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Broad Street Bristol BS1 1DREmail
Edd Hetherington is a specialist criminal and regulatory advocate, routinely instructed in the most complex, sensitive and high-profile cases, including murder; serious sexual offences; offences arising from organised crime, such as conspiracy to supply controlled drugs, human trafficking and money laundering; high-value fraud; as well as offences relating to prohibited weapons and firearms.
He is a much sought-after junior who both defends and prosecutes, including as Leading Counsel and regularly as the sole advocate against King’s Counsel. He is a CPS Grade 4 Panel Advocate, a member of the Specialist Rape Panel (RASSO), and a member of the Regulatory Advocates Panel in Health & Safety and Environmental Law.
Edd is joint Deputy Head of Albion Chambers, also sitting on the Equality and Diversity Committee and regularly acting as a Pupil Supervisor. In addition, Edd is a member of the Western Circuit-affiliated Bar None Steering Group; formed to encourage the strongest possible applications from under-represented groups, with a focus on those from state-school and BAME backgrounds. He has completed the Bar Council “Introduction to Race” Training and is actively involved with promoting careers at the Bar.
Edd is consistently instructed to conduct cases of the highest level of complexity and intricacy. He has a reputation for being able to digest voluminous, paper-heavy cases promptly and identify the key issues and evidence at an early stage. By doing this he can render the preparation and management of difficult cases much more straightforward for both those instructing and the lay client. Consequently he is regularly instructed in multi-defendant matters and is often asked to provide pre-charge advice.
Edd has a proven ability to form effective relationships of trust with clients and complainants and is renowned for his empathetic and careful approach. As such he is frequently instructed in cases of a sensitive nature, involving individuals with mental health issues or intellectual disabilities. He is often preferred by those instructing for his down to earth and relatable, user-friendly style, which is equally attractive to juries.
In addition to his general criminal practice, Edd has a particular specialisation in complex fraud proceedings and those brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act. He has vast experience in settling complicated, contested confiscation and money laundering applications. He has appeared in the Court of Appeal in a landmark decision on POCA ( EWCA Crim 873,  Crim LR 891), which is cited in Archbold and conducted a three-week hearing following a complex advance fee fraud trial. He is regularly instructed to prosecute by the Complex Casework Unit, HMRC and the DBEIS in intricate matters such as bankruptcy, hidden asset cases and asset disposal.
Cases of Interest:
- Operation Hydra (2023): Junior alone against King’s Counsel. Instructed to represent former CPS employee who over a 5 year period had abused her position to research and obtain sensitive information about prominent criminals and OCGs. Investigation ran by TARIAN, the Regional Organised Crime Unit for South Wales. Offending discovered as part of the Op VENETIC project (Encrochat).
- Operation Monet (2023): Prosecuting a series of interlinked drugs conspiracies involving five defendants who were supplying wholesale quantities of high-purity Class A drugs across the region. The evidence included observations, telephony, vehicle telematics and financial records. The case also involved the making of a s49 RIPA notice and prosecution for its breach.
- Operation Quail (2022-2023): Led by Adam Vaitilingam KC in a nine-handed, murder prosecution, where eight of the defendants, predominantly juveniles, were charged with the joint enterprise killing of a youth. CCTV, telephony, social media and forensics were prominent features of the evidence.
- AFB  EWCA Crim 1646: Junior Alone in the defence of an allegation of non-recent sexual abuse by a family member. The defendant was acquitted of the most serious allegations on the indictment, but convicted of some limited offending. In mitigation, Edd’s submissions were that this was not an abuse of trust. The Attorney-General referred the eventual sentence under the Unduly Lenient Sentence provisions, but the Court of Appeal declined to increase it and endorsed the reasoning behind it, when Edd appeared against Treasury Counsel.
- AUL v R (2022) EWCA Crim 1435: Junior alone, instructed by the CPS Appeals & Review Unit (Special Crime & Counter-Terrorism Division), in two linked appeals against conviction. The appellant sought to rely on recent authorities to overturn an old conviction as being an abuse of process due to his status as a victim of trafficking. Court of Appeal hearing involved expert evidence as well as evidence from the appellant tested under cross-examination. The appeals were dismissed.
- Re: H (2022): Leading Counsel, representing a former school master accused of sexually abusing 21 pupils, over more than a decade. Successful half-time submission on eight counts, including charges under the Indecency with Children Act 1960. Secured acquittals on charges of buggery and sexual assaults which would constitute rapes under modern law. Further counts were appealed with permission of the Single Judge ( EWCA Crim 58).
- Operation Langsat (2022): Led by Nicholas Corsellis KC in the defence of a complex, three-month human-trafficking trial prosecuted by the International Justice and Organised Crime Division. The allegations involved domestic and international trafficking over a ten year period, forced labour offences, financial control and offences relating to criminal property. Successfully resisted the making of a Slavery and Trafficking Prevention Order.
- Operation Dart (2022): Junior alone, against both King’s Counsel and Led Junior for the Crown. Multifaceted case of historic sexual abuse undertaken by five defendants over a ten-year period. Both psychiatric and psychological reports were required to address ASD diagnosis, cognitive impairment, reduced effective mental age and traumatic experience of blurred sexual boundaries and intrafamilial relationships. Suspended sentence.
- Re: M (2022): Junior alone, against King’s Counsel. Widely publicised case, defending a youth in respect of distinct allegations of attempt murder, wounding with intent and aggravated burglary, upon three strangers in separate incidents. Complex mental health issues and a delicate sentencing exercise following mixed verdicts.
- Operation Decode (2021): Leading Counsel, in the CCU prosecution of an OCG, following a three-year investigation. The group was distributing wholesale quantities of cocaine, MDMA, cannabis and prescription medication across the South West of England. The case involved evidence from three separate force areas.
- Operation Nessa (2021): Junior Alone, against both Leading and Led Junior for the Crown. A largescale investigation into a purported “revenge attack” shooting, executed in broad daylight on a busy high street. Edd’s client featured prominently in video footage of the incident captured by passers-by on dashcams and mobile telephones. After a trial lasting a little over a month, his client was unanimously acquitted by the jury.
- R v Butt (2021): Junior Alone, against King’s Counsel. CCU prosecution of a prominent local businessman who attacked his estranged wife with a hammer and screwdriver as she crossed the car park of her workplace in the dark. Unanimous conviction. This sentence was subsequently subject to an Appeal, which was dismissed by the CoA ( EWCA Crim 1277).
- Operation Sandhurst (2021): Led by Kate Brunner KC. Prosecution of two defendants charged with the murder of a man who they believed had stolen a bike. CCTV, mobile phone evidence, forensic scientific evidence and pathology to prove who attacked the deceased, why and timing of movements. Matters complicated by a tape-recorded confession by D2, procured by a friend who had been speaking to him on an illegal prison phone.
- Re: AHC (2020): Junior alone, prosecuting a student who had perpetrated an attack of the utmost ferocity and severity upon his girlfriend, at night, in a quiet city street. Potentially life-changing injuries were inflicted, further to two earlier incidents which showed an emerging pattern of escalating violence. The defence relied on both psychiatric and psychological reports, but the conviction on four separate counts resulted in an extended sentence of 12 years and 3 months.
- Operation Baghrash (2019):Leading Counsel, representing the former Finance Director of St Margaret’s Hospice. The defendant had been accused, along with the former CEO, of securing grant payments to the value of £1.2million by submitting falsified invoices. A unanimous not guilty verdict was returned, after a seven-week trial.
- R v Porter (2019): Junior alone, representing one of the main defendants in a complex joint enterprise to possess a firearm with intent. Evidence included CCTV, cell site analysis, telephone billing data, direct observation, ballistics and analysis of gunpowder residue. Edd’s client was the only defendant to be acquitted (unanimous verdict).
Regulatory and Judicial Review
Edd is regularly instructed in a diverse range of proceedings, including regulatory crime prosecutions and matters outside of the crime jurisdiction, including Judicial Review.
Edd has significant experience acting in Local Authority prosecutions, including food hygiene, listed buildings, benefit fraud, forced evictions and breach of licenses. He appears in applications for closure orders and in prosecutions initiated by the HSE, Companies House, the Food Standards Agency and the RSPCA, with a specific interest in cases brought under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
In addition to work in the criminal courts, Edd conducts public enquiries convened by VOSA, prison adjudications, cash forfeiture hearings and matters of professional discipline. He has also acted as Legal Advisor to Local Authority committees in a variety of licensing applications.
Edd is the author of Covid-19 and Health and Safety Law – The Essential Guide (Law Brief Publishing), which was first published in 2021 as a guide to employers and practitioners on how to comply with HSE requirements in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Cases of Interest:
- Oakley, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for Justice  EWHC 2602 (Admin): Edd acted for the Claimant in an application for judicial review of the Secretary of State’s refusal to accept a Parole Board recommendation to transfer a prisoner serving a life sentence into the open prison estate. The application resulted in a quashing order after a contested final hearing before Chamberlain J.
- Saunders v Bristol Magistrates Court  EWHC 2544 (Admin): Edd represented the Claimant in this successful judicial review action, which concerned the exercise by a criminal court of the power to adjourn a trial where the prosecution is not ready to proceed. Edd advised at the outset on legal remedies, drafted the pleadings, obtained permission and conducted the substantive final hearing. The effect of the quashing order obtained was to secure an acquittal for the lay client in their criminal proceedings.
- Operation Surf (2021): Defending a prosecution brought by a local authority Trading Standard department. Allegation of carrying on a fraudulent construction business by taking deposits from customers with no capacity or intention to complete their works.
- NSDC v Montgomery (2020): Successful application for an order of committal to prison, against a landowner who had refused to remove a structure in respect of which there was no planning permission. An injunction had previously been obtained to require its removal.
- BCC v Flanagan (2019): Defending the former owner of a café, the allegations having come to light as a result of the death of a customer, who had contracted food poisoning. Substantive offences relating to the day of the deceased’s meal were reduced by negotiation to a single plea to a documentary offence.
- DCC v Churches (2019): Prosecution of a farmer, for a range of animal-welfare offences, across two farm locations. Allegations included causing unnecessary suffering and failing to dispose of a decomposing bovine carcass. An order was made disqualifying the defendant from keeping all animals for ten years, 300 hours unpaid work and some £15,000 in costs.
- Operation Hammerhead (2019): Instructed by a regional police force to seek and enforce Gang Injunctions under the Police and Crime Act 2009. These orders were sought as part of a wider strategy to identify and disrupt organised crime activity across the South West.
- R v Sahin (2018): Defence of a company prosecuted by Avon Fire & Rescue Authority for breach of a Prohibition Notice. The case raised issues of the inherent risk occasioned by dangerous works, letting and subletting of residential rooms in commercial buildings and the disputed existence of a “risk to life”.
- Re: X Estates Ltd (2018): Defence of a property company, prosecution brought by SFD on behalf of the Forestry Commission. When clearing land to construct a stockproof fence, a contractor engaged by the defendant had removed trees which belonged to a National Trust property and therefore required a felling permit.