Ayanna Nelson specialises in Crime, Regulatory & Professional Discipline, Offshore and International law.
A compelling advocate, Ayanna is well-liked by clients, who often comment on her personable nature, which puts them at ease throughout the challenging court or tribunal process. The same quality has caused her to be well-respected by colleagues, who appreciate her direct and straightforward approach.
Ayanna came to the Bar after practising as an attorney-at-law in Grenada for five years, where she gained a reputation as a fearless and respected advocate, often instructed in cases involving novel areas of law. She twice served as Secretary of the Grenada Bar Association and was appointed to sit on the General Legal Council, the Bar regulatory body. In 2014, Ayanna was featured in “Grenada 40”, a profile of 40 rising stars under the age of 40, and regularly featured on local television and radio programmes as a ‘legal expert’.
Ayanna studied the prestigious Double Maîtrise programme at King’s College London, graduating with an LLB in English and French Law and a maîtrise en droit from Université de Paris 1: Panthéon-Sorbonne. She is fluent in French.
A Lord Justice Holker scholar, Ayanna is an active member of Gray’s Inn, and regularly assists with advocacy training and judging moots.
Ayanna has been appointed to the SFO B Panel of Prosecution Counsel for the period 2020-2024.
Ayanna is qualified to accept instructions directly from clients and is registered under the Bar Council’s Public Access Scheme, meaning that members of the public who seek specialist advice can come direct to her. In addition, she welcomes instructions from solicitors, in-house law departments, qualified foreign lawyers, and clients licensed by the Bar Council to give instructions direct to barristers under the Bar Council’s Licensed Access Scheme. For more information please visit our Direct Access page here.
Ayanna has experience in a wide range of criminal matters, with a particular interest in serious and organised crime. She has developed a particular expertise in representing young and vulnerable defendants and is regularly instructed to represent clients suffering with serious mental illnesses, or those for whom the trial experience is particularly challenging.
Ayanna is a CPS Grade 2 Prosecutor.
Prosecution junior counsel, led by Pavlos Panayi QC, in the trial of SS for murder. After a three week trial, SS was convicted of murder by the jury after only 52 minutes of deliberation.
Led defence junior in a two-handed murder trial at the Central Criminal Court. The victim was shot at point blank range in broad daylight on a busy residential street. Both defendants accepted presence and ran a ‘cut-throat’ defence.
Led prosecution junior in a large-scale conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs trial, with a total of 11 defendants charged. The case involved the consideration of in excess of ten thousand pages of evidence.
Defended at trial a client charged with rape. The client had already pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual activity with a child and sexual communications with a child. He received a 5 year total sentence after conviction.
Achieved a sentence of 2 years and 9 months for a client who had pleaded guilty to maintaining a highly sophisticated fraud, valued at in excess of £1million, for a number of years.
Client was charged with a violent robbery and false imprisonment, as part of a joint enterprise. His co-defendant had already pleaded guilty. The client accepted he was present throughout the robbery and false imprisonment but denied taking part. The jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict.
Secured a unanimous acquittal for a client charged with the rape of a 15-year old girl. The client accepted having met the girl on the day in question but denied raping her.
JW was charged with s.18 GBH with intent and accepted having been involved in a fight with the complainant but stated that he had left the fight prior to the complainant being stabbed in the back. JW was identified as the stabber by a witness. The jury deliberated for three days before acquitting JW of the s.18 offence and finding him guilty of the lesser offence of s.20 wounding, by a majority verdict.
E was charged with s.18 GBH with intent and accused of having stabbed his adult daughter. E had a lengthy history of violent offending, all of which was put before the jury. E stated that the complainant’s stab wounds were self-inflicted. E was unanimously acquitted in less than an hour.
Ayanna has considerable experience of professional discipline law, in particular with healthcare regulators. This experience was honed during a 12-month secondment to the Nursing and Midwifery Council where she gained experience in every type of substantive and non-substantive hearing, including applications for restoration to the Register and registration appeals.
She is now regularly instructed to appear before the NMC, the General Medical Council and the Health and Care Professions Council, both as a case presenter and defending registrants, and has developed expertise in cases alleging sexual misconduct.
Ayanna has also been instructed to advise businesses in respect of compliance with the Coronavirus Regulations, including providing advice on whether businesses are entitled to open following lockdowns or Tier enhancements.
Represented EB, charged with misconduct relating to his performance as a social worker, including an allegation of dishonesty, in addition to further allegations of sexual misconduct relating to two female clients. As a result of successful legal arguments, the HCPC offered no evidence in relation to the sexual misconduct charges. Despite finding a number of the remaining allegations proved, including the allegation of dishonesty, the Panel exceptionally found that EB’s fitness to practise was not impaired.
Represented B, a newly qualified radiographer, charged with lack of competence by the Health and Care Professions Council. Five of B’s colleagues, including managers, gave evidence as to his alleged lack of competence. Dismissing all charges at half-time, exceptionally the Panel commended B for his concern for patient safety and full compliance with practice regulations, and went further by encouraging B to allow the HCPC to publish their written determination as a mark of public vindication.
Represented the NMC in a three-handed case in which the Registrants were alleged to have contributed to the suicide of a 17 year old inpatient in a secure mental health unit.
Successfully represented a doctor accused of conducting sexually inappropriate physical examinations on a patient. The case was dismissed after a successful half-time application.
Represented the NMC in a case where a nurse was found guilty of deliberately sending an indecent image of a child to her colleague and engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a patient. The nurse had claimed the image was sent accidentally. She was ultimately struck off.
Represented the NMC against a mental health nurse accused of having a sexually inappropriate relationship with his patient. The allegation came to light after the patient attempted suicide when the nurse ended the relationship. The case involved proving the existence of the sexual relationship through careful consideration of more than 3,000 text messages sent between the nurse and patient as the patient was unable to participate in the proceedings. All charges were found proved and the nurse was struck off.
Ayanna maintains a multi-jurisdictional practice and receives instructions from the Isle of Man and the Eastern Caribbean in areas ranging from regulatory compliance to commercial litigation.
Her experience before the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court encompasses criminal and civil litigation, and extends to defending in multi-handed murders, complex fraud and money laundering and sexual offences, as well as general commercial litigation, shareholder disputes, and asset recovery. Ayanna has frequently been instructed in cases involving novel areas of law and cases giving rise to constitutional law issues.
In 2019, Ayanna delivered presentations on ‘The role of the professional enabler in organised money laundering’ at the OECS Regional Law Conference in Antigua, and at a 7BR seminar in the Isle of Man.
Ayanna is presently instructed by a well-established institution on the Isle of Man in relation to money laundering and regulatory issues.
Landmark action brought seeking declaratory relief on the basis that the law prohibiting ‘unnatural connexion’ (section 431 of the Grenadian Criminal Code) contravenes a number of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. The case was pursued with the support of the UK-based Human Dignity Trust and required evidence to be obtained from witnesses throughout the Caribbean, including a number of experts in the field.
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