Kira Chana - barrister

 

KIRA CHANA

 

Called : 2009

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ABOUT

Kira joined Farringdon Chambers after successful completion of her pupillage under the supervision of Martin McCarthy.

Although specialising in defence advocacy, she is also a Graded Prosecutor. This enables Kira to provide clients with holistic advice in all areas of criminal law, with a particular emphasis on violence, sexual and drug offences – areas in which she is experienced beyond her call.

Her success as an advocate thus far has meant that she has developed her Crown Court practice considerably, and regularly instructed in long-running and serious cases. She has proved to be a tenacious, robust and fearless advocate, which has resulted in her personal instruction as Junior Counsel on a number of occasions, by some of the country's leading Queen's Counsel in multi-handed trials, including Murder.

Kira is experienced in representing a wide variety of clients, including those who are vulnerable. Her ability to build a good rapport with clients combined with her forensic yet practical approach to cases has meant that solicitors and clients alike repeatedly instruct her. She has been praised on her conduct, manner, and overall abilities as an advocate. Qualities, which have been acknowledged by Judges before whom she has appeared.

Prior to coming to the Bar, Kira interned for a leading human rights charity, which led to her sole instruction by the family of the first American sentenced to death-row in South-East Asia on a pro-bono basis. She has also worked for a firm of solicitors, where she gained considerable experience of a range of white collar and general criminal matters including fraud, serious violence, drug importation and sexual offences.

 

SOLICITOR TESTIMONIALS

  • It is always important for a lawyer to have a good and thorough knowledge of the law and Kira Chana is someone whose knowledge and application of the law is of the highest quality”.
  • Kira is able to build strong rapports with all and has the abilities to put clients at ease”.
  • Kira has achieved excellent results whilst conducting difficult cases…she has been able to effectively undermine prosecution witnesses, resulting in acquittals for clients”.
  • She is a very tenacious and strong advocate in both the lower courts and the higher Courts. She has the ability to conduct cases at very short notice…and digest information...even when faced with difficult pressures in Court”.

 

COMMENDATIONS

* August 2018: Police Commendation for Counsel team on undercover policing inquiry from Assistant Commissioner of Metropolitan Police

 

INSTRUCTIONS 2018

R v K (Maidstone Crown Court) - Conspiracy to Throw an Article into Prison (List A)

R v N (Inner London Crown Court) - Affray


INQUIRY INSTRUCTIONS

* Ms. Chana has been instructed on a private basis by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in relation to the Undercover Policing Inquiry, the purpose of which is to investigate and report on undercover police operations conducted by English and Welsh Police forces in England and Wales since 1968. The purpose of the inquiry is to investigate the role and contribution made by under covering policing towards the prevention and detection of crime, as well as a review of the extent of the duty to make, during a criminal prosecution, disclosure of an undercover police operation and the scope for miscarriage of justice in the absence of proper disclosure.

 

NOTABLE CASES

MURDER

* R v N 2017 (Bradford Crown Court) - Instructed as Junior to Mr. Countenay Griffiths QC in a 3 month murder trial for the first defendant. The client, alongside his 4 brothers was charged with the murder of his cousin following long-standing familial breakdown. The case concerned extensive cross examination of a number of witnesses, including experts about sustained defensive injuries to the defendant. The case was reported nationally, including the BBC and Daily Mail.

 

DEATH BY DRIVING

* R v U 2018 (Central Criminal Court)- Ms. Chana secured an acquittal  following a week long trial at the Old Bailey, involving cross examination of prosecution collision experts. The Crown had contended that her client had been speeding, and failed to notice a pedestrian whilst driving in the E1 area, resulting in a fatal collision. Ms Chana, through her cross examination and analysis of the case in her closing speech outlined that the combination of various factors, including clothing; time of night; reflectivity meant the incident was a genuine accident and not the result of criminality. The jury acquitted Ms Chana's client after 5 hours of deliberation. Reported.

* R v S 2017 (Winchester Crown Court)- Instructed to represent a defendant for sentencing following his early guilty plea to causing death by dangerous driving, Ms. Chana, was able to mitigate on behalf of her client, resulting in a sentence of 5 years, where the Judge had considered the starting point, owing to the aggravating features to be 9 years custody. The Judge had considered the offence to be within the highest category of such offences, which ordinarily sees a starting point of 8 years immediate custody. The tragic case required Counsel who was tactful and sympathetic. It was these traits that lead to her instruction for sentence. The case has been reported in the local press.



INTERNATIONAL FRAUD

* R V S 2018 (Wood Green Crown Court) - Instructed as junior Counsel in a cross-jurisdictional multi-million pound fraud. One count of the 'sophisticated' fraud saw payment systems of an international pharmaceutical company compromised resulting in a loss of millions. The 6 week contested trial required the analysis of of thousands of pages of evidence which totalled over 40,000 pages. Close examination was required of the exhibits seized in this case, including mobile telephones, laptops and banking documentation. The case received international media coverage.

FIREARMS

* R v A 2017 (Kingston Crown Court)- Ms Chana represented a young defendant who had already pleaded guilty to possession of a disguised firearm. The Judge had previously indicated that the issue of whether the Court ought to exercise its discretion over mandatory sentencing required a further hearing by way of a Newton. The Judge and the prosecutor indicated they were both of the view it ought to be a 'guppy hearing'. Such a hearing requires the defendant to produce evidence and it is up to him to satisfy the Court at the civil standard. Ms Chana made forceful representations that this was not the appropriate course. Her persuasive submissions were successful. The Judge who had previously provided an indicated against Ms. Chana's client was persuaded to proceed at the criminal standard and where the burden was borne by the prosecution.


BURGLARY

R v L 2017 (St Albans Crown Court)This case concerned recognition evidence of 3 police officers, who after being shown CCTV stills and imagery purported to recognise a suspect as the perpetrator of a burglary. Miss Chana, who was instructed prior to trial, identified that all three officers had failed to comply with PACE Code D. This stipulates mandatory considerations which have to take place during an identification procedure. On the day of trial, Ms. Chana made a s.78 argument to exclude this evidence on the police failings to comply. She distinguished authorities, such as the R v Smith, on the basis that no other evidence was available to the Crown in the instant case to support the proposition that the suspect was in fact her client. She submitted that the disregard of the code of practice limited the ability to test the evidence. The Judge agreed, and accordingly the evidence was excluded. The crown, were in the unfavourable position of having to offer no evidence, and Ms Chana's client, who had spent 7 months on remand, was released once a Not Guilty verdict was returned.

* R v D 2016 (Basildon Crown Court) - Ms Chana represented a defendant in custody charged on indictment with domestic burglary. Due to the number of previous convictions for similar offences, a conviction would have meant that the defendant served a minimum of 3 years in custody. She was however, able to successfully make representations to the Prosecution on the day of trial. This resulted in a plea to criminal damage being entered and accepted, and no evidence offered to the count of burglary. The defendant was released from custody and sentenced to a 12 month conditional discharge.

 

OFFENSIVE WEAPONS

R v G 2017 (Woolwich Crown Court) - Ms. Chana's client was found not guilty in relation to two counts of possession of an offensive weapon. He was tried alongside one other defendant, upon whom the jury were hung. The case concerned an allegation where both defendants were said to have attended a property in the small hours of the morning with weapons in order to collect debt monies. A significant comment alleged to have been said to the arresting officer was explored by Ms. Chana in cross examination. The officer accepted that he had not followed procedure by noting the comment in his notebook and offering it to her client to sign against. It was further accepted by the officer that no written record was made until 3 hours after the alleged comment was made. The Jury returned not guilty verdicts in 2 hours.

* R v L 2016 (Croydon Crown Court) - An acquittal secured for a defendant of good character, charged with 3 counts of possession of offensive weapons. Through written and oral submissions, Ms Chana was successfully able to persuade the Court not to adduce hearsay evidence of a police officer who was unable to attend the trial. As a result of Ms Chana's arguments in Court, the Prosecution had to concede they were unable to proceed, and accordingly offered no evidence.

 

OFFENCES AGAINST THE PERSON

* R v G 2018 (Isleworth Crown Court)- An acquittal following a 3 day trial was secured for a defendant facing two counts of assault, one of which being racially aggravated. Ms. Chana's successful cross-examination of 3 prosecution witnesses, and thorough analysis of the papers meant that she was able to highlight inconsistencies between the complainant's account, and evidence. The Jury returned their verdicts after 2 hours in deliberation.

* R v P 2017 (Blackfriars Crown Court) - Ms. Chana represented this defendant who was alleged to have assaulted a vulnerable victim causing 2 bleeds to the brain; fracturing his cheekbone and and jaw. Following a late plea entered on the first day of trial, Ms. Chana persuaded the Judge to release her client on bail for two weeks to enable him to get his affairs in order, in a case which was considered and conceded by the defence to be a category 1 offence, where the starting point is 12 years custody. At sentencing, Ms. Chana persuaded the Judge to afford the defendant with 20% credit (significantly more than the 10% usually granted for late pleas). Her presentation of mitigation resulted in the Judge reducing the starting point to 10 years imprisonment, reduced to 8 years following his discount.

* R v V-T 2016 (Maidstone Crown Court) - A defendant alleged to have struck the complainant with a metal pole, and subsequently charged with S.18 GBH and S.20 was acquitted following arguments presented by Miss Chana surrounding the admissibility of identification evidence. Arguments were presented concerning the contamination of the evidence following witnesses formally identifying the defendant subsequent to a 'Facebook' search.

* R v H 2016 (Woolwich Crown Court) - Charged on indictment with Attempted S.18 with intent, the allegation concerned an alleged assault with the use of a weapon, namely a knife. Ms Chana successfully made representations for the Crown to accept a plea to a lesser offence of Actual Bodily Harm, which was accepted. The Judge, who had indicated that the sentence would be on of immediate custody, was sentenced to a suspended sentence following successful mitigation.

* R v P 2016 (Central Criminal Court) - Ms Chana represented a defendant of good character charged with one count of domestic ABH. Having been on remand for 4 months, Ms Chana, was able to successfully argue against an application to adjourn made by the prosecution, resulting in the offering of no evidence, and a Not Guilty verdict being directed.

* R v M 2015 (Canterbury Crown Court) – An acquittal secured for a defendant of good character following a 10 day trial. Subsequent to a successful submission that there was no case to answer on a count relating to an alleged assault; the Jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty, on the remaining count of affray.(Reported in media).

 

FRAUD

* R v P  2016 (Inner London Crown Court) - Ms Chana successfully secured an acquittal after 30 minutes of Jury deliberation, for her client who stood trial for money laundering alongside one other who was convicted. The index offence concerned a 'boiler room' fraud whereby victims were defrauded of monies culminating into several hundred thousand pounds. A fraction of money was then said to have been laundered through the bank account of Ms Chana's client. Her skilful presentation of the evidence resulted in the jury returning verdicts of Not Guilty within 30 minutes.


DRUGS

* R v F 2016 (Southwark Crown Court)  - Led by Courtenay Griffiths QC in a 21 day multi-million pound conspiracy to supply cocaine. The trial, in which Ms Chana's client was suggested to have been one of the so-called 'master-minds' of the operation involved scrutiny of covert surveillance; telephone cell-site and forensic evidence relied upon by the prosecution.

* R v M 2016 (Kingston Crown Court) - A substantial investigation lead to the arrest of 3 individuals concerned in the supply of 64kg of cocaine, with a street value of £6.4million. Searches of relevant properties also lead to the discovery of ammunition and machine guns. Ms Chana, during a 9 day trial represented a client who was the sole defendant to contest the drugs matter. He was linked to the two who had pleaded guilty by telephone attribution. Ms Chana's knowledge of cell-site and DNA allowed for her to successfully cross examine the officer in the case. (Reported).

 

BREACH OF PROTECTIVE ORDERS

R v F 2017 (Snaresbrook Crown Court) - An acquittal secured for a defendant who sent 5 months in custody on remand on a multi-count indictment. Following submissions regarding admissibility of evidence of the sole witness, Ms. Chana successfully persuaded the Judge to rule that the evidence ought not to be admitted. This lead to not guilty verdicts being returned on all counts.


DANGEROUS DRIVING

* R v B 2015 (Guildford Crown Court) – Following a guilty plea entered in the Magistrates Court to dangerous driving, the case was committed to the Crown Court for sentencing, where he was represented by Ms. Chana. The defendant; whilst on a motor-bike performed ‘wheelies’ on the M25 during rush-hour as well as undertaking and overtaking vehicles. Ms Chana successfully persuaded the Judge to suspend a custodial sentence (reported).


MEMBERSHIPS

Middle Temple

Criminal Bar Association

South Eastern Circuit (SEC)

Chambers Marketing Committee

 

EDUCATION

LLB Law (Hons), The College of Law

Bar Vocations Course (BVC), The College of Law

The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), The College of Law

BA Sociology, The University of Essex

 

LANGUAGES

Punjabi (Conversational)

CONTACT DETAILS

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