William Saunders


Initially, William specialised in defending and gained a reputation for being a robust defender who was able to develop a good rapport with his lay clients. That approach remains firmly with him. He has been complemented in the past for being able to deal with people from all backgrounds and in particular with young offenders.

He is always keen to ensure when defending that both defendants and their families are kept fully informed about the trial process.

William has extensive experience at the criminal bar and has defended in most areas of the criminal law and often leads. He now particularly enjoys the more complex cases and has a mixed prosecution and defence practice.

He is on the Crown Prosecution Service List of Panel Advocates at the highest grade (Level 4) and is also on the Specialist Rape and Child Sexual Abuse List. He has recently completed the successful prosecution of some 16 defendants, leading 2 juniors.

William prosecutes for the Crown Prosecution Service in Surrey, Sussex and London. He has prosecuted numerous serious sex cases on their behalf. He has been complemented for his approach to victims and their families.

Cases involving disclosure issues are a particular interest.

William also has a wide experience in disciplinary hearing work.

He is a teacher of advocacy and ethics for Lincolns Inn.

William Saunders is accredited by the Bar Council to provide Public Access services

Notable Cases:

R v C. (Maidstone CC) Acquittal secured for teaching assistant accused of serious sexual offences on a vulnerable pupil. 

R v A. (Kingston CC) Possession of a sawn off pump action shotgun. Acquittal secured. The case centred on disputed verbals, observation and DNA evidence.

R v S. (Isleworth CC) Successfully defended in this multi defendant alleged "gang rape" of a young girl 

R v J and W. (Lincoln CC) Defendant on life license accused of burglary. Trial stayed as an abuse of process. Unearthed a deception by the OIC who had deliberately misled the CPS during the disclosure process and "lost" evidence in the course of the enquiry. This was a case where the stakes were high. The officer knew that the defendants would have received sentences in double figures if convicted and that their previous convictions provided him with protection from any accusation of wrong doing on his part.  

R v F and ors. (Nottingham CC) Representing the lead defendant of seven charged with riot and arson with intent to endanger life. The Nottingham firebomb riot case occupied the court for a six week period.


R v T and ors. EWCA Crim 1143. The leading authority on the admissibility of hearsay under the CJA 2003 and in particular the admissibility of text messages. The case is of particular relevance to drugs cases where purchasers and suppliers liase by text. The Court of Appeal gave guidance on how to approach S.114 & S.115 of the CJA 2003

R v T and ors. (St.Albans CC) Defended in this case described by the Judge as involving "prolongued, sadistic brutality".Currently the subject of an appeal about bad character (R v Murphy revisited).

R v M. (Central Criminal Court) Soliciting to murder and Sexual Activity with a Child. Defendant accused of grooming his step-daughter for his sexual gratification and his subsequent attempt to solicit the murder of her Father.

R v L and ors. Conspiracy to supply class A drugs. Leading for the prosecution in this case that attracted much media attention due to the extensive profits made from selling drugs in wholesale quantities. The defendants supplied large quantities of drugs from an address in South London which had been under surveillance for months by the police. The surveillance evidence was presented by powerpoint and other interactive computer technology. It is anticipated that the format will be usd as a model for presentation of similar cases based on observation evidence due to the clarity and time saving it achieves.

R v A and ors. (Operation Budget) Instructed to lead in this multi-handed case of large scale tax evasion that involved a loss to the revenue of £15m. Prosecuted 16 defendants in 3 trials.

R v W and W. Instructed to defend mother and daughter accused of murder. Case became a “cause celebre”. Prosecution dropped the case on the day of trial. Case based on complex ballistics that were shown to be flawed.

R v M. CAR 2006 EWCA Crim 3408 The leading authority on “Bad character”. Instructed to defend Mr.Murphy who was accused of criminal damage by the use of a sawn off shotgun. He was acquitted at his re-trial following his appeal to the Court of Appeal.


LLB (Hons) Birmingham

Memberships & Associations

Gray's Inn
Criminal Bar Association

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William Saunders

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