James is a specialist criminal defence barrister with extensive experience of Crown Court and appellate advocacy.
James studied Law as an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge (Peterhouse). He returned to Cambridge to read for an MPhil in Criminology (also at Peterhouse), for which he wrote a thesis on the early release scheme for paramilitary prisoners under the Good Friday Agreement.
Having been called to the Bar in 2008, James undertook a mixed, common law pupillage at 4 King’s Bench Walk (Chambers of Mr. Lawrence Power). As a tenant at 4KBW, James gained a broad experience of common law work before moving to Nexus Chambers in 2011 to focus on his criminal practice.
James has been instructed to defend in a wide range of serious criminal matters including rape, fraud, and terrorism offences. Although now practising almost entirely in criminal defence, James has experience of prosecuting for a number of agencies, including the Crown Prosecution Service, and is occasionally instructed to prosecute private prosecutions.
James accepts instructions in associated practice areas such as prison law (including adjudication and Parole Board hearings), courts martial, Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings, and extradition.
James is regularly instructed to advise on appeal in relation to: appeals to the Court of Appeal against conviction and sentence; appeals to the High Court by way of Judicial Review and Case Stated; and appeals to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
Having initially practised from common law chambers, James has experience of civil practice and has appeared before a range of tribunals including: the Chancery Division of the High Court (including the Companies Court and Bankruptcy Court); the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court; the Employment Tribunal; and the County Court. This breadth of experience has stood James in very good stead as an adaptable and experienced advocate.
The vast majority of work James undertakes is publicly funded (Legal Aid). However, he occasionally accepts private instructions (including under the Bar’s Public Access scheme). In appropriate cases, James is prepared to consider acting pro bono.
MA, University of Cambridge, 2010
MPhil (Criminology), University of Cambridge, 2009
BVC, Inns of Court School of Law, 2008
BA (Law), University of Cambridge, 2007
Prizes & Awards
2016 – Awarded full scholarship by Middle Temple and Lincoln’s Inn to attend the South Eastern Circuit Advanced International Advocacy Course at Keble College, Oxford
2009 – Awarded scholarship from the Storrs Fund for the Study of Modern Languages Abroad (Peterhouse)
2007 – Awarded scholarship from the Arthur Scott Travelling Scholarship (Peterhouse)
South Eastern Circuit
Criminal Bar Association
London Common Law & Commercial Bar Association
Constitutional & Administrative Law Bar Association
Middle Temple (called 2008)
Lincoln’s Inn (ad eundem 2012)
James was approved as a pupil supervisor in 2016.
In 2015 James was accredited by Lincoln’s Inn as an advocacy trainer: he now regularly teaches advocacy and professional ethics to pupils and new practitioners. He also acts as a sponsor and mentor for Lincoln’s Inn’s Pupillage Foundation Scheme.
James has been Nexus Chambers’ Equality & Diversity Officer since May 2015.
Recent notable cases
The following is a selection of Mr Manning’s recent cases.
CASES BEFORE THE COURT OF APPEAL (CRIMINAL DIVISION)
R v Kevin PITCHFORD v The Queen  EWCA Crim 1640
Before Lady Justice Sharp, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, and Mrs Justice Laing. Successful appeal against sentence: sentence reduced by 19 days.
R v Antonio MEGIA-GRANDE v The Queen  EWCA Crim 1205
Before Lord Justice Laws, Mr Justice Blair, and Mr Justice Holroyde. Successful appeal against sentence: sentenced reduced from six months’ imprisonment to two months’ imprisonment.
R v Joanne BERRY v The Queen  EWCA Crim 505
Before the Lord Chief Justice of England & Wales (Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd), Mr Justice Royce, and Mr Justice Griffith Williams. Interlocutory appeal against a ruling at a preparatory hearing.
CASES BEFORE THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
The Queen on the Application of A (Appellant) -v- Crown Prosecution Service (Appeals Unit)
Appeal by way of case stated against a conviction in the Youth Court. This case is due to be heard in 2017 before the Administrative Court (High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division).
JR and the Governor of HM Prison High Down and Secretary of State for Justice
Before the Hon. Mr. Justice Holgate. November 2015: successful urgent ex parte application for a writ of habeas corpus.
Mr. Manning appeared for the Applicant in this urgent application for a writ of habeas corpus made by telephone on a Saturday afternoon. The Applicant was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment on the afternoon of Friday 13 November 2015. The Applicant had been on remand for just over 8 months and had therefore served more than half of the time that he was obliged to serve. HMP High Down initially declined to release the Applicant on licence due to supposed paperwork difficulties. The Hon. Mr. Justice Holgate ordered the Governor of the prison to release the Applicant immediately. The Second Respondent, the Secretary of State for Justice, was ordered to pay the Applicant’s costs.
CASES BEFORE THE SENIOR COURTS COSTS OFFICE
R v SAMOON & BARYALI (On appeal from redetermination)
Appeared before Costs Judge Simons in this appeal against a decision of the Legal Aid Agency refusing to pay 2,656 PPE under the Litigator Graduated Fee Scheme.
R v HY (2017) – Kingston Crown Court
The defendant faces a five count indictment: collecting or making a record of terrorist information, contrary to section 58(1)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2000; two counts of encouraging terrorism, contrary to section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act 2006; and Dissemination of a terrorist publication, contrary to section 2(1) and 2(a) of the Terrorism Act 2006.
R v HF (2016) – Croydon Crown Court
Five-week trial for non-recent sexual offences (including the rape of a 15 year-old boy in 1997). There were four complainants, one relating to alleged offending dating back to 1966. The defendant faced a seven-count indictment; he was acquitted of two counts, convicted of two counts, and the jury were hung on three counts. Mr Manning is also now defending HF in civil proceedings arising from the same facts, and in HF’s appeal against conviction. This case involved very careful cross-examination of a complainant with a history of mental illness and self-harm.
R v TF (2016) – Blackfriars Crown Court
Allegation of attempted grooming. Defendant was communicating via Facebook, ostensibly with a child, but in fact with a group of self-styled ‘paedophile-hunter’ vigilantes. Mr Manning made an abuse of process submission over the course of a three-day pre-trial voir dire. The submission was dismissed and the trial eventually commenced but collapsed when the Crown were unable to comply with their disclosure obligations. The jury returned a not guilty verdict at the direction of the Judge.
R v RO (2016) – Aylesbury Crown Court
Defendant faced a two-count indictment: causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, contrary to section 10(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003; and meeting a child following sexual grooming, contrary to section 15(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Following a two-day legal argument regarding admissibility of text messages, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count with the second count being left to lie on the file. The defendant received a suspended sentence.
R v ML (2016) – Croydon Crown Court
Defendant charged with thirteen counts of making indecent images of children. The defendant pleaded guilty to all charges and a suspended sentence was imposed.
R v MM (2016) – Croydon Crown Court
Allegation of voyeurism, contrary to section 67 Sexual Offences Act 2003. Mr. Manning raised a legal issue regarding the admissibility of comments allegedly made by the defendant in the absence of an interpreter, contrary to Directive 2010/64/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 on the Right to Interpretation and Translation in Criminal Proceedings. The defendant was acquitted after the Crown offered no evidence.
R v JB (2014) – Maidstone Crown Court
The defendant faced a four-count indictment: harassment; committing an offence with intent to commit a sexual offence, contrary to section 62(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003; common assault; and attempting to cause a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent (section 4 SOA 2003). The defendant used adult websites to pose as the complainant in order to dupe an unsuspecting swinger into carrying out a ‘rape role-play fantasy’, to which the complainant did not in fact consent. Mr Manning proposed a motion to quash the indictment on the basis that it disclosed an offence not known to law. A preparatory hearing was held to hear this argument, with an interlocutory appeal to the Court of Appeal following. The case received widespread national media coverage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-28701619
R v SY (2014) – Westminster Magistrates’ Court and Southwark Crown Court
The defendant, a diplomat from Lesotho, was charged with one offence of sexual assault, said to have taken place within the Mexican Embassy in London. On the basis of information provided by the High Commission for the Kingdom of Lesotho (the defendant’s employer), Mr Manning made representations to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in relation to the defendant’s diplomatic immunity, specifically that he was entitled to ‘special mission’ immunity. The charges were subsequently dropped.
R v RD (2013) – Southwark Crown Court
Defendant faced eight counts of making indecent images of children (thousands of indecent images, still and moving, including some of the most offensive variety). The defendant pleaded guilty and a suspended sentence was imposed.
R v SH (2012) – Leeds Crown Court
The defendant faced one allegation of intentionally touching a girl under the age of 13 contrary to section 7 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The case required lengthy legal argument and a voir dire to resolve admissibility issues concerning the intersection between section 41 YJCEA 1999 and section 100 CJA 2003 bad character. The defendant was acquitted after the Judge directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict on day two of the trial. The defendant’s representation was privately funded. A Defendants’ Costs Order was obtained allowing the recovery of costs from central funds.
FIREARMS AND OTHER WEAPONS OFFENCES
R v MB (2016) – Woolwich Crown Court
The defendant faced a two-count indictment: possessing a prohibited firearm, contrary to section 5(1)(aba) of the Firearms Act 1968; and possessing ammunition without a firearm certificate, contrary to section 1(1)(b) of the Firearms Act 1968. The defendant pleaded guilty subject to a basis of plea which was not accepted by the Crown. A Newton hearing was held following which the Judge accepted the defendant’s basis of plea. A submission of ‘exceptional circumstances’ was advanced in mitigation but rejected by the sentencing Judge. The five-year mandatory minimum sentence was imposed. Mr. Manning is now representing the defendant in her appeal against sentence to the Court of Appeal (awaiting decision of Single Judge).
R v MS (2016) – Woolwich Crown Court
The defendant faced a six-count indictment: two offences of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life; two offences of possession of a firearm; possession of ammunition; and possession of class B controlled drug with intent to supply. The defendant guilty, subject to a basis of plea, to the lesser offences. The Crown did not proceed with the more serious offences (possession with intent to endanger life) but did not accept the basis of plea. Following a Newton hearing, the defendant was sentenced to total of 6½ years’ imprisonment.
R v HC (2016) – Croydon Crown Court
The defendant faced five allegations of possession of offensive weapons in a public place (having been found in woodland carrying two samurai swords, a meat cleaver, a pair of scissors, and a large kitchen knife). Following a guilty plea and a plea in mitigation focused on the defendant’s psychiatric difficulties, a suspended sentence was imposed.
R v PM (2016) – Isleworth Crown Court
The defendant faced an allegation of possession of a firearm without a certificate. Following a guilty plea a suspended sentence was imposed.
R v JR (& 5 others) (2015) – Croydon Crown Court
Mr. Manning represented one of six defendants in this eight-week trial concerning conspiracies to supply firearms and ammunition. The Crown’s case depended almost entirely on covert audio and video surveillance product. Mr. Manning’s client was charged with one count of doing an act capable of assisting or encouraging the unlawful sale or transfer of a firearm, contrary to section 45 of the Serious Crime Act 2007. One of the defendants was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment. Mr. Manning’s client (who was found guilty by a 10-2 majority) was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment (making him eligible for immediate release on licence having served half the sentence on remand).
R v TJ (2015) – Blackfriars Crown Court
The defendant was initially charged with a firearms offence and tendering counterfeit currency notes. Following guilty pleas, subject to a basis, to the weapons offence and fraud (rather than counterfeiting) (which was accepted by the Crown) the defendant was sentenced to a suspended sentence.
R v AL (2015) – Maidstone Crown Court
The defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and one offence of making threats to kill. Following a plea in mitigation, the defendant received a suspended sentence.
R v SB (2016) – Harrow Crown Court
The defendant faced a two-count indictment: possession of class A and B controlled drugs. The Judge directed the jury to acquit the defendant on both counts at half time following Mr. Manning’s successful submission of no case to answer.
R v MB (2016) – Wood Green Crown Court
The defendant was charged with five counts of possession of class A controlled drugs with intent to supply. The defendant was acquitted after Crown offered no evidence, following an application to dismiss based on lack of forensic evidence.
R v KHR (2016) – Croydon Crown Court
The defendant faced a six-count indictment: three offences of possession of class B controlled drugs with intent to supply; and three offences of possession of criminal property. Following a four-day trial, the jury was hung on four out of six counts. The defendant was convicted of two counts on the indictment and sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.
R v SA (2016) – Isleworth Crown Court
Allegation of drug trafficking: being concerned in the fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the importation of a class A drug (specifically, 40 packages containing 581 grams of cocaine of 75% purity), contrary to section 170(2), (3) and (4) of and schedule 1 to the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979). Following a guilty plea and plea in mitigation, the defendant received a three-year custodial sentence.
R v MM (2015) – Central Criminal Court
The defendant faced an allegation of possession of a class B controlled drug. Mr. Manning raised a legal issue regarding the prosecution’s failure to have the drugs properly examined. The indictment was stayed as an abuse of process.
R v JD (& Others) (2013) – Snaresbrook Crown Court
The defendant faced an indictment containing sixteen counts of possession of class A controlled drugs with intent to supply. The case concerned a test purchasing operation by covert police officers and relied on cell site evidence. The defendant pleaded guilty to thirteen counts of supplying Class A controlled drugs and was sentenced to 3½ years detention in a Young Offender Institution.
R v JH (& another) (2012) – Woolwich Crown Court
The defendant was charged with production of a class B controlled drug. The defendant was acquitted following a three-day trial (co-defendant convicted).
OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON
R v SB (2016) – Kingston Crown Court
The defendant faced a three-count indictment: inflicting grievous bodily harm, contrary to section 20; assaulting occasioning actual bodily harm; and criminal damage. The defendant, who is of good character, was acquitted following a five-day trial. This trial involved substantial legal argument regarding hostile witnesses and the admissibility res gestae hearsay evidence.
R v KT (& another) (2016) – Southwark Crown Court
The defendant faced two counts on the five-count indictment: allegations of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault. Following a seven-day trial, the defendant was acquitted of common assault, and the jury was hung on the ABH. The Crown is proceeding to re-trial in 2017.
R v JS (& another) (2016) – Inner London Crown Court
The defendant faced a three-count indictment: having an offensive weapon, contrary to section 1(1) of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953; assault by beating, contrary to section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1998; and criminal damage, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Damage Act. The jury was discharged on day two of the trial following defects in disclosure coming to light. The prosecution was then stayed after an abuse of process submission arising from non-disclosure was accepted.
R v AP (2016) – Croydon Crown Court
The defendant faced an allegation of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and criminal damage. The defendant has profound mental health difficulties including drug-induced psychosis. The issue of the defendant’s fitness to plead was raised. The Judge entered not guilty verdicts after the Crown offered no evidence.
R v JF (2016) – Snaresbrook Crown Court
The defendant faced a four-count indictment: attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent; threatening another with a bladed article; having a bladed article; and criminal damage. The Crown accepted pleas to two of the lesser offences, with the GBH with intent left to lie on the file. A suspended sentence was imposed.
R v SB (2016) – Woolwich Crown Court
The defendant faced a two-count indictment: false imprisonment and threats to kill. He was acquitted after Crown offered no evidence on first day of trial.
R v NK (2016) – Woolwich Crown Court
The defendant faced a four-count indictment: kidnapping, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, common assault, and criminal damage. The defendant was convicted after a seven-day trial.
R v GJ (2016) – Woolwich Crown Court
The defendant was charged on a three-count indictment: unlawful wounding, contrary to section 20; assault occasioning actual bodily harm; and common assault. Following a four-day trial, the defendant was acquitted of unlawful wounding and ABH. He was convicted of common assault only and received a suspended sentence.
R v MW (2015) – Croydon Crown Court
The defendant was accused of inflicting grievous bodily harm, contrary to section 20. The defendant was said to have ‘glassed’ the complainant causing facial injuries during a fight outside a house party. The defendant was acquitted following a four-day trial.
R v EM (2015) – Aylesbury Crown Court
The defendant faced a number of charges relating to a series of supposed domestic violence incidents: assault occasioning actual bodily harm, battery, and harassment. The defendant was acquitted following a four-day trial. This case involved sensitive cross-examination of complainant suffering from borderline personality disorder.
R v JS (2015) – Lewes Crown Court
The defendant faced an allegation of inflicting grievous bodily harm, contrary to section 20. He was acquitted following a two-day trial.
R v JG (& five others) (2015) – Croydon Crown Court
The defendant was one of five defendants charged on an eight-count indictment following a brawl at a wedding. This defendant faced two allegations: affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The defendant offered pleas to affray and common assault, which was accepted by the Crown. The defendant received a suspended sentence.
R v MLA (2014)– Central Criminal Court
The defendant was charged with two offences: attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, contrary to section 18; and possession of an offensive weapon. The defendant was acquitted following a five-day trial at the Old Bailey.
FRAUD & DISHONESTY OFFENCES
R (Royal Borough of Greenwich) v AD (& three others) (2016) – Inner London Crown Court
Mr. Manning represented AD, an 84-year-old lady of good character. AD, along with three co-defendants, faced trial on an eighteen-count indictment relating to benefit fraud valued at a total of £240,000. 7,000 pages of evidence were served. Two of the co-defendants pleaded guilty. AD was acquitted after the prosecution offered no evidence against her on day two of the trial.
R v CO (2016) – Woolwich Crown Court
The defendant faced two allegations: fraud, contrary to section 3 of the Fraud Act 2006; and dishonestly making a false statement or representation with a view to obtaining social security benefit, contrary to section 111A(1) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992. The defendant was acquitted after the prosecution offered no evidence on the first day of trial.
R v BH (2016) – Croydon Crown Court
The defendant was convicted of burglary following a three-day trial; he received a suspended sentence.
R v JD (2016) – Croydon Crown Court
Allegation of burglary based on recent possession. This four-day trial involved extensive cross-examination of a prosecution expert witness regarding his fibre analysis techniques.
R v MW (2015) – Wood Green Crown Court
Allegation of aggravated burglary arising out of the 2011 London Riots (defendant had absconded to Dubai for four years). Guilty plea.
R v LD (2012) – Maidstone Crown Court
The defendant faced a two-count indictment: going equipped, and burglary with intent to steal (at Leeds Castle). The Judge directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict on the burglary count following a successful submission of no case to answer at half time. The jury was hung on the going equipped count. The Crown did not seek a re-trial.
YOUTH COURT CASES
R v SK (2016) – Bromley Youth Court
This 13-year-old defendant faced an allegation of exposure, contrary to section 66 Sexual Offences Act 2003. The defendant, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, was found not guilty after trial. This case involved sensitive examination and cross examination of child witnesses (both prosecution and defence witnesses). A ground rules hearing was held and a body map was used.
R v OS (2014) – Croydon Youth Court
This 15-year-old defendant, who suffers with autism and learning difficulties, was accused of common assault of a neighbour. The case was eventually discontinued following defence representations being made at multiple hearings. This case involved very difficult client handling.
R v IK (2013) – Highbury Corner Youth Court
This 14-year-old defendant faced an allegation of sexual assault on a 15-year-old child in a school lavatory. The co-defendant pleaded guilty before trial. The defendant was acquitted at the conclusion of a three-day trial.
R v HC (& one other) (2013) – Wimbledon Youth Court
This 10 year-old defendant was accused of two offences of common assault arising out of playground games. The District Judge accepted a submission of no case to answer based on the ‘rough horseplay’ defence.
R v AS (& four others) (2010) – Hammersmith Youth Court
This 12-year-old defendant faced an allegation of robbery. He, along with his four co-defendants, was convicted after trial.
R v BGH (2014) – The Court Martial at Colchester
This defendant, a Lance Sergeant with 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards, was accused of two offences: ill treatment of a subordinate, contrary to section 22 of the Armed Forces Act 2006; and committing a criminal offence contrary to section 42 of the Armed Forces Act 2006 namely Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm contrary to section 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. The defendant pleaded guilt, subject to a basis of plea. A two-day Newton hearing took place before the Court Martial, which was decided against the defendant. The defendant was sentenced to a suspended period of detention and a two-step reduction in rank, but avoided being discharged. Mr. Manning acted pro bono throughout these proceedings.