Joe has built a criminal practice, predominantly defending, and has appeared in a wide spectrum of cases which have included serious violence; public disorder; sexual offences ranging from voyeurism to historic familial rape; and multi- handed drug, robbery and fraud conspiracies. He appears at the Crown Court daily and regularly appears at the Court of Appeal and the Administrative Court.

Joe is extremely user friendly and over the last decade has built strong and lasting relationships with many of the leading criminal defence solicitors in the North East. Long before the advent of the digital system, Joe provided prompt and succinct written electronic advice.

Joe is well acquainted with the numerous Advocates’ Graduated Fee Schemes and has an in-depth understanding of the Legal Aid Agency’s Criminal Bills assessment and procedures. He has successfully challenged numerous refusals of the Legal Aid Agency to correctly determine criminal bills and has secured hundreds of thousands of pounds on behalf of criminal defence solicitors. Historically, he has represented prisoners, many of whom were serving life sentences, at Parole Board hearings before circuit judges and adjudications before district judges.

Joe receives instructions to represent parents in private family law proceedings including residence and contact issues.


CPS Grade 3 Prosecutor


North Eastern Circuit


Northumbria University, LL.B (Hons) Exempting Degree Incorporating the Bar Vocational Course 2:1


Joe is qualified to receive instructions direct from businesses, professionals and members of the public. Any such requests should be directed to his clerks in the first instance.


Joe’s interests include:

  • Restoration and renovation of Victorian and Grade II listed buildings using traditional methods and materials.
  • Restoration of twentieth century French garden furniture.
  • Physical fitness.
  • Skiing and snow boarding.
  • Motoring.

Clerking team

Liam Gorman

Lead Criminal & Regulatory Clerk

0191 245 9521


01642 247 569

Lead Family Clerk

0191 245 9551

Family & Immigration Clerk

0191 245 9531

Family Clerk

0191 245 9530

Criminal & Regulatory Clerk

0191 245 9550

Direct Access Clerk

01642 247 569

Criminal & Regulatory Clerk

0191 245 9542

R. (on the application of Groves) v Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court [2008] EWHC 3123 (Admin)
Overturned, by judicial review, judge’s refusal to grant the Claimant bail following his conviction at his retrial.

R v Lee Wilson [2011] EWCA Crim 1758
Sentence for bladed article halved on appeal.

R v Fairley (Durham Crown Court)
Defended a father at trial, and subsequent retrial, charged with rape and serious sexual offences against two of his daughters. The allegations spanned over twenty years.

R v Pearson (Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court)
Successfully defended a father charged with serious sexual assault against his step daughter.

R v Mark Tones and others (Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court)
Successfully defended a driver charged in a multi- handed Environment Agency prosecution in a 10 week trial.

R v Matthew Wall and others (Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court)
Defended in multi- handed class A drug conspiracy and made the only successful submission of no case.

R v Paul Robert Goldsborough [2015] EWCA Crim 1278
Successfully challenged crown court ruling and obtained clarification of the law in favour of the Appellant. The appellant, who had been in possession of an air pistol for many years, should not have been convicted of possessing a prohibited air weapon contrary to the Firearms Act 1968 s.5(1)(af). The effect of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 s.39(4) was to allow those in possession of air weapons of the relevant description to continue to hold them provided they had a firearms certificate. This decision has resulted in subsequent successful appeals from other Appellants who had been wrongly convicted and subjected to a statutory minimum sentence of 5 years imprisonment.

R v David Wallage (Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court)
Successfully defended the ‘right hand man’ of the ‘main man’ in a multi- handed class A drugs conspiracy.