Bernard is committed to ensuring that people have a voice in the justice system. He is a very experienced advocate with substantial experience of dealing with cases of sensitivity and complexity.
Bernard specialises in Criminal Defence work (in the widest sense) and Inquest work. His criminal work involves the range of serious offences, in particular homicide, serious sexual or violent offending, serious organised or complex crime, regulatory offences and crimes which occur in the prison environment. He also undertakes disciplinary cases, including sports disciplinary work.
His degree in Business Law has also given him a highly useful grounding in subjects relevant to conducting fraud trials. His ability to explain complex matters clearly and simply are of particular value in this area.
His inquest work is generally for families or vulnerable individuals, usually in cases of complexity or sensitivity requiring experienced and precise advocacy and forensic skills.
He has particular expertise in cases involving vulnerable people, particularly clients (or complainants). He has substantial experience in cases which involved mentally disordered individuals, individuals with learning difficulty or individuals who need particularly sensitive care, for example very young clients or witnesses. He is an approved facilitator (and facilitator trainer) for the Bar’s training course on handling vulnerable witnesses.
Bernard is engaged in many cases which require an understanding and testing of the evidence of experts, in particular pathologists, forensic experts, scientific or medical experts and psychiatrists. His regulatory and inquest work also brings him into contact with experts from the Health and Safety and regulatory fields.
Bernard is an accomplished trial advocate. He is not afraid of hard work or challenging cases and is often instructed in large multi-handed cases, particular where emotions may run high. He has been involved in a number of high profile trials and, as such, is used to dealing with cases which attract a good deal of publicity. Consequently, he has experience of dealing with issues of publicity and contempt of court.
Bernard also undertakes a substantial amount of appellate work, some of it pro bono, in cases where he was not trial counsel. This work is both national and international and he has advised on, prepared and appeared in cases in the appeal courts in this country (including Privy Council) and overseas (including Isle of Man, Trinidad and Jamaica). His overseas work includes applications to the European Court of Human Rights and the International Court of Arbitration in Sport. He is also consulted regularly on cases which involve potential applications for judicial review.
As a public lawyer, Bernard has been involved in a number of interesting projects advising government, public or sports bodies as to legal or disciplinary issues. He was heavily involved in drafting the Court Rules relating to the recent introduction of Committal Proceedings in Jamaica. The project required him to visit Jamaica on a number of occasions, discussing the proposals with stakeholders, drafting the rules, training practitioners and judges on their implementation and monitoring their progress. He was also invited to train Jamaican judges on case management and disclosure issues. He ran sessions on case preparation for lawyers in Jamaica and lectured at the University of the West Indies.
His disciplinary work relates both to professionals and sportsmen. He advises sports clubs and bodies on constitutional, procedural and child protection issues. He has represented sportsmen and women who have challenged selection decisions and has represented clients in the International Court for Sport in Lausanne.
Bernard is a highly accomplished and respected advocacy teacher. He is the Director of Studies for Middle Temple’s Advocacy School as well as the Co-Chair of the Training & Accreditation Committee of the Inns of Court College of Advocacy. He has taught both nationally and internationally on advocacy, case preparation and ethics.
Bernard is passionate about equality before the law and also equality of opportunity for those who wish to join the profession. He has undertaken a great deal of work on social mobility and is the current Chair of the Education Committee of the Middle Temple, responsible for education policy and provision for one of the four Inns of Court.
Bencher, Middle Temple 2005
Assistant Coroner (Inner West London) 2012
Deemster (panel), Isle of Man 2017
Deputy High Bailiff, Isle of Man 2017
Stratford Comprehensive School, London E7
LLB (Hons) Business Law, City of London Polytechnic
Criminal Bar Association, Administrative Law Bar Association, South Eastern Circuit, Inquest.
Judo (6th Dan) and runs a judo club in East London, Learning to play the Alto Sax, Supporter of Theatre Royal (Stratford East), Real Tennis, Dancing.
Avid West Ham United supporter.
AIDS and the Law (Routledge 2nd edition – co-author)
- Actions against the police
- Confiscation and asset recovery
- Criminal law (including fraud)
- Health and safety
- Mental Health
- Prison law and prison crime
- Regulatory crime
- Serious fraud
- Sport Law
The following cases, which are some of those undertaken by Bernard, demonstrate the range of his practice:
R v BARKER The “Baby P” trial. Bernard represented the main defendant, acquitted of murder. He also conducted the subsequent rape trial. His experiences in that trial led him to make a detailed study of the issues arising from examining vulnerable witnesses and conducting cases for highly vulnerable clients.
R v McKOY High Profile murder trial. Defendant killed wife and their baby with a machete. The client’s defence was that his wife had killed the child and he had then lost control with her and was, therefore, guilty of manslaughter. This case required extremely sensitive and careful handling.
R v KM Teenage defendant charged with murder, resulting from a stabbing in North London. The Defendant was one of a group who had a “beef” with another group. The young defendant was vulnerable and needed a good deal of support to ensure he gave of his best in the witness box. Acquitted.
R v GUIMARES This case involved five defendants involved in a “Burglary gone wrong”. Issues of group activity, gang involvement and complex bad character applications all arose to be dealt with. Bernard was required carefully (through cross-examination) to separate out the activities of a group to ensure that his client was not convicted on a joint enterprise basis.
R v CONNOLLY Joint enterprise murder trial. Defendant vulnerable and manipulated by co-defendant. Acquitted following successful submission of “No case to answer”.
R v OKOKOYE Allegation of conspiracy to murder. Defendant alleged to have been the killer on behalf of co-defendants who were serving prisoners. Defendant was police informant whose identity was disclosed by police. Numerous complex legal submissions were made to permit questioning on the information provided to the police. Detailed cross-examination of police (and co-defendants). Defendant was the only defendant to be acquitted.
R v JONES Defendant alleged to have been involved with another in shooting of deceased. Defence of presence but non-participation. Complex issues of joint enterprise arose. Defendant acquitted.
R v TAUTZ Baby-shaking manslaughter case. 13 experts on various subjects to be examined. Complex issues of neurology, in particular relating to the effect of the child having an abnormally large head.
R v SALVADOR Defendant was filmed by police running through gardens in North London. Incident culminated in his beheading an elderly woman in her own home. This was a complex psychiatric case where the defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity.
R v HOUGHTON Defendant was charged with attempted murder. Attacked a number of police officers with knives. Defendant had serious mental health difficulties. Matter dealt with by way of hospital order. Complex issues of available defences to attempted murder.
R v MEANZA Murder trial which dealing with availability of defence of “Loss of control” for those who have a recognised mental illness. Bernard successfully appealed against them minimum term on the basis that insufficient weight was given to the Defendant’s mental illness short of Diminished Responsibility.
R v PURCELL Murder trial. V was D’s flatmate. She was found in her room with multiple stab wounds to her body and genital area. Defendant was in his room, having cut his own throat. The front door was locked from the inside. The defendant had no recollection of events. Psychiatric issues arose as to the genuineness of his amnesia (it was) and the possibility that he had a mental illness which afforded him the defence of Diminished Responsibility. Client’s position had to be protected and evidence tested carefully to try and identify any areas of doubt, so that client could feel that he had had a proper trial. This is an example of the type of case where “success” cannot be measured in terms of “winning or losing” and is a good example of the type of case where Bernard is often instructed to ensure that everything possible is done for the client.
R v PATEL Causing Death by Dangerous driving. The defence of Insanity was raised in circumstances where the Defendant had undiagnosed epilepsy. Bernard made detailed submissions about the nature and fairness of requiring those with epilepsy to label themselves “insane” to defend themselves.
KK v IOM Application to European Court of Human Rights relating to the Isle of Man’s failure to have special measures or intermediaries for vulnerable individuals.
R v Y Application to European Court of Human Rights relating to whether judicial comment (adverse to the defence) in a summing-up is a breach of Article 6.
R v FELLOWS Defendant alleged he had been abused by a high profile politician. Charged with perverting the course of justice on basis that allegation false. Bernard had to cross-examine the politician and a number of high profile public figures. Case also involved close examination and criticism of police conduct in investigating the case.
R v ME Historic sexual abuse allegation, involving 3 children (aged 5, 7 and 8). Cross-examination of all children.
R v S The defendant, a journalist, was charged with “grooming”. In fact, the “child” was a member of a vigilante group who seek out suspected paedophiles. The defendant’s case was that he was being set up, in particular to ruin his credibility as a journalist. The defence argued that there was an abuse of process and/or that the vigilante was an “agent provocateur”. The prosecution were unsuccessful and the defence obtained costs from the CPS.
Re: DK Inquest touching death of an individual chased onto rail tracks by police and, whilst there hit and killed by train (advisory work)
Re FW Health and Safety death. Tenant electrocuted by faulty wiring.
Re AD Inquest touching death of young man introduced to heroin by neighbour. Although he died alone having taken the drugs himself, a submission was made that copying the technique shown to him by neighbour could amount to unlawful killing. Conclusion: Unlawful killing.
Re: MLK Submissions to coroner who declined to hold inquest into death of young baby causing him to revisit the decision made.
Re: G Inquest touching death of “gifted student” who drowned in River Thames after student event. Open conclusion.