Steven Talbot Hadley

Steven Talbot Hadley

Specialist in prosecuting and defending serious sexual offences, often involving young and vulnerable
witnesses; highly soughtafter for wealth of experience and commitment to client care.



BA(Hons) – UCNW Bangor
BD(Hons) – UCNW Bangor
Dip Law – Westminster


Appointed to the CPS Advocate Panel at Level 4
Appointed to the Rape and Child Sex Abuse Prosecution List
Surrey and South London Bar Mess Committee


The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
The Criminal Bar Association
South Eastern Circuit
Surrey and South London Bar Mess

Overview of Practice

With 30 years’ experience at the Criminal Bar, the jury trial is Steven’s forte. He is an efficient and effective cross-examiner, described as incisive and penetrating, but ‘disarmingly charming’. He is an extremely persuasive jury advocate, praised and liked by judges for his calm demeanour and sense of humour. His closing speeches are well structured, powerful and effective, often described as ‘brilliant’ by his lay and professional clients.

Latterly, a large part of Steven’s busy criminal practice has been dominated by the prosecution of serious and historic sexual offences. This involves careful handling of young and vulnerable complainants and witnesses, many in a family setting and with difficult background circumstances. Steven is very adept at putting complainants and witnesses at their ease both before and during the trial and, as far as the process allows, enabling them to give their best evidence. When defending, he can win over the most challenging of clients and keep them on side throughout the trial.

Steven is particularly expert at taking on complex cases at the last minute with little or no time for lengthy preparation. He has the knack of quickly mastering the salient points and spotting the real issues in the case. His vast experience of being both prosecutor and defender enables him to advance the strongest points in his own case and expose the weakest in the other side.

Steven is happy to share his knowledge and expertise.  In 2013, he delivered a public lecture at Coventry University London Campus entitled “Trial by jury, origins, the present and plans for the future: Has trial by jury had its day?” The answer was an emphatic “No!”

Practice Areas

Steven practises in all areas of criminal law, both for the prosecution and for the defence, acting either as lead counsel or junior alone. His specialist areas include:

Serious Sexual Offences including rape, both male and female, also involving young and vulnerable witnesses, computer evidence and indecent images. Steven advises pre-charge for a number of Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Units of the Crown Prosecution Service.

Murder and other serious violent offences including the use of knives and firearms; armed robbery and blackmail.

Drugs offences including large scale importations.

Steven also specialises in areas of mental health, perverting the course of justice, animal welfare and dangerous dogs.

Notable Recent Cases

R v Readhead – (Warwick Crown Court, 2017) – Proceeds of crime from large- scale brothel operation.

R v Neal and others (Winchester Crown Court, 2016) – Large scale drug supply and blackmail.

R v Riley and another (Northampton Crown Court, 2016) – Keeping a dangerous dog who killed the owner’s baby.

R v Bowyer and others (Reading Crown Court, 2015) – Large- scale burglaries of commercial premises.

Recent sensitive defence cases include:

2017 – Defence counsel in multi-handed, multiple rape and GBH of vulnerable young female.

2016 – Indecent assaults on a step-grand-daughter; rapes of two under-age females.

Recent sensitive prosecution cases include:

2017 – Multiple rapes of defendant’s estranged wife.

2016 – Attempted rape and sexual abuse of defendant’s 9 year old daughter; rape of a prostitute; sexual abuse of the child of a vulnerable mother deliberately targeted by the defendant; historic rapes and abuse, of a step-daughter starting when she was circa 6 years old, and transgender male at the time of trial; historic buggery on multiple occasions of a young vulnerable boy (serving life for murder at the time of trial) by a youth worker.