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Sarah Buckingham - Crime

Sarah is an extremely experienced Criminal practitioner with a varied and extensive criminal practice.

She regularly undertakes cases of the most serious nature including murder, attempted murder, firearm offences, gang related violent offences and drug offences.

Her particular expertise is predominantly Defending, although she is also instructed on behalf of the Prosecution and is regularly instructed in extremely serious sexual offences including allegations of historic abuse, internet abuse, grooming offences, rape, familial offences and more unusual cases such as rape where the defendant suffered from a condition known as ‘sexsomnia’. She has also lectured on the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and is a Grade 4 Prosecutor 

Sarah is regularly instructed in cases where either the victim or the Defendant is known to be particularly vulnerable because of her experience and ability to communicate and develop a rapport with the client or complainant whilst still robustly presenting and testing the evidence on behalf of those instructing her. 

Sarah’s practice extends to multi handed complex drug cases involving the extensive analysis of phone records, covert surveillance evidence and cases, where test purchases form part of the evidence against defendants.

Sarah is a Recorder on the South Eastern Circuit, regularly leads other Junior Counsel both for the Defence and the Prosecution.

Sarah is a Sex ticketed Recorder sitting on the South Eastern Circuit.

Recent Cases:

Wolverhampton Crown Court – February 2016
Sarah successfully defended the former chairman of Sandwell Speedway Club, facing historic sexual allegations made by a member of the club. The Defence was complete denial and necessitated the cross examination of purported eye witness accounts of inappropriate behaviour years earlier. Defendant was acquitted.
Sarah also successfully defended a mature woman accused of sexually assaulting her younger brother during the 80’s. Allegations were denied and the defence was fabrication. Again Sarah had to skilfully cross examine family members on their purported eye witness accounts, their recollection and reliability. Defendant was acquitted.    

Wolverhampton Crown Court – December 2015 -  S5 Domestic Violence and Crime Act 2004 (Child Cruelty)
Sarah defended a young polish mother (through interpreters) in a cut throat trial with the father of the child. They were accused of causing serious harm to their child, contrary to S5 of the Domestic and Violence and Crime Act 2004. Both were accused of either causing these fractures to their son, or failing to protect him from the other. Both blamed the other. Although both were convicted, Sarah successfully established (through her cross examination of the experts and the co accused) that her partner caused the injuries and that both were inadequate rather than cruel parents which resulted in a sentence, which reflected this evidence. 

Wolverhampton Crown Court – November 2015- Death by Dangerous Driving
Sarah represented one of two Defendant’s accused of Death by Dangerous Driving and Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous driving when two young women were mown down at a bus stop on the Hagley Road, Birmingham in May 2015. Accused of racing with his Co Accused, along the Wolverhampton and Hagley Road and reaching speeds in excess of 90 mph. Sarah’s client admitted racing and driving dangerously earlier on the Wolverhampton Road but maintained he had withdrawn from the race prior to the fatal collision. The case involved the Expert Cross Examination of multiple eye witness accounts, and the analysis and interpretation of CCTV evidence. Sarah worked closely with the defence road traffic expert and relied upon the presentation and use of stills, DVD footage and animation to rebut the Prosecution’s case that the position and proximity of her client’s vehicle meant he was still involved in the race. Her client was acquitted.

Birmingham Crown Court –  October 2015 - 3 Handed Murder, Young Defendants and Deceased
Sarah was Junior Counsel for one of three accused, issue was self defence and cut throat cross examination of the co accused. Accused was seriously injured, by the deceased in the course of a street fight. Trial involved expert cross examination of pathologist and tactical cross examination of the co accused.

Hereford Crown Court June 2015 – False Imprisonment
Sarah defended young defendant accused of assault and false imprisonment of another young male in a drug related dispute. Defendant was acquitted.  

Birmingham Crown Court May 2015 – Attempted Murder 
Domestic violence background –Sarah prosecuted Accused facing 9 counts of Attempted murder, S18, rape, threats to kill and Assaults on two previous partners. This was the first prosecution by the newly formed West Midlands Domestic Violence Unit. Resulted in the Accused being convicted of all counts and receiving an extended sentence of 26 years’ imprisonment.   

Birmingham Crown Court – Jan 2015 Historic Sexual Abuse Trial
Defendant was (at the time) the oldest man  in the UK to be prosecuted and receive a custodial sentence (91 years old) Sarah successfully prosecuted the Accused in respect on a 33 count Indictment alleging serious historic sexual offences involving 12 complainants over 3 decades.   

Birmingham Crown Court - Drugs Conspiracy - Nov 2014
Sarah successfully defended the only one of 6 defendants to be acquitted, after trial of involvement in a Conspiracy to Commit Robbery (over 12 small business across the West Midlands) Sarah succeeded notwithstanding the prosecution’s introduction of the Accused’s previous conviction for a similar robbery and his thumbprint being found on a carrier bag   containing a firearm. The Defence was denial and innocent association with his Co Accused since childhood. By skilfully cross examining the fingerprint expert and detailed careful presentation of the Defence case, the Accused was acquitted.  

Wood Green Crown Court/Swindon Crown Court – July and October 2014   Conspiracy To Supply Class A Drugs 
Sarah defended female client who faced trial on two separate Class A Conspiracies. Accused of assisting her boyfriend in the delivery and payment for class A drugs to and from London the Prosecution accepted defence submissions that there was insufficient evidence to justify pursuing the case against her. Weeks later the same female Defendant faced trial for conspiracy to supply drugs in Swindon. Implicated in drug runs between Swindon and Reading, It was the defence case that she had been unwittingly used by others to provide them with lifts in her car and she had no knowledge of any drug supplies. She was acquitted. 

Stafford Crown Court – June 2014 Parkes – Misconduct in Public Office
Sarah defended client accused of conspiracy to commit Misconduct in a Public Office.
Accused with two accused, including a serving special police constable of downloading personal information about members of the general public from the police national computer and passing this information to known individuals.  Case involved detailed cross examination on dense phone evidence, schedules and timelines. Notwithstanding that all of the Accused were convicted after trial and the serious nature of the allegation, Sarah was able to persuade the trial Judge to impose a suspended sentence.  

Wolverhampton Crown Court - Health And Safety Trial - March 2014 
Sarah was Junior counsel to Rex Tedd QC in a high profile case Health and Safety Jury Trial which involved the sad death of a young mother following the installation of faulty electrical wiring. Sarah and Rex defended the electrician’s mate and demonstrated through skilful cross examination and investigation into the working records that the accused was either not responsible for and / or did  not carry  out the tests required to confirm the safety or otherwise of the electrical wiring.  

Wolverhampton Crown Court – January 2014 - Murder (Joint Enterprise)
Sarah defended alone, one of three defendants accused of the murder of their friend during the course of a drunken argument. Defence was presence but no participation. 
The case was prosecuted by Queens Counsel and involved the cross examination of numerous eye witnesses, the making of a non defendant’s bad character application and the cross examination of a significant witness, originally arrested as a suspect.

R v D - Worcester Crown Court - January 2013
Sarah represented a defendant who is as a transvestite and who was accused of the rape of a pre operative transgender female. This was a particularly sensitive case involving a large number of the
Worcester 'LGBT' Community. Sarah had to be sensitive to the preferences and lifestyle choices of the witnesses, especially the Complainant and other transgender and transvestite witnesses. Sarah had to cross examine both the Complainant and the Defendant about the most personal sexual practices , beyond those ordinarily exposed in a criminal trial and this had to be handled with diplomacy, sensitivity and respect. Other personal medical problems complicated the case further and again required sensitive but robust cross examination of the Complainant. Defendant was acquitted. 

R v C - Worcester Crown Court - October 2012
Sarah represented a man accused of multiple historical rapes upon 3 separate partners, where two of the complainants complained of postpartum rapes. A 19 Count Indictment , with offences spanning 30 years, the defence was 'denial'. Sarah had to make S41 applications for two of the Complainants and a Non Defendant Bad Character application, this led to the introduction of the defendant's previous convictions spanning a over 25 years. The Defendant was initially unwilling to accept her advice and concede disclosure of his background to enable her to cross examine the complainants in detail. Eventually he did and the Defendant was acquitted. 

R v H - Worcester Crown Court - September 2012
Sarah represented a Defendant accused of the multiple rapes of two partners over a 15 year period. Both Complainants alleged that the defendant raped them as they slept against a background of domestic violence. The case involved cross examination on the issues of cross contamination and collusion and delay. Ultimately the Defendant was acquitted of all of the rape allegations against both women, save one in respect of which Sarah successfully persuaded the trial Judge that the case was sufficiently unusual to justify stepping outside the Sentencing Guidelines. The Defendant received a sentence of 2 years imprisonment for rape. This sentence was referred to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney General as 'unduly lenient' but Lady Justice Rafferty, Mr Justice Keith and Mr Justice King refused to increase the sentence.

R v S- Wolverhampton- Crown Court June 2012 
Sarah defended a notorious defendant accused of Armed Robbery where it was alleged, he along with others had entered a women’s home and stolen her car. 
The case turned on circumstantial and identification by clothing evidence. After two days of evidence and cross -examination the case was dismissed by the trial Judge. 

R v I - Birmingham Crown Court – before the Recorder of Birmingham - June 2012
Sarah prosecuted the husband of a teacher at the local mosque school for serious Sexual Offences against one of the pupils. The Defendant was deaf and dumb and two sign interpreters were used throughout the trial. 

R v D- Murder and the Prevention of Lawful Burial trial- Central Criminal Court- May 2012
Sarah was Leading Defence counsel for the second Defendant , against Prosecuting QC and Junior, where the 32 year old Defendant was accused of the murder of an 18 year old boy in April 2011 and then burying his body in the garden under a shed, where it lay undiscovered for 8 months. 
After a 4 week trial where Sarah had to make applications to adduce the ‘bad character’ of the deceased in circumstances where he had not in fact, been convicted of anything but faced trial and / or investigation at the time of his death for various offences and suggestions that the deceased was a gang member in South East London. 
Cross examine medical and archeological experts vis a vis cause of death and significance of circumstances of burial ; call and/ or cross examine blood distribution experts about the distribution of blood spatters and its significance as to the location and form of assault; cross examine the Co- Defendant whose account differed to that of the Defendant re the presence or absence of two knives and call the Defendant whose previous conviction for a S18 offence was allowed before the Jury under the Bad Character provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
The Defendant had always admitted burying the body, out of panic/ fear but denied playing any part in the murder on that basis of self defence/ defence of another. 
He was Acquitted of both Murder and Manslaughter. The Co Accused faces a re trial. 

R v B – Northampton Crown Court- April 2012
Sarah defended a young man accused of raping a neighbour in her own home and bed after a party earlier in the evening at the defendant’s home address. The case involved an application to cross examine the Complainant about previous sexual contact/ conduct toward the Defendant and the cross examination of numerous witnesses at the party about the Complainant’s and the Defendant’s conduct both before and after the party including when the Complainant had returned to the party after the alleged assault, in a distressed state and thereafter made an immediate complaint of rape.
The Defendant was acquitted. 

R v D- Shrewsbury Crown Court- 2012 
Sarah defended a young man accused of having sexual intercourse with a mental defective under the Sexual Offences Act and False Imprisonment. The case involved the use of Intermediaries, psychologists. A defence Psychological report and assessment of the Defendant led to establishing that he too suffered from learning difficulties and would have been unable to appreciate the difficulties of the Complainant and the case , after lengthy consideration and submissions by Counsel the case was discontinued by the Prosecution. 

R -v- G
Sarah Buckingham defended a promising A level student with hopes to become a vet, who pleaded guilty to charges of Attempted Murder and Section 20 Wounding. G, distraught at the end of his relationship with his girlfriend, waited for her outside her school and then stabbed her over 15 times; when her school friend tried to intervene he too was injured with the same knife.

R -v- W
BARTON ARMS RIOT CASE - Birmingham Riots 2011 - Case dismissed by Recorder of Birmingham.
W was one of 7 young men accused of riot, violent disorder , possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and arson with intent to endanger life. Case against 'W' was dismissed after application by Sarah Buckingham.


LLB (Hons)


Sarah is a member of Inner Temple, the Criminal Bar Association and


2010- Appointed Recorder on the South Eastern Circuit


Sarah Buckingham regularly defends in high profile, serious cases such as: 

•    R v C 2006 Death by dangerous driving. This case is cited in Banks on Sentencing.

•    R v Brousse (2006) - where the father was accused of the murder/ manslaughter of his baby son. (Baby shaking case)

•     R v Bibi (2006) - a large multi handed drugs conspiracy case involving members of the same family.

•    R v Poole & others (2007) - large scale football violence case between Wolverhampton and West Bromwich supporters.

•    R –v- Davis & Others (2007) - multi handed evasion of duty case involving smuggling cigarettes. Amount involved in excess of £800k

•    R v Hussain (2008) - (Operation Aldburn) a six week multi handed case where the Indictment included allegations of attempted murder, arson with intent to endanger life, possession of a firearm with intent. Sarah Buckingham represented the Defendant who was first on the Indictment with Queen’s Counsel Co defending.

•    R v Hodgkiss (2008) - wife stood accused of perverting the Course of Justice where her husband was accused of an historical murder.

•    R v Lewis (2008) - Junior Counsel in the manslaughter case where the deceased was left to drown in a large pond watched by a group people.

•    R v Whale (2009) a large money laundering case where she led an Higher Court Advocate and where the prosecution sought to connect the alleged `Offences with the ‘Cockle picking’ manslaughter case involving numerous Chinese immigrants. Legal argument was heard and this application was refused. 

•    R v Sharma (2010) – defence counsel for Dentist accused of falsifying her qualifications

•    R –v- Howsego (2010) – Defence Junior on multi handed murder trial where the defendants were alleged to have tortured the deceased to obtain details to his bank account

•    R –v- Easthope (2010) – Defended victim of sex abuse who was accused of trying to kill her attacker

Sexual Offence Cases

•    R –v- L (2007) - Defended 15 count indictment involving serious sexual assault on step-daughter

•    R –v- M (2007) – Defended rape case which involved expert evidence on alcohol back calculation

•    R –v- S (2008) – Defended 12 count indictment concerning sexual activity with a child

•    R –v- L (2008) – Defended Polish national charged with Rape

•    R –v- B (2008) – Prosecuted rape trial difficulties over consent, expert evidence over drug/alcohol levels. Bad character evidence over previous rape allegation

•    R –v- D (2009) – Prosecuted rape where defendant claimed consent in the complainants home

•    R –v- W (2009) – Defended 7 Count indictment concerning sex with underage boys. Issues of bad character and client with serious health issues

•    R –v- S (2009)- Defended 20 count indictment involving sexual assault and child cruelty. Domestic abuse case, bad character introduced over the complainant

•    R –v- T (2009) – Prosecuted defendant charged in connection with a gang rape of a teenager
•    R –v- W (2009) – Prosecuted rape trial, issues concerning previous caution and possible use of date rape drug

•    R –v- B (2010) – Defended rape trial expert evidence called concerning sleep disorders and in particular Sex Somnia

•    R –v- S (2010) – Defended 14 count historical indictment involving young boys.

•    R –v- M (2010) – Defended 22 count Indictment where a defendant with a low IQ was charged with serious sex offences against upon a disabled complainant


•    R v Goldstraw (2006) - Instructed as Junior Counsel in a Staffordshire murder case where 4 members of the same family were killed in a house fire. Expert reconstructive evidence was called and a conviction was secured.

•    R v St Leon, Taylor and Aldo Peters (2008) - Leading Junior Counsel for the Prosecution in the gang related armed robbery and kidnapping case at Coventry Crown Court and in which issues of witness protection and anonymity were raised. Two of the Defendant’s in this case were considered prime targets of the West Midlands police and one of the defendant’s featured on Crime Watch’s ‘Most Wanted’. 

•    R v Amin (2009) - Counsel for the Prosecution in an attempted murder case where the Defendant repeatedly stabbed his wife in the back in front of his young children.