Specialising in criminal law and associated quasi-criminal areas, Adam’s practice covers the whole spectrum of criminal cases. His expertise and reputation have led to him being instructed to deal with complex and important cases all over the country, including the Central Criminal Court, the Midlands, Winchester, Bristol, South Wales and the West Country. He also appears in the Court of Appeal.
His advocacy, advisory and case presentation skills were publicly recognized by his appointment as Queen’s Counsel in 2016.
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In his first few years in Silk, Adam has established himself as one of the leading criminal silks on the Western Circuit. Appearing for both the Defence and Prosecution, he has conducted cases involving complex expert medical and scientific evidence, particularly those involving the deaths of very young children, murders involving firearms and difficult issues of joint enterprise, and cases requiring sensitive handling of both vulnerable witnesses and defendants. His thorough preparation and detailed knowledge of the factual and legal aspects of the case in hand, coupled with his personable yet tenacious style in court, ensure that his case is put fairly, forcefully and to maximum effect.
Adam spent much of this year leading Berenice Mulvanny in prosecuting the case of Bob Higgins, the ex Southampton FC youth coach, for sexually abusing 24 boys over a period of 2 ½ decades. Arising from widespread media coverage of sexual abuse in football and sport generally, this prosecution attracted sustained national TV, newspaper and online coverage, and will be the subject of a dedicated documentary by a BAFTA award winning director due to be aired in 2020. Convictions were secured after an eight week re-trial (after a first Jury had been unable to agree verdicts on all but 2 of the 50 counts) which involved the extensive use of pre-recorded evidence, issues relating to hearsay after one of the victims had died before the re-trial and the calling of evidence which had been the subject of an unsuccessful prosecution of the Defendant in a 1991 trial.
Other recent cases of note include:
- Operation Endorse, where Adam led Jodie Mittell in a case of a drug-related revenge shooting where the surviving victim and only other eye witness named two innocent local men as the culprits. Despite this, and in the face of significant challenge from the Defence (including Michael Mansfield QC) as to the way in which the case could be put to the Jury, Adam successfully secured the convictions of three London-based drug dealers – convictions which were subsequently upheld in the Court of Appeal.
- Operation River, in which Adam represented the alleged gunman from a gang of burglars who shot a householder during a break in. This case involved detailed, complex and disputed cell site and other telephone evidence.
- Operation Manner, involving the death of a 77 year old who was run down by a car fleeing the scene of an earlier road traffic accident. Leading Gemma White, Adam had to deal with a series of abuse of process arguments alleging corruption and bad faith against the Police and CPS. Overcoming these both pre-trial and during the case itself, Adam was able to present the evidence in such a way that the Defendant pleaded before the end of the Crown’s case.
- R v Phillips and Skinner, where a 16 year old father caused fatal head and other injuries to his six week old son, in a situation partially caused, and then aggravated, by the neglectful actions of the child’s young mother.
In his earlier months in silk, Adam successfully prosecuted in a case involving the traumatic death of a toddler at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend, and a gross negligence manslaughter revolving around the duty of care owed by one partner to the other during and after extreme consensual sexual activity. Both cases attracted national media coverage. He has also defended in cases involving serious and historical sexual allegations in combination with more recent predatory sexual assaults, and in a rape which copied internet pornography downloaded by the Defendant.
Prior to taking silk, as a junior Adam spent most of his time involved in cases consisting of serious violence and public order, rape and serious sexual allegations (against both adults and children), multiple defendants, drugs, fraud and deception. He has also acted as junior counsel in murder cases. He was regularly instructed as a leading junior in complex, multi-handed cases, and in the last few years was instructed in a case involving the supply of cocaine and money laundering charges against 11 defendants, a 16-handed Vietnamese cannabis growing and money laundering conspiracy, a nationwide heroin supply conspiracy involving undercover officers, and 8-handed conspiracy to steal and burgle.
In the year or so prior to taking Silk, Adam was involved in a number of cases involving allegations of serious sexual assaults and rape, often involving vulnerable and young victims, as well as historical complaints. This allowed him to use the expertise he has acquired in this regard due to his involvement with the Western Circuit and ATC training programme teaching advocates how best to deal with such witnesses. Adam has also been involved in cases which involved allegations of murder by running down with a speed boat, gang-related attempted murder and other firearms offences, a single blow manslaughter dealing with causation issues, and a three-handed murder by members of the travelling community. He was also instructed in a case involving allegations of section 18 and false imprisonment within a relationship where the victim was too scared to make a complaint, and a serious aggravated burglary by an organised gang.
Of particular note, Adam was instructed as the prosecution junior in Operation Waterloo, a complex multi-cut throat murder with four defendants. Involving difficult hearsay issues relating to a main witness, wide-ranging pathological and forensic evidence, and a large volume of CCTV and telephone evidence. At a trial lasting 6 weeks in 2012 and 11 weeks in 2013, Adam conducted much of the case himself and successfully resisted the appeals against conviction in the Court of Appeal, appearing against four leading QCs.
In April 2010, Adam dealt with a three-month case which involved allegations of neglect of mentally incapacitated adults who were resident in a home at the time. In what is believed to be the first prosecution of its kind nationally. Complex medical, psychiatric, social care and other technical evidence had to be presented to a Jury in relation to a total of sixteen residents who it was said had been neglected. As well as dealing with criminal offences under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, this case also dealt with Health and Safety and regulatory issues. As a result of his involvement in this case, Adam was asked to speak at a multi-agency conference organised by Hampshire CPS dealing with the protection and prosecution of this type of offence, a seminar which was attended by representatives from CPS nationally, social services, local authorities, regulatory bodies and the police.
Being involved in Operation Orr in Hampshire, dealing with cases involving indecent images of children downloaded from the internet, he has acquired particular knowledge and expertise in relation to computer and internet evidence and its presentation to a court.
Recent Cases of Note include:
As Queen’s Counsel
- Operation Manner (2019) – A murder allegation involving the running down of the victim by a car
- Operation Quantum (2018/19) – The nationally reported case of Bob Higgins, an ex- Southampton FC youth team coach, prosecuted for decades of sexual abuse of 24 different victims
- Operation Rosette (2019) – A case involving two brothers stabbing another man to death
- R v Harvey (2019) – A murder case involving the defendant breaking into a house and stabbing the deceased (a man unknown to him), and then sexually assaulting a girl in a nearby house
- R v Phillips and Skinner (2018) – Murder of a 6 week old baby by his very young father, and neglect of the child by his young mother
- Operation Endorse (2018) – Attempted murder by a London based drug dealing gang of those thought to be from a rival gang in Portsmouth, where the victims wrongly named others as being the perpetrators
- R v Downton and others (2017/18) – A case involving the shooting during a planned burglary of a householder.
- R v Adams (2017) – Gross negligence manslaughter arising out of extreme consensual sexual activity
- R v Eke (2017) – The murder of a toddler by the infliction of catastrophic abdominal injuries
- R v Boyle (2017) – The attempted murder of a complete stranger with a knife
- R v Napier (2016) – The murder by stabbing of her partner by the Defendant
- R v Darvill (2016) – The stabbing of an intruder into a house by one of the householders
- R v Lester (2016) – Multiple historical rape and sexual assaults against young girls, with first generation indecent images, as well as recent aggravated burglary and sexual assault of a 9 year old
As Junior Counsel
- R v J… (2016) – Historical sexual offences going back 40 years on close family members
- R v D….(2016) – Multiple complainants of historical rape and sexual offences
- R v Y.. (2016) – Instructed by NCA in case involving the alleged ordering of gun parts from abroad on the dark web
- Operation Mohican (2015-16) – Leading Junior in multi-handed drug and money laundering conspiracy
- Operation Sheraton (2015-16) – Leading Junior in multi-handed conspiracy to steal and burgle by an organized crime group across Southern England
- R v Wilson and Dennis (2015-16) – Large scale conspiracy to import drugs, from mainland Europe, involving probe and other internationally obtained evidence
- R v Purvis (2015) – Sexual assaults and distribution of indecent images by a convicted sex offender
- R v P (2015) – Child cruelty by a mother on her own child
- R v Doughty (2015) – Aggravated burglaries of vulnerable, elderly victims by a masked gang
- R v Smithers (2014) – Manager of a nursing home charged with wilful neglect of an elderly and vulnerable resident
- R v Old (2014) – Section 18 and false imprisonment by boyfriend within the context of an abusive and controlling relationship
- R v Gerlach (2014) – Murder by running down in a speed boat
- R v Perkins and Champion (2014) – Drug related false imprisonment, assault and torture
- R v Redhead (2014) – Drug and gang related firearms offences and attempted murder
- R v A (2013) - Historic allegations of serious sexual abuse, with associated bad character showing paedophile tendencies.
- R v Mohammed and others (2013) - Eight-handed drugs and money laundering conspiracy.
- R v Gilliver (2013) - Single blow manslaughter between serving soldiers, involving complicated expert evidence relating to brain trauma and alcohol.
- R v G (2013) - Murder with knife where deceased survived incident and discharged himself from hospital, but later died of complications.
- Operation Waterloo (2012/2013) – Four-handed cut-throat murder involving torture of the victim, and the disposal and setting light of the body. Re-trial occurred after main defendant pleaded having given evidence.
- R v James (2012), R v Cramp (2012), R v Heaney (2011) – Ill-treatment of elderly residents of care homes in Leicestershire.
- R v Thorn (2012) – Serious and life-threatening section 18 occurring during a pre-arranged fight where a knife was produced
- R v Cannell (2012) – Historic allegations of serious sexual abuse on a complainant with significant and ongoing alcohol and mental health issues
- Operation Paynter (2012) – Multi-handed conspiracy to produce and supply large quantities of cannabis, and connected money laundering and mortgage fraud offences involving a number of properties
- R v Chambers and others (2012) – Three-handed murder and disposal of the body
- Operation Hollow (2011) - A seven-handed conspiracy to steal involving the theft of cigarettes from a bonded warehouse worth over one million pounds
- Operation Texas/Operation Madison (2011) - Two large drugs conspiracies involving class A, B and C drugs being trafficked from Manchester to South Wales
- R v W (2011) - Possession of extreme pornography
- Operation Cinders (2011) - Six defendants charged with conspiracy to burgle commercial premises across the South of England, and associated money-laundering offences
- R v Edwards (2011) – Fatal accident of pedestrian walking on M4 at night
- R v B (2011) - A man charged with historic and multiple rape and indecency, and taking indecent images
- R v Bayton and others (2011) - A drugs conspiracy stretching from Devon to Manchester
- R v Dobney (2011) - The Chief Druid of Avebury in relation to benefit fraud
- R v Tee  All ER (D) 231 (Feb) - Series of mortgage, benefit and credit card fraud
- Operation Fawley (2010) - Leading Junior in a case involving allegations of neglect against the owner and manager of a residential home of sixteen mentally incapacitated residents under their care
- Operation Approve (2010) - Junior Counsel in murder case involving an assault in a house where the victim remained in a coma for five months.
- R v Belton  All ER (D) 88 (Nov) – Misfeasance in a public office
- R v D  - A teacher alleged to have sexually abused multiple victims over many years.
- R v C  All ER (D) 370 (Apr)
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Having spent over twenty years dealing with cases involving sexual allegations, Adam has amassed a wealth of experience and knowledge in this particularly difficult and sensitive area of the criminal law. His attention to detail, sound knowledge of the law and sensitive yet effective way he deals with witnesses led to Adam receiving regular instructions to defend and prosecute such offences when a junior. Since taking silk in 2016, Adam’s reputation in this area has ensured that he continues to be instructed to deal with sexual offence cases of the highest magnitude, often involving the consideration of life sentences and attracting national media interest. He sits as a Crown Court Recorder in sexual offence cases and is one of the lead trainers for the Western Circuit in relation to vulnerable witness training.
Adam’s experience in this specialist field covers both contact and non-contact offences, such as grooming and indecent images. As one of only three Counsel selected to prosecute the Operation Orr cases in Hampshire in the mid 2000’s, he acquired particular knowledge and expertise in relation to the investigation, interrogation and presentation at trial of computer and internet related material. His high level of understanding of such complex and technical evidence has been regularly maintained by involvement in cases involving computer related material and training on the subject.
During 2017 and 2018, Adam was one of the lead trainers for the Western Circuit in its roll out of the nationally approved vulnerable witness training course. This involved organising, supervising and assisting with the training at a number of courses designed to ensure all advocates were aware of and could use the toolkits from the Advocates’ Gateway and other material relating to the questioning of vulnerable witnesses.
Examples of recent cases include:
R v Higgins (ongoing) – A case attracting national media interest, Adam is involved (leading Berenice Mulvanny) in a case involving alleged indecent assaults against teenage boys by ex-premier league youth team coach. The allegations stretch over 25 years and go back to the early 1970s, covering a wide range of alleged abuse to 24 different complainants. The case will be the subject of a documentary due to be broadcast in 2020.
R v F (2017) – Leading Counsel in a case involving the copycat abduction and rape of one victim, and the online grooming, meeting and sexual assault of others. Having watched violent videos of such acts, the Defendant acted out the scenes with a teenage girl he had met online, abducting her, taking her to a remote location and raping her. This followed other similar behaviour with other victims. Following a plea of guilty, a life sentence resulted.
R v L (2016) – An aggravated burglary involving the sexual assault of a 9-year-old boy and assault of his mother led to the Defendant being arrested and investigated. Analysis of his computer showed first generation movies and images of the Defendant sexually abusing three young female victims ten years previously, and a vast number of indecent images of children and non-indecent but voyeuristic photographs of local children taken by the Defendant. Other complainants came forward before the trial, which lasted nearly five weeks. Two separate life sentences were imposed.
R v C (2016-2017) – A case involving historical allegations going back over forty years against stepfather of two girls. Adam was instructed as a junior but conducted the case in silk. Following partial acquittals at the first trial, a retrial involved the added complication of the Defendant becoming unfit to plead due to ongoing dementia.
R v D (2016) – Historical allegations of rape, indecent assault and other sexual abuse made against a family member by five complainants, some known to each other and others not.
Other cases available on request.
Strengths: "He is incredibly thorough and he charms the judges and the jury."
Recent work: Acted for the prosecution in a historic sexual abuse case against an ex Southampton FC youth coach, involving 24 complainants and allegations spanning over two decades.
Chambers UK 2020/Crime - Western (Bar) - Band 2
He is recognised for both defending and prosecuting serious violent and sexual offences. He has additional experience of acting in drugs, fraud and deception cases. He is noted for his work with vulnerable clients.
"He is a standout and he always impresses."
Recent work: Prosecuted in a case involving the non-accidental death of a toddler due to severe and traumatic injuries.
Chambers UK 2019/Crime - Western (Bar)
Strengths: "He has in-depth knowledge of the issues, maintains a good rapport with clients and explains complex issues well."
Chambers UK 2018/Crime - Western (Bar)
'Silk who both defends and prosecutes serious violent and sexual offences. He has additional experience acting in cases of drugs, fraud and deception.'
Chambers UK 2017/Crime - Western (Bar) - Band 1
'He defends and prosecutes murders, rapes and other serious criminal offences.
Strengths: "He is very able and has a powerful advocacy style." "He knows his briefs inside out. His analytical ability is amazing."'
Chambers UK 2016/Crime - Western (Bar) - Band 2
'Prosecutes and defends in cases ranging from fraud and theft to money laundering and drugs importation. He is widely praised for his expertise in cases concerning the ill treatment or neglect of vulnerable adults.
Expertise: "He has excellent analytical abilities and is always calm under pressure."'
Chambers UK 2015/Crime - Western (Bar) - Band 1
'Adam Feest is well known for his experience in representing clients in large drug conspiracies. He also acts as junior in a wide range of other criminal matters.
Expertise: “He is a really good advocate who is very well prepared, calm and thorough.”
Chambers UK 2014/Crime - Western Circuit
‘A calm, measured and compelling jury advocate.'
Legal 500 2020/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Crime – Leading Silks
'He can react to the unexpected without missing a beat.''
Legal 500 2018/19/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Crime – Leading Silks
‘His expertise includes homicide, serious sexual offences and drug trafficking cases.’
Legal 500 2017/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Crime – Leading Silks
'An excellent advocate, who has a very good manner with clients.'
Legal 500 2016/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Crime – Leading Silks
'His varied practice includes serious violence, public order, fraud and drugs offences.'
Legal 500 2015/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Crime – Leading Silks
'Recommended for cases regarding ill treatment and neglect of vulnerable adults.'
Legal 500 2014/Western Circuit
'3PB’s Adam Feest "stands out".'
Legal 500 2013/Western Circuit, Crime
- BA(Hons) in Jurisprudence, Keble College, Oxford University 1989-92
Professional qualifications & appointments
- Bar Vocational Course, 1992-93
- Called to the Bar (Inner Temple), February 1994
- Pupil Supervisor since 2003
- Appointed to Attorney General’s List of Special Advocates 2005
- Recorder 2009, authorised to try cases involving serious sexual allegations 2014
- Tutor Judge for the Judicial College 2016
- GMC legal assessor 2010-2018
- NMC legal assessor 2010-2016
- Western Circuit
- Criminal Bar Association
Adam Feest QC is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.More Information
Adam Feest QC leading Gemma White secure Manslaughter conviction in hit and run
On 3rd June at Bristol Crown Court Dario Carboni changed his plea to guilty in respect of the manslaughter of pensioner Kenneth Kiley in July last year. This p...Read more
Adam Feest QC leads Berenice Mulvanny in successful high profile prosecution of football coach Bob Higgins
The predatory paedophile who used his reputation as a star-maker to abuse children whilst working as the Youth Development Officer at Southampton Football Club ...Read more
Successful prosecutions in attempted murder revenge shooting
Three London drug dealers were jailed for more than 30 years each today following unanimous convictions for attempted murder. 3PB Barristers Adam Feest QC, who...Read more