Lead Defendant in Serious Fraud Trial, Represented by Greg Unwin and Greg Wedge, Acquitted by Judge without a Jury After jury Tampering

5 March 2024

Greg Unwin, leading Greg Wedge, both of 187 Chambers, represented the first of nine defendants charged with multiple frauds in a trial before HHJ Andrew Smith KC at Birmingham Crown Court.

The case (Operation Riot) involved extensive cross-examination of experts in voice comparison and cell site and complex and substantial legal arguments. Following a ten week trial, the jury retired to deliberate before disclosing that they had been approached by third parties attempting to influence their verdicts. The judge had no choice but to discharge the whole jury.

The defendants were temporarily remanded in custody while the jury tampering was investigated. HMP Birmingham failed to release them as ordered by the Court. Mr Unwin secured the release of all nine defendants over the weekend by application for a writ of habeas corpus issued by an out-of-hours High Court Judge.

The defendants were split over whether the trial judge should continue to reach his own verdicts without a jury. Mr Unwin’s side of the argument prevailed before the trial judge and again in an interlocutory appeal to the Court of Appeal, heard by the Lady Chief Justice in Mohamed v Islaam [2024] EWCA Crim 34, who ordered that the trial continue without a jury.

On Friday 1st March 2024, the trial judge delivered detailed reasoned verdicts. Mr Unwin and Mr Wedge’s client was found not guilty of all counts.

Mr Unwin and Mr Wedge were instructed by Ahmer Sattar of GQS Solicitors.