Viewing: Crime for Michelle Heeley KC

Michelle took Silk in 2017, to become at the time the youngest criminal Silk in the country. She was appointed Leader of the Midland Circuit in 2021, the youngest Leader in history.
Michelle is regularly instructed by the Complex Casework Unit and prosecuting division for the Serious Organised Crime Agency to prosecute large scale, multi handed cases involving complex legal issues. Michelle is renowned for her team player attitude, taking responsibility for the case as a whole when required.
Michelle undertakes private defence work, and has represented defendants from all aspects of life, ranging from former England football players, national journalists, to teachers charged with serious sexual allegations She is noted for her particular expertise in rape cases and in dealing with Vulnerable witnesses. As part of her Circuit responsibilities Michelle trains other Advocates in the questioning of vulnerable witnesses.
Michelle is regularly instructed in legal aid matters, in particular murder cases, both prosecution and defence, particularly those involving youths, she is noted for her ability to deal with young and vulnerable clients and witnesses.
Michelle has dealt with many confiscation hearings for both Prosecution and defence, often in cases involving multi million pound claims. She is experienced at drafting skeleton arguments and researching new areas of law in order to achieve the best outcome for her clients.
Michelle regularly undertakes advisory work in respect of cases being considered for appeal, she will draft skeleton arguments on appeal, and then take the matter to the full court.
Michelle is also instructed in cases defending Police officers charged with criminal offences. She is renowned for her client care skills and ability to relate to people from all walks of life.
Michelle often deals with inquests from which criminal proceedings could or do arise. She is well versed in the best manner to protect clients from potential criminal liability.
Shortlisted Legal 500 Criminal Silk of the year 2022
"Michelle is an excellent jury advocate, ensuring that even in the most complex case jurors can follow the evidence and arrive at the conclusions. She is calm, friendly, and engaging when out of court, whilst in court she is formidable, determined, and entirely persuasive. She is dutiful and exacting in her preparation, carefully and methodically considering the evidence and issues in a case."
Legal 500 2023
“Her attention to detail and ability to communicate an argument are second to none.”
Chambers UK 2022
“Michelle’s knowledge on any given subject is second to none. Fabulous client care when dealing with difficult or sensitive issues and communication with clients or others is clear and well understood by all concerned. She is up there with the very best advocates currently practicing.”
Legal 500 2022
“She is very detail-oriented, and her strength in part derives from her command of the material.”
Chambers UK 2021
“Instructed in serious sexual, drug-related, or violent crime for both prosecution and defence.”
Legal 500 2021
“She’s very diligent and bright.”
Chambers UK 2020
“Instructed in serious sexual, drug-related, or violent crime for both prosecution and defence.”
Legal 500 2020
Notable Cases
R v Paul Gascoigne
Successfully represented the former England footballer, Paul Gascoigne, on a charge of sexual assault. The case involved issues of intent and attracted significant media interest. Mr Gascoigne was acquitted of all matters
R v Ivan McChleery
Successful application to appeal against conviction, the case was taken after the defendant had been convicted at trial. There was a full review of the evidence and transcripts of the trial, which led to numerous areas of appeal being identified. Leave was granted and the case successfully argued before the full court
Operation Discan
The Prosecution of 5 defendants for offences of money laundering. The case involved complex expert evidence dealing with areas such as Hawala/Hundi banking. A total of £11,000,000 was laundered through a money service bureau in Leicester and diverted to countries such as India and China.
Operation Clubman
Prosecution of 35 defendants for a large scale conspiracy to supple class A and B drugs in the Midlands area. The case involved complex analysis of phone attribution, evidence obtained via covert recordings as well as substantial observation evidence.
R v Alex Hepburn
Defence of Worcester Cricketer charged with offences of rape. The case involved issues of consent, and reasonableness of belief. The trial led to an acquittal on the more serious count on the indictment.
Operation Springtime
Michelle was Leading Prosecution Counsel in a category 1 drugs supply conspiracy. A total of 21 defendants were prosecuted with for events spanning a 14 month period. The case involved the analysis of dozens of phones, as well as use of cell site evidence. Experts were called as to drugs valuation and terminology. In all, 20 defendants were convicted, receiving over 150 yrs imprisonment. The case led to the recovery of hundreds of thousands of pounds under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Operation Camper
Michelle was Leading Prosecution Counsel in a category 1 drugs supply conspiracy. A total of 42 defendants were prosecuted in a series of 6 different prosecutions. The case involved a UCO, and witness anonymity orders to show the breadth of a Birmingham wide drug dealing network. The evidence uncovered all ranks of the conspiracy, with the Leading roles receiving 15 yrs imprisonment each. There were hundreds of phones analysed, with phone attribution at the heart of the case. The jury accepted the Crown’s case in full.
Operation Fry
Michelle was Prosecution Junior in a gang related conspiracy to murder. The case dealt with 6 separate shootings, with numerous people seriously injured. Evidence of gang involvement came from songs uploaded onto You Tube, as well as use of Police intelligence. The case involved complex disclosure issues, particularly in respect of suspicion of ongoing parallel investigations. The main defendant received a sentence of 27 years imprisonment.
Operation Falkenbach
Michelle was Prosecution Junior on a 10 handed multi million pound money laundering trial. Michelle drafted 63 pages of agreed facts, reducing complex issues to a manageable format. There was evidence from Money laundering experts as to the complexities involved in laundering such large sums of cash. The case involved surveillance, analysis of telephones, and use of complex schedules to demonstrate a worldwide money laundering network.
Stephen Walters
Michelle advised pre charge on allegations of sexual assault by serving Police officer during the course of his duty. There were a number of vulnerable witnesses, which prompted a thorough review of potentially undermining material. Consideration had to be given to witnesses of bad character and how that would affect the outcome of the trial. Ultimately the officer pleaded and was sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
Operation Track
Michelle prosecuted a gang related shooting outside a nightclub. The case hinged upon expert facial mapping evidence, and frame by frame analysis of dozens of separate CCTV cameras. Michelle called the expert to present a technically intricate report, but was able to present it to the jury in an understandable, clear format. The jury convicted and the defendant received a total of 8 yrs imprisonment.
Roger Smith
Michelle prosecuted the defendant for terrorism related offences. The defendant was in possession of weapons, explosives, and also terrorism related material. The case turned upon the defendant’s intent and whether he had an innocent explanation for the possession of such material. A chemical expert gave evidence as to the various potential uses of the explosive material. The defendant was convicted, and found to have a terrorist ideology by the Judge.
Operation Commission
Michelle was the lead Prosecutor in a 8 handed conspiracy to burgle and commit arson. The defendants were part of a Romanian gang, who targeted high end jewellers within shopping centres. The gang set fires to distract the emergency services, then raided jewellers, stealing over 3m. The case involved 11 separate burglaries, covering offences Nationwide, 8 separate Police forces had to be co-ordinated to ensure a composite picture was put forward. All defendants pleaded guilty and were sentenced to 8 yrs imprisonment, with orders for their deportation made.
Zaid Malik
Michelle defended a serving Police Officer on charges of Perverting the Course of Justice. Michelle successfully argued against the inclusion of alleged bad character evidence. She had to cross examine several serving Police Officers and suggest collusion against her client. The case involved careful analysis of CCTV and cell site evidence.
Operation Kata/3365
Linked cases involving a corrupt police officer accessing police databases to obtain intelligence about his drug dealing friends. He subsequently fed his friends the information which enabled them to avoid detection for a significant period. Officer pleaded guilty, his associates were jailed for 10 years for drug dealing.
Operation Quaver
Multimillion pound car ringing case involving an OCG operating nationally, stealing high value cars to order then using their parts to give Cat D write off cars a new identity. Involved surveillance, sell site and CMP material.
R v Tom Wells
Junior for Home Affairs correspondent for the Sun charged as part of the Operation Elveden enquiry into Phone hacking. Trial is still ongoing.
R v Nicola Coleman
Defence Junior for woman charged with murder of her partner. Case raised issues of fitness to plead/diminished responsibility/manslaughter by provocation.
Operation 1026
Prosecution of 30 members of a linked OCG supplying guns and drugs into the West Midlands are. Case involved under cover operatives and difficult disclosure issues.
R v Karl Hansford
Successful prosecution of a rape involving the defendant’s step daughter. Case involved numerous child witnesses and special measures applications. Case also involved successful cross examination of three purported alibi witnesses all of whom were proven to have lied.
R v Aaron Josephs
Led junior in the prosecution of a gang related shooting. The case involved reluctant witnesses as well as technical ballistics evidence.
R v Terry Gardner and others (Operation Variation)
Led Junior in the successful prosecution of twenty defendants involved in a countrywide conspiracy to supply cannabis and cocaine. The case involved covert surveillance and undercover officers. The case also led to multi million pound POCA applications.
R v Dominic Stone
Successful prosecution of a vicar charged with downloading images of child pornography. The case generated nationwide media coverage and also involved the presentation of complex technical evidence to a lay jury.
R v Jason King Jones
Successful defence of an historical rape charge dealing with numerous vulnerable witnesses. The case also involved defence expert evidence as to expected medical repercussions of such an allegation.
R v W
Successful prosecution of historical abuse against the defendant’s adopted daughter. The allegations dated back over twenty years. The case also involved sensitive photographs that had to be dealt with in an appropriate manner so as to protect the dignity of the complainant whilst achieving maximum impact before the jury.
R v Westwood
Led Junior for the protaganist in the second largest prison riot in English history. A 3month cases involving difficult issues of disclosure and identification evidence.
R v Patel
A large scale people smuggling operation that involved analysis of American law and its application under a conspiracy in this jurisdiction. A particularly vulnerable client who required careful handling. Dealt with the subsequent multi million pound confiscation hearing reducing a Prosecution claim of 3.2 million to 75,000.
R v Webster
Successful defence of an alleged cannabis smuggler. This was a SOCA prosecution involving Dutch intercept evidence and large scale probe material. A 3 month case resulting from a 2 year operation.
R v Collett et al
Single handed prosecution of a three handed kidnapping case resulting from a drugs debt. The victims were known drug users and therefore potentially unreliable before a jury however the case resulted in successful convictions of all defendants with the main defendant receiving an IPP.
R v Ali
Reported case from the Court of Appeal involving submissions of an unsafe conviction for armed robbery. The Court of Appeal not only quashed the conviction but also ordered that there should be no re trial.
Recorder 2012
Criminal Bar Association
Health and Safety Lawyers Association
Member of Midlands Circuit
LLB (Europe) (Hons)

Latest News & Publications

Promoting social mobility and inspiring women to succeed at the Bar are just two of the goals of the new leader of the Midlands Circuit, Michelle Heeley QC...

Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2021
A new authority from the Court of Appeal has offered guidance to Counsel on what their professional obligations are when a defendant’s case changes part way through....

Date: Fri, 05 Mar 2021
The Court of Appeal today handed down Judgment in a landmark case that confirmed the law as it relates to the Sexual Offences Act. In a little used legal procedure the Attorney General had referred a point of law following a trial in which the defendant was acquitted....

Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2020