Called to the Bar:1973

Silk:1995

  • Former Treasury Counsel with a reputation for knowing every detail of a case and translating it effortlessly for the jury; a devastatingly effective advocate.

    Corporate & Financial Crime 

    David Spens QC is a sought-after silk in the field of Corporate & Financial Crime, having built a formidable reputation for securing acquittals against the odds; formerly Treasury Counsel, David has defended exclusively since 1995.

    Key areas of his practice include health and safety, gross negligence manslaughter and fraud, with a specific focus on defending individuals and corporates accused of bribery and corruption both in the UK and overseas.

    Crime

    David has spent much of his practice prosecuting and defending the most serious levels of general crime. 

    A Recorder ticketed to try serious sexual offences, David has an unrivalled knowledge and command of criminal cases from pre-charge through to the courtroom, particularly of sexual offences and specifically historical ones.

    Reviews

    Chambers UK 2018: Financial Crime - Band 2; Crime - Band 2

    Legal 500 2017: Business and Regulatory Crime (Including Global investigations) - Tier 3; Crime - Tier 2.

    'Charming and highly respected.' 'He's immensely experienced, absolutely brilliant with clients and someone with a great eye for detail.' Chambers UK Crime (2019)

    'An incredibly effective advocate' who is 'invaluable in a complex fraud case; he makes the complex simple.' Chambers UK Financial Crime (2019)

    'A real heavyweight silk with immense experience – his eye for detail is superb.' Legal 500 Business & Regulatory Crime (2018)

    'His eye for detail is superb and he has a really great manner with clients.' Legal 500 Crime (2018)

    'He is on an intellectual par with the judges, if not higher. They treat him with such respect. He is a very good speech-maker.' Chambers UK Financial Crime (2018)

    'He's really the master of his brief - absolutely everything is crossed and dotted.' Chambers UK Crime (2018)

    'The extent to which he has every detail while seeing the wider picture is quite extraordinary.' Legal 500 Business and Regulatory Crime (2017)

    'He is charming and clever, and has superb analysis. He’s also second to none as a tactician.' Chambers UK Crime (2015)

    Appointments

    • 2009 - 2010: Leader, South Eastern Circuit 
    • 2004 - 2005: Chairman, Criminal Bar Association 
    • 1988-1995: Treasury Counsel, Central Criminal Court
    • 1994: Recorder authorised to sit at Central Criminal Court

    Professional Memberships

    • Criminal Bar Association
    • Fraud Lawyers Association
    • British Italian Lawyers Association
    • Bencher, Inner Temple

    Education

    • University of Kent at Canterbury (BA) 

     

     

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  • Corporate and Financial Crime

    A master tactician and one of the brightest intellects; a natural in the defence of individuals and corporates facing high profile bribery and corruption and other fraud charges.

    Overview 

    David Spens QC is a sought-after silk in the field of Corporate & Financial Crime, having built a formidable reputation for securing acquittals against the odds; formerly Treasury Counsel, David has defended exclusively since 1995.

    Key areas of his practice include health and safety, gross negligence manslaughter and fraud with a specific focus on defending individuals and corporates accused of bribery and corruption both in the UK and overseas.

    Experience 

    David Spens QC has a reputation built from a vast and varied experience across the full spectrum of financial and corporate crime offences, often involving multiple jurisdictions.

    In December 2014, David secured the acquittal of the international sales manager of a UK security printing company, Smith and Ouzman, accused by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of three counts of bribery in Ghana, Mauritania and Somaliland. This was made particularly remarkable by the fact that in the same prosecution the company and two directors were convicted of bribery in Kenya.

    He was instructed to represent the Director of Business Development in Africa of an Australian company, Securency, a supplier of polymer substrate used to manufacture polymer banknotes, who was accused by the SFO of paying bribes to Nigerian Security and Minting plc to obtain contracts worth millions of Euros.

    David’s experience of health and safety and manslaughter by gross negligence including: R v AW, the alleged manslaughter of a Naval Lieutenant by a Petty Officer at the Military Diving School; and R v MG, involving the alleged manslaughter of a welder who was blown up while mending a petrol tanker. Both defendants were acquitted of all charges.

    David is considered to be one of the most astute and commanding advocates at the senior bar. Notwithstanding his rank, he continues to be regarded as a real team player and a pleasure to work with.

    Notable Cases

    • R v TF (2014)
      David Spens QC secures notable acquittals for an international sales manager accused by the SFO of bribery in three African states.
       
    • R v Forrester (2014)
      Secured notable acquittals for an international sales manager accused by SFO of bribery in three African states.
       
    • R v Clive Goodman, Rebekah Brooks, Andrew Coulson and others (2014)
      Successfully represented the royal journalist Clive Goodman in the News of the World phone hacking and corruption case.
       
    • R v KD (2012)
      Secured the acquittal of KD accused of involvement in the first carbon credit fraud prosecuted. 

    Reviews

    Chambers UK 2018: Financial Crime - Band 2.

    Legal 500 2017: Business and Regulatory Crime (Including Global investigations) - Tier 3.

    'An incredibly effective advocate' who is 'invaluable in a complex fraud case; he makes the complex simple.' Chambers UK Financial Crime (2019)

    'A real heavyweight silk with immense experience – his eye for detail is superb.' Legal 500 Business & Regulatory Crime (2018)

    'He is on an intellectual par with the judges, if not higher. They treat him with such respect. He is a very good speech-maker.' Chambers UK Financial Crime (2018)

    'A master tactician.' Chambers UK (2018)

    'He is on an intellectual par with the judges, if not higher. They treat him with such respect. He is a very good speech-maker.' Chambers UK (2018)

    'Praised for his advocacy, he has vast experience of both serious general crime and financial crime. He's a very good tactician who is very good in front of the jury and very well respected by the judiciary.' Chambers UK (2017)

    'His grasp of the evidence and painstaking attention to detail is really impressive.' Legal 500 (2017) 

    'The extent to which he has every detail while seeing the wider picture is quite extraordinary.' Legal 500 (2017) 

    'He is an attractive advocate who is cool, concise, and economical.' Chambers UK (2016) 

    'You can see in court that he has the judiciary’s respect.' Legal 500 (2016)

    'Bribery Act matters are a core part of his practice.' Legal 500 (2016)

    'He is charming and clever, and has superb analysis. He is also second to none as a tactician.' Chambers UK (2015)

    'Invariably has the ear of the court.' Legal 500 (2015)

    Recent Cases

    • David Spens QC in the Court of Appeal, successfully appealed the conviction for money laundering of the senior partner of a small City solicitors firm.

    • David Spens QC was instructed to represent the Director of Business Development in Africa of an Australian company.

    News

  • A silk with a formidable reputation as a heavyweight in the field of general crime; acknowledged as a defence specialist, he is revered for his forensic knowledge, meticulous preparation and superior advocacy.

    Overview

    David has spent much of his practice prosecuting and defending the most serious levels of general crime. Formerly Treasury Counsel, David has been focused on the defence of individuals for over 20 years.

    A Recorder ticketed to try serious sexual offences, David has an unrivalled knowledge and command of criminal cases from pre-charge through to the courtroom, particularly of sexual offences and specifically historical ones.

    Experience 

    A heavyweight in this field, David’s experience spans the full spectrum of serious crime; he frequently obtains acquittals against the odds. He has particular expertise in cross-examining pathologists and forensic psychiatrists.

    David secured the acquittal of a care worker accused of sexually assaulting a vulnerable Ethiopian adolescent who was 13 but had the communication skills of a three-year-old. He had to be cross-examined through an interpreter, an intermediary and using visual aids.

    Recently David successfully represented a philanthropist who was accused of sexual abuse of an adolescent female, to whom he was the legal guardian, in Barbados, Granada and London over a nine-year period.

    David has defended in all types of murder cases; since defending Learco Chindamo (of the murder of headmaster Philip Lawrence in 1998), David has been the go-to silk for defending high-profile murder. His experience has often involved the defence of joint enterprise. He has acted in more than 250 murder cases and has special skill in cross-examining pathologists and forensic psychiatrists. He was recently involved in a three-month long case of familial homicide contrary to section 5 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004.

    David is regarded as an expert in the field of terrorism. He was instructed in three of the most serious cases of recent years: R v WM (2007), the 21 July 2005 attempt to bomb the London Underground; R v II (2009), the plan by a suicide bomber to blow up the Broadmead Shopping Centre in Bristol; R v NH (2010), the Heathrow airport bomb plot.

    David successfully represented Clive Goodman, former News of the World royal editor, in the ‘phone hacking trial' featuring Rebekah Brooks and Andrew Coulson.

    David is recognised as the master of his brief and as someone who has the respect of the Judges; his cross-examination and speech-making skills are amongst the finest there are.

    Notable Cases 

    • R v Patraucean (2015)
      Represented a young Romanian male who pleaded guilty to the violent killing of a prostitute.
       
    • R v Goodman (2014)
      Defended Clive Goodman, former News of the World royal editor.
       
    • R v AA (2011)
      Defended the first youth to attack the victim in the Victoria Station murder.
       
    • R v Gilmour (Charlie) (2011)
      Defended the son of the Pink Floyd guitarist who was at the forefront of the London student protests.
       
    • R v Black (2011)
      Defended a serial abductor and killer of young girls in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
       
    • R v NH (2010)
      Was instructed to defend one of the defendants in the Heathrow airport bomb plot.

    Reviews

    Chambers UK 2018: Crime - Band 2

    Legal 500 2017: Crime - Tier 2.

    'Charming and highly respected.' 'He's immensely experienced, absolutely brilliant with clients and someone with a great eye for detail.' Chambers UK Crime (2019)

    'His eye for detail is superb and he has a really great manner with clients.' Legal 500 Crime (2018)

    'He's really the master of his brief - absolutely everything is crossed and dotted.' Chambers UK Crime (2018)

    'He's really the master of his brief - absolutely everything is crossed and dotted.' Chambers UK (2018)

    'His ability to apply forensic skill and judgement to crimes of serious violence is excellent and he has an engaging manner with client, judge and jury.' Chambers UK (2018)

    'Very thorough and someone with a great eye for detail, he's also very good with clients.' Chambers UK (2018)

    'He’s a very good tactician who is very good in front of the jury and very well respected by the judiciary.' Chambers UK (2017)

    'He is a heavyweight when it comes to serious crime.' Legal 500 (2017)

    'He is an attractive advocate who is cool, concise and economical.' Chambers UK (2016)

    'Steely in court with the opposition, and tender and caring towards his clients.' Legal 500 (2016)

    'A highly regarded and sophisticated senior silk.' Legal 500 (2016)

    'He is charming and clever, and has superb analysis. He’s also second to none as a tactician.' Chambers UK (2015)

    'He is a very stylish advocate, whom juries like because of his down-to-earth approach.' Chambers UK (2015)

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