Ranked in The Legal 500 (2020) for Crime
Kama Melly QC is widely recognised as one of the foremost female advocates in the North East, known for her technical ability and as a powerful advocate. She is in constant demand from both the defence and the prosecution, receiving an increasing number of private instructions. She has a reputation for achieving positive results in cases which others have assessed as hopeless.
For the past 10 of her 18 years as a barrister, Kama has specialised in criminal law. She is known for dealing with serious heavyweight crime including drug conspiracy, murder and fraud, and has considerable experience of cell-site evidence, forensic evidence and abuse-of-process applications. She specialises in sexual offences including historical cases, challenging DNA evidence, child cases, marital rape, and stranger attacks. Her practice includes quasi-crimes such as issues of judicial review, habeas corpus and extradition.
As part of her ‘no stone unturned’ approach Kama has succeeded in preventing prosecutions on several occasions through mounting applications of abuse of process, including in cases of drugs conspiracies and historical sexual offences.
Kama is one of a few barristers recommended by both The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners, particularly by the Legal 500 in the field of youth justice.
“A very solid performer….She is very sound and good with clients.” – Chambers and Partners (2020)
“She is particularly prominent in sexual offences cases.” – The Legal 500 (2020)
“Noted for her expertise in serious sexual offences cases.” – The Legal 500 (2019)
“An expert in sexual offences cases.” – The Legal 500 (2017)
“She’s very experienced in sex case work and highly approachable.” – Chambers and Partners (2017)
“An experienced heavyweight silk with specific expertise in sexual offences cases.” – The Legal 500 (2016)
“She is outstanding as a senior junior. A pleasant advocate, hard-working and committed to the client.” – Chambers and Partners (2016)
“Recommended for cases involving vulnerable defendants and witnesses.” – The Legal 500 (2015)
Kama specialises in cases involving child defendants as young as 10, including 11-year-olds charged with rape and a 12-year-old charged with double stabbings. Her voluntary work with young defendants provides unrivalled knowledge of youth crime, and this was recognised when the Court of Appeal described her practice with young defendants as ‘a model’.
“Kama has a ‘no stone unturned’ approach, achieving positive results in cases which others have assessed as hopeless.”
- R v LF, AA (2018) – successfully prosecuted a man charge with the murder of a 73 year old woman in her home, and his co-defendant of handling stolen property.
- R v AR (2018) – successfully prosecuted builder who strangled ex-wife to death. Media coverage of the case can be found at ITV, BBC
- R v WT (2017) – successfully prosecuted a man accused of murdering his stepfather after he changed his plea to guilty midway through his trial. The defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 22 years.
- R V B (2015) – Successful defence of a teacher accused of sexual abuse by multiple primary-school-aged complainants.
- R v R – Defending in a multiple-defendant paedophile ring.
- R v W (2014) – Successfully led the representation of a young female who had given false information about her partner’s movements in relation to 2 incidents involving firearms and the use of acid as a murder weapon. After several weeks’ trial, the Crown accepted a plea of ‘Obstruct PC’.
- R v P (2014) – Successfully defended of a male accused of rape at Huddersfield Carnival (genital & physical injuries involved).
- R v J (2014) – Successfully defended of a man accused of sexual activity with his niece. Use of s28 Pilot Scheme for pre-recorded evidence.
- R V L & C (2013) (led) – Successful prosecution for manslaughter and perversion of the course of justice in a complex baby-shaking murder case involving multiple expert witnesses.
- R V R (2013) (led) – Successful defence of a female charged with the murder of a threatening male, against the background of domestic violence. Involved complex forensic evidence and reliance on evidence of previous domestic violence.
- R v D (2013) – Successfully defended a middle-aged taxi driver in relation to the rape of a student. The case turned on the careful trawl of unused CCTV footage to show that the police compilation of evidence was misleading.
- R V TB (2013) – Successfully defended a male accused of the false imprisonment, tying-up and rape of his ex-wife and then allegedly taking an unsuccessful overdose. The defendant was found unconscious with the complainant only partially unrestrained.
- R v M (2013) – Successful lone defence of a young male accused of the attempted murder of his father with a crossbow whilst his father was asleep in bed. The Crown ultimately accepted a plea to s20 GBH and the defendant received a community order.
- R V U (2010) – Guidance from the Court of Appeal in respect of dangerous young offenders; Kama’s approach to youth sentencing was described as ‘a model’.
Kama receives regular media requests for expert commentary on criminal news stories. In 2013 and 2014, she appeared on ITV’s This Morning (as an expert commentator and as a regular ‘legal eagle’); Sky News on a frequent basis; BBC Breakfast; BBC News Channel; BBC local news in the North West and North East; Radio 5; LBC; the Daily Mirror, the Daily Mail and more.
Contact Kama’s clerks
Kama Melly QC practised in criminal and family law for many years as a junior barrister, including the representation of Local Authorities, before specialising in cases of rape and serious sexual offences.
Her family law practice included Public Law cases including those in High Court. Kama has dealt with cases involving significant physical and sexual abuse of children and cases of the most serious non-accidental injuries including the death of children.
Kama’s criminal practice has centred on issues that have a criminal/family law crossover and have focussed on child sexual and physical abuse.
Kama is the highest grade of prosecutor and a member of the CPS Rape and Sexual Offences Panel.
Kama has experience of cases involving ‘baby shaking’ murder, torture of children, neglect and child cruelty.
In 2016 Kama conducted a case involving joint hearings of criminal and family jurisdictions, dealing with disclosure and expert instruction.
The detailed knowledge Kama has of the manner of criminal prosecutions of carers and parents would be invaluable to the robust defence of a parent accused of causing harm to a child.
Kama is a nationally recognised expert at dealing with vulnerable witnesses including the evidence of children. She has delivered training on this subject to The National Bar Conference, the CPS, the National Criminal Bar Association Conference and the Family Law Bar Association.
Kama is an advocacy trainer for the Inns of Court College of Advocacy (previously known as the Advocacy Training Council) and for the North Eastern Circuit. Kama is an accredited teacher of advocacy trainers.
Kama’s national reputation in this field has meant that she is regularly asked to provide expert commentary for the National Media. Kama has made multiple appearances on Radio5 Live, Sky News, This Morning, BBC News Channel, and BBC Breakfast.
Contact Kama’s clerks
Claudine Cooper on 0113 202 8604
Paul Foster on 0113 213 5209