Franco Tizzano

  • Year of Call 1989

Franco Tizzano has been instructed as both leading and junior counsel in the most serious criminal cases and in inquests. A great number of those cases and inquests have received widespread media coverage.

Career Overview

Before coming into private practice, Franco worked as a Solicitor for the Department of Trade and Industry where he dealt with financial services, insider trading and corporate fraud.

Franco’s experience of criminal defence work is now of a level that he regularly undertakes work in cases involving allegations of murder, manslaughter, fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting, serious drug offences, serious allegations of violence, serious sexual offences and allegations of corruption made against police officers and other public officials.

Franco Tizzano prides himself in the meticulous preparation of his cases and in R v Xhellolari [2007] EWCA Crim 2052 the Court of Appeal stated the following in relation to his grounds of appeal: ‘These points are most carefully amplified in the written opinion of Mr Tizzano, to which this court would wish to pay particular tribute. Rarely has any of us seen an advice so cogently and helpfully presented.

Areas of Expertise


Franco has conducted murder and manslaughter trials alone and as junior counsel in a number of high profile cases that have attracted media coverage on a national level.

In particular, he has been involved in a number of high profile cases involving the deaths of infants as a result of alleged ‘shaken baby syndrome’ and is well versed in the complicated medical issues thrown up by such cases.

Franco has also been involved in many cases involving allegations of murder and manslaughter as a result of alleged disputes between rival gangs. As a result, he has often dealt with cases where the prosecution have sought anonymity in relation to prosecution witnesses who have witnessed such crimes. Franco is therefore well versed in the issues that are often raised with regard to the admissibility of such evidence and has successfully opposed applications for anonymity as well as applications made by the prosecution as to the admission of expert evidence in relation to gangs generally.

Offences of child cruelty and neglect:

Franco has often represented individuals, particularly parents, charged with the alleged physical abuse and/or neglect of children. He has therefore become very familiar with the need for expert evidence in such cases and how to challenge, and, undermine such evidence when presented by the prosecution.

Fraud and money laundering:

Franco has acted for and advised multi-national companies and directors of those companies in relation to issues involving mutual legal assistance, confiscation proceedings, and extradition.

In particular, he has advised one of the largest betting and gaming companies in the UK in relation to criminal proceedings that were threatened against it in another European State. This case raised issues involving the interpretation of European Union law and the freedom of establishment as well as the freedom to provide cross-border services.

Franco has also advised and represented the directors and employees of one of the largest companies in India in relation to allegations of money laundering in the UK and the resulting applications to restrain the assets of those individuals pending those criminal proceedings.

In addition, Franco has represented both lawyers and employees accused of fraudulently misappropriating very large sums of money belonging to the firms they worked for.

Furthermore, Franco has had experience in conducting cases involving allegations of large scale fraud on mortgage companies and conveyancing frauds where properties or land was said to have been obtained as a result of fraudulent misrepresentations.


Franco has experience in conducting cases involving large scale counterfeiting, especially of banknotes and has in-depth knowledge of the processes required to manufacture counterfeit currency. As a result, Franco is familiar with the expert evidence that is presented in such cases.

The importation and/or distribution of drugs, firearms, tobacco and counterfeit goods:

Franco has often represented individuals alleged to have been the ringleaders of the large scale importation and/or distribution of drugs, firearms, tobacco or counterfeit goods. As a result, he is well versed with the use by the police of covert operations and undercover police officers in such situations and is very familiar with the law in this area. As a consequence, he has been able to successfully apply to exclude evidence in such cases where covert operations have been undertaken in breach of the law which applies to such operations.

Sexual offences:

Franco has represented police officers and police staff accused of sexual offences and has dealt with a number of cases involving allegations of historical sexual offences, some of which have dated as far back as thirty to forty years. He is therefore well versed in relation to the issues thrown up by such cases, in particular as to disclosure of social services, medical, counselling and school records.


Franco has conducted a number of high profile inquests which have resulted in national media coverage, including deaths in police custody, patients who have died in hospital as a result of medical negligence and deaths that have arisen in the context of prolonged domestic abuse by one partner against another.

Franco is therefore well versed with the law, practise and procedure in coroner’s courts as well as the need for sensitivity when dealing with the clients he represents in such cases

Notable Cases

Re Inquest into the death of GD

This was a case where Franco represented the father of a heavily pregnant woman, GD, who had fallen to her death from a third-storey apartment block. Her boyfriend alleged that the fall had occurred as a result of misadventure when GD had climbed over the railing of a balcony during the course of a domestic argument. GD’s father was not convinced that this was what had occurred. However, the police had decided not to prosecute the boyfriend of GD on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to establish that GD’s boyfriend had been the cause of GD’s death.

Following detailed cross-examination of GD’s boyfriend at the inquest, the Coroner was not persuaded that the fall had been as a result of an accident or misadventure and returned an open verdict in relation to the cause of death.

R v MH and others

Successful acquittal of a man alleged to have been one of the ringleaders and organisers in the large scale importation of tobacco and cigarettes said to have been worth over £5 million.

R v CJ and others - Fraud

A case involving multiple allegations of fraud in relation to buy to let properties, and, multiple allegations of fraud in relation to mortgage companies stretching back over many years.

The volume of material served as evidence by the prosecution was such that the evidence was presented to the jury entirely on iPads.

R v CB and others

Successful acquittal of CB who was alleged to a member of a south London organised crime group involved with others in the robbery of a man and then subsequent attempts to pervert the course of justice by threatening the victim of the alleged robbery to withdraw the statement he had made to the police.

R v SM

Successful acquittal of a young man, alleged to be a member of a south London organised crime group, who was found in possession of a revolver and self-loading pistol and charged with firearms offences. An acquittal was achieved on the basis that it was proved that the firearms in questions were antique weapons and SM had them in his possession out of curiosity.

R v SO

Successful submission of no case to answer made in relation to a man charged with causing death by careless driving in relation to the death of a motorcyclist who was hit by a van SO was driving.

R v MS and others

MS was a member of ‘The Outlaws’ motorcycle club who was charged with others who belonged to that club with attacking a member of another motorcycle club and robbing him of his ‘colours’.

R v F.H. and others

Successful submission of no case to answer made in relation to the manager of a self-storage facility in London accused of being involved with others in a conspiracy to import and distribute counterfeit goods said to be worth millions of pounds.

R v AK & Others

AK and others, owners of a printing business, charged with conspiring to produce counterfeit £10 banknotes with a face value of millions of pounds. This was one of the most sophisticated counterfeiting operations ever investigated by the police involving the use of specialist printing equipment and specialist inks.

R v K.G and others

Successful acquittal of a man charged with murder, who had a history of committing violent offences. The defendant had been charged with others in attacking the home of a man against whom they had a grudge. In the course of the attack, the defendants were accused of having armed themselves with various weapons including machetes and a shotgun, and, had rammed the gates of the home of their intended victim using a stolen truck. K.G. had admitted being present at the scene of the murder but had denied participating in it or knowing of the plan to kill the victim.

R v S.K. & Others

Successful submission of no case to answer, at the close of the defence case, with regard to allegations of multiple importations of large quantities of heroin said to have a wholesale value of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

R v H.A. & Another

Successful application to dismiss charges arising from allegations of the importation of heroin through the postal system

R v A.G. & Others

Secured acquittal of A.G. who was charged with a conspiracy to supply a firearm and ammunition, and, whose defence consisted of an admission that he had the firearm and ammunition for his own protection and not for the purposes of supplying the gun and ammunition to another.

R v M.F

Successful submission of no case to answer at the close of the prosecution case with regard to multiple allegations of sexual assault and assault by penetration of a nine-year-old girl by a man who had been employed by her parents to teach the nine-year-old girl the Koran. The prosecution appealed the ruling made by the trial judge to the Court of Appeal, which dismissed the prosecution appeal.

R v A.W. & Another

Verdict of not guilty entered in relation to allegations of robbery following a successful submission to exclude evidence of identification obtained through flawed video identification procedures conducted by the police.

R v D.S

Prosecution offered no evidence following multiple applications by the defence for disclosure in a case involving allegations of rape and the supply of Class A drugs, the applications having led to the discovery that the complainant had made false allegations of sexual assault against a serving police officer and false allegations of other crimes to the police.

R v A-S and others

Multi-million pound money laundering offences arising from the largest drug supplying operation ever disrupted by the police in London.

R v T & Others

Money laundering offences arising from a wide-ranging immigration fraud.

R v RA

Historic allegations of rape and indecent assault said to have taken place 30 years ago made by a number of complainants against a school caretaker.

R v DS & another

Conspiracy to supply heroin involving the largest seizure of this drug in West Yorkshire, the heroin having a value of over £3million.

R v M & Others

Involving kidnap, torture and murder of two young girls in Reading. This case received widespread media coverage due to the extreme violence meted out to the victims.

R v G and Another - Murder

Involving the murder of a young boy by other young boys outside a school in Fulham;

R v N and R v H

Both cases involving the allegation of the murder of a baby by a babysitter; and

R v H and Others

Involving the ‘honour killing’ of a young woman by members of her own family.

R v H.C and Others

Involving the human trafficking of women from China to the UK for the purposes of their prostitution

Other Information

Franco speaks fluent Italian.

When he is not at work, Franco enjoys playing and watching football having played at a semi-professional level when he was younger. He also enjoys going to the cinema and has a wide knowledge of film having been a member of the British Film Institute for many years.

Professional Memberships
  • Middle Temple
  • Criminal Bar Association
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