It can now be reported that Alex Young and Chris Canning have successfully acted as prosecution juniors in a series of prosecutions into forced labour and other offences of fraud, theft and violence, labelled Operation Pottery. To date, eleven defendants have pleaded guilty or been convicted by jury. An extremely complex and wide-ranging investigation by Lincolnshire Police led to a six month trial in the Crown Court from November 2016 to May 2017, which concluded with convictions; a second three month trial then started immediately afterwards which ended with guilty pleas. Further guilty pleas from other defendants followed.

The case has today been widely reported following the lifting of reporting restrictions. The trial judge commented in April 2017 of the first trial as follows:

“This trial has been both the longest and the most complex trial of its kind ever conducted in this country, according to all researches by both the Bar and the Court Service. The trial has lasted over 20 weeks. The nature, scope and volume of the evidence in this trial is such that the case has been at the least of the very highest level of complexity… The level of skill and care required of the advocates in this case make this case, in my judgment, directly comparable with the most serious of all criminal allegations.”

Led by Riel Karmy-Jones QC and Sally-Ann Hales QC, Alex Young was briefed in November 2015 as First Junior, and Chris Canning in June 2016 as Second Junior. They were instructed by the East Midlands Complex Case Unit. Sentence is due to take place in September.

For the full report please click here.


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