Mark Shanks joined Chambers at the start of 2017. Prior to joining us, he was in-house counsel for a successful local firm of solicitors.
Since his qualification, he has built-up a strong reputation in the field of criminal defence and prides himself on his excellent advocacy skills and client care. He has represented clients in Police Stations, Magistrates Courts and Crown Courts across the region, and in January 2016 appeared in the Court of Appeal.
Unlike many barristers, Mark has advised in police stations following his accreditation to do so. This provides an insight into the earliest stages of a criminal case and this informs his analysis of the prosecution’s approach.
Excellence Through Continuity of Representation
Mark has completed the requisite training to deal with vulnerable witnesses in Court and has dealt with many cases involving witnesses and clients alike with varying difficulties.
Mark’s legal experience goes back further than his call as he was a paralegal between 2006 and 2011. Before that, he was a court usher in Oxford.
Mark is regularly instructed in driving-related matters and prides himself on having a high success rate, particularly in complex cases with unique legal arguments.
Mark is represents clients in the Magistrates’ Court, and his experience working for a solicitor’s firm has proved invaluable when working in this forum.
- R v HM & FAA (2020)
- Mark, led by Francis Fitzgibbon QC, secured the acquittal of his client (FAA) who faced terrorism charges. The unanimous Not Guilty verdicts followed a re-trial lasting over four weeks at the Old Bailey, after the original jury (in a trial lasting 7 weeks in Autumn 2019) failed to reach a verdict.
- The re-trial was the longest running trial in the UK at the time following the Covid-19 restrictions, and required specific care taken in order ensure it was completed safely.
- Mark’s client, FAA, stood trial alongside his cousin HM, facing allegations of preparing an act of terrorism. Both men had each faced over 20 hours of interview over a period of 10 days at the hands of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit.
- HM was with engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts, contrary to section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006. This offence is committed where a person, with the intention of committing an act or acts of terrorism or assisting another to commit such an act or acts, engages in any conduct in preparation for giving effect to his intention.
- FAA was charged under Section 38(B) Terrorism Act 2000 – failing to inform authorities of his cousin’s intentions . The law requires that if a person has information which he knew or believed might be of material assistance in preventing the commission by another person of an act(s) of terrorism, that he/she discloses that information as soon as reasonably practicable to the police; failure to do so amounts to a criminal offence under this section of the Terrorism Act. Both defendants were Category A prisoners, due to the seriousness and nature of the offences alleged.
- This was a case where both defences rested upon each other, and a mis-step by either defendant, whilst under extreme scrutiny, would likely result in the conviction of both defendants.
- The case itself involved allegations that HM has been acting as a ‘lone wolf’ on behalf of ISIS, and had been conducting significant research into British military and police defences to terrorist attacks (including a personal reconnaissance visits to Castle Army barracks in Bury). It was alleged that he was spurred on by videos and material produced by Islamic State outlets, which depicted nasheeds, extreme violence (including beheadings) and anti-Western propaganda.
- Amongst the items found in the property the men shared were knives, machetes, bear claws, Metsubushi ‘ninja eggs and what the Crown alleged was evidence of attempts to make a drone that be able to drop explosive material upon those below.
- Following challenge to some of the world finest experts in each field, and the accounts given by both defendants, the jury acquitted unanimously after three days of deliberation. Media coverage of the trial can be found here:https://news.sky.com/story/fast-food-worker-who-called-himself-local-terrorist-cleared-of-plotting-to-attack-army-base-with-axes-and-drone-12055748
- R v M – Manchester Minshull St CC Dec 2018
Following a 6-day trial, Mark secured the acquittal of his client who faced allegations of Burglary and Sending Malicious Communications. The case involved a number of complex legal arguments (the trial had originally been fixed for 3-4 days), yet the jury unanimously found the defendant not guilty after only 13 minutes of deliberation.
R v K – Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court
Secured the acquittal after jury trial of his client, charged with s.47 ABH, where the defendant was alleged to have injured a colleague with a frying pan during a kitchen altercation in a takeaway restaurant.
- R v B – Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court and then Court of Appeal
The Defendant ‘B’ was a 14 year old male who had pleaded guilty to his involvement in a joint enterprise knife-point robbery. He received an 18 month DTTO, which I appealed on the basis of his age and lack of previous convictions.
- R v Khan – Trial – Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square
The Defendant stood trial on one count of Dangerous Driving. It was alleged that he had driven his car at speed with an undercover police officer on his bonnet. Following a 2 day trial in which a number of police and civilian witnesses gave evidence, the defendant was unanimously acquitted by a jury after only 44 minutes.
- R v Brace – Trial – Bolton Crown Court
The Defendant stood trial accused of Theft and Common Assault in a domestic violence setting. Following trial, the Defendant was acquitted on both counts.
- R v Faughey – Manchester Crown Court
As a Led Junior where the defendant was charged with one count of Murder and one of Attempt Murder of two separate complainants. Following extensive work with a very ill client, alongside psychiatrists, the Crown eventually accepted pleas to Manslaughter and s.18 GBH with intent. The defendant received a ‘hybrid’ hospital order under s.45(A) MHA and a life sentence with a minimum tariff of 10 years.
- R v A – Tameside Magistrates’ Court
Represented a mother, charged with 3 x assaults upon her 11 year old son. The case required delicate cross examination of a vulnerable child witness. Mark was commended by the Court for his sensitive handling of the matter.