John Cammegh

Introduction

John is a highly experienced criminal defence practitioner, appearing in both Crown courts and courts martial. He acts regularly as leading junior and junior alone.

Background and expertise

John specialises in cases of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, use and supply of firearms, drugs, and complex sexual offences with an emphasis on vulnerable witnesses.

Read more

John has appeared for the defence in nationally reported cases – from the 2017 ‘burst football’ manslaughter (R v Bollen and Jelly) to the HMP Pentonville escape (R v Baker); and from the ‘Epsom Pizza Hut’ kidnap, multiple rape and attempted murder (R v Voedes) to the street-shooting of an Essex drug dealer (R v Kenny) in which the defendant was acquitted.

He has also developed a niche practice in the area of vulnerable witnesses and defendants.

He is also a CPS Grade  3 prosecutor and also on the rape list.

International criminal practice

In previous years John gained unique experience in international practice, acting as lead counsel for a former rebel leader on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Special Court of Sierra Leone (2004–09), and as adviser to local defence teams for several defendants tried at controversial Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal (2011–14). In late 2013 John travelled to southern Turkey to advise émigré Syrian law enforcement groups.

John has lectured and trained in the law, procedure and practice within international criminal tribunals and procedure here and abroad. He has lectured at the American Society of International Lawyers in Washington DC and at St Antony’s College Oxford. He has advised the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the US State and Defense Departments and the Nigerian National Security Advisor.

He also has appeared regularly on TV and radio, and written extensively in publications from Counsel to the New York Times.

Notable cases

R v B and J, 2017
John acted for Natalie Bollen, a vulnerable person with serious mental health problems, who ran a ‘cut-throat defence’ against her co-defendant father, William Jelly, in the nationally reported ‘burst football’ case of manslaughter. Leicester Crown Court
R v B, 2017
Baker, awaiting sentence for attempted murder, was charged with the common law offence of breaking prison as one of two men who escaped from HMP Pentonville. He pleaded guilty at trial, abandoning his defence on necessity. Mitigation centred on conditions of HMP Pentonville G wing – culminating in a 30-month sentence that fell far below the tariff in Coughtrey. Blackfriars Crown Court.

Read more Notable cases

R v K, 2016–17
Acquittal at retrial of defendant charged with the point-blank shooting of rival drugs dealer he allegedly lured to the scene; there were forensic/ballistic issues as to which party carried the weapon and direction of fire. Hung jury after three-week trial; acquittal at retrial after successful challenge to fresh ballistic evidence. Chelmsford Crown Court.
R v V, 2016
Leading junior in nationally publicised case of attempted murder, multiple rape, kidnap (and other charges) after the defendant abducted a female victim at knifepoint from Epsom Pizza Hut. Defendant acquitted of attempted murder and awaits sentence on other matters. Guildford Crown Court.
R v S, 2016
Leading junior in murder case, after a defendant beat victim to death after drinking binge. Cross-examination of forensic pathologist assisted the judge, upon conviction, to dismiss torture as an aggravating feature when passing sentence.
R v S, 2016
Acquittal on all counts of defendant charged with multiple specimen counts of rape, alleged by teenage step-daughter in family home. Persistent applications for third-party disclosure, social services, medical and school records eventually impugned complainant’s credibility. Reading Crown Court.
R v H, 2016
Retrial of multiple count indictment alleging serial historic, grave sexual abuse by step-grandfather on four now adult sisters. Trial, which attracted much local notoriety, required special measures to assist complainants, who were accepted by the defence to be deeply traumatised. Second jury were also hung; defendant was eventually formally acquitted. Leicester Crown Court.
R v S, 2016
Defendant charged with possession of firearm with intent to endanger life after apparent drugs-war shooting at occupants of Range Rover in south London. Acquitted of intent to endanger life on defence submission, after eyewitnesses accepted the gun was not aimed at occupants as shots fired. Central Criminal Court.
R v H, 2016
Acquittal of defendant alleged to have sexually assaulted his partner’s daughter. Trial involved video-link cross examination of complainant, aged just five. St Albans Crown Court.
R v B, 2015
Notorious case attracting local TV and press coverage. Lengthy trial where the defendant was charged with grave sexual offences, including unlawful intercourse, against young girls – as well as making and distributing vast numbers of images and videos of his victims and others unknown. Aylesbury Crown Court.
R v N, 2015
Historic rape allegation dating back to early 1980s. Allegation arose during defendant’s trial for similar matters, where peculiar modus operandi were strikingly similar. Complex evidence involved discovery and eventual service of archived local government documents, police/court records and handwriting experts regarding personal diaries. Ipswich Crown Court.
R v K, 2015
‘Date rape’ case at Chelmsford Crown Court. Victim had learning difficulties; defendant met her through a dating site and allegedly falsely imprisoned her at her flat. Acquitted of rape; convicted of GBH with intent after systematic and brutal beating of victim causing multiple injuries.
R v M, 2014
Leading junior in notorious case, where several Royal Military Police personnel were charged with GBH and sundry military offences after an initiation ceremony in which a recent female recruit had to be repeatedly resuscitated after taking extreme quantities of mixed spirits. Defendant acquitted. Sennelager Court Martial Centre.

Other activities and interests

  • Active supporter of the charity Social Mobility Foundation

Publications

  • John has been published in Counsel, the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune on international crime issues
Module Icon

PROFILE: John Cammegh

"He brings a track record of international crime to homicide and rape cases."

Legal 500, 2017

Year called

1987

Specialisms

Module Icon

Crime

Module Icon

Confiscation / POCA

Module Icon

Military

Module Icon

Sexual offences

Module Icon

Terrorism

Module Icon

Disciplinary

Module Icon

Inquests / public inquiries

Module Icon

Regulatory / Disciplinary

Module Icon

International

Module Icon

International

Contact

020 7489 2727

Education

University College London LLB Hons, College of Law

Memberships

CBA, Rapha Cycling Club

Appointments

CPS Grade 3 prosecutor

CPS rape list

Disciplinary panel member, British Cycling

Recognition

Recognition Icon
Download Profile