Ioana is a determined and extremely hardworking advocate who rapidly developed a practice in complex cases. She is quick to impresses upon instructing solicitors and lay clients.
Ioana is instructed in a broad range of criminal matters including people trafficking and modern slavery, dishonesty, drugs, violence and regulatory offences. She is a tenacious, hard-working barrister, particularly versed in disclosure issues, abilities that have led to her instruction in very complex cases from an early stage in her career. Ioana is fearless in cross examination and a charismatic advocate throughout. Her ability to connect and engage with the jury has led to swift acquittals in very serious cases.
Ioana has a real eye for detail and she is the led junior of choice in extremely complex cases, in particular those involving extensive telephone and banking material. Her ability to digest enormous amounts of information and remember the detail never fails to impress. She has been instructed in high profile cases, of which a significant number of drug conspiracies and the largest people trafficking case to date in Europe.
Ioana often represents young and vulnerable defendants as well as individuals who find themselves in trouble for the first time. She is commended for her thorough legal research and for going the extra mile by tailoring her approach to meet the client’s needs, giving each client the confidence that she will always do her utmost best.
Ioana also represents Respondents in civil applications, such as forfeiture and Slavery and Trafficking Risk Orders. She gives robust advice and drafts persuasive written representations often resulting in the conclusion of the case in her clients’ favour.
Areas of Expertise
Ioana accepts instructions in the following areas:
- General Crime
- Financial Crime
- Sexual Offences
- Regulatory Offences
- Driving offences
R v PH [Operation Cocoa] (July 2019) - Wolverhampton Crown Court - Murder involving extensive medical evidence
Led by Balraj Bhatia QC in Operation Cocoa, where a 70 year-old man had died as a result of sustaining 30 broken rib injuries as well as a number of neck and head injuries. The Crown relied on extensive medical evidence that was challenged in court. Reported in the news, read more.
R v VL [Operation Cardinas] (April 2019) – Blackfriars Crown Court – successful half time submissions in a modern slavery & money laudering conspiracy
Led by Molly Pinkus in Operation Cardinas, a cross border investigation into modern slavery offences that involves both the British and the Romanian authorities. There are at least 20 complainants identified, more than 20,000 pages of served evidence and the trial is due to last 8-10 weeks.
VL, the father of the first Defendant is alleged to be part of an organised crime group that takes advantage of vulnerable Romanian people by deceiving them into travelling from Romania to London, living in substandard, crowded accommodation before sending them to do forced or compulsory work, commonly on construction sites or in the cleaning industry.
VL was acquitted by the jury, after the judge acceded to half time submissions in relation to all the counts on the indictment, namely, conpiracy to require others to perform forced labour, conspiracy to traffick people from Romania into the UK and omeny laundering (of over £2million). Reported in the news, read more.
R v MC [Operation Fort] (October 2018) – Birmingham Crown Court – modern slavery & money laundering conspiracy (largest in Europe)
Led by Martin McCarthy in a 4-month trial involving a number of offences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015. Operation Fort is to date the largest investigation into modern slavery offences in Europe. The case involved over 80 Complainants and over 1.3 million pages of evidence were served as part of the prosecution case, including a vast amount of telephone and banking evidence. MC was the first on the Indictment and his role was mainly to take people to the banks and able to show the "respectable face of the conspiracy" assisting the leader of the conspiracy.
This case was described as “the most ambitious, extensive and prolific modern-day slavery ever exposed in the UK,” with over 400 people being trafficked from Poland into the UK, threatened with violence, forced into work arranged via agencies and made to live in squalid accommodations. Bank accounts and benefit claims were opened in their names, but the cards were kept by the conspirators, for their own use.
MC received 11 years. Reported in the news, read more.
R v SA [Operation Shine] (June 2018, retrial January 2019) – Bristol Crown Court – burglary & handling stolen goods conspiracy
Led by Graham Arnold in Operation Shine. The trial, listed for 6-8 weeks involved eleven Defendants who conspired to burgle and later, to handle stolen goods to the value of £2million from the home address of a member of the public.
R v SB [Operation Mohawk] (February 2018) – Worcester Crown Court – drugs conspiracy
Led by Edward McKiernan in a multi-handed class A drug conspiracy. Case involved over 100,000 pages of telephone evidence. Reported in the local news.
R v SN [Operation Iridium] (June 2017) – Wolverhampton Crown Court – drugs conspiracy
Led by Balraj Bhatia QC. Operation Iridium involved a multi-handed class A drug conspiracy, and the first Defendant was also charged with possession of a firearm and perverting the course of justice. The case involved examination of call data, but also lengthy submissions on the category of the offending and totality of the sentence.
The Defendant received a ten and a half years sentence. Reported in the local news.
R v GP [Operation Dynamo] (November 2016) – Stafford Crown Court – drugs conspiracy
Led by Martin McCarthy in a multi-handed drugs conspiracy (class A and class B). The case involved detailed examination of the call and cell site data. GP was alleged to be the head of the Swadlincote conspiracy supplying M-cat to others. Reported in the local news.
R v ZE (July 2019) - Basildon Crown Court - Possession with intent to supply class A (cut-throat)
Two young men were accused of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply. ZE and his co-defendant were in a cut throat, as only one of them would have been able to bring the drugs at the location where they were apprehended by the police.
R v IR (June 2019) – Canterbury Crown Court – assisting illegal entry into the UK
Ioana was instructed in an alleged facilitation of illegal entry where the Crown’s case relies heavily on phone evidence.
The Crown’s case alleged that IR and his wife, agreed with an unknown Albanian male to conceal 3 Albanian nationals into the lorry IR was driving as part of a legitimate business and bring them into the UK.
Whilst there was no proof of contact between IR, CR and the three Albanian nationals in the back of the lorry, there was a common number, that was in significant contact with IR, CR and two of the three Albanian nationals. There were about 100 contacts (calls and texts) between CR and IR's phone with that common number.
The case involved over 10,000 pages of significant telephone evidence.
Hung jury in February 2019, retrial in June 2019.
R v DP (August 2018) – Isleworth Crown Court – perverting the course of justice, fraud & burglary
Ioana represented DP for three offences. First, the what is known as the Grenfell fraud [£40,000] when masquerading as a former Grenfell resident and pretending to have a friend of a person who had died in the fire. The second offence was that of committing a burglary of a dwelling during the course of the fraud, and thirdly, having been caught for the burglary, advancing wholly dishonest mitigation, again claiming a close connection with Grenfell to receive a much lower sentence that what would have been imposed in normal circumstances.
DP’s case received extensive media attention, in what was the worst yet Grenfell fraud, of course aggravated by the lies told to an entire courtroom when caught for a burglary that was committed whilst living in hotel accommodation paid by the Grenfell fund.
DP was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. Reported in the news.
R v EI [Operation Buccina] (August 2018) – Inner London Crown Court – conspiracy to steal
Ioana represented a female Defendant who was accused of a conspiracy to steal over £1,000,000 worth of jewellery. The Defendant, first on the Indictment, accepted that she disguised herself in a niqab and burka and accompanied the male who stole the diamonds but stated that she did not know anything was to be stolen. Crown’s case relied heavily on phone evidence. The Defence relied on the phone evidence that was not part of the Crown’s schedules, creating a detailed call schedule to prove the involvement of others lower on the Indictment.
Unanimous Not Guilty verdict in an hour. The Defendant, a single mother and five, was released after 7 months in custody. Reported in the news.
R v AL (April 2018) – Snaresbrook Crown Court – rape and sexual assault
Secured acquittal of a young man due to commence university who charged with rape and sexual assault by penetration of a school friend.
R v OS (February 2018) – Inner London Crown Court – money laundering
Ioana represented OS in this sophisticated, 20,000-page money laundering case. OS was investigated for laundering money that originated from an international large-scale fraud. The defence was a complex one, as the Defendant was running a money transfer business between two jurisdictions.
R v PM (August 2017) – Snaresbrook Crown Court – violent disorder and possession of a weapon
Allegation of violent disorder and possession of an offensive weapon. It was alleged that PM and his brother were seeking revenge against a group of youths that have bullied their family. One of the brothers entered a Guilty plea at an earlier stage to possession of a samurai sword.
PM, who was in proximity to his brothers, in possession of a snooker cue was acquitted after trial.
R v SO (June 2017) – Snaresbrook Crown Court – going equipped to steal
OS was charged with going equipped after he was stopped in a car with his co-defendant. The master key that would open a large number of post boxes in a residential complex of flats was found in the possession of OS together with a large number of keys that were found in the car.
Ioana also represented OS for an appeal against sentence in the Court of Appeal:  EWCA Crim 1563
R v IK (May 2017) – St. Albans Crown Court – aggravated burglary
Ioana secured the acquittal of an 18-year-old charged with aggravated burglary. L admitted having lied in the police interview and changed his oral evidence from his defence statement that was signed on the first day of the trial.
R v VJ (September 2016) – Caernarfon Crown Court – cultivation of cannabis
VJ stood charged with cultivation of cannabis (335 plants found at an apartment in Wrexham) after he was found shirtless in an apartment that resembled a cannabis jungle. Acquitted in 30 minutes. Reported in the local news.
R v SA (August 2016) – Caernarfon Crown Court - Assisting illegal entry into the UK
Ioana represented SA for assisting illegal immigration into the UK.
R v MK (August 2018) – Snaresbrook Crown Court – fly tipping
Ioana represented MK and his company for what is commonly known as the fly tipping offence. Ioana drafted written representations on the evidence at the Codes of Practice arguing that there is no prospect of conviction and persuaded the council to drop the charges before the trial.
R v RB (October 2017) – Southend Crown Court – breach of fire brigade prohibition
Instructed to represent a restaurant owner charged with four breaches of a prohibition imposed by the Essex fire brigade.
R v SN (2018) – Wolverhampton Crown Court
The Crown’s initial finding of the benefit of a drugs conspiracy was over £1,318,000 but it was lowered to £353,000 after oral representations and the instruction of a drugs’ valuation expert.
R v AD (2017) – Northampton Crown Court
Order agreed following successful representations. The final benefit figure was reduced by in excess of £10 million and the available amount was reduced by in excess of £5,000. Case involved examination of banking records, as well as handwritten records of the drug trafficking debt.
R v RK (2018) – Chelmsford Magistrates Court
Following written representations drafted by Ioana, the police agreed to release £15,000 despite a finding that 21% of the notes were contaminated with cocaine at a significant level.
R v AC (2016) - Camberwell Green Magistrates Court
Successfully persuaded the tribunal on the balance of probabilities that C is entitled to reclaim his £12,000 in cash from the police. C was a Romanian citizen and was suspected of being part of a criminal organised group that was involved in stealing cards from nightclubs.
R v RO (2019) - Luton Magistrates Court
Ioana is currently representing three Romanian citizens that are under investigation for slavery offences. She successfully negotiated an interim Slavery and Trafficking Risk Order that is suitable for her clients and permits them to travel and retain their passport.
R v MC (2017) - Birmingham Magistrates Court
Ioana represented MC who was at the time on police bail for the largest modern slavery investigation.
R v A (2018) – Luton Magistrates Court – failure to provide a specimen
The Defendant had a documented history of asthma. He failed to blow into the breathalyzer and the police officer refused to offer a blood sample instead. The Defendant accepted that he was drunk as part of his defence. The argument was purely legal, based on the expert’s evidence that was provided on behalf of A. The DJ acquitted stating the following: “One's instinct and gut is to find against the Defendant. This is one of the least attractive defences that I have seen in my career. I must resist instinct and look at the law as pointed out to me and look at the evidence. I must make a determination based on the law.”
R v K (2017) – Basildon Magistrates Court – driving whilst disqualified
K pleaded Guilty to his second driving whilst disqualified and had three previous convictions from drinking under the influence of alcohol. He was sentenced to a fine.
R v C (2016) – Bexleyheath Magistrates Court – driving without insurance
Following successful interrogation of the witnesses and presentation of the evidence, the Bench found that there are special reasons not to impose any points in a driving without insurance case. Absolute discharge.
R v D (2016) – Highbury Corner Magistrates Court
Failure to provide a specimen; D was charged with failure to provide a specimen. The Bench dismissed the charge at the conclusion of the Crown’s case after a successful application of no case to answer.
Slavery and Trafficking Risk Orders
- University College of London, LLM (2019)
- City Law School, Bar Practice Training Course (2012)
- City University, LLB Degree (2:1) (2011)
Ioana completed her pupillage at Farringdon Chambers, under the supervision of Martin Mccarthy. She is a member of the Gray’s Inn and also of the Criminal Bar Association. She is also a member of the management committee in chambers, representing the junior members under 8 years call.
Having been born in Bucharest, Romania, Ioana speaks fluent Romanian and is often instructed in cases involving Romanian and Eastern European clients.
Ioana is also a postgraduate student at UCL, expanding her legal horizons into international law, with a focus on cyber-crime and terrorism. Her final thesis focuses on the ability of the UK to act in self defence against the most serious of cyber-attacks that are attributed to hostile states and whether the law is clear enough to avoid an international conflict.
Ioana leads an active lifestyle and enjoys tennis. She likes to think that she is almost a professional skier, passion that was fueled during her years of education in the Swiss Alps. She loves art and anything linked to fashion and enjoys a good exhibition and theatre.