Vincent Coughlin QC

  email      029 2023 2032 

Singled out by The Lawyer as being "exceptionally good", Vincent Coughlin has an outstanding track record with a breadth of experience ranging through complex tax and revenue frauds, terrorism, homicide, corporate corruption, money laundering, gang killings, drugs importations and sexual offences. In the last ten years Vincent has been named three times by the Ministry of Justice as being one of the top ten busiest silks in the country.

In 2015 Vincent triumphed in defending the executive editor of 'The Sun' who faced charges with Rebekah Brooks for an alleged conspiracy to pay an MOD official for stories. Since then he has gone from success to success, defending and prosecuting in a number of highly publicised trials.

Vincent is currently instructed to represent a senior Rolls Royce Executive in the well-publicised global investigation by the SFO and the US Department of Justice in respect of alleged multi-million pound corrupt payments for order procurement.
Vincent enjoys a lively and highly successful general criminal practice. He is able to provide high quality advice and representation in serious crime, complex fraud, and a wide range of crime related, regulatory and disciplinary matters. He is on the Bar Council Direct Access Directory of Barristers.

Cases of Note


In the last six years alone Vincent has secured acquittals in the following trials:-
R v FK & OTHERS Birmingham Crown Court 2015In a ten week trial, representing the first defendant of five charged with attempted murder with a shot-gun, Vincent obtained an acquittal on the main count. An outstanding count awaits re-trial.
R v DWAYNE BLAKE & OTHERS Central Criminal Court 2014Vincent defended the first of five school-aged defendants tried for the murder of Jamil Palmer who was fatally stabbed in broad daylight in a South West London park. The litigation involved an attritious cut-throat defence against the second defendant. Vincent's client was found not guilty. The second defendant was convicted. The trial 'pushed the boundaries' of secondary liability.
R v VENAYAKAMOORTHY & OTHERS Central Criminal Court 2013Representing one of eight defendants alleged to have participated in a Tamil street gang murder in Lewisham High Street following a two month trial. Another secondary liability case, which was thrown out by the court following no case submissions, only to be sent back by the Court of Appeal. Another acquittal for Vincent.
R v ROBINSON & OTHERS Reading Crown Court 2012After a seven week trial, representing the only one of three defendants to be acquitted of murder and attempted murder following a long running feud in the Newbury area.
R v SZALUS & OTHERS Winchester Crown Court 2011A failed manslaughter case coupled to a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice alleged against a group of Polish co-workers blamed for their colleague’s death, where issues relating to medical causation could not sustain the principal charge.
R v KHAMAL HANCHARD-KERR Birmingham Crown Court 2011A murder trial in which Vincent secured the acquittal of Khamal, jointly charged with his ‘Rambo’ knife- wielding seventeen year old twin brother, convicted for his attack upon three older neighbours following the escalation of earlier street confrontations involving the twins. Three deep wounds were inflicted on each of the victims by his brother, with fatal consequences for one and near fatal for the other two, within the space of a minute as they all fought before the twins made their escape.
R v FORSYTH & OTHERS Nottingham Crown Court 2010Successfully representing the central defendant in a nine-handed 'Yardie' gang murder in a case involving extensive vehicle satellite tracking evidence and a ‘cut-throat’ defence.
R v MOHAMMED KHANI & OTHERS Central Criminal Court 2009Defending alleged gang leader of West London street gang 'MDP' and his participation in a 22 handed revenge attack resulting in the murder of a student. Found not guilty.
R v DANA ALI Winchester Crown Court 2008Defending an alleged participant in a Kurdish gang killing which took place at open air culture festival. Verdict – Not Guilty
R v ASIF MOHAMMED Reading Crown Court 2008Defending the alleged accomplice to the daylight murder and robbery of a taxi-driver who was stabbed in the neck as he sat in his car. Verdict – Not guilty.
R v GERMAINE MORRIS Central Criminal Court 2008Alleged gang participant in a six-handed South London revenge attack gang murder. One of the six to be found not guilty following a lengthy and complex cut-throat trial.
R v LULZIM BICI Central Criminal Court 2007Successfully defending the alleged getaway driver and gang member of an Albanian parking-meter turf war leaving one dead and three wounded in a night-club fire fight.


Vincent also prosecutes, his court-room talents having been recently utilised in the following nationally publicised successes:
R v JAMES WILLIAMS Cardiff Crown Court 2016 The murder of Russell Peachey, who was hunted down and fatally attacked with a hammer for arguing with his girlfriend after a night out together.
R v TINOFIRIE & SONDHI Birmingham Crown Court 2016 Two convictions for attempted murder following an early morning shotgun attack upon a bricklayer in a street in Rushden, with a third defendant convicted for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
R v GARETH WYNN JONES Cardiff Crown Court 2014 Following a three week trial, a jury rejected psychiatrists' claims of diminished responsibility and convicted the defendant of a calculated killing for gain of a vulnerable musician whose body was found battered and lifeless on the banks of the River Taff.
R v HUSSAIN, MIAH, MIAH & KHAN Luton Crown Court 2014 The successful murder prosecution of four gang members for the street killing of a teenage rap-artist who had posted a youtube video which upset them. All four were convicted of murder with two defendants also convicted for the facial mutilation of the deceased's companion.
R v YOUNIS & LYNAM Luton Crown Court 2014The successful murder (Younis) and manslaughter (Lynam) prosecution of two Luton males for the killing of a vulnerable teenager following their campaign of bullying and harassment.
R v JACOBS & FRANCOISE Chelmsford Crown Court 2012The successful prosecution of a Clacton couple, Charlie Jacobs and Elisha François, for the murder and manslaughter respectively of Oliver Smith-Daye on New Year’s morning 2012.

Public/Corporate Corruption and Bribery

R v SHANAHAN, KAY, WEBSTER & OTHERS Central Criminal CourtIn March 2015, Vincent secured the acquittal of Fergus Shanahan, the highly-regarded Fleet Street journalist and executive editor of The Sun who had faced the ordeal of waiting three years between his arrest and trial for approving payments while serving as the sole deputy editor of The Sun under Rebekah Brooks. The prosecution has subsequently been condemned across a consensus of national media comment as a post Leveson witch-hunt motivated by a desire to rein in the freedoms of the tabloid press.Vincent’s closing speech was widely reported across national media. It is the latest in a series of successes for Vincent in this field.
R v MOUNCHER, SEAFORD & OTHERS Swansea Crown Court 2011Vincent was one of the leading counsel representing a senior detective in the nationally publicised collapse of the 'Cardiff Three' police corruption case, the largest prosecution of its kind ever brought. That case focused on an allegation of wholesale evidence manufacturing in order to build a false case against several men for the brutal murder of the Cardiff prostitute, Lynette White. A government backed enquiry into the reasons for the case collapsing is on-going.

Other cases involving Vincent in this specialist field are: 

R v SIMPSON & OTHERS Reading Crown Court 2005Defending a company secretary for her participation in a long term corporate corruption case involving the Mars Corporation.
R v LEE & OTHERS Stafford Crown Court 2005Public corruption charges against an ex-Army Officer arising from the unlawful removal and export of tank equipment from M.O.D. base at A.B.R.O. Donnington.
R v RASHID & OTHERS Birmingham Crown Court 2005A three month trial in which Vincent defended a solicitor charged with perverting the course of justice following his destruction and manipulation of evidence while purporting to represent gang members being investigated for the attempted murder of a rival.
R v KARAGOZLU & OTHERS Central Criminal Court 2001Defending the main defendant of a London/Cyprus organised crime group charged with the corruption of a junior Customs & Excise employee who had subverted a multi-million pound Customs investigation through the destruction of surveillance evidence and the deletion of computer data on their behalf.

Complex Fraud

Vincent's experience of fraud has been amassed over more than 30 years. His areas of practice have included tax investigations, business crime and corporate defence, 'spot-price' fixing and commercial and investor fraud. Due to the nature of his work at the advisory stages, many cases remain confidential. He has recently acted for a building contractor in an alleged £50 million building P.A.Y.E. fraud. He has also acted for an Independent Financial Advisor who, whilst acting as a trustee for a pension fund when ineligible to do so, had devised an off-shore vehicle to fraudulently liberate capital sums from Occupational Pension Schemes.(R V RUSSELL [2004] EWCA Crim 1041)/

More recent successes have included

R v ADIL MOHAMMED & OTHER Birmingham Crown Court 2012Successfully representing a businessman facing charges arising from a multi-million pound mortgage valuation fraud carried out across the West Midlands;
R v ANANT PATEL & OTHERS Operation La Fombra Southwark Crown Court 2009Successfully defending a high-profile businessman against S.O.C.A. Middle Markets Team led accusations into money laundering and drug trafficking following the seizure of of cash and lignocaine recovered his business premises.

VAT Fraud

Vincent has been defending in VAT carousel and M-Tic frauds since the 1990s .He successfully represented two of the ‘Bond House’ defendants. Equally at home before a jury or a VAT tribunal he has appeared more recently in the following national cases:
R v JASPAL SANDHU Operation Heyrick Birmingham Crown Court 2010Vincent obtained not guilty verdicts for the company secretary of a key trader in a £50 million MTIC Vat fraud following a 4 month trial.
R v JOHNSON & OTHERS Operation Emersed Wolverhampton Crown Court 2007Vincent acted for the director of a freight forwarding company that was at the centre a £70 million Euro- carousel fraud whose agency had facilitated almost every deal across the conspiracy.
R v BIRRING & OTHERS Operation Elemi Birmingham Crown Court 2008Defending in a complex trial focusing on the alleged laundering of the multi-million pound proceeds of an M-TIC fraud through high value gaming across national Casino networks. The central accusation against Birring foundered after Vincent's cross-examination of the Casino accountants and staff staff.
R v VASS & OTHERS Operation Vehicle Snaresbrook Crown Court 2004Missing trader intra-community fraud – representing the main defendant in £80 million VAT fraud which had provided a life-style for the defendant that would have put an investment banker to shame.

Medico-Legal Issues

R v BUCKLEY Cardiff Crown Court 2016Defending in a case involving the death of an infant in which the greater part of the evidence was based on the competing opinions of medico-legal expert witnesses.
R v K Basildon Crown Court 2013Complex allegations relating to unexplained injuries to new born infants that involved a thorough forensic examination of competing opinions from the UK's leading experts in the fields genetics, radiology, paediatrics and obstetrics. Acquitted of all Counts.
R v CURTIS Guildford Crown Court 2013A causation case relating to the death of a child from swine-flu where the medico-legal evidence suggested the true cause to be founded on a previous assault carried out by the defendant two years previously.
R v BELL Harrow Crown Court 2008Defended in a 'baby-shaking' allegation on an infant aged 6 months with numerous expert witnesses called on issues of causation and related medical topics.

Inquests and Tribunals

Vincent has advised and appeared at Coroner's Inquests throughout his career. Most recently he was instructed in the /Coroner's Inquest in the fatal shooting of Barrister Mark Saunders/, where he advised and represented ex Met Police Commander Ali Dizaei, (before Dizaei was imprisoned for unrelated matters). Dizaei was at risk of criticism for his role as 'Gold Commander' of the incident, and Vincent, having obtained independent 'interested party' status, thereafter provided written submissions to the Coroner on the scope of the Inquest which in due course rendered the 'Gold' command role unblemished.

International Terrorism

R v JEGATHEESWARAN & OTHERS Operation Osmium Central Criminal Court 2009Following a three month trial, Vincent secured the acquittal of an alleged Tamil Tiger said to have been responsible for shipping electronic and components for improvised explosive devices and military hardware to the LTTE controlled areas in Sri Lanka.
R v ULLAH & OTHERS Stansted Hi-JackingIn February 2000, an Afghan airliner, carrying more than 150 passengers, was hijacked during an internal flight on 6 February and flown to Stansted Airport, near London. After four days of tense negotiations, all the hostages were finally released. Vincent was one of the first counsel instructed to represent one of the main defendants.

Asset Recovery

Since the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 was enacted, Vincent has acted for a number of private clients and achieved effective resolution of complex and unjustified financial claims by Asset Recovery agencies. He has also advised Regulatory Bodies of their powers of recovery under the Act.
In May 2012, Vincent represented an Accountant charged with laundering £14 million of criminal funds through the books of 20 different businesses. (R V FOLWELL Bristol Crown Court 2012)

Regulatory Law

In 2008 Vincent advised the Financial Services Authority (now the Financial Conduct Authority) as a consultant to the Enforcement Division, advising upon their first major insider dealing ring investigation (Operation Saturn – successfully prosecuted at Southwark Crown Court), as well as building and steering a $27.5 million boiler room investigation which subsequently resulted in record sentences.
Vincent also advised on a complex investigation into unauthorised FX trading by a major investment bank. First-hand experience of the FSA’s approach and policy towards the regulation and penalty regime for authorised persons accused of market abuse and regulatory infringement makes Vincent well placed to advise and represent those facing sanction at both corporate/ individual, wholesale/retail market level. His judgement, legal ability and experience have brought other regulatory bodies to seek his advice as to the scope and progress of investigations.
In 2011 he advised Cardiff City Council Trading Standards Authority regarding a potential fraud and breach of regulations arising from the endorsement by ex-Cardiff City FC Chairman, Peter Ridsdale, of an attempt to boost Cardiff City season ticket sales by suggesting the proceeds would be spent on the acquisition of new players at a time when the club was under a transfer embargo. (September 2011).
Vincent successfully represented the Chief Executive Officer of a Care Home facing prosecution of numerous offences under The Care Standards Act 2000 arising from alleged breaches of duty regarding the Protection of Vulnerable Persons and their deaths in a South Wales Care Home. (R V S; Cardiff Crown Court – 2013)

Early career and background

As a junior barrister Vincent provided pro-bono advice for Law Centres in North London. He has been engaged part-time as a libel reader for The Sunday Telegraph and has written on a variety of legal topics for The Times, The Sunday Times and The London Evening Standard. He has also appeared on BBC's Newsnight.
Vincent is also a senior advocacy trainer at Middle Temple, a voluntary role which he has enjoyed for many years.

Professional Memberships

South Eastern Circuit
Wales & Chester Circuit
Criminal Bar Association
Financial Services Lawyers Association
Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers

In the Press

Vincent's casework is regularly reported in the national news. For recent examples see:-
BBC News
The Guardian
Daily Mail
The Mirror
Daily Mail
BBC News
Daily Mail