Mary Cowe

Year of call: 2006

"Brilliant in cross examinations." "She is a really strong advocate and her tenacity and no-nonsense approach is fantastic."
Chambers UK 2021

Mary Mary

Mary Cowe is a criminal barrister and a fraud specialist with a reputation for incisive advocacy and high calibre legal analysis. Now often called upon to provide pre-charge advice, clients compliment her ability to master complex issues of fact and law rapidly and to provide advice that is clearly expressed and comprehensive. Mary is sought after for her advocacy, and for her ability to pursue a good point tenaciously but graciously, taking the Judge or jury with her. She was described in a recent legal directory recommendation as ‘a class act – precise, considered, clever and persuasive’.

In addition to her fraud practice, Mary appears for both defence and prosecution in cases where expert evidence is central, including understanding and challenging clinical evidence in cases involving sudden infant death and traumatic brain injury to children. She has a built a reputation as someone who can confidently lead a team and understands when and how medical experts may assist in the building of a case. Mary also appears in cases of rape and serious sexual offences, often instructed when issues relating to a defendant’s functioning arise, given her professional and academic interest in ensuring defendants’ effective participation in trials. This interest prompted a sabbatical in 2011, in which Mary pursued an MPhil in criminology with a dissertation concerning mental health and the criminal process.

Mary is currently a member of the Criminal Bar Association Law Reform Committee and has recently co-edited a book about criminal advocacy. She has been a pupil supervisor and currently acts a mentor with the Inner Temple and as an advocacy trainer on the Western Circuit.

Crime

FRAUD

Mary has a substantial practice in relation to cases of fraud and financial crime. She has appeared as a leading junior, alone, and as part of a silk-led team in cases of this type. She is a member of both CPS Fraud and Serious Fraud Office panels. Mary has been instructed in cases relating to allegations of investment fraud, procurement fraud and fraud by those acting under a power of attorney; she has called or challenged evidence relating amongst other things to forensic accountancy, intellectual property and share-dealing. Mary is also often instructed in relation to confiscation proceedings and has advised on ancillary matters, such as challenges to restraint orders and civil contempt relating to breaches of such orders.

CASES INVOLVING FATALITIES/SERIOUS TRAUMA TO CHILDREN

Mary’s sensitive but sure-footed approach means that she is instructed by both defence and prosecution in cases involving fatalities or serious trauma to children, including advising in relation to charges of manslaughter, inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, child cruelty and causing or allowing death or serious injury. She has instructed or cross-examined pathologists, consultant paediatricians and radiologists and child psychologists. She is often instructed to defend in cases where clients have mental disorder or intellectual impairment as she is regarded as someone who really strives to communicate effectively with every client.

RECENT CASES

Current instructions include: instructed by CPS SFD to advise in relation to a 5 year police operation concerning allegations of fraud and misconduct in a public office; and instructed by the SFO as part of the counsel case team, advising in relation to allegations of conspiracy to defraud/fraudulent trading by the Balli Group/Balli Steel - scheduled for trial in Southwark Crown Court in 2022.

  • R v Riley (2021) – prosecuting as led junior allegations of fraud by abuse of position and attempted murder

  • R v GG (2021) – defending as led junior in a murder case where the issue is diminished responsibility
  • R v A (2020) – prosecuting two linked fraud trials; one an investment fraud relating to spread betting and share options; one a fraud by abuse of position
  • R v HM (2020) – pre-charge prosecution advice in relation to sudden infant death
  • R v NC (2020) – defending in a case involving allegations of inflicting grievous bodily harm on a child of 3 months
  • Operation Range (Court of Appeal, 2020) – responding to two defendant’s appeals in relation to what was a five-defendant trial concerning a conspiracy to handle stolen goods; leading junior for prosecution in trial
  • Operation Pedra (2020) – prosecuting a serving police officer for theft

Recommendations


CHAMBERS UK 2021

Crime

An experienced junior who prosecutes and defends serious criminal cases, including sexual offences, child cruelty, drugs, serious violence and high-value frauds. As a Grade 4 prosecutor she is regularly instructed by the CPS in complex criminal matters.

Strengths: "She is unflappable in court and always very calm and firm." "She is brilliant in cross-examinations and is always fully prepared." "She is a really strong advocate and her tenacity and no-nonsense approach is fantastic."

Recent work: Acted for the prosecution in R v Lopresti, a case involving allegations of modern slavery.


LEGAL 500 2021

Crime (General and Fraud)

‘A class act - precise, considered, clever and persuasive.’

Ranked: Tier 1


CHAMBERS UK 2020

Crime

An experienced junior who prosecutes and defends serious criminal cases, including sexual offences, child cruelty, drugs, serious violence and high-value frauds. As a Grade 4 prosecutor she is regularly instructed by the CPS in complex criminal matters.

Strengths: "She is extremely hard-working and very well respected by the Bristol Court." "A superb hands-on approach, great client care, sharp and a natural advocate."

Recent work: Led the prosecution in a case involving a gang who were accused of stealing and stripping Land Rovers for their valuable parts.


LEGAL 500 2020

Crime

"Outstandingly intelligent and tenacious in cross-examination."


CHAMBERS UK 2019

Crime

An experienced junior who prosecutes and defends serious criminal cases, including sexual offences, child cruelty, drugs, serious violence and high-value frauds. As a Grade 4 prosecutor she is regularly instructed by the CPS in complex criminal matters.
Prosecuted nine defendants who were charged with operating a class A drugs conspiracy from a flat in Weston-super-Mare.


LEGAL 500 2019

Crime

Prosecutes and defends in cases of fraud, sexual offences and multi-handed drugs conspiracies.


CHAMBERS UK 2018

Crime - Band 3

An experienced junior who prosecutes and defends serious criminal cases, including sexual offences, child cruelty, drugs, serious violence and high-value frauds.

Strengths: "She is meticulous in preparation, sensitive and thorough in cross-examination and particularly strong in dealing with vulnerable witnesses." "She is contactable and will always provide advice - nothing is too much hassle."

Recent work: Prosecuted multiple allegations of fraud and one allegation of furnishing false information to the revenue over the course of six weeks. The defendant used different aliases, bank accounts and company names.


LEGAL 500 2017

Crime

Leading juniors

‘She shows judgement beyond her years of call.’


LEGAL 500 2016

Crime

Leading juniors

'She has a powerful intellect, and is a formidable and hardworking advocate.'   


LEGAL 500 2015

Crime

Leading juniors

'Her ability to identify the important issues of any case ensures thorough preparation'.

CLERK CONTACT INFORMATION

For further information and enquiries please contact: Lucy Northeast & Grant Bidwell 

Appointments

  • CPS General Crime Panel Grade 4
  • CPS Specialist Fraud Grade 4
  • Serious Fraud Office Panel B
  • CPS Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Panel

Memberships

  • Bar Pro Bono Unit
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Howard League for Penal Reform
  • Lawyers for Liberty

education

  • MPhil in Criminology at St. Catharine's College, Cambridge
  • MA (Hons) in Jurisprudence at Keble College, Oxford