Harpreet Singh Sandhu - Crime
Harpreet is ranked by the Legal 500 and Chambers UK where he has been described as, “A rising star of the Midland Circuit, noted for his work both defending and prosecuting complex criminal cases”.
Harpreet combines his natural and highly-effective advocacy skills with real industry. He receives praise regularly from those who appear with and against him and from the judiciary (including a former Lord Chief Justice).
His busy practice covers the full range of criminal offences and he has won particular praise for his handling of serious sexual offences, offences of grave violence, serious road traffic matters, allegations of fraud and alleged drugs offences (including importation and wide-scale supply).
Harpreet's innate ability to secure the confidence of those he represents results in instructions to act for professionals, including police officers, teachers and members of the medical and legal professions, who find themselves before the criminal courts.
In addition, Harpreet’s receives instructions regularly to represent those who are particularly vulnerable and those with mental health difficulties.
Harpreet is a CPS Level 4 prosecutor and he is authorised to prosecute rape cases. He was for several years, until it was disbanded, a member of the Attorney General’s Unified List of Prosecuting Advocates. He is now appointed to the List of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in Health and Safety and Environmental Law and he accepts instructions to prosecute on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency and the Office of Rail Regulation.
Harpreet represents interested parties at inquests and he has experience of courts-martial work.
Harpreet speaks fluent Punjabi.
"He's extremely polished and well prepared." "He knows how to deal with clients at all levels, his drafting is second to none, and he has judges eating out of the palm of his hand."
Chambers UK 2017
"He is extremely eloquent in court and has a strong technical ability."
Legal 500 2016
Noted as a very experienced advocate for his year of call. He has a busy practice that covers a wide range of criminal offences and is authorised to prosecute on rape cases. Recent work: Acted as defence counsel in the case of R v Laurence Wrenn, where the defendant was accused of violent offences. Appeal referred to HMRC's lack of disclosure concerning the defendant's status as a human intelligence source.
"He is a tenacious, skilled advocate with a sophisticated and considered approach to trial strategy." "He's superb with professional and lay clients and is a clear star of the future."
Chambers UK 2016
"His work ethic and level of preparation are second to none."
Legal 500 2015
Strongly commended by market commentators for his handling of serious sexual offences and violent criminal cases as well as regulatory and road traffic infractions.
"He is an exceptional speaker - his closing speeches are excellent and his speeches in mitigation are incredibly good."
Chambers UK 2015
"Harpreet Sandhu is destined to be one of the leading barristers in the Midlands. He is a very considerate and polite barrister with consummate client care skills."
Chambers UK 2014
Up-and-coming junior Harpreet Singh Sandhu, has won widespread acclaim from his peers and from market sources as a whole. "He is an extremely fluent advocate," notes one impressed barrister. Solicitors appreciate the fact that he is "fantastically thorough and very polished." Another market source said of him: "He is thoughtful in his approach to cases and reassuring with clients."
Chambers UK 2013
- BA (Hons) (Dunelm) [English Literature];
- Dip Law (City);
- BVC (Inns of Court School of Law) [Recipient of the British Academy of Forensic Sciences Prize];
- Prince of Wales Scholar (Gray’s Inn).
- Gray’s Inn;
- Midland Circuit;
- Criminal Bar Association.
- CPS Level 4 Prosecutor (Rape Panel);
- List of Specialist Regulatory Advocates in Health and Safety and Environmental Law;
- Circuit Junior, Midland Circuit (2015 – 2016);
- Gray’s Inn Barristers’ Committee;
- Sometime Visiting Lecturer, Birmingham University.
R v C (Birmingham Crown Court)
Harpreet defended a serving police officer who was tried and re-tried upon allegations of historical sexual abuse (which were said to have occurred in the early 1980s) against several complainants. The defendant was acquitted of all counts.
R v AA (Birmingham Crown Court)
Harpreet defended a man who was alleged to have sexually assaulted and repeatedly raped a female member of his family over a seven-year period when she was a child. The defendant was acquitted on all thirteen counts after a nine-day trial.
R v Rowton (Stafford Crown Court)
Harpreet represented a man who was indicted with causing grievous bodily harm with intent. The injured party died three years after the injuries sustained at the defendant’s hands. The defendant was then charged with murder and was represented by Harpreet who appeared as junior to Michael Burrows QC.
R v G (Wolverhampton Crown Court)
Harpreet defended a man in his early twenties who was tried on an allegation of rape. The prosecution offered no evidence after Harpreet cross-examined the complainant.
R v Walters (Stafford Crown Court)
Harpreet represented a serving police officer who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two women whilst on duty. In light of the defendant’s pleas, the prosecution elected not to try him on a count of misconduct in public office. This case received widespread media attention.
R v Norman (Cardiff Crown Court)
Harpreet represented a professional driver who pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving. Following a plea in mitigation which was described as “exemplary”, Harpreet’s client received a 16-month custodial sentence.
R v VD (Stafford Crown Court)
Harpreet represented a former police officer who pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving and one count of causing serious injury by dangerous driving. This case received extensive media coverage.
R v Tootle (Liverpool Crown Court)
Harpreet defended a man who pleaded guilty to causing death and serious injury by dangerous driving. He had driven a heavy-goods vehicle into a line of stationary traffic on the M53 with fatal consequences for one victim and life-changing consequences for another.
R v Christopher Cambray (Birmingham Crown Court)
Harpreet was instructed to represent a police sergeant who pleaded guilty to several child sex offences.
R v Munro (Liverpool Crown Court)
Harpreet was instructed as junior to John Butterfield QC to represent a man who had pleaded guilty to murdering his wife (by repeatedly stabbing her) and who then applied to vacate that plea.
R v NC (Worcester Crown Court)
Harpreet defended a man who was alleged to have sexually abused two children in the 1970s. The alleged offences were said to have occurred over forty years before the defendant was tried. The defendant was acquitted.
R v Hunt (Birmingham Crown Court/Court of Appeal)
Harpreet represented a man who was tried over the course of five weeks. It was alleged he had conspired with others to kidnap a member of another family in retaliation for an arson attack at the defendant’s home. In addition, he was alleged to committed two aggravated burglaries at homes associated with that other family. The defendant was acquitted of one of those aggravated burglaries but convicted of the other. The defendant was also convicted of conspiracy to kidnap. Harpreet acted for him in the Court of Appeal when both of the appellant’s convictions were quashed.
R v FT (Warwick Crown Court)
Harpreet defended a man charged with raping a stranger. The defendant was acquitted after trial.
R v Lightwood (Birmingham Crown Court)
Harpreet acted for a lady who was accused of false accounting and of stealing over £170,000 from her employers. The indictment was stayed after Harpreet argued, successfully, that the proceedings amounted to an abuse of the court’s process in light of the poor way in which the case had been investigated and the prosecution’s failure to comply with its disclosure obligations.
R v Walmsley (Liverpool Crown Court)
Harpreet defended a man charged with causing death by dangerous driving in a case which attracted widespread media attention. Turner J found the defendant to be unfit to be tried as a result of the life-changing injuries sustained by him in a road traffic collision in which his good friend died. The matter proceeded by way of a fact-finding exercise before a jury. Harpreet's client was absolutely discharged.
R v Rajan (Birmingham Crown Court)
Harpreet appeared as junior counsel (led by John Butterfield QC) for a nurse charged with the gross negligence manslaughter of an elderly patient in his care. This factually and medically-complex case received national media attention. The defendant was acquitted following a successful submission of no case to answer.
R v M (Stafford Crown Court)
Harpreet represented a man who faced a 17-count indictment alleging historic sexual abuse of two generations of relatives. He was acquitted following a six-day trial.
R v D (Stafford Crown Court)
Harpreet represented a serving police officer who faced two allegations of rape and one of assault. He was acquitted.
R v Abell (Nottingham Crown Court)
Harpreet represented a police officer who pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office after sending sexually inappropriate messages to a woman who had been a witness in criminal proceedings. Harpreet’s client received a suspended sentence of imprisonment.
R v Chase (Birmingham Crown Court)
Harpreet defended in the eighth of a series of financial crime cases investigated and prosecuted as Operation Raiment. Harpreet’s client was alleged to have cheated the public revenue by failing to declare tax on thirteen years’ worth of income and she was alleged to have committed a series of mortgage frauds. The mortgage fraud counts were abandoned by the prosecution during the course of their case after several witnesses (including accountants) and been called and cross-examined.
R v Watts (Stafford Crown Court)
Harpreet defended a detective constable who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. Harpreet’s client had accessed police computer systems for information which was then passed to his co-accused who was also convicted with others (in concurrent proceedings) of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. This case attracted much media attention.
R v S (Wolverhampton Crown Court)
Harpreet defended a man tried for raping and assaulting his ex-partner in her home. The defendant was acquitted.
R v RY (Stafford Crown Court)
Harpreet represented a serving police officer charged with perverting the course of public justice. A successful application to dismiss resulted in an end to the proceedings.
R v Martin (Birmingham Crown Court)
In this case, which attracted extensive media attention, Harpreet appeared as junior counsel (led by Richard Carey-Hughes QC) for a young man charged with murdering a convicted child sex offender whose home had been set on fire through the defendant's actions. The prosecution accepted a plea to manslaughter and the defendant received a determinate sentence of ten years' imprisonment.
R v Pollock (Birmingham Crown Court)
Harpreet appeared as junior counsel (led by Michael Duck QC) for a man who had admitted stabbing and, therefore, killing his friend with a knife he, the defendant, had taken to the scene of the crime. The prosecution alleged that the defendant had murdered the deceased. The defendant was tried, acquitted of murder and convicted of manslaughter in the alternative.
R v D (Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court)
Harpreet defended a 36-year old man accused of raping his ex-partner's daughter (aged 13 at the time of trial) when she was aged between 8 and 10 years. Four experts were called to deal with issues of paediatric and genito-urinary medicine during the trial (which lasted seven days). The defendant was acquitted.
R v E (Norwich Crown Court)
Harpreet represented a man tried for engaging in sexual activity with his six-year old de facto step-granddaughter. The defendant received a more lenient sentence than he may otherwise have done following what was described by the judge as Harpreet's "powerful mitigation".
R v B (Birmingham Crown Court)
Harpreet represented one of three teenaged defendants who were alleged, as part of a gang, to have raped, assaulted by penetration and sexually assaulted three complainants, one aged 14 and two aged 16 years. Harpreet led the cross-examination of those complainants for the defence during an eleven-day trial. The jury was hung in respect of Harpreet's client and the prosecution subsequently offered no evidence.
R v Trail (Birmingham Crown Court)
Harpreet appeared as led junior for the second of three defendants charged with conspiracy to defraud the NHS of £1.4 million. The first defendant (Harpreet's client's sister) was a dentist whose practice had submitted over 7,000 false claims for work which had not been completed. Harpreet's client was also charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. This was a complex case in which the served evidence amounted to 85,000 pages. Harpreet's client was the only defendant to be acquitted after a six-week trial.
R v Chapman (Stafford Crown Court)
Harpreet defended a man charged with conspiring to import cocaine from South America to the UK. Harpreet’s client was acquitted after a six-week trial.
R v Jones (Stafford Crown Court)
Harpreet defended a woman who was tried for causing death by careless driving. She was acquitted.
R v Roper (Stafford Crown Court)
Defence counsel for a man charged with raping his sister twice (whilst she was still a child) and indecently assaulting her from the age of 2 until she reached adulthood.
R v Thompson (Birmingham Crown Court)
Harpreet defended (against Queen’s Counsel) a company director charged with conspiring to commit long-firm fraud.
R v Stevens (Worcester Crown Court)
Junior defence counsel (led by David Mason QC) for the principal defendant who was alleged to have conspired to perpetrate a series of advance-fee frauds across the country. The trial lasted eight weeks.
R v Perrey (Wolverhampton Crown Court)
Harpreet represented in confiscation proceedings a solicitor who had committed theft and false accounting to the value of £650k. The defendant had been represented by Queen’s Counsel before Harpreet was instructed.
R v JB (Birmingham Crown Court)
Defence counsel for a serving police officer who was charged with and acquitted after trial of doing a series of acts tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice.
R v Mullholland and Robinson (Birmingham Crown Court)
Defence counsel for Mullholland who was charged with and acquitted of laundering £500k (contrary to s 327 of POCA 2002).
R v Smith (Leeds Crown Court)
Defence counsel for a company director charged with and acquitted of committing fraud within the music industry.
R v Wilks (Manchester Crown Court)
Junior defence counsel for a serving police officer charged with and acquitted of assisting her son, Ricardo Morrison, alongside whom she was tried and who was convicted of the murder of the model Amy Leigh Barnes.
R v Elliker (Warwick Crown Court)
Instructed to represent a young man who was found to be unfit to stand his trial and in relation to whom a finding of fact hearing was held. This is but one example of cases in which Harpreet is specifically instructed to represent those with mental health difficulties.
R v RS (Worcester Crown Court)
Harpreet was instructed (as junior alone) to represent a young defendant charged with manslaughter. The deceased had been a friend of the defendant's. Representations were made and the prosecution offered no evidence.
R v MB (Stafford Crown Court)
Harpreet defended a man who, when tried, was in his sixties. He faced a multi-count indictment which alleged the rape and indecent assault of a member of the defendant’s family. The alleged offences were said to have taken place almost forty years before the trial commenced. The defendant was acquitted on all counts.
R v Woodhouse (Worcester Crown Court)
Harpreet was instructed as junior to Red Tedd QC to defend the husband of the headmistress at Malvern St James who was alleged to have committed sexual offences against two individuals. After representations were made, the prosecution agreed not to proceed with those counts and the defendant pleaded guilty to a count of harassment. This case received the widespread media attention.
Harpreet was instructed by the Complex Casework Unit as junior to Karim Khalil QC to advise in a ‘cold case’ murder review.
R v Iqbal and others [Operation Woburn] (Birmingham Crown Court)
Harpreet was instructed by the Complex Casework Unit to prosecute (as junior alone) nine defendants who were charged with conspiracies to supply cocaine, MDMA and cannabis and whose criminality was unveiled by an undercover operation.
R v Robertson and others [Operations Jerboa 1, Treacle and Jerboa 2] (Stafford Crown Court)
Harpreet was instructed by the Complex Casework Unit as leading junior to advise pre-charge and prosecute fourteen men in a series of conjoined conspiracies to commit violent armed robberies (at supermarkets, public houses and banks), burgle (with a view to targeting high-value motor vehicles and firearms) and steal. The conspirators stole cash and items valued at around £1m. All defendants were convicted. Two defendants appealed their convictions but the appeals were resisted successfully by Harpreet who continued to represent the Crown before the Court of Appeal. The sentences of almost all defendants were referred to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney General and found to be unduly lenient. Ultimately, the conspirators were sentenced to 133 years’ imprisonment.
Harpreet was instructed by the Complex Casework Unit as junior to Christopher Hotten QC to advise in a 'cold case' murder review.
R v Davies and others [Operation Himley] (Birmingham Crown Court)
Prosecuted, as junior alone, nine defendants charged with conspiracy to defraud the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Nine convictions were secured. This was one example of a case where Harpreet had been asked to provide strategic advice throughout the proceedings (including at the pre-arrest and pre-charge stages).
R v Warren and others [Operation Hort] (Wolverhampton Crown Court)
Instructed to prosecute as junior alone eleven defendants charged with conspiracy to defraud the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions through the making of an inordinate number of false applications for benefits over a period of nine months. Eleven convictions were secured.
R v Ayre and others [Operation Dweomer] (Birmingham Crown Court)
Instructed by the Complex Casework Unit as led junior to prosecute a multi-handed case in which convictions for conspiracy to import heroin valued at £1.25 million, conspiracy to supply heroin and conspiracy to produce crystal meth with a potential street value of £2 billion (and which was said to be “on a scale not previously seen before in the UK”) resulted following a seven-week trial. The trial followed a lengthy and complex investigation by a number of law enforcement agencies.
R v Tate and others [Operation Diversify-Flurrie] (Birmingham Crown Court)
Instructed by the Complex Casework Unit as led junior to prosecute 10 defendants charged with conspiring to cultivate and supply large quantities of cannabis in England and Wales. The trial lasted six-weeks.
R v Taylor-Powell and ors [Operation Diversify-Trooth] (Birmingham Crown Court)
Instructed by the Complex Casework Unit as led junior to prosecute 13 defendants charged with conspiring to cultivate and supply significant amounts of cannabis on a large scale commercial basis.
R v B and ors [Operation Glebe] (Birmingham Crown Court)
Instructed by the Complex Casework Unit as junior (led by Timothy Spencer QC) to prosecute 4 defendants charged with conspiring to import and supply Class A and B drugs on a vast scale. The prosecution followed a lengthy undercover investigation.
R v Herdman and ors [Operation Perranporth] (Coventry Crown Court)
Instructed as led junior to prosecute 7 defendants charged in a complex series of related conspiracies to supply Class A and C drugs.
R v H and ors [Operation Pragmatic] (Birmingham Crown Court)
Instructed by the Complex Casework Unit as junior (led by Timothy Spencer QC) to prosecute 6 defendants charged with conspiring to import and supply Class A and B drugs and cultivate and supply Class C drugs. The trial, which lasted 3 months, followed a detailed undercover operation. The case called for an extensive knowledge of RIPA and covert policing techniques and resolution of substantial issues relating to disclosure.