John Kelsey-Fry QC

Biography

“The best advocate in the land”

- Chambers and Partners

John Kelsey-Fry QC is widely recognised as one of the leading silks at the Criminal Bar. He is outstanding in front of a jury, has exceptional advocacy skills and his wealth of experience is almost unparalleled.

Predominantly instructed for the defence, John is heavily sought after in areas of business and financial crime and as well as high-profile general crime. He is also cited for his work involving defamation, where his cross-examination skills have proved case-changing, he has advised a number of high profile individuals as well as national newspapers.

John has particularly been commended for his efforts in the sports arena, having a wide range of experience of sporting and regulatory tribunals.

Called to the Bar - 1978

Queen's Counsel - 2000

What Others Say

Chambers & Partners 2017 – Star Rated for both Crime, Financial Crime & Financial Crime: Corporates

‘A star player on account of his truly remarkable performances as a jury advocate’

“He’s obviously fantastic and incredibly charismatic”.. “He is a superstar.. He has a superb courtroom manner and an ability to see points no one else would”

“An exceptional advocate, who is hard working and a natural orator with superb jury appeal”

One of only three Silks ‘Star-rated’ in Financial Crime between 2006-2017 and one of only two Silks ‘Star-rated’ in Crime 2007-2017 inclusive.

Legal 500 2015 – Band 1 for both Crime, Criminal Fraud & Business Crime

“A heavyweight silk who has handled the 21st century’s biggest corporate scandals.”

Entries from previous years

A ” Superstar silk”, He knows how to read the court and is obviously a very brilliant legal mind.”… “He is a terrific advocate who brings to bear a clarity of vision, a good turn of phrase and very good judgement.”

“Superb dedication to the client’s case and absolute determination to leave no stone unturned in advancing the client’s position.”

“Probably the best trial advocate in the country”

“His advocacy style shines out; he commands the judge’s respect and ear”

“He brings an exceptional logical, strategic analysis to the cases we do”

Firmly amongst the most highly regarded crime silks.. “He is a genius in court”

“A man of excellent judgement, he’s a sublime advocate.. He’s adept at identifying the broad tactical considerations of a case and acting upon them”

“Megastar” John Kelsey-Fry QC wins unanimous praise from his peers, who call him “unquestionably the most prominent criminal defence advocate” out there.

“Brilliantly creative in the way he approaches cases”

The “fantastic” John Kelsey-Fry QC is in the “top rank” of criminal fraud advocates.

The “supremely able” John Kelsey-Fry QC continues to advise on high profile cases…. Sources were particularly enthusiastic about him, saying that he is “an outstanding pragmatic counsel who adds considerable value to any case”

He is one of the best defence silks of his generation. Observers say “he is just superb. He has an outstanding way of presenting a case to a jury which has them eating out of his hand.”
“One of the Criminal Bar’s brightest stars”‘…has a practice geared towards large and complex criminal cases, particularly on the corporate/white-collar crime side. John Kelsey-Fry QC is the type of barrister who “takes one hour to prepare each minute at court.”

‘On the fraud front he is “unquestionably in the top rank,” leading one interviewee to declare; “Just occasionally exceptional talents come along – in the seventies there was Richard Du Cann QC, and nowadays we have John Kelsey-Fry QC ”

He “receives accolades for his defamation work…..with interviewees particularly commenting on his effectiveness before a jury”.

“Has a high profile in the horse racing world………..and his style has won many plaudits from the sports industry. Clients describe his manner as “disarming”.

“An all-round outstanding lawyer with great ability to present cases to judge and jury”. ‘The “always spectacular” John Kelsey-Fry QC “has a stellar reputation” and is appreciated for being a “roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-involved type of lawyer”. “Outstanding with the jury” and “never bothers to try and score useless points”, “he can be delicate when the situation requires, but can easily duff a witness when necessary”.

“The professional’s choice” and “hard to get, but once you do, you have a huge head start”. Quotes from peers and clients alike include “his absolute pre-eminence in the field” and “his expert handling of each and every case he is involved in.” A highly popular figure”. Described as “the Man of the Moment who delivers a master class in trial advocacy every time”, “breathtaking in court”.

The Lawyer: “one of the brightest stars at the Bar”. He is described by one City partner as “very astute and a good courtroom performer”, while a former colleague dubs him “quite exceptional”. Partners pointed to the “sensational” acquittal Kelsey-Fry secured for controversial entrepreneur Andrew Regan, following the marathon Co-operative Bank trial, as a typical piece of courtroom wizardry.

Recent & Current Cases

John recently represented property tycoon Raymond Kwok over corruption charges in Hong Kong. The seven month trial concluded with John securing a full acquittal for his client. John also secured a full acquittal for Olympus Corporation regarding Companies Act charges brought by the SFO.

John is currently advising a former director of Barclays Bank in relation to an SFO investigation. He is also advising an individual in relation to the SFO investigation into Rolls Royce for overseas bribery.

Other notable instructions in recent years include:

Fraud/Crime:

  • R -v- W: Successfully defended the CEO of a raw materials company charged by the SFO with conspiracy to defraud
  • R -v- Huhne: Represented the former Energy Secretary charged with perverting the course of justice
  • R -v- C: Successfully represented the former Director of iSoft in criminal and regulatory proceedings
  • TCI -v- Civre: Successfully represented an international developer in the Turks and Caicos Islands over corruption charges
  • Represented the Director of a nationally renowned Sports company in SFO investigation
  • Represented a Director of Mabey and Johnson Ltd
  • Successfully represented Harry Redknapp in HMRC proceedings
  • Successully represented Steven Gerrard in the footballer’s affray proceedings
  • R -v- Carlisle: Represented the defendant in an insider dealing case where successful half time submissions halted proceedings
  • Prosecuted on behalf of the FSA in a high-profile insider dealing trial resulting in conviction
  • R -v- Dougall: Leading authority on sentencing Executive-level whistleblowers entering plea agreements in corruption cases (For SFO)
  • R -v- Keith Owen: Largest and most complicated prosecution brought by DEFRA, successful plea agreement
  • Represented Saudi Prince charged with murdering his aide in a London hotel
  • Advising one of the largest international companies in an SFO investigation
  • Advising a company and an individual in the ‘Oil for Food’ SFO investigation
  • Advised a Director in the Balfour Beatty settlement with the SFO
  • Advised in an insider dealing case in Hong Kong

Defamation

  • Advised the Sunday Times over Libel matters
  • Craig Bellamy -v- News Group Newspapers (NGN): representing the claimant (settled)
  • Represented Founder of EasyJet, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou in definition action (settled)
  • Mo George -v- NGN represented the defendant
  • Advised a high profile individual in a libel matter

Previous Cases

Fraud/Crime

  • R -v- Fallon: Represented and achieved the acquittal of the Champion Jockey in criminal prosecution for alleged race fixing
  • Advised Southern Water
  • Advised in the Cash for Honours scandal
  • R -v- Sheikh & Anor: acquitted of NHS fraud
  • R -v- Hayter: (House Of Lords)
  • R -v- Bukhari: achieved the acquittal of a defendant charged with terrorist arms dealing
  • R -v- Stovold: Local Authority Finance Leasing Fraud, successful half time submission of no case to answer
  • R -v- Jane Andrews: Murder of boyfriend of Duchess of York’s dresser
  • R -v- Matthews and Others: Acquitted in horse racing doping case
  • R -v- Andrew Regan: Co-op fraud, acquitted.
  • Represented, on numerous occasions, the interests of Mohammed Al Fayed, notably in the Harrods Safety Deposit Box case
  • R -v- Guppy & Marsh: representing Marsh in fraud, theft and false insurance claim trial concerning a staged jewel theft and subsequent false claim for £1.8 million from the Lloyd’s syndicate insurers
  • The Blue Arrow fraud trial, acquitted
  • The Heathrow Bullion Robbery
  • R -v- Coutts: necrophiliac murder of a school teacher
  • R -v- Tommy Adams et al
  • Operation Goldcard appeals arising out of the Rigg Approach Flying Squad corruption Inquiry
  • R -v- Donald, Cressey and David Fraser: Police corruption case
  • R -v- Serafinowicz & R -v- Sawoniuk: War Crimes Trials
  • R -v- Charles Kray: successful prosecution of the eldest member of the notorious crime family
  • Various IRA terrorist cases
  • R -v- Michael Smith: KGB spy

Defamation 

  • Paul McKenna -v- MGN (Daily Mirror): Representing the defendant
  • Wayne Rooney -v- NGN: Representing the defendant
  • Sharon Osbourne -v- NGN: Representing the claimant
  • Represented NGN in the case brought by Roger Cook of ‘The Cook Report’ et al
  • Represented NGN in the case brought by Mr Alin Turcu (The Beckham Kidnapp Plot case)
  • Delaney -v- NGN and Jodie Marsh: Represented the defendant
  • McKeith -v- NGN: Representing the defendant
  • Sharon Stone -v- Daily Mail: Representing the claimant
  • Represented Roman Polanski in his case against Vanity Fair Magazine

Biography

“The best advocate in the land”

- Chambers and Partners

John Kelsey-Fry QC is widely recognised as one of the leading silks at the Criminal Bar. He is outstanding in front of a jury, has exceptional advocacy skills and his wealth of experience is almost unparalleled.

Predominantly instructed for the defence, John is heavily sought after in areas of business and financial crime and as well as high-profile general crime. He is also cited for his work involving defamation, where his cross-examination skills have proved case-changing, he has advised a number of high profile individuals as well as national newspapers.

John has particularly been commended for his efforts in the sports arena, having a wide range of experience of sporting and regulatory tribunals.

Called to the Bar – 1978

Queen’s Counsel – 2000

Recent & Current Cases

John recently represented property tycoon Raymond Kwok over corruption charges in Hong Kong. The seven month trial concluded with John securing a full acquittal for his client. John also secured a full acquittal for Olympus Corporation regarding Companies Act charges brought by the SFO.

John is currently advising a former director of Barclays Bank in relation to an SFO investigation. He is also advising an individual in relation to the SFO investigation into Rolls Royce for overseas bribery.

Other notable instructions in recent years include:

  • R -v- W: Successfully defended the CEO of a raw materials company charged by the SFO with conspiracy to defraud
  • R -v- Huhne: Represented the former Energy Secretary charged with perverting the course of justice
  • R -v- C: Successfully represented the former Director of iSoft in criminal and regulatory proceedings
  • TCI -v- Civre: Successfully represented an international developer in the Turks and Caicos Islands over corruption charges
  • Represented the Director of a nationally renowned Sports company in SFO investigation
  • Represented a Director of Mabey and Johnson Ltd
  • Successfully represented Harry Redknapp in HMRC proceedings

 

For a full CV please visit our desktop site or contact one of the clerks here.