Year of call: 1996
Areas of Work:
Paul Douglass is an experienced criminal practitioner, both prosecuting and defending. He is a grade 3 prosecutor and specialist rape advocate.
As a prosecution advocate, Paul has prosecuted many trials including those involving allegations of serious sexual offences, serious violence, including domestic violence, offences against children, gang related offences, firearms offences, arson with intent to endanger life, false imprisonment, aggravated burglary, and armed robbery. He has also prosecuted serious drugs offences and offences of dishonesty.
Paul provides comprehensive written advice shortly after being instructed to prosecute a case. He endeavours in all cases to make email and/or telephone contact with the lawyer, the caseworker and the officer, in order to assist where necessary with the preparation of a case to trial or other disposal.
Paul is aware that appearing at court as a witness can be a very intimidating experience for anyone, but particularly so for those witnesses who are especially vulnerable. He takes care to introduce himself to witnesses in good time before they are required to give evidence, to explain his role, to explain court procedure and any other relevant matters, and generally to give reassurance.
Recent Prosecution Cases of Note
R v Afrisib and 4 others. Kingston Crown Court. May-June 2016.
Conspiracy to supply opium on a commercial scale throughout the UK. 5-week trial prosecuted as junior alone. All defendants convicted save one regarding whom the jury failed to reach a verdict. The principal defendant received a sentence of 20 years imprisonment.
R v B. Woolwich Crown Court. February 2016. Sexual Activity with a Child Family Member.
B was the stepfather of the complainant. He began a relationship with her mother when the complainant was 4. He began to sexually abuse her on a regular basis from the age of 8 or 9 until she was 17, at which point she wrote a letter to an aunt in which she disclosed that she was being abused. An unusual aspect of the case was that B admitted sexual activity with his stepdaughter when she was 16 and 17. He claimed that she had developed a sexual interest in him and, effectively, groomed him. B’s defence regarding several counts of sexual activity with the complainant when she was between the age of 9 and 16 was that she, feeling guilty about having caused the sexual activity after the age of 16, fabricated the allegations of sexual activity before the age of 16. After a 6 day trial the jury convicted the defendant unanimously on counts alleging sexual activity with his stepdaughter when she was between the ages of 9 and 16. The defendant was sentenced to six years imprisonment.
R v Ravindranathan and two others. Snaresbrook Crown Court. November-December 2015. Causing Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent.
The victim, who sustained a fractured skull, broken arm, fractured 5th vertebra and multiple cuts and bruises, was a married man who had been having an affair for
several months with an aunt of the first two defendants. The third defendant was a close friend of the first two defendants, and also their aunt’s lodger.
The Crown’s case was that the defendants did not approve of the aunt’s relationship with the victim, which had caused some scandal. They came up with a plan to frighten the victim off in such a way as to ensure he would never come back again. The plan, when it was eventually executed, involved the nephews attacking the victim with a baseball bat in their aunt’s front room.
The three defendants waited for a time when the victim and his lover, the aunt, were alone together having lunch in her house. The lodger and the aunt’s teenage son arrived at the house on the pretext that the son was unwell. The son asked his mother to go upstairs to his bedroom with him. The Crown’s case was that the defendants used the son to keep his mother out of the way. Once in the room, the lodger locked them in. He then left the front door open for the nephews, who had been waiting nearby, to enter the house; he then absented himself from the house while the nephews attacked the victim with a baseball bat and their shod feet. The victim lost consciousness and they left, unseen by their aunt. The plan, which was based on a belief that the victim did not know and therefore would not be able to identify the nephews, began to unravel immediately. The victim did recognise them. Unknown to them, he had on several occasions been shown family photographs in which they appeared by his lover, their aunt.
After a ten-day trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court, the first two defendants were unanimously convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent. The first defendant was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment, the second to 11 years, on account of his age. The third defendant was unanimously convicted of inflicting grievous bodily harm. He was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment.
R v J. Harrow Crown Court. August 2015. Rape.
The defendant, when in his late forties, began a relationship with the victim, a woman in her early twenties. His attitude towards her very soon became physically abusive, controlling and manipulative. He would falsely accuse her of being unfaithful towards him and then seriously assault her. Evidence was adduced at trial showing he had acted in a strikingly similar manner towards a number of other women in the past, all of who had been too frightened to pursue complaints made against him to the police.
The victim in this case agreed to live with him in spite of his violence towards her. He then isolated her from her family and friends. He then routinely assaulted her and subjected her to sexual abuse, including oral and vaginal rape, over a period of three years. She was not allowed to leave their home unless accompanied by the defendant. During this period, the defendant and the victim had a child together. This made no difference to the defendant’s treatment of the victim and he continued to assault and rape her after the birth of their child. Eventually, the victim found the courage to leave the defendant. Reluctantly, with encouragement from a cousin, she made allegations against the defendant to the police. The defendant stated that the allegations were concocted for the purpose of securing residence of their child.
The defendant was convicted unanimously on all counts. He received an extended sentence of imprisonment of 16 years.
R v B. Snaresbrook Crown Court. June 2015. Sexual Activity with a Child Family Member.
The defendant was aged 59 when he was tried. It was alleged that, aged 51, he had a sexual relationship with his emotionally vulnerable 15 year old niece. The sexual activity took place over a period of a year, reflected in a 15-count indictment. After an 8-day trial, the jury convicted unanimously on 14 counts. The defendant was sentenced to 9 years imprisonment.
R v Isaac and Fagan. May 2015. Inner London Crown Court. Causing Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent. Possession of offensive weapon.
A group of four or five youths were attacking a lone youth outside a block of flats in South London. By the time they had finished, they had fractured the bones in his face in four places. Police arrived at the scene. Out of the five or so attackers, only the two defendants were detained. One of the two was seen by an officer to put two knives in a bin. The defendants claimed that they did not know each other, had just happened to be in the area, were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and had nothing to do with the attack. There was one independent eyewitness to the attack. She turned hostile to the Crown at trial. The victim, who had refused to give a statement to police, was called by the defence to give evidence at trial. He said that neither defendant was among his attackers. The first defendant had a single drop of the victim’s blood on one of his shoes. After a 10-day trial, the jury unanimously convicted the first defendant of causing grievous bodily harm with intent; they hung on this count and a section 20 alternative regarding the second defendant; both defendants were convicted of possession of an offensive weapon.
As a defence advocate, Paul has represented many hundreds of clients from a very wide variety of backgrounds. He has represented members of the armed forces, police officers, single parents, journalists, political activists, pensioners, business people, the unemployed, students, academics and a member of the clergy - to name but a few. He has represented clients from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. He has also represented particularly vulnerable clients including minors, those with mental disorders, drug addicts and those with learning difficulties. Paul has defended in a wide variety of cases including murder, rape, armed robbery, other serious violent offences, sexual activity with a child, sexual assault, serious drug offences, including importation and conspiracy to supply large quantities of prohibited drugs. He has also defended clients accused of immigrations offences, fraud and other offences of dishonesty.
Paul understands that being the accused in a criminal trial is one of the most stressful experiences anyone can face. He provides clients with comprehensive oral and written advice at an early stage in proceedings and does all he can to make sure that clients understand precisely what the case against them involves and, in the event that the matter goes to trial, how most effectively to prepare for it.
Recent Defence Cases.
Paul successfully defended a client accused of rape at Reading Crown Court where the issue was one of consent. He successfully defended a serving member of the Parachute Regiment charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent to his estranged wife’s step- father. He has recently advised on appeal against conviction for murder.
Paul has recently been instructed in a multi-handed trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court in which he represented a client charged with conspiracy to supply £4.5 million of cannabis.
He is currently instructed to represent a former police officer accused of fraud by false representation, a case that has attracted media coverage.
South Eastern Circuit
Criminal Bar Association