Stephen Harvey QC

Year of Call: 1979
Year of Silk: 2006
Email Address:
Telephone: 020 7583 8055 

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Stephen has prosecuted and defended in equal measure in all aspects of the criminal law, and particularly over recent years, in allegations of serious and non-recent sexual offending and ‘shaken baby’ homicides and assaults. His practice also includes offences involving organised crime, white and blue collar fraud, firearms, drugs, explosives, computer crime, copyright theft, proceeds of crime, money laundering and road traffic.

His expertise includes:

  • Regulatory compliance
  • Health & Safety
  • Planning, planning enforcement and planning inquiries
  • Inquests
  • Disciplinary tribunals
  • Corporate governance (including anti-corruption and bribery).
  • Courts Martials
  • Sports law

Cases of note

Sexual offences:

  • R v B – Defended in a case in which a 16 year old was charged with serial rape involving teenage girls
  • R v H – Represented a high-flying lawyer charged with historical sexual allegations upon his two daughters. The accusations included stupefying them with drugs
  • R v X – Represented an Imam charged with sexual offending
  • R v B – Prosecuted an osteopath who faced multiple allegations of sexually abusing his patients
  • R v H – Prosecuted to conviction a ‘cold case’ stranger rape
  • R v B and Others - Advised the prosecution and drafted a 70 + count indictment against 10 defendants accused of being members of a paedophile ring involving some of the defendant’s children, and others, and alleged corruption within Social Services departments of local authorities and outside agencies. The trial is ongoing.

Military law and courts martials:
During Stephen’s early years in practice he appeared for the defence in a number of Courts Martials. The charges ranged from petty thefts to serious assaults and sexual offending. A recent appearance was on behalf of a Gurkha soldier accused of sexual assault and harassment. He was acquitted upon both charges.

Notable military cases 

  • Captain M – Captain M was charged Under Section 1 of the Official Secrets Act with spying. The case involved the officer travelling to Eastern European destinations (without authority) and meeting with Soviet security personnel.  Following an application for Habeus Corpus seeking a release from closed custody, the case was passed over to the civilian authorities. The case resulted in an acquittal
  • Major JG – This officer was the Range Safety Officer at a live firing range in Alberta, Canada. He served as such during the British Army’s tenancy of the range. There were some fatalities culminating in the death of two soldiers who were in a trench with tank mortar firing over them. Due to an error in the transmission of firing coordinates one of the tanks dropped its shells into the trench thereby killing both soldiers. JG, given his role as Safety Officer, was charged with two counts of negligent manslaughter. He was acquitted upon both counts.

Stephen has been security cleared (DV’d) by the State enabling him to have access to classified and other sensitive material. Without such security clearance, the more serious and sensitive cases would be closed to an advocate.

Much of Stephen's recent criminal fraud practice has involved advisory work at an early stage of an investigation. When defending, he has sought to influence its course and to negotiate a favourable outcome for the client. In this role Stephen has dealt with the major investigating bodies including the Serious Fraud Office (using its wide-ranging powers) and the Financial Services Authority in its regulation of financial markets as well as large-scale fraud inquiries by the police and the CPS.

  • R v AB – Represented a bank manager who had spent some years defrauding his bank using ‘ghost’ accounts and other devices to conceal and move monies around
  • R v J – Financial Services Authority prosecution of a large insurance brokerage and allegations of misappropriated premiums. Case involved ‘early day’ successful appearances in the Chancery Division in respect of a number of world-wide injunctions granted to the investigators
  • R v M – An insurance company fraud involving substantial amounts of monies being syphoned off through a complex trail of bank accounts throughout Europe
  • R v W – A substantial VAT ‘carousel’ fraud brought by HMRC involving cross-jurisdictional transactions, money laundering and a ‘supergrass’
  • R v G – A fraud involving the creation of a company to act as a vehicle for the sales of vast quantities of stolen specialist building materials from the company employing the defendants
  • R v H – A six-figure fraud on an international leasing company by the ‘creation’ of assets against which funds were borrowed.

Proceeds of crime and money laundering:

  • R v M – A large conspiracy to steal and distribute prestige cars throughout Europe with the proceeds being passed through a network of bank accounts
  • R v C – An international conspiracy to supply drugs and launder the proceeds through bank and building society accounts in the UK and in Spain
  • R v B – Successfully retained the clients financial interests in a property in the face of the prosecutions claim that all the property should be the subject of confiscation.


  • R v A – Represented a senior tax investigator employed by the Inland Revenue who was acquitted upon all allegations of corruption after an inquiry lasting 4 years and a trial lasting 3 months.


  • R v M – Successful defence of an army major charged with spying.


  • R v U – Junior counsel in the ‘Stansted Afghan Hijacking’ case.

Abuse of process:

  • R v H – Successfully argued that the case should be stayed due to errors made by the prosecution during the investigation. The case involved an international drug conspiracy. The legal arguments took three months to advance
  • R v E – At the time of trial the case involved the largest UK tobacco smuggling allegation that Customs & Excise had prosecuted. Successfully argued that case should be stayed due to significant non-disclosure by the prosecution of material it had acquired during the investigation and which was helpful to the defence.


  • R v J and Others – This was the largest gangland trial that had been brought to court in the North of England. It involved Moss Side gangsters (‘The Gooch Street Gang’ and ‘The Longsight Crew’) gun-related violence, homicide, attempted homicides and drug dealing over a number of years. The trial took in excess of 6 months
  • R v G and Others – Successfully defended a 17 year old charged with murder and grievous bodily harm following allegations that he had set fire to a block of flats when he was just 14 years of age. The case was brought to trial after a ‘cold-case review’, a Crime Watch appeal and following two major police investigations. The client was acquitted following detailed submissions as to the unreliability of the prosecution evidence
  • R v M – Prosecuted to conviction a difficult and sensitive ‘shaken baby homicide’ case involving medical evidence from a total of 17 distinguished experts from a variety of medical disciplines
  • R v W – Successfully defended a young man charged with conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to dispose of the body
  • R v N – Prosecuted to conviction a Zimbabwean ex-policeman who attacked his wife with an axe
  • R v A – Successfully defended a 17 year old who was accused of being part of a group of youths who broke into the deceased’s home twice and on the second occasion attacked him leaving him for dead. The client was acquitted after an 8 week trial
  • R v B – Prosecuted to conviction a rare case of infanticide where a young mother having delivered her own baby killed it
  • R v S – Defended an escaped prisoner who murdered his wife in the presence of their very young (5 to 12 years of age) children by repeatedly stabbing her. The defence was provocation and a great deal of sensitive advocacy was required in dealing with the children who were witnesses in the case
  • R v M – Prosecuted to conviction a difficult and sensitive ‘shaken baby homicide’ case involving medical evidence from a total of 17 distinguished experts from a variety of medical disciplines.

Kidnapping and Blackmail:

  • R v L – Defended in a trial involving the targeting, kidnapping and blackmailing of family members of lottery millionaires
  • R v S – Defended a Turkish client charged with armed kidnapping and blackmail in a ‘Kebab wars’ trial.


  • R v C – A substantial cannabis smuggling operation involving over 100 armed police officers in a midnight raid at a quiet east coast location.

Computer crime and copyright theft:

  • R v V – Successfully defended in a private prosecution brought by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT). This was the first case that has come to trial involving accusations against the operators of a ‘linking’ website. The prosecution originally claimed that the losses of copyright revenues were in the region of £18 billion. The case, at the time, represented  the highest value criminal prosecution brought in a UK court. The site was one of the most popular on the world wide web which, at its peak, was the 500th most visited site out of the 40 billion sites there are on the web. Complex cross-jurisdictional issues and a number of internationally renowned computer experts were called during the case. The client was charged with two conspiracies to defraud. Successfully argued that the first of the conspiracies should not proceed beyond close prosecution’s case and the jury acquitted the client of the second conspiracy. The trial lasted 8 weeks
  • R v S – Another private prosecution by FACT. It involved the importation and distribution of illegal set top boxes which facilitated the illegal downloading of copy written material. A significant six-figure loss was alleged. The client was acquitted.

Explosives and firearms:

  • R v K – A case involving the manufacture of two bombs one of which exploded destroying a solicitor’s office. The second was a ‘video tape’ designed to explode and kill the recipient when it was inserted into a video player
  • R v E – A case involving the petrol-bombings of two senior police officers homes.


‘Stephen is a meticulous and confident performer who is both charming and hardworking’. He is active in a wide range of areas, and has notable specialisations in fraud and copyright theft’.
‘…(he) honed his skills in engineering and financial services before coming to the Bar. He wins acclaim for his charming manner and clear headedness’.

Chambers UK

Stephen has a ‘…wealth of experience in the cross-examination of experts (in a variety of fields) and (he) has lectured…on the topic of ‘The expert witness’.

Legal 500

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Academic qualifications

  • LLB(Hons)(Lond)

Professional qualifications & appointments

  • Associate Chartered Institute of Arbitrators

Professional bodies

  • The Criminal Bar Association
  • The Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association
  • The British Academy of Forensic Sciences
  • The Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
  • The Health and Safety Lawyers Association
  • The Public Access Bar Association.

Direct Access

Stephen Harvey QC is qualified to accept instructions directly from members of the public and professional clients under the Direct Public Access scheme.

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