Richard began his career at the Bar in London, practising on the South Eastern and Western Circuits. He has dealt with cases before a variety of tribunals, ranging from the Magistrates’ Courts to the Privy Council, including Courts Martial and the Stewards of the Jockey Club.
As prosecution Counsel he has been briefed as a Leading Junior since 1995 in serious and often multi handed criminal cases, including conspiracies to supply drugs, to incite criminal damage, human trafficking, rape, and kidnap.
He has defended as a Junior and since the mid 1990s as a Leading Junior, in most fields of criminal work, including homicide, violence, child cruelty, sexual offences, drug importation and supply, dishonesty, blackmail, Merchant Shipping offences, and assorted common law offences.
RASSO approved and Grade 4 CPS prosecutor.
He also undertakes shotgun and firearms appeals, police disciplinary cases and inquests.
Notable Cases - Prosecution
- R v P (2017) Prosecution of male for possession of working and loaded Sauer 9mm pistol where evidence consisted of solely finding of minute amount of defendant’s DNA on trigger
- R v I (2016) Prosecution of step father for catalogue of historic rapes and other sexual abuse of stepdaughters
- R v A (2015) Prosecution of male for possession of firearm where evidence consisted of finding of minute amount of defendant’s DNA on magazine housing within the weapon
- R v G-D (2014) Prosecution of 20 year old with appetite for 12 year old girls
- Operation Clarion (2012) Leading Junior in prosecution of substantial conspiracy to supply class A drugs
- R v S (2010) Prosecution of Gross Negligence Manslaughter of elderly woman
- Operation Anteater (2006) - Leading Junior in prosecution of wide ranging 3 handed Conspiracy to Traffic attractive girls from Brazil for Sexual Exploitation
- Operation Basking (2007) - Leading Junior in prosecution of multi handed conspiracy to steal contents (including a lot of brandy) of goods vehicles
- Operation Elm (2004) - Leading Junior in prosecution of 2 police officers for Rape and Misconduct
- Operation Roadie (2003) - Leading Junior in prosecution of 15 handed Conspiracy to Import and Supply tons of cannabis
- Operation Washington (1997) - Leading Junior prosecuting multi handed ALF and Anarchist conspiracy to incite criminal damage
- R v Guerrine and others (1995) - Prosecution of the girls who robbed Elizabeth Hurley, just after she wore That Dress.
Notable Cases - Defence
- R v R (2017) Successful defence of 80 year old grandfather accused of rapes of great grand daughter, aged 6-8
- R v F (2017) Successful defence of ‘sex addicted seaman’ accused of rape
- R v P (2015) - Successful defence of young Romanian accused with 6 others of gang rape
- R v R (2015) - Successful defence of young man with high functioning autism accused of sexual offences against drunk girls after a night out
- R v N (2014) - Successful defence of man of impeccable character accused of historical rapes of his wife
- R v S (2014) - Successful defence of 43 year old man accused of rape occurring 27 years earlier
- Op Vanguard (2014) - Defending one involved in 27 handed conspiracy to supply cocaine
- R v Ellis (2014) - Representing one of the Huyton team of ATM gas attack dismantlers
- R v Limb (2013) - Representing defendant in first UK ATM gas attack
- R v Robie (2011) - Appeal to Privy Council against conviction for Murder
- R v S (2008) - Leading Junior defending police officer accused of Misconduct
- Operation Benzol (2006) - Leading Junior defending skipper of yacht in Conspiracy to Import large quantity of cannabis into Brighton Marina
- Operation Crossbow (2008) - Leading Junior representing unfit defendant first on indictment with seven fit defendants in historical child abuse case
- Operation Elmer (2008) - Leading Junior successfully defending in multi handed Vietnamese cannabis growing conspiracy
- Operation Silver Eel (2006) - Leading Junior defending in Conspiracy to Cheat Revenue in Hydrocarbon Fuel Oil Rebate Fraud by ancient family of Poole fishermen netting a lot of money
- Operation Fabric (2004) - Leading Junior successfully defending in organised football violence conspiracy
- R v D (2001) - Defending the Tesco Bomber
- R v M (2000) - Successful Defence of skipper of Pleasure Boat charged with Merchant Shipping Act offences said to have occurred in Poole and Swanage harbours.
Shotgun and Firearms Appeals
- H v Chief Constable Hampshire Constabulary (2015)
- U v Chief Constable Devon and Cornwall Constabulary (2015)
- C v Chief Constable Hampshire Constabulary (2016)
- M v Chief Constable N Yorks Police (2016)
- M v Chief Constable Hampshire Constabulary (2017)
- P v Chief Constable Surrey Constabulary (2017)
- Hants Constabulary v PC S (2009) - Representing officer in disciplinary proceedings
- PC X v Dorset Constabulary (2014) Representing officer in disciplinary proceedings
- Dorset Constabulary v PC S (2014) - Representing police in disciplinary proceedings
- In Re: M.S. (2009) - Oxford Coroner's Court: representing interests of Police Inspector in inquest into circumstances of death following release from custody.
Richard Onslow is a very experienced senior junior who has appeared at tribunals ranging from local Magistrates' Courts all the way up to the Privy Council. He handles a broad spectrum of serious criminal cases including drug and sexual offences, human trafficking and violent crime, and also takes on police disciplinary matters. He also handles firearms and shotgun appeals.
Strengths: "He has gravitas and authority which translates into the court, who respect him."
Recent work: Defended a man who attempted to kill himself and his ex-partner by spraying petrol in the interior of his car with them both in it and trying to spark a lighter.
Chambers UK 2022/Crime/Western Bar
Strengths: "An outstanding advocate with very good judgement." "When prosecuting he is fearsome but fair, and is just a thoroughly nice character."
Recent work: Prosecuted an 11-handed county lines drug distribution conspiracy.
Chambers UK 2021/Crime/Western Bar
Strengths: "He is a great character at the Bar and has a wonderful sense of humour."
Recent work: Acted in R v Abdi, a case involving a defendant accused of raping a student who had been celebrating her A-Level results. His friend was accused of assisting the offender.
Chambers UK 2020/Crime/Western Bar
Defended in a case involving drug addicts seriously injuring another drug addict who had in turn robbed yet another of a valuable consignment of cocaine.
Chambers UK 2019/Crime/Western Bar
'A very experienced senior junior who has appeared at tribunals ranging from local magistrates' courts all the way up to the Privy Council. He handles a broad spectrum of serious criminal cases including drug and sexual offences, human trafficking and violent crime, and also takes on police disciplinary matters. He also handles firearms and shotgun appeals.'
Strengths: "He is a very classy advocate."
Chambers UK 2018/Crime/Western Bar
Strengths: "He is brilliant - hugely experienced and a consummate performer."
Chambers UK 2017/Crime/Western Bar
'Has a wealth of experience in a broad range of criminal cases, including child cruelty, sexual offences and physical violence. He is also instructed in police disciplinary cases.'
Strengths: "His strengths are his experience, advice and advocacy. He is a fearless advocate in court and has a striking courtroom presence."
Chambers UK 2016/Crime /Western Bar
'Richard Onslow has a smooth style of advocacy, a tenacious approach and vast experience, which has won him a significant following of instructing solicitors. He both defends and prosecutes, and is particularly visible in serious heavyweight crime cases.
Expertise: "He directs cross-examination in a way that pulls juries with him. He is excellent in front of the jury."
Chambers UK 2015/Crime/Western Bar
'Richard Onslow, a vastly experienced practitioner, he handles murder, rape, drug and fraud-related cases.
Expertise: “If your client needs to advance a really rigorous, forthright defence, Richard Onslow has a knack for being able to do this without turning it into high drama. He gets great results.”
Chambers UK 2013/4/Crime/Western Bar
‘One of the leading courtroom advocates in the local area and well-used to dealing with serious crime, juries enjoy his charm and easy manner.’
Legal 500 2021/Crime - Western (Bar) - Leading Juniors - Tier 2
‘A safe pair of hands in both prosecution and defence.’
Legal 500 2020/Crime - Western (Bar) - Leading Juniors - Tier 1
"Fearless in court and unyielding in his cross-examination."
Legal 500 2018/19/Crime - Western (Bar) - Leading Juniors - Tier 1
‘A dauntless and determined advocate.’
Legal 500 2017/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Crime – Leading juniors
'A fearless advocate, who is skilled in case presentation.'
Legal 500 2016/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Crime – Leading juniors
'A first-class trial advocate'
Legal 500 2015/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Crime – Leading juniors
'Always well prepared, and deals with pre-trial matters promptly.'
Legal 500 2014/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Crime
'3PB’s Richard Onslow ‘stands out’.
Legal 500 2013/4/Regional Bar - Western Circuit, Crime
- MA (Oxon)
Professional qualifications & appointments
- RASSO approved prosecutor
- Grade 4 CPS prosecutor
- Criminal Bar Association
- Western Circuit