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James O'Donnell

James O'Donnell

Partner Crime
Serious Cases

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James has extensive experience in representing clients at the police station and in the Magistrates’ Court.  James defends clients facing a broad spectrum of criminal charges brought before the Court by various enforcement agencies.

James has extensive experience in dealing in complex and serious cases concerning violence, including murder, kidnapping and firearm offences, fraud, large scale drug supply as well as sexual offences. James regularly defends clients involved in organised crime or who face prosecutions by way of joint enterprise or as part of a conspiracy. With such serious cases in his remit, James consistently remains in control and calm at all times when interacting with clients and third parties including counsel and investigative and enforcement authorities.

James is appreciated by clients for his prompt and clear style in communication whilst always managing expectations. He ensures that all aspects of his client’s defence are fully advanced and regularly instructs leading experts to contest disputed and complex evidence in order to advance his client’s defence and to maximise their chances of success. 

James is a highly regarded lawyer and due to his attention to detail and commitment to his clients has built a large client following that regularly instruct him on a wide range of matters on either a private or publicly funded basis.

Notable cases: 

  • R v DM (2024) – S.18 negotiated to attempted ABH – the defendant was initially charged with s.18 GBH for allegedly driving over the victim. We negotiated the charges down to an attempted ABH and secured a suspended sentence order.
  • R v DG – (2024) Large scale drug importation – Our client is currently awaiting trial for importing 20 kilos of class A drugs.
  • Cardiff Riot Trials (2024) – We are instructed for a number of defendants involved in the ‘Riot’ in 2021, across 3 separate trials.
  • R v RP (2023) Attempted Murder Acquittal – the defendant was charged with s.18 GBH and attempted murder for stamping on the alleged victims head during a fight and the following day attending the alleged victim’s address to fire a gun shot at the window. The defendant was subsequently acquitted of attempted murder and possession of a firearm.
  • R v BS (2023) – Rape acquittal -the defendant, a shamanic healer, was alleged to have raped multiple victims. We questioned the evidence and the defendant was acquitted.
  • R v LC (2023) – Defendant found not guilty of s.18 GBH and Affray – The defendant was involved in a bar fight which escalated to involve the defendant glassing another. The offence was captured on cctv. We submitted that there were little evidence against the defendant and subsequently the judge directed the jury to enter a not guilty verdict.
  • R v MS (2022)  – Attempted murder acquittal -  the defendant was charged with attempted murder by driving over an unconscious male outside a night club. The jury returned a not guilty verdict and the client was instead convicted of dangerous driving causing serious injury.
  • R v JM (2021) – S.18 GBH and RIOT – The defendant was initially charged with s.18  GBH whilst attending a riot with over 130 people and firearms. We negotiated a plea deal which meant the s.18 charges were dropped and the defendant avoided a lengthy custodial sentence.
  • R v LO (2021) – SSO achieved for PWITS A – The defendant was found guilty of street dealing class A drugs. We mitigated extensively on the client’s behalf and subsequently a suspended sentence was achieved. 
  • R v JO – (2021) Acquittal of violent disorder and possession of an offensive weapon – The defendant was involved in large scale violent disorder at a sporting event involving over 80 people, only two people were acquitted at trial including our client.
  • R v EM (2021) - Acquittal of a man charged with four counts of Attempted Murder and Grievous Bodily Harm. The cases involved members of the Irish travelling community travelling from Leicester to a traveller’s site in Irchester. Armed with machetes and other lethal weapons an attack took place which resulted in several people being seriously injured. A man's neck was slashed who was fortunate to survive. 
  • R v RMM (2020) - Attempted Murder Acquittal  - On the face of the prosecutions case it appeared overwhelming but with a first class legal team we were able to demonstrate that the defendant was an innocent bystander. Extensive preparation by our experienced first-class legal team and barrister ensured the jury saw the true picture. Our highly experienced trial counsel was able to exclude all reference as material to “gang evidence / drill music” relied upon by the crown. Careful scrutiny of all the CCTV footage meant that we were able to completely undermine the crowns case that our client had “summons others” to commit the offence.
  • R v TM (2020) - section 18 GBH - Dropped to section 20 GBH and Suspended Sentence imposed. During the altercation the Defendant was said to have taken a bottle, smashed it off the victim’s head and stabbed him several times to the face causing several lacerations. The offence was captured on CCTV. Although the evidence was overwhelming, after months of negotiations we were able to secure a to a lesser charge of s.20 GBH. Despite the Defendant had a long list of previous convictions for violence including two for s.18 GBH, our Counsel Mimma Sabato mitigated successfully for a Suspended Sentence Order. If convicted of the s.18 GBH the starting point would have been 12 years.
  • R V EW & SC (2019) – Possession with intent to supply class A dismissal. James represented two defendants charged with possession with intent to supply 9 Kilos of MDMA with an estimated street value of £500,000. Both instructed counsel, Malik Aldeiri and Mimma Sabato successfully dismissed the case.
  • R v DW (2019) - Possession with intent to supply class A & B drugs Acquittal. Our client was acquitted whilst the co-defendant was found guilty and received 5 years imprisonment. The case against our client rested on forensics, phone and ID evidence linking him to the house where the co-defendant had been selling and producing class A and cannabis. 
  • R v AD & others (2017) – Conspiracy to defraud. Defendant and others were said to be involved in carrying out fraudulent building work in excess of £500,000. 
  • R v D & others (2017) – Conspiracy to murder: Defendant was said to have planned and organised the shooting of another as part of a revenge attack that stemmed from a long standing family feud.
  • R v M (2017) – Wounding with intent. Defendant charged with an attack where he allegedly drove his vehicle into another during a large scale fight, resulting in numerous broken bones. Not guilty verdicts. 
  • R v AM (2015) – Attempted Murder where defendant was accused of carrying out a near fatal stabbing on another gang member in broad daylight on a busy NW London high street.
  • R v MK (2014) – Conspiracy to kidnap and commit false imprisonment. Defendant was jointly charged with 2 others who were said to have kidnapped another over a 5 day period due to an unpaid drug debt. Defendant was found not guilty of all charges. 
  • R v MH (2014) – Rape. Successfully defended a man charged with multiple counts of rape. Defence instructed Pathologist played a predominant role in challenging the injuries allegedly caused. The defendant was found not guilty on all charges.
  • R v B (2014) – Attempted Murder where a mans throat was slit in a planned execution. Defendant was said to be one of the males involved in the attack. Charge successfully dismissed.