Miriam Smith joined Chambers in April 2018 following the successful completion of pupillage.
Miriam has a broad criminal practice, acting for prosecuting authorities and defendants in the magistrates’ court, Crown Court and High Court as well as acting for prisoners before the Parole Board. Miriam has a growing public law and inquiry practice and she is regularly instructed by government agencies in litigious and advisory matters. Miriam was recently appointed to the CPS Specialist Extradition Panel at Grade 1 and is looking to develop her extradition practice.
Miriam has security clearance and is vetted to SC level.
Miriam prosecutes and defends in the magistrates’ court, youth court and Crown Court.
She has experience of cases concerning a broad range of criminal offences including serious and domestic violence, theft and fraud, public order, offensive weapons, drugs, sexual offences and driving offences. Miriam is regularly instructed in serious matters beyond her year of call: recently, Miriam was instructed to represent a defendant in an eight-handed class A drugs supply case.
Miriam has represented a number of young and vulnerable individuals, in particular those with learning difficulties and mental health conditions. She has experience of a full range of witness handling involving young and vulnerable witnesses, including ground rules, using intermediaries and video-link cross-examination.
In addition, Miriam has extensive experience of prosecuting cases on behalf of local authorities and private prosecutors. Recently, she has conducted prosecutions on behalf of Royal Mail, the Federation Against Copyright Theft, the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner and the National Probation Service.
Recent cases include:
Theft, fraud and associated dishonesty:
R v AL (St Albans Crown Court) – prosecuted an individual for thefts and burglaries totalling 23 counts on the indictment. Following guilty pleas, the defendant was sentenced to 6 years 4 months imprisonment.
R v WK (Isleworth Crown Court) – secured a low community order for a defendant charged with fraud and possession of articles for use in a fraud following successful submissions at sentence, using telephone downloads served as unused, that the defendant was influenced and directed to act by another individual who had not been charged.
R v NW (Kingston Crown Court) – Miriam secured an out of court disposal for a defendant charged with multiple counts of benefit fraud on the day of trial. All counts were left to lie on the file.
R v OO (Northampton Crown Court) – the defendant pleaded guilty on a basis to a bottling charged as ABH. By the time of the sentencing hearing, the defendant was serving a lengthy custodial sentence for unrelated matters. Miriam successfully argued for sentencing the category 1 offence on the basis of excessive self-defence and for a concurrent sentence to that already being served on the basis of delay. The defendant was sentenced to 8 months’ imprisonment concurrent.
R v TL (Westminster Magistrates’ Court) – raised the defence of insanity to a charge of assault by beating. An expert report and representations were served on the Crown and the case was discontinued before trial.
R v KB (Luton Magistrates’ Court) – successful submission of no case to answer on a charge of assault PC on the basis the officers concerned had unlawfully detained the defendant and therefore were acting outside the lawful execution of their duty at the time of the alleged assault.
R v MH (Harrow Crown Court) – the defendant was charged with possession of a bladed article and raised the defence of good reason based on fear of an imminent attack. The Crown offered no evidence on the first day of trial.
R v HI (Harrow Crown Court) – the defendant was jointly charged with possession of two bladed articles. He denied knowledge of the weapons from the outset of proceedings and maintained they belonged to his co-defendant who was involved in gang-related drug dealing. Following a PII hearing on the day of trial, the Crown offered no evidence against Miriam’s client.
R v KL (Willesden Youth Court) – secured a Youth Rehabilitation Order with Intensive Supervision and Surveillance requirements for an 18 year old defendant convicted after trial of a third knife offence. The case was reported in the local press following legal argument about reporting restrictions applicable to youths who turn 18 during proceedings.
R v MW (Wimbledon Youth Court) – following successful representations before trial, the Crown offered no evidence and instead administered a youth caution to the 15 year old defendant for a charge of possession of category A indecent images with a view to distribution.
R v WM (Southwark Crown Court) – the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault and two counts of common assault on two different complainants, committed minutes apart at night on a busy street in central London whilst intoxicated. Miriam successfully argued that the offences fell into the lowest category and the defendant was sentenced to a community order.
Road traffic and motoring:
R v IE (Willesden Magistrates’ Court) – successfully applied on the date of sentence to vacate the defendant’s guilty plea to a charge of driving without insurance on the basis of previous erroneous legal advice. A not guilty plea was entered and the defendant was tried immediately and acquitted.
R v KQ (Stratford Magistrates’ Court) – represented a police officer charged with speeding whilst off duty. Miriam successfully argued against a discretionary disqualification, which was highly likely in view of the recorded speed. The defendant was fined and received six penalty points.
R v KB (Bexley Magistrates’ Court) – successfully argued exceptional hardship on the basis of the defendant’s dependence on his driving licence for employment and that his partner was imminently expecting twins following a complicated pregnancy and was dependent on him for assistance attending medical appointments.
Miriam has conducted a number of appeals against conviction and sentence from the magistrates’ court and the youth court to the Crown Court.
Miriam regularly advises on criminal appeals and judicial review of decisions in the magistrates’ court. She appeared before a Divisional Court as sole counsel in Mishra v Colchester Magistrates’ Court; Colquhoun v Stratford Magistrates’ Court  EWHC 2869 (Admin), which clarified the law surrounding the 21-day time limit for applying to the magistrates’ court to state a case. This case has been widely reported and features in the most recent editions of Blackstone’s Criminal Practice and Archbold. Miriam then successfully appealed the same client’s conviction and sentence in the Crown Court, out of time, on a point of law.
Further, during pupillage, Miriam assisted with a number of post-Jogee appeals before the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) including R v Grant Murray and Henry  EWCA Crim 1228, with a number of unduly lenient sentence appeals by the Attorney General, and with a judicial review of the decision not to charge historic sexual offences in R (on the application of D) v DPP  EWHC 1768.
Miriam is regularly instructed to deal with confiscation proceedings, both when having dealt with the underlying criminal allegations and after trial. Miriam is well versed with the complexities of the legislation and practical requirements to ensure the best possible result for her client. She frequently acts in confiscation proceedings that would ordinarily be beyond her year of call. For example, Miriam recently secured an order of £50 for the lead defendant in a multi-handed class A drugs conspiracy where the Crown alleged the benefit was over £150,000.
Miriam also has experience representing interested parties under the new section 10A of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Current instructions include acting for an interested party in contested proceedings in which the alleged benefit is over £1 million and which involves allegations of hidden assets. Miriam has experience of acting in confiscation proceedings complicated by parallel property determinations and divorce proceedings in the Family Court. Through experience, Miriam has learnt how the involvement of a third party can assist the defendant in reducing the assets available for confiscation.
Miriam is regularly instructed by local authorities to prosecute a variety of criminal and regulatory matters including school attendance offences, environmental offences, breaches of food safety and hygiene regulations, taxi licensing and breaches of consumer regulations.
Miriam represents prisoners serving life sentences and sentences of imprisonment for public protection at oral hearings before the Parole Board, both for pre-tariff reviews regarding release to open conditions and for parole reviews regarding release on licence.
Before her career at the Bar, Miriam volunteered at Prisoners’ Advice Service. She advised prisoners on a wide range of prison law matters, including the merits of potential civil claims and judicial reviews, and assisted with legal advice clinics in prisons in London. Accordingly, Miriam is very familiar with the wide ranging issues faced by prisoners during their time in custody and has significant experience of matters such as adjudications, categorisation reviews and the imposition of licence conditions and their respective means of challenge.
Miriam was recently appointed to the CPS Grade 1 Extradition Panel and has knowledge of both Part One and Part Two of the Extradition Act 2003. She accepts instructions to act for requesting judicial authorities and governments as well as for requested persons in extradition proceedings.
Miriam is currently instructed by a key Core Participant in the Undercover Policing Inquiry chaired by Sir John Mitting.
Miriam has been instructed in civil litigation and advisory matters by a range of government agencies, including the DVLA, the Home Office and Ofqual. She regularly drafts summary grounds of defence in immigration challenges before the Upper Tribunal (Immigration Appeals Chamber).
Miriam Smith Joins Chambers
26 April 2018
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