Matthew Farmer

Matthew Farmer

Call: 1987


Joint Head of Chambers.

Matthew Farmer prosecutes and defends in the Crown Court, the Court of Appeal, and the High Court. Over the last 18 years he has regularly led for the Prosecution and Defence in multi-Defendant cases involving the importation of large quantities of Class A drugs, conspiracies to commit armed robberies, conspiracies to commit kidnap, gun crime, and complex fraud. He is classified by the CPS as a grade 4 Prosecutor, being instructed only in their most serious and complex cases. These include cases alleging murder, rape, and serious organised crime. He has regularly been instructed where specialist police squads are involved, including the Kidnap Unit, the Flying Squad, and drugs project’s teams.

He also successfully leads for the defence in a wide range of cases including those involving the importation and supply of class A controlled drugs, money laundering and fraud. He has successfully made submissions three months into a murder trial that led to the acquittal of a Defendant charged with murder. Matthew has a long track record of securing the acquittal of Defendants charged with a range of offence, including allegations of murder, importation of drugs, fraud, money laundering offences, and rape.

For many years he has had conspicuous success in appellate work, in the court of Appeal (Criminal Division), and in the area of Judicial Review. In 2020 he successfully judicially reviewed the refusal of a Crown court Judge to extend the custody time limits in a case involving serious organised crime. In 2017 he obtained leave to appeal from the President of the Administrative Court in a review of a Crown Court conviction involving the ejection of protesters by a Deputy Chief constable from a Council meeting. In 2009 he successfully secured the overturning by the Court of Appeal of a historic murder conviction from Sheffield Crown Court based on the misinterpretation of a blood spray evidence. He has also successfully appealed against convictions for rape, serious violence, possession of internet pornography, dishonesty, and the imposition of confiscation orders. In 2017 he obtained leave to appeal in the first ever interlocutory appeal to the Court of Appeal from a Court Martial.

In the last 3 years up until 2023 he has successfully led for the Prosecution in the largest ever drugs conspiracy conducted by the Metropolitan Police (Operation Sega) leading to the conviction of well over 100 Defendants involved with organised crime gangs supplying large amounts of Class A drugs into London’s East End, alongside securing convictions for the associated use of loaded firearms. He has also defended and prosecuted successfully in a number of attempted murder cases.  Matthew successfully prosecuted the leading Extinction Rebellion case at the Crown Court at Inner London.  In the summer of 2023 Matthew led for the Prosecution at Lewes Crown court securing the conviction of two further Defendants involved a conspiracy to supply factory built Browning Pistols and ammunition, from a factory in West Sussex to organised Crime gangs in London. The sophistication of the factory in building the firearms was described by experts as unique, and a large number of these firearms were recovered having been used at crime scenes throughout London.


  • 2023 R v Rice and Brazier led for the Prosecution securing convictions in Conspiracy to supply firearms and ammunition to gangs in London. Instructed by the Serious Economic Organised Crime and International Directorate (SEOCID).
  • 2022 R v Besmir Lala and others secured conviction for supplying multi kilos of cocaine in North London and money laundering.
  • 2021 Snaresbrook CC: Abdul Sakib and Others Secured Conviction after 6-week trial of serious organised crime gang in East London on offences of possession of multiple firearms with intent to endanger life, and the supply of multi kilos of class A drugs.
  • 2021:  Wood Green Crown Court: Hinds Yucetas, and others secured conviction after trial of serious organised crime gang on charges of supply of multi kilos of Class A drugs.
  •  2020: Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court:  Successful Judicial Review of Crown Court Judge refusal to extend Custody Time Limits [ DPP v Wood Green Crown Court ex parte Yucetas Claim No. CO 410 2020]
  • 2020 – 2022: Snaresbrook Crown Court: Operation Sega leading for the Prosecution secured over 100 convictions for the supply of Class A drugs in East London in a series of trials.
  • 2019: Secured conviction at the Crown Court of 7 Albanians charged with conspiracy to supply multi 94% pure kilos of Class A drugs.
  • 2018: Kingston Crown Court: Secured convictions of 3 men in a National Crime Agency case involving discovery of gun factory in Sussex; industrial scale manufacture of pistols being supplied to criminal underworld. Unique case because guns manufactured from scratch by former Formula 1 engineer. The firearms were linked to 8 separate crime scenes in London. Bullet from factory removed from a victim’s head. Extensive national publicity for case.
  • R v BZ [2017 Central Criminal Court]: successfully prosecuted a man charged with attempted murder and arson
  • R v AM & others [2016 Southampton Crown Court]: successfully secured the acquittal of a man charged with others with false imprisonment and blackmail following an alleged armed take-over of a nightclub, where the owner was forced to sign over his business
  • R v A & others [2015 Central Criminal Court]: successfully prosecuted three Defendants for attempted murder in a hit and run case where shots were fired and the victim was left for dead at the roadside
  • R v MF & others [2015 Manchester Crown Court]: defending at Manchester Crown Court in a conspiracy to import millions of pounds worth of cannabis and ketamine shipped into the UK inside containers of frozen food. The defendant was successfully acquitted of all counts following a 3-week trial.
  • R v JF [2015]: successfully prosecuted the Defendant in relation to historic rape of his stepdaughter
  • R v LC [2014 Woolwich Crown Court]: successfully secured the acquittal of a lorry driver charged with causing death by dangerous driving. An acquittal was secured following substantial damage being caused to the Prosecution’s expert’s evidence in relation to the mathematics of stopping times, and assumptions made in the Prosecution’s calculations.
  • R v T-M [2014 Kingston Crown Court]: successfully defended a man charged with violent disorder along with 8 others where one man had been murdered, and another very seriously injured
  • R v F & others [2013] (leading for the Prosecution, Blackfriars Crown Court): 5 men involved in internet bomb hoaxes and conspiracies to commit public nuisance at Waterloo and other London station.
  • R v JM and others [2013] (leading for the defence in a conspiracy to defraud). Mr J M is a well-known figure in the racing world and was charged with involvement in a multi-million-pound investment fraud. His defence included the unchallenged assertion that he was involved in fixing horse races.
  • R v N&C [2013] (prosecuting alone at Lewes Crown Court): murder of a man walking his dog in Eastbourne. Both Defendants were convicted and the appeals against conviction dismissed
  • R v SB [2013] (leading for the prosecution at Blackfriars Crown Court in a multi handed drugs case)
  • R v P [2013] 2 Cr.App.R2: Defending one of two brothers charged with aggravated burglary where disguised as Policemen they entered premises with a loaded gun and used torture to obtain the combination of a safe, the contents of which they stole
  • R v O’D and one other [2012 ]; (defending alone at Bristol Crown Court) the Defendant was charged in the first trial under the Medicines Act 2003 in respect of a herbal highs business worth over £11 milllion.the Defendant had made false claims as to the products being sold. He was acquitted of these charges, and in a second trial on allegations of obtaining credit by fraud
  • R v WK [2012] (prosecuting alone an attempted murder at Wood Green Crown Court): a man disguised with a motorcycle helmet broke into a flat at night and bludgeoned the occupier to the ground before stabbing him several times in the chest
  • R v W & 8 others [2011] (leading for the Prosecution at Snaresbrook Crown Court); A conspiracy to supply class A drugs involving complex cell site evidence, and the use of recordings pursuant to RIPA
  • R v H & 3 others [2011] (prosecuting at Blackfriars Crown Court): Conspiracy to defraud Network Rail over the Thameslink project, involving a senior manager and third party companies bidding for contracts
  • R v C & 6 others; [2010] (Leading for the Prosecution at the Central Criminal Court ); A conspiracy to kidnap, falsely imprison, blackmail, and rob, victims who were lured to different addresses in London and the southeast. The complications of this series of cases included the contested attribution of 33 mobile phones, and cell site evidence
  • R v F & 8 others [2010] (leading for the prosecution at Blackfriars Crown Court) conspiracies to supply class A drugs in East and West London
  • R v C & 3 others [2009] (leading for the prosecution at Southwark Crown Court) conspiracy to defraud, local authorities over contracts, and corruption in public office
  • R v K & 7 others [2009] (leading for the prosecution at Southwark Crown Court). Five-week trial involving the Kidnap of two young men from a West London sports shop at gunpoint. The two victims disappeared for a week, until rescued by armed police, and officers from the Scotland yard Kidnap Unit from the boot of a car dressed in bin liners. The case involved extensive phones evidence, including cell site, and evidence of co-location. The case was featured extensively on national television news.
  • R v D & W [2009] (leading for the prosecution at Southwark Crown Court) armed robberies of cash in transit vans and possession of firearms
  • R v G & 5 others [2008] (leading for the prosecution at Southwark Crown Court); Kidnap of a businessman from his East London home, involving his being drugged, beaten and threatened with a firearm
  • R v F & H [2007] (leading for the prosecution at Woolwich Crown Court) Conspiracy to rob cash in transit vans using firearms. Both Defendants had previous convictions for armed robbery had been involved in separate armed shoot outs with police in the course of their escape
  • R v C & L [2006] (leading for the prosecution at Inner London Crown Court); importation of millions of pounds worth of cocaine from abroad, case involving the use of Dutch intercept evidence and successful conviction

Practice areas

  • Civil Actions against the Police

Other cases

  • 2020: Queen’s Bench Division, Administrative Court:  Successful Judicial Review of Crown Court Judge refusal to extend Custody Time Limits [ DPP v Wood Green Crown Court ex parte Yucetas Claim No. CO 410 2020
  • In R (Skelton) v Winchester Crown Court  [2017] EWHC 3118 (Admin) 2017:  leave to appeal granted from the President of the Administrative Court in a review of a Crown Court conviction involving the ejection of protesters by a Deputy Chief constable  from a Council meeting [ R v Winchester Crown Court Ex parte Skelton 2017] EWHC 3118 (Admin)]
  • 2017 In the matter of a Private Prosecution re S and S [2016]: successfully advised Mr and Mrs S in respect of commencing a private prosecution against a man for causing the death of their daughter. Obtained a fresh expert forensic report and made submissions to the Sussex Police leading to the commencement of a successful  Prosecution for double murder.
  • R v B M [2016 Tottenham Mags Court]: successfully secured the acquittal of a City Commodities Trader who was charged with assaulting an off-duty Police Officer
  • R v Plunkett  [2013] 1 WLR 3121  [covert recordings in a police van prior to interview, RIPA authority, Article 8 and Article 6 (3) (b)]
  • R v Derek Barron [2009] EWCA Crim 910 Historic murder conviction quashed in light of new expert evidence about the nature of blood spray]
  • R v Underwood  Authority that some convictions might, in themselves, go to the credibility of the witness, but not all convictions would do so, and the question of whether they could do so will turn, in part, on the nature of the convictions themselves and the particular matters at issue in the proceedings (including the specific evidence given by the witness)]
  • R v Damien Shiers [2006] EWCA Crim 2294 [conviction for possession of indecent images quashed in light of inconsistent verdicts]
  • R v Ruben Smith, R v Royston Fletcher [2001] EWCA Crim 1700 [statutory interpretation in relation to automatic life sentences and R v Offen]
  • R v Shahid Miah and Uddin [1998] No: 9802306 Y5 9802512 Y5 9605482 Y5 [manslaughter conviction quashed]


  • BA Honours University College London 1982
  • Diploma in Law for the academic stage of training for the Bar PCL 1983


Matthew has acted as a trainer for the Bar Council in respect of training for the provisions of the Human Rights Act 2003, and the ECHR.

He has also provided advocacy training for the Inner Temple.

Matthew is also qualified to conduct training on behalf of the Western Circuit in respect of the cross-examination of vulnerable witnesses.


Matthew, as a matter of principle, has never paid money to the Legal 500 or Chambers Directory. Consequently, there is no commensurate profile, or any assessment of his abilities, from these two commercial organisations. However, he has received the following recent independent Judicial accolades in respect of a variety of cases since 2020:

  • (He is) a first-class lawyer. In his many submissions he could always be relied on to both use and direct the judge towards all relevant principles and case law.
  • In his closing speech for the defence ‘he attacked the evidential foundation for the motive for the shooting and went on to set out a number of other candidates who had not been charged.  He used humour and gravity, to capture the attention of the Jury. The Jury were captivated by his speech. His client did not give evidence and (the Defendant) was acquitted by the Jury. [Defending In a 3-month conspiracy to kidnap, and shoot rival gang members]
  • In an unusual case, he had grasped the essential points and identified the issue, which was far from clear.
  • He steered the jury with great clarity through the immensely complex evidence, and he conducted confiscation hearings with a similar degree of skill.
  • He submitted first-class skeleton arguments, and developed arguments with conspicuous balance, tenacity and appropriate realism.
  • He produced an excellent and succinct piece of written advocacy that was well-structured and easy to read.


9 Aug 2022

New joint Heads of Chambers – Mr Matthew Farmer & Mr Russell Pyne

Chambers are delighted to announce that Matthew Farmer & Russell Pyne have succeeded Sally Howes QC as new joint Heads of Chambers. We would...

7 May 2020

Matthew Farmer prosecutes Lenny Henry’s daughter for harassing ex-boyfriend

Billie Henry pretended to be her father and "highly manipulative" emails that promised Samuel King up to £40,000.

1 May 2019

Matthew Farmer prosecutes “gun factory” trial

The trial at Kingston Crown Court involves allegations of the illegal manufacture of firearms and ammunition. Guns and bullets produced at the factory were...

20 Jul 2017

Matthew Farmer’s advice in private prosecution leads to an arrest and conviction in high profile murder case

In early 2015 Matthew Farmer was instructed by Mr and Mrs Skelton to advise on whether it would be possible to take out a...

24 Feb 2016

2KBW barristers co-defend in Courts Martial

Matthew Farmer and Paul Fairley are co-defending in a trial before a Courts Martial instructed by Biscoes Solicitors of Portsmouth. Both counsel represent clients...

6 Nov 2015

Matthew Farmer secures good results at the Old Bailey and Manchester

Matthew Farmer has just successfully prosecuted 3 men charged at the Old Bailey with attempted murder in an attempted gangland execution on the streets...


Crime Team
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