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Deborah Smithies

Year of call: 2008

Deborah prosecutes and defends in the Crown Court in all areas of crime. She is a CPS Panel Advocate at level 4, and is a sought-after junior in serious cases necessitating rigorous analytical work. Recent cases have included serious fraud, drugs conspiracies, serious sexual assault, arson, and armed robbery.

Experienced in dealing with confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act, and Sexual Harm Prevention Orders.

Notable Cases

R v AF [York Crown Court, August 2021] – prosecuted a rape committed in 1997 by the defendant upon his adult daughter.

Operation Homestead [Manchester Crown Court, 2021] – leading junior prosecuting a ‘county lines’ conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, using a ‘dealer line’, from Manchester to York.

Operation Thunderstorm [York Crown Court, 2021] – prosecuted a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs using a ‘dealer line’.

R v Nicholson & ors [Sheffield Crown Court, February 2021] – led junior prosecuting the murder of a vulnerable man.

R v WA [Teesside Crown Court, December 2020] – prosecuted offences arising out of a 20-year abusive relationship, including assaults, rape, and controlling or coercive behaviour.

Operation Salmon [Teesside Crown Court, 2020] – prosecuted a conspiracy to steal Range Rovers by hacking key signals.

Operation Sparegill [Bradford Crown Court, 2019] – led junior prosecuting conspiracy to supply Class A drugs using a ‘dealer line’ in the Bradford area.

Operation Seabrook [Teesside Crown Court, 2018-19] – led junior prosecuting 7 ex-prison officers from Medomsley Detention Centre, for offences of misconduct in a public office committed in the 1970s and 1980s.

R v CA & CW [Sheffield Crown Court, November 2017] – led junior prosecuting an offence of causing or allowing serious physical harm to a child (non-fatal ‘baby shaking’)

Operation Claudius/Operation Nassau [Newcastle Crown Court, 2017] – led junior prosecuting conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

R v Kamran Afshar [Teesside Crown Court, November 2016] – prosecuted a defendant under section 45 of the Serious Crime Act 2007, for trying to recruit a vulnerable asylum seeker to set fire to the home of the defendant’s ex-wife and children.

R v Paul Jonathan Wright & Ors (Operation Nacho) [Newcastle Crown Court, June 2016] – led by John Elvidge QC prosecuting conspiracy to commit fraud in a “cash for crash” case.

R v Brian Thexton & Ors (Operation Pearl) [Newcastle Crown Court, various trials in 2015] – led by Christine Egerton prosecuting conspiracy to commit tie-up armed robberies of homes in rural areas in the North East.

R v Timothy Lister & Ors (Operation Skyhawk) [Teesside Crown Court, June 2014] – led by Adrian Strong prosecuting conspiracy to supply cocaine. Dealt with subsequent POCA proceedings.

R v Cully and Grant [Sheffield Crown Court, February 2014] – led by Tina Dempster prosecuting two care home workers for the ill-treatment of elderly dementia patients in their care.

R v Susan Clark & Ors [Leeds Crown Court, March 2013] defended in a multi-handed high-value fraud case.

R v Austwick and Sorby [Leeds Crown Court, July 2012] defended in a high-vlaue handling stolen goods case involving vehicles stolen in a string of dwelling-house burglaries.

R v Henson and Sawdon [Hull Crown Court, May 2011] led by Andrew Robertson QC in a case involving the sexual abuse of very young children.

Practice Summary

Deborah is a meticulous junior barrister who is a popular choice for instructing solicitors. She is developing a practice in public inquiries, inquests, Trading Standards Prosecutions and environmental law.

Areas of Expertise

Public inquiries: with a background in the social sciences, Deborah is particularly suited to cases involving the activities of public bodies. She is building a practice which involves inquiries into land developments.

Inquests: Deborah has wide experience in criminal cases involving violence, and so is well suited to inquests into deaths occurring in violent circumstances and also those involving deaths in police custody.

Trading Standards Prosecutions: accepts instructions in all areas, but her background in criminal law prosecuting and defending dishonesty offences makes her particularly well suited to cases involving counterfeit goods.

Environmental law: has a particular interest in cases involving noise, air and water pollution

Practice Summary

Has appeared in applications and variation hearings relating to Sexual Offences Prevention Orders. Has developed a particular interest in cases involving Football Banning Orders.


  • Magdalen College Oxford – BA (Hons) Philosophy Politics and Economics (2:1)
  • Nottingham Law School – Graduate LLB (First)
  • Haldane Scholarship Lincoln’s Inn
  • Cloth Fair Scholarship Criminal Bar Association
  • Pupil of Amanda Denton KBW

Professional Membership

  • Member of the North Eastern Circuit
  • Criminal Bar Association

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