Ben Close Crime

Call: 2009

Introduction

Ben has quickly accumulated considerable experience in criminal law, for example, he became a Grade 3 prosecutor within 4 years’ call. As a busy practitioner he receives instructions for the defence and prosecution in a broad range of criminal matters, often beyond his level of call.

He has earned a reputation for a hard-working and thorough approach, but without losing sight of the importance of being personable and persuasive. Equally at home addressing juries and judges, he has also gained experience of successfully appearing in the Court of Appeal.

His practice has often centred on fraud, complementing his ability to bring clarity to complex, paper-heavy cases. He is also experienced in dealing with cases involving serious violence, the production and supply of drugs and sexual cases. Ben is keen to encourage instructions in regulatory and related public law fields.

Ben has an LLM in Criminal Justice and as an undergraduate law student achieved a 1st Class degree and the highest marks in the University. Following his bar studies he immediately began pupillage in a specialist crime set in 2009, commencing practice in 2010.


Fraud, Business and Financial Crime

Ben has quickly built vast experience in fraud work.

Recently, Ben successfully prosecuted a 17-defendant fraud in Lincoln involving the use of false identities.

Ben was a junior for the first defendant in a high-profile case of private detectives illegally obtaining private data. The case involved complex issues in relation to disclosure, and the overlap between offences contrary to the Fraud Act 2006 and the Data Protection Act 1998. The case took on increased significance following the Leveson Inquiry.

Ben recently successfully prosecuted a £1.9m VAT fraud. He also prosecuted a complex trial involving a special constable obtaining monies from her mother’s pension fund and attempting to pervert the course of justice thereafter (jury convicted on all counts).

Ben has extensive experience of benefit fraud cases. As well as appearing for the defence and prosecution in benefit claimant cases, he has also successfully prosecuted larger conspiracies, for example, a case involving 12 conspiracies to defraud involving identity thefts. Ben has also been instructed in high-profile cases such as a case involving a local politician and a defendant who received disability benefits whilst working as a stage-actor.

As part of his fraud practice, Ben has considerable experience of confiscation hearings. In one such case, having successfully prosecuted a case in which £600,000 was laundered through the accounts of a company purporting to act as a middle-man in the purchase and sale of iPhones, he secured the confiscation of £250,000.

He has successfully acted in the Magistrates' Court in relation to forfeiture proceedings involving large sums of money and vehicles. Ben's experience also extends to restraint and enforcement hearings and appearing in a related multi-track trial in the County Court.

He also has experience of successfully opposing SCPO's.

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Motoring and Road Traffic

Ben has acted in a full range of road traffic matters. In the Magistrates' Court that has encompassed document offences, mounting successful arguments in relation to 'exceptional hardship' and 'special reasons', and successful procedural arguments in relation to the taking of samples.

Crown Court experience includes cases involving allegations of dangerous driving resulting in serious injury.

He has experience of calling expert witnesses, in one such case successfully arguing that a defendant's ability to drive was not impaired notwithstanding (accepted) use of illicit drugs.

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Organised Crime and Terrorism

Ben recently prosecuted a gang for armed robbery and car-key burglaries. The first defendant was represented by a silk. Lengthy prison sentences were imposed.

Prosecution junior in what was described as the largest ever cannabis case in the UK. The case involved the prosecution of those at the head of a criminal organisation responsible for the production of cannabis across the country and on an “industrial scale” (defendants who were involved in growing cannabis were prosecuted separately). Following a four week trial both defendants were convicted with a third having pleaded guilty. When passing sentence, the Judge adopted a starting point of the maximum sentence having regard to the exceptional features of the case. The Judge estimated profits to have been at least £20 million per annum. It was also the first known prosecution concerning drugs being dealt on the ‘dark web’ and the recovery of Bitcoins from the sale of those drugs.

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Serious Sexual Offences

Ben has represented various defendants involving a broad range of sexual offences including historic allegations, cases involving possessing and creating indecent images, and grooming offences.

Ben was the junior in a case where the defendant was charged with sexual offences against 13 victims, male and female and adults and children, over three decades, a case with complex issues around disclosure and bad character (mixed verdicts following a lengthy trial).

Ben successfully defended a schoolboy acccused of sexually assaulting a younger classmate. The case involved the cross-examination of child witnesses via live links.

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