Maryam Syed is a highly regarded criminal and family practitioner, heavily experienced in dealing with serious complex and high profile cases, with a keen interest in International Human Rights Law.
From defending in the Jill Dando Murder, to prosecuting a RAF Squadron Leader for sexual abuse of boys, to defending a UKIP Councillor in fraud, to Prosecuting a Bishop of a Large Church for Sexual Offences-Maryam has dealt with a wealth of complex serious and notorious cases.
Often instructed prior to charge she advises in highly complicated and distressing matters and is asked to direct the shape of an investigation or defence-and the marshalling of evidence then acting at trial.
She has particular expertise in complex serious sexual abuse cases, rape and historic matters often spanning decades, and in complex multi-defendant serious crime and murder.
Maryam is a Grade 4 Prosecutor and on both the Rape and Serious Crime Panel Lists.
In family she deals with children and allegations of physical and sexual abuse in care proceedings, private law and fact finding.
Maryam has a fearless reputation and is lauded for her ability to talk and persuade her audience whether it’s a Judge or jury.
She is often asked to deal with cases of extreme sensitivity and represent those who are vulnerable or have physical or mental health difficulties.
She frequently provides training to police, defence, CPS Lawyers, SOITS, ISVAS, Social Workers and NGOs on vulnerable witnesses and defendants, sexual offences, FGM, Forced Marriage and controlling coercive behaviour and modern slavery.
She regularly commentates both in the written media and on television, and on podcast and seminars.
She often writes and speaks about equality and diversity, inclusivity and social mobility in the legal profession and judiciary.
Maryam is often asked to write in respect of current legal issues. As an example, Maryam was asked to write for the family law journal on the comparative law in respect of controlling and coercive behaviour. See here.
Maryam is fluent in Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi and is often called on to deal with allegations of religious and racially motivated crimes.
Maryam has sat as a Crown Court Judge since 2012 and is authorised as a Judge to try serious sexual offences including rape.
Maryam was also invited to speak as part of an inclusion networking event hosted by Cake and Counsel, Queen Mary Bar Society and KCLBMS. The video can be seen here.
Maryam spoke on the 14th January 2021 with Amanda Pinto KC and Dr Elaine Storkey on “Lady Justice: has she failed women?” The event can be viewed on YouTube.
On 27 September 2022, Maryam Syed spoke on the panel of: “The criminal justice system what needs to be done?”
Maryam Syed organised and spoke at the seminar: “Coercive control: legal, psychiatric, and human perspectives” on 12 of October 2022 chaired by LJ Thirlwall.
Maryam has been asked to provide defence advice on a number of further cases.
Maryam 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.
She regularly represents and prosecutes those charged with organised crime, homicide, drugs, gang violence, firearms and Operation Trident cases.
Maryam has defended and prosecuted footballers, teachers, soldiers and politicians and others from all walks of life. She has a particular experience in Defending and Prosecuting the young in the Crown court, some as young as 10 years of age.
Noted for her meticulous preparation and robust representation she works tirelessly to ensure all stones are turned and that a client is left feeling fully included and their concerns heard and appropriately dealt with.
She is particularly experienced in presenting and contesting complex expert evidence whether it be forensic, cell site and phone records or audio and visual or financial.
Her other area of specialism is medical evidence both as it pertains to the offence in terms of causation and any defence and psychiatric evidence and disorders both as to witnesses and a defendant.
Her child abuse cases are routinely over decades in multiple locations with others, High Level Sex Offenders acting at trial but also in ancillary matters advising on the propriety of sex offender and restraining orders.
For a number of years Maryam has acted as Specialist Defence Counsel in prosecutions under the Obscene Publications and Video Recordings Acts.
She has extensive experience in Complex/Sensitive Third Party Disclosure and SOCPA agreements [testifying for the prosecution].
Her articles and comments in The Times, Lawyer, Solicitors Journal, Law Society Gazette and Barrister Magazine have dealt with judicial diversity, anonymity in rape trials, Operation Cotton and the effects of the legal aid cuts and high profile sex abuse cases such as Rolf Harris.
Following a four-day trial at the Central Criminal Court, Keelan Johnson was found not guilty by reason of insanity and thus criminally insane, after prosecution and defence doctors agreed that he was severely mentally unwell. On the 11th of November 2022, the defendant was given a hospital order under section 37 of The Mental Health Act 1983, with a section 41 restriction. This indicates he will not be released without the express authority of the Home Office. Maryam was instructed from the outset and throughout by London CPS.
Following an eight day trial at Kingston Crown Court, Aamir Maqsood was on 8th November 2022 convicted of oral rape of a female passenger picked up in the early hours of the morning in spring 2019. The trial had been conducted using the section 28 pre-recorded cross examination procedure for vulnerable witnesses. The Defendant was immediately sentenced to a term of 8 years imprisonment and put on the sex offenders register for life. Maryam was instructed from the outset and throughout by London CPS.
Billy Henham was 24 years of age and had, by chance, entered a Brighton squat for a New Years Party in 2020 before he was attacked by 4 defendants, all of whom were strangers to him. On the 20th of May 2022 Mr Justice Cavanagh sentenced each defendant to life imprisonment with total minimum terms of 86 years. Gregory Hawley and Dushane Meikle received terms of 25 years each and Lamech Gordon-Carew and Alize Spence received terms of 18 years each. Maryam was instructed from the outset of criminal proceedings in May 2021 and throughout by CPS South East of England.BBC >
On the 11th of March 2022 Sandijs Dreimanis was sentenced to a total of 5 and a half years for possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, two separate assaults occasioning actual bodily harm, and having a bladed article. On the 26th of April 2021 the defendant armed with a knife and a realistic painted imitation firearm entered Crawley College and repeatedly shot at students and lecturers. The judge commented on the bravery of two of the lecturers who tackled him to the ground and subdued him as being the most remarkable that she had seen in 40 years in the criminal justice system. Maryam was instructed by CPS South East England from the outset in April 2021 and throughout.ITV >
In May, following a 7 day trial, the defendant was unanimously convicted of all 13 counts of buggery, indecent assault and indecency with a child against two former pupils in the early 1980s. Imeson, now 73 years old, was on the 23/8/21 sentenced to a total of 16 years imprisonment with a further year extension and indefinite sexual harm prevention and notification orders. Maryam was instructed by the CPS Serious Sexual Offences Division.The BBC >
The Defendant received 10 years for multiple stabbing in 2004. The young victim Alex Lloyd after 14 years in a vegetative state tragically died in 2017. The then AG now Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland gave personal consent to charge murder and the case was designated High Court Judge Only allocation. After 16 months of detailed hearings on causation of death and fitness to plead the Defendant now suffering from onset of vascular dementia was ruled to be fit to plead and stand trial. On the 16th October 2020 he pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of provocation (defence abolished in law in 2010) and was sentenced to 2 years further imprisonment but which was suspended for 18 months, the maximum prison sentence in law which can be suspended. Maryam led Marti Blair of the CPS and was instructed by the East Of England Complex Crime Unit.The BBC >
Maryam Syed successfully prosecuted Remmel Parker who, after a 2 week trial, was convicted of 2 counts of controlling and coercive behaviour, 2 counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and Breach of a Non Molestation Order. Maryam was instructed by the CPS and as result of training she delivers to prosecution and police on CCB cases. On Friday 13th December 2019 the Court found him to be legally dangerous and sentenced him to a 5 year extended sentence with 4 years in custody.The Independent >
Successfully prosecuting death by dangerous driving, speeding on a stolen motorbike the defendant ploughed into a young mother and her 4 year old but killed his 18 year old pillion passenger. He then searched his body before fleeing with the illegal helmets.BBC News >
Successfully prosecuted man of five counts of historic child abuse relating to abuse that took place in the 1990’s against an eight year old child.
As Leading Crown Counsel at Central Criminal Court for Complex Serious Crime Group. Torture and Imprisonment of Elderly Wealthy Couple in Cambridgeshire by Gang in forensic suits armed with sledgehammer and crow bar who broke into home and stole treasured items of gold jewellery and ornaments later smelted down and fenced in London. Complex case involving cell site and DNA. Then witness interference arising from first trial. Convictions were upheld on 9 October 2018.BBC News >
As sole Prosecution Counsel of 17 year old Defendant charged with multiple rapes of younger family members under the age of 10. Defendant himself had been groomed and abused. Case involved calling very young witnesses, s28 pre-recorded cross examination and complex DNA evidence.
As Sole Prosecution Counsel successful prosecution of Bishop and Prophetess of London's largest church - convicted of sexual assault on adult and child female parishioners during private prayer sessions. BBC and Martin Bashir broadcast a special report from court on day of sentence. Appeals against sentence (defended Daniel Janner QC) dismissed  Court of Appeal Judgement given by Lady Justice Hallett.The Independent >
As Sole Prosecution Counsel successful prosecution of chemist delivery driver in his 70s convicted of sex attacks on two elderly and disabled women in West London. The case involved calling with intermediaries partially mute, and blind witnesses via link from across the country.The Standard >
As Sole Prosecution Counsel. Gang Kidnap and Torture case. First Defendant was Former Member of Team GB Bobsleigh Team and Ambassador for the Princes Trust. Two Trials – all convicted, then successfully representing Crown before both Divisional Court before LCJ Lord Thomas then in Court of Appeal in 2014 . Case now cited in all CPS instruction briefs under CTL.The Daily Mail >
As Sole Defence Counsel Difficult and Sensitive allegations of rape against Community Leader. The case involved complex expert evidence including calling own CCTV expert to enhance then present analysis of 1000s of hours of footage.
As Sole Prosecution Counsel. The Defendants had targeted elderly victims with a scam letter from Hong Kong Banks proclaiming a fake inheritance then sought large sums to buy special ink remover and equipment to recover the money. The proceeds were then laundered through a number of accounts, the police mounted a video sting operation to make arrests.
As Leading Defence Counsel, complex large drugs importing and dealing conspiracy in London against 5 Defendants.
As Sole Prosecution Counsel successful prosecution of RAF Squadron Leader for sexually assaulting young boys, who was defended by QC.BBC News >
As Sole Prosecution Counsel successful prosecution of 4 Defendants for Barclays Bank ram raid and high value car theft conspiracies. Case involved complex cell site and CCTV analysis.
As Sole Prosecution Counsel successful prosecution over several trials of 6 Russian Defendants involving a three police force operation for sophisticated Conspiracy to Burgle across several counties. Case involved calling experts in DNA, Cell Site, Fibres, Tool and Glove Marks.
As Sole defence counsel, Wisbech “Mattress” Murder - defendant exonerated.
As Sole Prosecution counsel, of lead cellist and music teacher with London Symphony Orchestra - prosecuted for abuse of boys over 40 years in schools across England.
As Leading Defence Counsel, BBC Crimewatch Argos Robberies – only Defendant to be acquitted of the main conspiracy, then acting for 2 Defendants in successful appeals against sentence.
Defending Semi Professional Footballer in Large Drugs Conspiracy where drugs were said to be buried within football grounds. Case involved painstaking phone and cell site charts and hundreds of covert recordings. Acquitted after 2 trials of all charges.
The murder of BBC TV Presenter Jill Dando. Representing Barry George, from pre-arrest through trial at the Old Bailey and appeal and applications to the House of Lords and European Court assisting in CCRC submissions – Led by Michael Mansfield QC. Maryam was tasked with all aspects of the case particularly disclosure where she remained for many days at Kensington Police Station investigating the HOLMES system and Led the Disclosure meetings with the Crown Orlando Pownall And Jonathan Laidlaw QC and Allison Saunders (later to become DPP). At the trial she was asked by Mr Justice Page to vet all court drawings and images released by the press. At the Court of Appeal she was asked by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf to amend and correct their final judgement before it was published to the awaiting media. The Court then orally amended upon her notes.View Judgment >
Local Authority, benefit or bank fraud, Maryam has acted in numerous cases of fraud, money laundering and restraint and confiscation matters, often with a multi-jurisdictional element.
As Sole Prosecution Counsel for Eastern CCU successfully prosecuted accountant convicted of fraud and false accounting of thousands of pounds from celebrity clients including new Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker.Accountancy Daily >
As Sole Prosecution Counsel for the Defendants had targeted elderly victims with a scam letter from Hong Kong Banks proclaiming a fake inheritance then sought large sums to buy special ink remover and equipment to recover the money. The proceeds were then laundered through a number of accounts, the police mounted a video sting operation to make arrests.
Maryam is an experienced family practitioner with emphasis on children. She has acted for both Local Authorities and represented parents and grandparents and other Respondents.
Maryam’s care and adoption work includes cases for mentally disordered clients, for those with learning difficulties and where factitious illness has featured.
In private law again she has a great deal of experience in protracted custody and contact disputes where domestic violence and abuse of the child or wife/mother are alleged.
Experienced in all other Children Act matters, her caseload is also multi-jurisdictional with knowledge on cases in Pakistan.
Her vast experience in dealing with the Criminal side of Serious Child Abuse means she has a special knowledge of NAI and sexual abuse, and where there are allegations of serious multiple sexual abuse by family members.
Again she is experienced with dealing with the particular cultural and religious issues that often arise in proceedings.
She has been instructed in the Crown Court on behalf of Social Services in relation to sensitive disclosure issues in criminal rape/child sex trials.
Maryam is often instructed in relation to Fact Finding Hearings on child sexual abuse and domestic violence.
Initially in public care proceedings then in private custody and contact - representing father in the High Court-mother was found to be dosing child with unnecessary medication and presenting her to hospital - eventually a Supervision order in father’s favour was made.
She has repeated experience in relation to inquiring, advising and reviewing highly sensitive material in respect of medical matters, mental health, capacity, child sex abuse, rape and policing matters and this forms part of the training she provides to local authorities, NGOs, Police and the CPS.
She has acted as independent counsel to review such material on behalf of Local Authorities and other third parties in the Crown Court.
She has attended prison hearings in relation to internal offending and disturbances.
She has also acted for Local Authorities in respect of family Children Act proceedings.
Maryam Syed is a Senior Criminal and Family practitioner who has specialised in mental health issues for 25 years. She also specialises in serious sexual and mental abuse and frequently has dealt with issues of mental capacity and welfare in her existing practice and has a keen interest in Court of Protection Work.
She is a specialist Grade 4 (highest level) rape and child abuse prosecutor and regularly trains the police, CPS and defence practitioners and NGOs on issues of mental health and vulnerable witnesses and Defendants and other parties.
Equally, she has represented those with severe mental cognitive and physical difficulties and very young children in the adult courts.
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