

John Coffey QC exposed the substantial weaknesses in the prosecution case against Ryan through focused but sensitive cross-examination, and finally destroyed the prosecution's case with an erudite speech ending with a plea for the jury to conclude that, on the evidence before them, "It simply would not be right" to convict Ryan of murder or manslaughter. The jury agreed.
Ryan Wood's brother was also acquitted of murder, but was convicted of manslaughter.

See a press report here:


John and Chris were instructed by Tahmina Majid of Tahmina & Co.



11 October 2013

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John Coffey QC

1970 (1996)

Christopher Bertham