John Traversi


John is an established criminal law practitioner, defending and prosecuting a wide range of cases. His defence practice focuses on cases with a transnational element – often with non-English-speaking clients. Cases may include drugs, revenue, and human trafficking allegations.

In the domestic context, he deals with fraud cases and has vast experience defending and prosecuting sexual allegations and cases involving serious violence, including murder.

Background and expertise

John Traversi has 40 years of experience defending in serious cases, including many with international dimensions. He has acted in large-scale drug smuggling and human trafficking cases.

Read more

He is sought after by clients who speak little English because of his linguistic skills; he is able to settle them in a foreign jurisdiction and deal with their frustrations and insecurities facing trial.

He is a Grade 4 prosecutor on the CPS rape, fraud and serious crime panels.

He has a good knowledge of civil law jurisdictions, and has been asked to advise on cases abroad by UK nationals who have found themselves in trouble in foreign jurisdictions.

He has been asked to address a variety of bodies on criminal law subjects, often with an emphasis on comparative law.

Notable cases

R v Kadaris, Larcenko and others

Defending in a case of human trafficking for sexual purposes, one of the first such cases involving eastern European defendants.

R v Choudhury

Prosecuted solicitors’ office manager over a £6m mortgage fraud. Extensive Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) proceedings seeking a £10m benefit order.

Read more Notable cases

R v Binford Ltd

Defending in Isle of Man pharmaceutical fraud case.

R v Doran

Prosecuted ‘sex romp’ murder.

R v Fleming and others

Defending in four-month duty evasion trial.

R (ex parte Corbett) v Secretary of State for Justice and National Offender Management Service
Challenging the imposition of a “polygraph test” as a condition on release from prison of a sex offender.
R v Ibanez Cantero

Importation of 77kg of cocaine.

R v Julkowski

Defended allegation of marital rape over 20 years. Origins of complaint in Poland and evidence taken from there.

R v Sanchez Gonzalez

Importation of 100kg of cocaine.

R v Castro Peitado

Possession with intent to supply 44kg of cocaine.

Other Activities and Interests

  • Member of the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) delegation to Mexico.
  • Contributor to BHRC-sponsored amicus submission to the Mexican Supreme Court, which resulted in a release from a 37-year sentence of a man convicted on wholly improper evidence.


  • Oral trials in Mexico, 2006–08
    Preparation and training of Mexican judges, lawyers, police and investigators in respect of constitutional reforms which introduced oral trials in the Mexican Justice system. Under the auspices of the Foreign Office, the British Council and the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Penales (INACIPE)
  • Training in Kazakhstan, 2006
    Training judges and lawyers in jury trial techniques together with Steven Kay QC
  • Lecturer, [year]
    Lecturer on criminal investigation procedures in Europe, from the perspective of comparative law, at the Judicial College of the Spanish Consejo General del Poder Judicial in Barcelona
Module Icon

PROFILE: John Traversi

A committed, painstaking professional, who identifies the issues and finds the way through the evidential forest.

Year called



Module Icon


Module Icon

Confiscation / POCA

Module Icon

Financial Crime

Module Icon

Fraud, Bribery & Corruption

Module Icon


Module Icon

Sexual offences

Module Icon


Module Icon


Module Icon

Regulatory / Disciplinary

Module Icon


Module Icon


Direct access



020 7489 2727


MA Modern Languages and History, University of Oxford

Downside School


Appointed to list of defence counsel at:

International Criminal Court

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

International Tribunal for Rwanda

CPS Panel (Grade 4) and Rape Panel

CPS Serious Crime Panel (Grade 4)

CPS Fraud Panel (Grade 4)

Download Profile