Richard Witcombe

Richard Witcombe

Call: 1997


Richard Witcombe specialises in Criminal Law and has a busy Prosecution and Defence practice which covers London, the south-east, the Thames Valley and the Midlands.  Richard is regularly instructed in cases involving serious sexual offences - both historical and non-historical, single and multiple Complainant - serious violence, drug supply and offences against the public order, and in conspiracies to commit offences of dishonesty, in relation to the supply of drugs and in relation to firearms.  

In particular, Richard’s cross-examination, jury advocacy and his approach to disclosure have been the subject of favourable comment by members of the Judiciary.  

Richard is a CPS Panel Advocate:

  • General Crime (Level 3)
  • RASSO (Level 3)


In his prosecution practice Richard has experience of being led in cases concerning serious harm caused to babies and young children, including serious brain injury.

Richard is regularly instructed to prosecute instances of sexual offending which have arisen in the context of religious instruction, the family and home environment and in the context of education. He has significant experience of dealing with cases of an historical nature, often involving allegations which arose decades ago, and is used to dealing with the issues relating to disclosure which arise in such cases. He frequently deals with cases in which the section 28 cross-examination procedure is used, and in which reliance is placed on the assistance of intermediaries.

Richard has significant defence experience of being led in cases involving murder and manslaughter, and has led in cases involving fraud, and aggravated burglary, serious violence, false imprisonment and conspiracy to supply large quantities of drugs. He has represented clients accused of having killed during the course of driving.

Richard is used to dealing with evidence of experts in a number of areas, more recently the question of the capacity to consent to sexual activity and in relation to traumatic brain injury.

  • R v DH – trial of rape, sexual assault and sexual exploitation offences committed on 4 separate female complainants aged between 13 and 20 years; successfully resisted severance and relied upon similar fact evidence of defendant’s way of operating in relation to targeting of missing persons and young females reliant on drugs (cocaine). Convictions on 15 counts spanning one year of offending in relation to all four complainants.
  • R v PC – conviction for rape in case based on incapacity of complainant though alcohol based intoxication in circumstances where complainant died before trial took place.
  • R v HT conviction for rape and sexual assault offences in the circumstances where two days apart the defendant had lured young women to his home address, either on pretext that he was helping them get home or in which they were too intoxicated to resist; similar fact evidence relating to opportunity and defendant’s way of operating.
  • R v CA – a trial of two rape offences, committed 15 years prior to trial, following a DNA “hit”: all continuity and conclusions challenged and most of original paperwork lost: abuse of process, section 78 exclusion and severance arguments resisted; defendant convicted.
  • R v CF – prosecuted man who lay in wait to slash ex-girlfriend’s face with knife; principal witness (D’s wife) non-compellable; in co-operation with CPS and Police able to build case from independent evidence (CCTV, internet searches, phone downloads and cell-site) arising from ex-wife’s “evidence”; jury convicted defendant of section 18.
  • R v NZ – section 18 stabbing where complainant lost both legs due to compartment syndrome resulting from original injury; case investigated as murder enquiry, paperwork and disclosure generated accordingly; successfully prosecuted as junior alone; serious problems arose with expert evidence and conduct of expert at Court.
  • R v DC – rape, single witness, uncorroborated but assisted by extensive mobile phone traffic between complainant and defendant – jury convicted; reviewed case and prepared prosecution response for CACD once fresh evidence emerged from abroad supporting defendant’s version of events.


  • R v CM – challenged the conclusive presumption of lack of consent pursuant to s.76(1)(a) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division); sought to distinguish the case from those of R v Jheeta and R v B.
  • R v HK – following conviction for fraud, reduced POCA liability from £1.2M to £8,700 through legal argument focussing on proper construction and legislative intent behind “lifestyle”provisions of POCA 2002, in particular s.75(2)(c).
  • R v TS & 4 others – leading junior counsel in 4-month concerning a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, money laundering and the attempt to cause grievous bodily harm to an undercover Police Officer whose cover became “blown”; arguments concerning the sufficiency of the evidence and the integrity of identification procedures; produced schedules concerning phone evidence and cell-site analysis.
  • R v MS – represented one of two Muslim men who were alleged to have assaulted by touching their 13-year-old niece; cross-examination of teachers and support worker from the complainant’s school, to whom disclosure had been made over the course of two years; each convicted of one count and acquitted of the other – argued (with leave) in the CACD that the verdicts were inconsistent.
  • R v NM – represented deaf man accused of sexually assaulting deaf complainant during her sleep; evidence partially confessional in sign language; significant logistical considerations at trial concerning interpretation of proceedings, ABE and Police interviews; jury acquitted.
  • R v L & 3 Others – represented 16-year-old boy on charge of rape of 12-year-old cousin where mother, father and uncle (girl’s father) were alleged to have incited offence; parties Albanian Muslim, suggestion that sexual activity was part of marriage arrangement.


  • LLB (Hons) – Coventry University
  • LLM – University of London
  • BVC – Inns of Court School of Law


  • Criminal Bar Association


Crime Team
+44 20 7353 1746