CRIMINAL

LAW

Our criminal law department advises on over 2500 criminal matters each year. We offer 24 hour cover at police stations on every day of the year, and employ nine highly qualified criminal litigators and advocates who have in total 150 years of experience in both Magistrates Court and Crown Court. Geoffrey Forrester has been identified in the legal 500 as one of the foremost criminal practitioners in the whole of the North East.

QUALITY
LEGAL ADVICE

All road traffic offences including exceptional hardship arguments and applications to restore driving licences  / All dishonesty based offences including allegations of benefit fraud / Sex Offences including historic sex offences  /  Murder and other homicide matters / Drugs offences / Assault and other offences of violence and public order offences

THE CRIMINAL LAW TEAM

GEOFFREY FORRESTER

Geoffrey Forrester is recognised as the leading criminal defence practitioner in the North East of England. He has over 40 years of experience and acts regularly for professional clients on both a legally aided and private paying basis. He has acted in over 20 homicide cases and developed a reputation as a fearless defender of his clients interests.  He also specialises in drink driving and technical defence cases in the Magistrates Court.

DAVID FORRESTER

David Forrester is a director specialising in criminal law. With over twenty years of advocacy and litigation experience he has dealt with all types of criminal defence work including murder, manslaughter and serious sexual offences as well as all types of driving offences and benefit fraud matters.

 

David obtained a 2.1 honours degree in Law from Durham University and completed the Legal Practice Course at Northumbria University.

 

He is father of two and in his spare time doubles up as the assistant coach of the wildly successful Newcastle Eagles basketball team.

MICHELLE STONLEY

Michelle is a director at the firm and is Head of the Crown Court department.  Michelle specialises in criminal law. 

Michelle began her career in criminal law over 25 years ago when she joined Forrester Solicitors as a legal secretary.

 

Michelle progressed within the firm by firstly obtaining her Institute of Legal Executives qualification. She then obtained a degree in law and qualified as a solicitor in 2013. Michelle went on to achieve her Higher Courts (Criminal Advocacy) Qualification in 2015, enabling her to appear before the Crown Court. She is Court duty and police station accredited.

Michelle has dealt with all types of criminal work including murder, manslaughter, serious sexual offences and drugs conspiracies.

VALERIE BELL

Val is a director at the firm, specialising in criminal work. Val started her two year Articles at the firm in 1988, having obtained her LLB (Honours) degree at Newcastle Polytechnic. She qualified as a solicitor in 1990.

Val has over 20 years’ experience in dealing with all manner of criminal work. She has a particular interest in representing juveniles and other vulnerable members of society. Val is also qualified as a Duty Solicitor enabling her to represent clients without their own representation at both the police station and Court.

HELEN FORRESTER

Helen is a director at the firm and a 15 year qualified duty solicitor who started her career with national firm Tuckers working in London.

 

Having moved back home to start a family she specialises in higher court litigation work and Proceeds of Crime cases.

KAYLEIGH PEEL

Kayleigh joined our firm in November 2019 after working in a Criminal Law Firm in Houghton-Le-Spring. Kayleigh is a fee earner who works within the Crown Court Department. She has obtained her Law Degree, Legal Practice Course and Masters in Law at Sunderland University.  


Kayleigh has experience working in all different areas of criminal defence work including serious sexual offences and murders. She is working towards starting her training contract in 2020 and qualifying as a solicitor.


Kayleigh manages her own caseload and attends conferences and Crown Court for legal proceedings.

SANDRA BURDEN

Sandra joined our firm as a criminal secretary in 2007. After expressing a particular interest in Crown Court matters she began working with the department as a paralegal in 2018.

 

Sandra has dealt with a variety of Crown Court matters including serious sexual offences, driving offences, public order offences and offences against the person. She is responsible for all aspects of Crown Court work including assisting clients with drafting statements, attending criminal trials and supporting the clients alongside their Barrister and instructing experts to file reports within criminal proceedings.

 

Sandra manages her own case load and deals with clients from initial appointments to sentencing hearings and is often praised by clients for her approachable manner and efficiency in dealing with matters.

Jill is a Paralegal who works within our Crown Court department.

Jill has obtained a 2.1 degree in law, as well as a Masters in criminal Law and procedure.

 

Jill has also completed a Legal Executive qualification in criminal law. She has almost 10 years’ experience of working within the Criminal Justice System and has worked on a number of high profile cases, including serious sexual offences and murders.