Frances has a strong criminal practice prosecuting and defending in serious and complex cases. Frances is regularly instructed in cases involving drugs conspiracies, weapons, serious violence and sexual offences. She acts alone and as a led junior. Frances is adept at dealing with cases involving large volumes of technical evidence. She is known for her careful preparation, clear advice and sound judgement.

Frances has received praise from Judges for her skilful handling of difficult cases. Frances has represented adults and children charged with serious sexual offences in both the Crown and Youth Courts, including the successful cross-examination of very young children. She has significant experience of s.28 cases (pre-recording cross-examination).

She has experience of dealing with witnesses and defendants with particular vulnerabilities or communication difficulties due to their age or disability, including the use of intermediaries both when prosecuting and defending.

Frances is a member of the CPS Rape Panel and a Category 4 prosecutor.

R v DP [2022] – Successful prosecution of man accused of sexually abusing three separate victims over a 30-year period. The defendant’s ill health, the distress of the victims and a failure to prosecute allegations made by one of the victims in the early 2000’s complicated the case.

R v RH [2021] – Defence of man accused of Class A drug dealing. Cut throat defence with co-defendants placing the blame for possession of the drugs on each other. The defendant Frances represented was acquitted of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs while the co-defendant was convicted. Secured a suspended sentence following pleas to less serious offences.

R v SB [2021] – Prosecution of man who stole over £100,000 from his house bound mother. Victim had to give evidence via video link from home. The case involved analysis of significant quantities of financial material. The defendant was convicted after trial.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-59183648

R v KS [2020] – Sex offender failed to notify police as required of names using on social media and communicated with a child when he was prohibited from doing so. Frances continued to act when Court of Appeal had to consider the legal definition of a name.

Operation Fullbacks [2019] – Led junior in a drugs and explosives conspiracy. The explosives element of the case arose out of a ‘tit for tat’ campaign of violence between two rival gangs, resulting in a live grenade being left on the driveway of a family home. The case involved complex and expert evidence on cell siting, various types of encrypted telephone contact, explosives, DNA and voice recognition.

Operation Samurai [2018] – Led junior in a drugs and firearms conspiracy involving over 25 defendants and two trials. The conspiracies involved multiple incidents and spanned more than a year. There were complex legal issues that arose relating to the nature of the conspiracies. In one trial the jury took over a month to reach verdicts.

R v DW [2017] – Successfully defended in a shaken baby case which involved significant expert evidence and necessitated the cross-examination of leading medical experts in the fields of paediatric neurology and paediatric neurosurgery. Frances secured a concession from one of the experts that the injuries were likely caused before the defendant ever had contact with the child; the jury acquitted in less than an hour.

R v Boardman [2015] EWCA Crim 175 – In one of the leading cases on the exclusion of telephone evidence Frances successfully argued, defending against Queen’s Counsel, that the trial Judge’s order to exclude telephone evidence due to late service was correct. Lord Justice Leveson upheld the terminating ruling, and which resulted in the defendant’s acquittal.

Inquests

Frances has been instructed in the Coroners Court to protect the interests of both the family of the deceased and those potentially subject to criticism by the Coroner. Frances has a particular interest in inquests involving significant advocacy where she can use the skills from her criminal practice. She is adept at dealing with cases with the sensitivity that is always required in the Coroners Court.

Frances is able to master complex and specialist medical and technical evidence. She ensures that the coroner explores all relevant aspects of the case during the inquest, while always seeking to protect the interests of her client.

Inquest into the death of JD [2021] – Inquest into the widely reported death of a paramedic who died when a rock from a tipper truck passed through the windscreen of the Ambulance he was in. Frances represented the driver of the tipper truck. A narrative verdict was recorded. https://www.herefordtimes.com/news/19754998.rock-killed-999-herefordshire-hero-jeremy-daw/

Inquest into the death of FA [2019] – representing the council licensing department in an inquest where a teenager had died of an ecstasy overdose at a rave. The inquest involved consideration of whether the licensing conditions were appropriate and whether they had been complied with. There had already been criminal proceedings regarding the supply of the drug.

Inquest into the death of RW [2018] – inquest into the death of a man who fell down stairs at Old Trafford Stadium. The inquest involved a jury. There was a very large volume of evidence that required all parties to become familiar with the design, operation and safety standards applicable to stadium design and management.

Liverpool University – Law degree 2007 – 1st Class, 2007

Nottingham Law School – Bar Vocational Course 2008 – Very Competent

Member of Lincoln’s Inn

Member of the Wales and Chester Circuit

Member of the Northern Circuit

Category 4 prosecutor

CPS Rape Panel