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Welcome to

New Park Court Chambers

"Regarded as ‘one of the most prominent sets for crime in the North of England’."
- Legal 500 2015

Private Client

"Clients 'would strongly recommend New Park Court Chambers to anyone looking for a strong criminal or regulatory lawyer'."
- Chambers and Partners 2016

Alistair MacDonald QC 1983 (QC 2000)

Alistair MacDonald QC 1983 (QC 2000)


2015 – Chairman of the Bar Council

2014 – Vice Chairman of the Bar Council

2012 Leader of the North-Eastern Circuit

2011 Joint Head of Chambers, 16 Park Place, Leeds

2008 Serious Fraud Office Panel

2007-2012 Director of Continuing Education North-Eastern Circuit

2007 Master of the Bench Gray’s Inn

2000 QC

1996 Serious sexual offences authorisation

1995 Recorder



Chambers and Partners 2018 (Crime): ‘An excellent silk who is extremely able.’

Legal 500 2017 (Crime): ‘A very accomplished advocate.’

Chambers and Partners 2017 (Crime): ‘Well established in the market, he has a stellar reputation for his deft handling of serious crime cases.’

Legal 500 2016 (Crime): ‘He is a class act in every way.’

Chambers and Partners 2016 (Crime): ‘He is able to get to the crux of a case extremely quickly and instils confidence in clients like few others.  He is an exceptionally brilliant advocate who is loved by juries and judges alike’.

Legal 500 2015 (Crime): “If you want a real leader on the case, then look no further; he really is that good”.

Chambers and Partners 2015 (Crime): “He is a very good and persistent advocate.”

Legal 500 2014 (Crime): “Experienced in complex homicide and fraud cases”.

Chambers & Partners 2013 (Crime): “top-flight barrister” and “universally spoken of in terms of the highest respect”

Legal 500 2012-2013 (Crime): as a “brilliant advocate”

Chambers & Partners 2011 (Crime): is excellent at handling complex criminal cases requiring an advanced level of medical and scientific knowledge.

Legal 500 2010-11 (Crime): “… handles cases of medical complexity.”

Legal 500 2009-10 (Crime): “… handles cases of medical complexity.”

Some Notable Cases


R-v-Nazar Hussain (2009)

Represented the Crown in the Court of Appeal in a case in which eight members of one family were killed as a result of an arson attack on their house.

Complex issues of contamination of exhibits which were in nanogram amounts. Detailed analysis of mass spectrometry/gas liquid chromatography findings.

R-v-A (2008) Birmingham Crown Court

Defended alleged killing of baby by father. Prosecution called nine experts and defence called one expert. Jury unable to agree. Before re-trial held, prosecution offered no evidence and the defendant acquitted. Exceptionally heavy and complex medical issues.

R-v- Davin Mirfin (2008) Sheffield Crown Court

Prosecuted double murder of ex-girlfriend of the defendant and her new boyfriend. Complex scientific issues. No direct evidence against the defendant. Defendant convicted.

R-v-X (2007) Birmingham Crown Court

Defended dental surgeon allegedly involved in joint enterprise “honour killing”. Defendant acquitted.

Conviction upheld

R-v-Martin Vernarsky (2012) Sheffield Crown Court

Defended allegation that the defendant, who was a Czech national, had murdered his Hungarian girl friend by strangulation.  The defendant was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter.

R-v-Janine Birch (2012) Leeds Crown Court

Defended in murder in which the defendant was alleged to have stabbed victim and then trampled over his body causing broken ribs. She had then spat on him and verbally abused him. The defendant was acquitted of murder and convicted of unlawful act manslaughter. Having been sentenced, the judge, after a substantial delay, brought the defendant back to re-sentence her on the basis that he had given her excessive credit for her pre-trial offer of manslaughter. After reading extensive skeleton argument reviewing all authorities on this subject, judge left sentence unaltered.

R-v-Alan Cooper (2011) Newcastle Crown Court

Defended in one of first cases to raise defence of abnormality of mental functioning. The defendant had killed his 14-year-old nephew in full view of the defendant’s mother.

R-v-Melanie Cole (2011) Central Criminal Court

Defended in murder of elderly man in his own home by the defendant who was a chronic alcoholic and drug user.

R-v-Jevgeni Matjuhha (2011) Leeds Crown Court

Prosecuted Estonian national for murder of his girlfriend. One of the first cases in which the new defence of loss of control was pleaded.  Substantial evidence by video link from Estonia with much protocol to deal with in order to receive evidence. Defendant convicted.

R-v-Dawid Grabowski (2010)   Leeds Crown Court

Defended in murder in which a man was beaten to death in a chance encounter on the street. The defendant had severe mental illness and was housed at Rampton Special Hospital.

R-v-Durant Glowacki (2010)  Central Criminal Court

The defendant was charged with murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter of fellow Pole in squat. Plea accepted.

R-v-Mullen and Large (2010)  Bradford Crown Court

Prosecuted “hitman” killing of defendant’s partner disguised to appear as if it was a shooting in the course of a drug deal. Case based on complex circumstantial evidence. Both defendants convicted.

R-v-Forde  (2009)  Central Criminal Court

Defended in case in which defendant accused of shooting dead rival gang member in revenge for two earlier murders of members of his own gang.

R-v-Jennifer Shelton (2009)   Newcastle Crown Court

Successfully prosecuted the defendant, who was a nurse for killing her elderly mother.

R-v-Scott Fullam (2009)   Teeside Crown Court

Defended in New Year’s Eve killing of family man. Jury unable to agree but co-defendant Appleby convicted of murder. At re-trial, Crown accepted a plea to manslaughter and the defendant sentenced to two years six months custody. Appleby reported at AG’s Reference No. 60 of 2009 [2010] 2 Cr.App.Rep. (S) 46 on sentence guideline case on unlawful act manslaughter.

R-v-Shane Spence (2008)  Newcastle Crown Court

Prosecuted the defendant for manslaughter of his two sisters by setting fire to the family home. Complex fire evidence and circumstantial case. Defendant convicted.

R-v-O’Neill (2007) Newcastle Crown Court

Defended in murder and other serious assault charges against baby in the defendant’s care. Secured acquittals of earlier assaults against child on basis of analysis of bone pathology and dating of injuries. Result was that the defendant was sentenced on basis of isolated incident rather than course of conduct.


R-v-Qureshi (2009) Leeds Crown Court

Prosecuted defendant for importation of very large quantities of Class A and B drugs from Belgium.  The defendant had absconded when other defendants had been tried. Difficult case given that in original trial, some defendants had been convicted and one acquitted. The defendant was convicted.

R-v-Ververgaert and others (2009) Leeds Crown Court

Prosecuted the defendant for importation of industrial quantities of Class A drugs from Holland. Defendant convicted.

Sexual Offences

R-v-N  (2011)  Newcastle Crown Court

Defending male nurse charged with sexual assault on patients emerging from anaesthesia. Multiple counts. Involves complex issues about the psycho-pharmaceutical effects of anaesthetic agents.  Acquitted on some counts, convicted on others. Case before Court of Appeal for determination of cross-admissibility of counts where a recognised medical phenomenon (anaesthetic-induced hallucination) may explain complainants’ experiences.

R-v-R (2006) Birmingham Crown Court

Defended male nurse charged with raping 80-year-old patient terminally ill with brain tumour. Defendant acquitted.


R-v-Ting Fu Guo(2011) Bradford Crown Court

Defended in case in which a Chinese shipping millionaire’s son was held captive and assaulted for five days. He was tortured in the course of his abduction. A ransom demand of £1.27m ($2m) was made.

R-v-Miah and Liban Mohammed

Prosecuted defendants for kidnapping and blackmail in relation to the taking of a 14-year-old boy and threats to his parents that the kidnappers would chop his arms, legs and head off should their ransom demands not be satisfied. Defendants convicted and sentenced to terms of custody of 17 and 11 years.


R-v-RD (2012)  Carlisle Crown Court

Defended company director on charges of multi-million pound fraudulent trading in relation to his car hire business. Case into fifth week when trial had to be aborted because of illness of the defendant. Intensely complex case involving minute detail of hire purchase transactions in London and the North-West.

R-v-PSK (2011)  Central Criminal Court

The defendant was bank employee alleged to have been insider assisting other defendant to commit large-scale fraud on bank.  The defendant acquitted. Co-accused convicted.

R-v-Mirzabegi (2008) Leeds Crown Court

Prosecuted £2.5m fraud on VOSA. 28,000 MOT certificates were issued fraudulently. Became involved in case after irregularities at first trial. Defendants convicted.

R-v-M(2006) Leeds Crown Court

Company director and his accountant charged with revenue fraud. Substantial issues between defendants and interpretation of taxation legislation. Defendant acquitted whereas accountant convicted.

Judicial Review and Inquest Work

R (on the application of Adeo Fernando Francisquini) v Legal Services Commission

Challenge of decision of LSC to refuse inquest funding for bereaved father and husband whose relatives had died in the fire at Lakenal House in London.Represented family of deceased before Bedfordshire Coroner in circumstances in which allegation was that police had acted negligently in dealing with the deceased shortly before his death leading to his murder by an intruder to his house.

Medical and Scientific Experience

1978 to 1982: Research Assistant, Liver Unit, King’s College Hospital Medical School. Work on the origin of liver disease associated with cystic fibrosis. Work on the immunology of liver transplantation.

1976-1978: Toxicologist Department of Forensic Medicine, Charing Cross Hospital Medical School

1975: Institute of Animal Physiology, Cambridge. Original research on pig lymphocytes (paper published)

1974: Central Veterinary Laboratory, Weybridge. Work on the analysis of human foodstuffs to detect organophosphate pesticide residues.

Upcoming Cases

R-v-Morl Newcastle Crown Court

Manslaughter alleged in the course of an argument in the street. Appearing for the prosecution.

R-v-Streener Newcastle Crown Court

Allegation that the defendant murdered his wife by setting a fire at the family home.

R-v-Donna Chalk Winchester Crown Court

Defending in murder where it is alleged that a vulnerable young man was imprisoned in a flat and then tortured before being beaten with a baseball bat and stabbed to death. His body was then put in a wheelie bin and substantially consumed by fire.

Private pilot licence-holder with instrument rating.

Additional Information

Member of Specialist Associations: Criminal Bar Association.


All serious crime including murder and serious drugs offences including industrial scale importations.

Particular interest in criminal offences involving complex medical or scientific issues.  Infant deaths and complex arson cases are regularly conducted.

Regulatory crime and fraud.

Other Information

I am happy to accept instructions electronically and have substantial experience of electronic presentation of the evidence.

I am committed to developing innovative ways of presenting evidence, particularly so as to render material more user friendly for the jury.  I have worked with police and private audio-visual units so as to produce hard hitting and effective ways of making evidence stick in the minds of the jury.


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