mike-masonbw-1395055232

Practice areas

Crime, Civil

Year of call: 2007


Michael is a both a barrister and a qualified accountant having trained with one of the ‘big four’ accountancy firms. He is a forensic accountant, formerly heading up the forensic accountancy department of BDO LLP in Southampton.

Michael has been cross examined on numerous occasions as an expert accountant and this experience has especially equipped him for his own cross examination of experts.

He is a direct access barrister.

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Fraud and Financial Crime

Michael is a member of the CPS Specialist Fraud Panel and has been instructed for them on a number of cases on the Western Circuit and in London.

As a qualified accountant he has an excellent understanding of accountancy, financial statements and of finance generally. As an expert accountant he has gained particular expertise in the cross examination of financial experts.

Michael has been involved in many fraud investigations. He was for eight years the external forensic accountant for the Ministry of Defence Police Fraud Squad and assisted them on a number of significant investigations. He has accompanied the police on raids of premises and has advised on documentation and evidence.

He has conducted bribery investigations under the Bribery Act 2010.

He is an Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist (ACFS) and has advised a number of hospital trusts on fraud prevention and detection, and has assisted in the investigation of fraud for the hospitals.


Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA)

Michael was a member of BDO’s Forfeiture and Asset Recovery team and obtained an excellent working knowledge of confiscation under POCA. As a barrister he assists the CPS and defendants with confiscation matters and hearings. His understanding of accountancy and finance is of great practical use in this area.

He has assisted both the Crown and defendants in contested POCA hearings and in drafting s17 responses.


Crime

Michael is a Grade 2 Prosecutor for the CPS and is regularly instructed in Crown Court trials, in particular on the Western Circuit, East Sussex, Buckinghamshire and in a number of London Courts.

He has successfully appeared in the Court of Appeal for both prosecution and defence.


Civil

Michael has particular expertise in assessing losses and damages in civil cases including personal injury and commercial cases.

Commercial claims: Michael has a good working knowledge of financial matters. He has recently advised a PLC on whether to appeal the decision of the High Court regarding international loan agreements and fresh evidence produced by one of the parties. This was a complex case involving the assessment of accounting records, the treatment of assets under International accounting standards, the impairment of debt, and the compilation of consolidated accounts.


Training

Michael regularly conducts forensic and legal training for a number of organisations and law firms. He was responsible for many years in running the Bar Standards Board Forensic Accounting course which was compulsory for all barristers within 3 years call.

He regularly conducts training on cross examination skills for fraud investigators as part of the Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist course.

He has conducted training in New Zealand and in Budapest for the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers on the cross examination of experts

Education and Memberships

  • LLB (First Class Hons)
  • BVC (Very Competent)
  • BA (Hons) Psychology
  • FCCA (Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Certified Accountants)
  • ACFS (Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist)
  • Member of the Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association (POCLA)
  • Member of the Criminal Bar Association
  • Inner Temple

Recent Prosecution cases:

Portsmouth Crown Court (financial crime) – defendant, a former Royal Navy veteran and MBE was successfully prosecuted for the theft of his step-son’s £59,000 inheritance. Over a three-year period, he began transferring numerous cash sums, to accounts overseas and hiding the theft from his fellow trustees.

Case reported at:

https://www.chichester.co.uk/news/crime/man-who-stole-stepson-s-inheritance-jailed-1-8994147

Bournemouth Crown Court (financial crime) – the defendants were successfully prosecuted with theft of takings from their employer. Both defendants were responsible for the collection and security of cash in the business and stole a significant sum of money. The case involved 5 days of legal argument regarding abuse of process before it concluded with guilty verdicts after a six-day trial.

Southampton Crown Court (financial crime) – benefits fraud which had been carried out for many years with substantial sums stolen. Evidence demanded knowledge and understanding of the benefits system over the period of the fraud – Guilty verdict.

Southampton Crown Court (financial crime) – prosecution of a carer accused of unauthorised use of the credit card and cash of the 93-year-old woman he was caring for.

Portsmouth Crown Court (violence against hospital staff and Police) – Grievous bodily harm against two police officers and nurses at hospital.

Bournemouth Crown Court (domestic violence) – man accused of attacking his girlfriend and breaking her neck; guilty plea obtained

Case reported at:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6699729/Businessman-hugs-girlfriend-outside-court-despite-killing-throwing-20ft-wall.html

Reading Crown Court (indecent images of children) – student accused of accessing hentai (cartoon) pornographic images of children. This case went to the court of appeal concerning the Sexual Harm Prevention Order that had been breached; Appeal Court found in favour of the Prosecution.

Isle of Wight Crown Court (knife crime) – successful prosecution of a man accused of using a knife to threaten a man in the street.

Aylesbury Crown Court (ram raiding offences) –defendant accused of using a pick-up truck to smash through the entrance of a hospital and then ripping out the ATM machine, second similar offence followed. Guilty verdicts returned.

Aylesbury Crown Court (Drink Driving Appeal) – 4-day trial involving expert evidence regarding the breathalysing machinery employed by the Police. Appeal dismissed, with considerable costs awarded to the Crown.

Lewes Crown Court (Dangerous driving of a bus driver) – bus driver accused of extremely dangerous driving by driving a bus through a railway crossing endangering the lives of his passengers, other drivers and members of the public. Guilty verdict returned.

Amersham Crown Court (domestic violence) – boyfriend accused of inflicting very serious injuries against his partner. Guilty verdict returned after 20 minutes of jury deliberation.

Swindon Crown Court (POCA) – prosecution of 5 defendants in drugs conspiracy – agreement obtained for substantial recovery of proceeds of crime.

Recent Defence cases:

Worcester Crown Court (violence) – defence of an inmate who had attacked prison officers in the high security wing of the prison, causing severe injuries. The client refused to come to court and so the case was conducted entirely in his absence; not surprisingly he was found guilty.

Bournemouth Crown Court (violence) – my client prosecuted with two co-defendants for serious assault on a family member. Guilty verdicts but sentence successfully appealed.

Aylesbury Crown Court (knife crime) – my client accused of knife crime, public disorder and threats to kill. Found guilty of threats to kill only.

Cardiff Crown Court – defence of POCA proceedings.

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