Marianne Alton

Call To The Bar: 2014

Marianne practices in criminal law, prison law, regulatory law, civil law and immigration law.

Marianne joined Chambers as a tenant after successfully completing her pupillage under the supervision of Tim Storrie. She has experience in case preparation, drafting, and in providing advice in a series of significant pieces of criminal and regulatory litigation. She has also worked alongside senior counsel in the preparation of applications and arguments in the course of a number of high-profile trials.

 

CRIME:

Marianne is regularly instructed in a wide range of criminal defence and prosecution work including violence, dishonesty, drugs, public disorder, sexual offences, animal welfare, driving, regulatory offences and confiscation proceedings.

Marianne regularly prepares and presents legal applications and arguments, such as dismissal, disclosure, abuse of process, applications to exclude evidence and submissions of no case to answer.

 

Recent Cases:

 

Violence:

R v JW  led junior in a two-week attempted murder trial at Preston Crown Court.

R v MM – secured an acquittal in relation to an allegation of violent disorder following a three-day trial at Southwark Crown Court. Prior to the trial, Marianne successfully applied under section 78 PACE 1984 to exclude the statement of a police officer purporting to identify the defendant – thereby significantly weakening the Crown’s case against the defendant.

R v PW – secured an acquittal in relation to an allegation of section 47 assault after a four-day trial at Preston Crown Court. The defence contended that the injuries sustained by the complainant were self-inflicted.

R v YH – secured an acquittal in relation to an allegation of section 47 assault following a three-day trial at Preston Crown Court. The defendant argued that he acted in self-defence.

R v KM – secured an acquittal for a youth charged with a knife-point robbery. The trial centred on evidence of recognition given by two complainants and a police officer and included cross-examination of the officer in relation to breaches of the PACE codes of practice.

R v JW – represented the defendant in relation to charges of attempted section 18 assault, false imprisonment and blackmail. Following a four-day trial at Birmingham Crown Court, the defendant was acquitted of attempted section 18 assault and received a sentence of three and a half years in relation to the remaining offences. Had he been convicted of attempted GBH, he could have expected a sentence of at least six years’ custody.

R v RW & HP – represented two defendants of previous good character in relation to allegations of assaulting a police officer. Marianne drafted legal submissions on behalf of both defendants contending that the officers concerned were acting outside of the lawful execution of their duties. The Crown discontinued the charges.

Drugs:

R v BM – secured an acquittal in relation to an allegation of possession of class A drugs (cocaine) with intent to supply following a three-day trial at Preston Crown Court. The expert police witness made important concessions in cross-examination including in relation to the question of whether the quantity of drugs involved might be consistent with personal use.

R v KC – persuaded the Judge to suspend the defendant’s sentence after he pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply in a commercial context – an offence which also placed the defendant in breach of a previous suspended sentence order.

R v OH – persuaded the Judge to suspend the defendant’s sentence after he pleaded guilty to possession of ecstasy with intent to supply in a commercial context. The Judge was persuaded to disapply the sentencing guidelines.

Dishonesty:

R v DT – represented a defendant in relation to two counts of dwelling house burglary at his trial at Burnley Crown Court. The defendant had a lengthy record for similar offending and was likely to receive a sentence of at least four years’ imprisonment had he been convicted of the burglary charges. At trial, following a successful application to exclude evidence under section 78 PACE 1984, the Crown dropped the burglary charges and accepted a plea to handling stolen goods –reducing the sentence received by the defendant to twelve months’ imprisonment.

RSPCA v JK – following submissions on abuse of process, Marianne secured a stay of proceedings relating to an offence of fraud on the grounds that the prosecution amounted to an abuse of the process of the court.

Trading Standards:

R v JK – led junior in a Trading Standards prosecution concerning the sale of £1.5 million worth of counterfeit toys.

Sexual offences:

R v FT – assisted Suzanne Goddard QC in the defence of a well-known TV weatherman over the course of a three-week trial at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court. The defendant was charged with a series of historic sexual offences against children. The allegations dated back to the 1960’s through to the 1980’s.

R v SR – represented a youth at his ground rules hearing and trial in relation to an allegation of sexually assaulting a girl under the age of 16.

Driving:

R v JR – successfully advanced an ‘exceptional hardship’ argument resulting in the the defendant avoiding a disqualification under the ‘totting up’ provisions.

R v MH – drafted legal submissions in relation to a number of issues including the definition of a ‘road’ for the purposes of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The Crown discontinued on the day of trial.

R v CM – represented the defendant after he was committed to the Crown Court for sentence following a guilty plea to driving whilst disqualified which placed him in breach of a Crown Court suspended sentence order. Following legal submissions, the Judge was persuaded that he had jurisdiction to reopen the question of ‘special reasons’ and that he should exercise his discretion to do so. The defendant’s special reasons argument was successful, he was absolutely discharged and received a nominal fine of £1 (deemed to be paid) in relation to the breach.

 

Confiscation & Forfeiture:

R v PC – instructed for confiscation proceedings on behalf of the defendant. The case resolved on the basis that the recoverable amount was nil and the benefit figure was a third of the figure originally advanced by the Crown.

R v MP – instructed for confiscation proceedings on behalf of the defendant. The case resolved on the basis that the recoverable amount was half of the figure originally put forward by the Crown.

R v YC – the appellant wished to appeal to the Crown Court against an order for the forfeiture of over £50,000 of cash by the Magistrates Court. Marianne drafted a skeleton argument and provided written advice in relation to a number of complicated areas of law. Prior to the final hearing, a settlement was reached resulting in the return of a significant proportion of the seized monies to the appellant.

 

PRISON LAW:

Marianne represents prisoners at Parole Board hearings including cases relating to post tariff lifer and IPP reviews. Many of her cases have included questioning expert psychologists.

 

CIVIL:

Marianne acts regularly in all areas of personal injury work; both through the provision of advices on quantum and at court hearings. Marianne undertakes work for both claimants and defendants at small claim and fast track hearings, infant settlement hearings and MOJ Stage 3 hearings. She has acted in fast track cases relating to road traffic accidents, public liability, occupier’s liability and employer liability claims.

 

IMMIGRATION:

Marianne accepts instructions before the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and the Upper Tribunal. Marianne has particular experience in cases involving human rights arguments.

Recent cases:

NA v ECO – appeared before the Upper Tribunal on behalf of a mother applying to join her minor children in the United Kingdom. The Upper Tribunal allowed the appeal under Article 8 of the Convention.

 

EXPERIENCE PRIOR TO THE BAR AND PRO-BONO WORK:

After graduating from the University of Oxford with a degree in Philosophy and Theology, Marianne completed the Graduate Diploma in Law and the Bar Professional Training Course through the University of Law and was awarded a first class LLB.

During her studies, Marianne received a number of scholarships and awards including an Exhibition from Pembroke College, Oxford and the Hardwicke Entrance Award, Lord Denning major scholarship and the Sunley scholarship from Lincoln’s Inn.

Gaining experience prior to the Bar, Marianne has been involved in a number of projects that have helped develop her skills with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds, including vulnerable people. This included spending a full-time, fully funded gap year working in a homeless centre in Salford. These experiences have made Marianne extremely good at dealing with a large range of clients.

In 2014, Marianne was awarded a Kalisher Trust scholarship which enabled her to spend 6 months working on a capital mitigation project in Uganda. The project assisted those convicted of capital crimes at the sentencing stage as well as on appeal. All of the cases with which she dealt were extremely serious in nature, being either murder or aggravated robbery cases.

Marianne continues to be involved with the project on a pro bono basis and is a trustee of a charity – Evolve FILA – which has assisted hundreds of prisoners on death row in Uganda. Marianne assists with cases at the High Court and appellate courts through Evolve and is developing its research and access to justice projects. Marianne’s recent pro bono work has included helping to draft submissions to the Supreme Court of Uganda in a landmark application which led to the applicant’s death sentence being quashed.