criminal barrister Annie Johnston

Year of Call 1990



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Areas of Practice

  • Criminal Defence
  • Business Crime & Financial Services
  • Regulatory & Disciplinary Proceedings
  • VAT Tribunal, Confiscation, Civil Recovery and Asset Forfeiture


Annie is a criminal barrister specialising in cases that require expert advocacy skills. She has experience in drug trafficking, violent crime, sexual offences and large-scale fraud. Successfully defending a range of clients.

Annie often appears in cases prosecuted by the SFO and is instructed to defend in high profile cases including “missing trader” “carousel’ and “advance fee” frauds. She also has experience defending in complex money laundering trials, cases involving organised crime including murder, corruption and drug trafficking and serious sexual offences.

Annie has a varied practice and represents both individual and corporate clients, respectively. Annie is called upon to advise professional clients at an early stage of proceedings in respect of strategy and to achieve the best outcome for lay clients.

Annie often advises defendants facing allegations of historic sexual offences. Her specialist knowledge covers the entire spectrum of sexual offences law, from the possession of indecent images of extreme pornography to rape and sexual abuse. She is trained in dealing with vulnerable defendants and witnesses.

Annie has a reputation for being a highly-skilled, measured, forceful and persuasive advocate. As such, Annie is regularly instructed to appear as a leading advocate, both domestically and nationally.

Annie has successfully represented clients appearing before major hearings at the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Annie is frequently instructed in High Court Restraint work and has a wide experience in applications to Discharge or Vary Property Freezing Orders, Restraint or Receivership Orders. She is often asked to provide advice to individuals and companies in pre-charge and ancillary matters such as financial services regulation, issues of disclosure and privilege, restraint proceedings, seizure and due diligence.

Notable Cases

R v OF – Represented son of a singer on perverting the course of justice, blackmail.

R v SB – Represented son of an actor on a charge of assault.

R v K & O – Official Secrets Act – Represented a defendant charged with offences under the Official Secrets Act trial was held in camera.

R v X – Client was charged with Section 2 and 3 of the Official Secrets Act before Mr Justice Aikens. The case concerned the international policy between the UK and the US.

Sexual Offences

R v DR – Defending a young man accused of raping his wife.

R v M – Defending an elderly man accused of raping his children.

R v CI – Defending solicitor charged with conspiracy to rape, trafficking prostitutes.

R v WB – Defending a man charged with raping and an elderly woman in her home.

R v P – Defended a man charged with a series of rapes against his stepdaughter.

R v J – Defending a man charged with raping his children.

Violent Crime

R v S – Extradition Albanian convicted in absence of quadruple murder.

R v M – Represented an architect charged with the murder of his wife. The body was never recovered.

R v G – Represented defendant on a gangland shooting in retribution for the “Shakespeare murders”.

R v M – Represented one of 11 young defendants on charge of murder gang warfare stabbing.

R v K – Represented defendant on a charge of murder.

R v  L  – represented a female defendant on a charge of murder the issue being could the victim have stabbed himself causing his own death

Drug Conspiracies

R v G (Operation Guinness) – Represented defendant in a large multi-handed conspiracy to supply class A drugs into the UK.

R v S – Represented a defendant on the importation of 380 kilos of pure cocaine.

R v D – represented a female defendant charged with money laundering arising from activities of a Columbian Cocaine Conspiracy. At the time said to be the largest trial ever to be prosecuted

R v M – Represented defendant connected to the Columbian Cartel charged with importation of large amounts of 100% pure Cocaine

Business Crime & Financial Services

R v X – Largest MTIC VAT fraud prosecuted in the UK with alleged losses of over £350 million

R v M & Others (Operation Exhort) – Linked mortgage and insurance fraud – 42 handed fraud involving car insurance “cash for crash”  and mortgage fraud

R v X & Others – One of the principal defendants in a conspiracy to steal the pension fund from a large London company

R v PF – Represented the infamous PF who was extradited back from Australia to face fraud charges relating to slimming tablets and slimming tea sold

R v S (Operation Hayrick) – A case described by the HMRC as “the biggest ever case of its kind” involving an alleged 160m MTIC mobile phone fraud

R v H & others (Operation Onset) – Representing one of 6 defendants in a multi-million-pound MTIC fraud involving the sale of mobile phones imported into the UK and sold creating a VAT liability of £140million

R v X (Operation Steamroller) One of 7 defendants in 3 connected alleged ”boiler room” fraud the total amount invested £100 million. Described by the SFO as the biggest fraud to be prosecuted by them

R v T (Operation Rust) – Represented one of 6 defendants on a multi-million-pound diversion fraud involving alcohol and cigarettes

R v V – Represented Company Secretary on a VAT fraud

R v C – Represented defendant on a multi-million-pound MTIC fraud involving computer chips and mobile phones

VAT Tribunal

R v X – High Court Queens Bench Division – Successfully represented a Russian client who was being blackmailed – applied for a Norwich Pharmacal order against the relevant telephone companies in order to track the down the perpetrator of the alleged threats of blackmail.

Appeals and CCRC

R v B – Represented appellant in the Court of Appeal whose conviction was overturned, As a result, advised the Government in relation to the laws of anonymity. More Details

R v D – Represented appellant in Court of Appeal whose conviction was overturned on a murder charge.

R v L – Represented defendant whose conviction was overturned in the Court of Appeal.

Confiscation, Civil Recovery and Asset Forfeiture

R v W – Operation Elvedon – Successfully represented the former deputy editor of The Sun on a charge of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office

Regulatory and Disciplinary Proceedings

Annie has appeared before various regulatory bodies including the GDC and GMC. Regularly appears in the VAT Tribunal on behalf of those appealing against the refusal by HM Customs to repay VAT following assertions of VAT/MTIC fraud.

Appears in Cases involving health and Safety, recently wrote an article called “Who’s bad” for the Health and Safety Practitioner.

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