Sam Stein QC
“Get a top murder barrister on your side from day 1”
The crime of murder carries mandatory life imprisonment, although there are three potential partial defences which, if successful, can reduce the charge to voluntary manslaughter. If your lawyer can successfully show that you were acting as part of a suicide pact, that you were provoked, or that there was a case of diminished responsibility, then it is possible that the judge will hand down a lesser sentence.
In order for the prosecution to be able to successfully prosecute for murder, they must show that the accused set out with the intention to kill or to cause serious bodily harm, that the person died as a result of the accused’s actions, and they may need to disprove any partial defence claim put forward by the defence. If they are successful, then the court will have no option but to impose a life sentence against the accused.
Typically, a murder case will often hinge on whether a person was provoked substantially enough, or whether they intended to kill or harm the individual. These partial defences can make a huge difference in the length of sentence that is given, and it is important that you give your defence team as much time and information as needed in order to prepare your case. As such, the best time to involve a lawyer is during the police interview, or before. However, even if you have been sentenced, it may not be too late, because your lawyer will be able to help you lodge an appeal.
Murder must have been a planned act, but this does not mean that a person had to set out with the intention of killing the victim. Instead, it will prove sufficient for the prosecution to prove that the defendant set out to cause serious harm to the victim. If death subsequently arose because of that intent, then the prosecution may still charge the accused with murder.
The charge of murder is arguably the most serious charge a person can face, and it carries a mandatory life sentence for anybody found guilty. Having an experienced and skilled legal team in place as soon as possible can help to reduce the likelihood of being found guilty, and can help if you believe that you have a case to argue one of the partial defences that exist.
Sam has particular experience in murder cases when issues of mental health are raised. In such cases he has dealt with every type of relevant mental condition and has no fear in arguing these matters before the court. Recently Sam successfully argued that ADHD should be considered by the jury in a murder case when they weighed up both the need for the use of force in self defence and the amount of force actually employed in self defence.
R -v- Mulcahy – The longest ever single defendant murder trial in English legal history. The result of three separate police investigations with the original investigation being the largest police manhunt since the Yorkshire Ripper.
R -v- Grant & Others – Multi-handed conspiracy to murder –acquitted.
R-v- S Operation Zambezi – First on indictment, multi-handed attempted murder, money laundering, firearms, cocaine and cannabis conspiracy with voluminous Queen’s Evidence – 107 page statement following 80+ interviews of QE Witness. Legal submissions resulting both in the exclusion of background violence and in the finding of an implicit waiver of privilege over solicitor’s material on the part of the QE Witness. This matter is the subject of an ongoing appeal.
R v B – Represented first defendant alleged to have murdered a stall holder in a market as part of a ‘joint enterprise’ revenge attack. Successfully argued that the Defendant should be entitled to rely upon the fact that he suffered from a severe type of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD] called hyperkinetic disorder when presenting his defence of self defence as well as in support of the alternative defence of diminished responsibility.
R –v- S.H. – Attempted murder of another youth, Sam advised that psychiatric and psychological evidence be obtained relating to the victims memory of the incident and the effect of the trauma and treatment leading to memory loss and possible confabulation. Defendant successfully acquitted.
R v Brown – ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ murder of ex-girlfriend, six pathologists were instructed on behalf of the Crown requiring detailed cross-examination on the possible signs left in the internal structure of the brain from an alleged smothering of the deceased.
R v Cowdry – Plea to murder successfully secured minimum term for a robbery and deliberate strangulation of elderly householder.
R –v- James – Murder, argued on behalf of the defendant that his mother’s long-term sexual abuse of him since he was a child was a ‘trigger’ for new defence of ‘loss of control’.
R –v- Khaleel – Murder, bad character evidence challenged before the jury and the court was persuaded to call a crucial witness from the first trial (manslaughter conviction in similar circumstances), which formed the basis of the bad character application.
R -v- Roberts & Others – Blue Lagoon Murder – Widely reported murder involving 6 defendants and the ritual torture of a vulnerable adult, ultimately leading to his death. His dismembered body was discovered in a lake.
R v P – successful defence of a drug addict alleged to have murdered another in an argument about a drug deal.
R -v- Hong – Murder allegation; Diabetic hyperglaecamic defence raised to explain the defendant’s memory loss at the time of the stabbing.
R -v- Turauskaite – Murder allegation involving lengthy cross examination of ‘best friend’ to show that he was responsible for the death.
R -v- Gayle & Others – ‘Joint enterprise’ alleged gangland Murder – Central Criminal Court –acquitted.
R -v- Ramanlal – Murder allegation; argued diminished responsibility defence.
R v K – successful defence of two sisters alleged to have killed their grandmother for her funeral money.
© 2014 Sam Stein QC