Szilvia Booker2018-03-27T15:28:09+00:00
Szilvia Booker

Szilvia Booker

“Miss Booker robustly argues her case, underpinning advocacy with sound judgment, sharp analytical skills and an altogether charming court manner.”

Chambers and Partners

YEAR OF CALL 2005

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Education

University of Toronto 9T0 (Bachelor of Arts)
University of East Anglia (PgDip Law)
BPP Professional Education (Postgraduate BVC)

Appointments

CPS Serious Crime Group specialist panel
Appointed to the CPS Advocate Panel at Level 3
Appointed as a CPS specialist rape prosecutor
NCA and FCO Subject Matter Expert (SME) in Security & Justice Reform
Former Attorney General’s List C Prosecuting Counsel

 

Memberships

Criminal Bar Association
South Eastern Circuit

Overview of Practice

Szilvia is a valuable member of the Criminal Bar Association fraternity, belonging to a handful of independent barristers who undertake the defence and prosecution of criminal cases in equal measures. She appears in complex cases, specialising in serious violent and organised crime, including human trafficking, modern slavery and sexual offences, financial crime and asset forfeiture, and proceedings involving vulnerable witnesses, high profile defendants and joint international investigations.

Szilvia is a specialist rape and serious sex offences prosecutor, and has defended clients facing allegations of historic sexual offending and prohibited image offences, and has a wealth of experience in the deployment of, or challenge to, expert evidence in the areas of: forensic digital analysis, facial recognition, psychiatry & pathology, architecture, and accountancy.

Szilvia is a specialist Human Trafficking and Slavery prosecutor, and leading defence counsel in Modern Slavery Act offences, appearing in cases involving large-scale trafficking of prostitutes into and within the United Kingdom, child grooming offences, commercial and domestic slavery operations, and exploitation offences committed by organised criminal trafficking networks, including money laundering and corruption offences.

Practice Areas

As a criminal barrister with an international perspective, she has been briefed to consider appeals to the Privy Council, to take evidence for parliamentary committees on investigations into international human rights violations, and lecture on comparative legal jurisdictional issues. As a former Canadian police officer, Szilvia has invaluable insight into police investigative practices and procedures and an exceptional working knowledge of the forensic examination of evidence relating to firearms, narcotics, sexual offences and bio-data identification. She has operational understanding of covert and intelligence-lead law enforcement operations, which has proved extremely useful both in defending and prosecuting cases involving firearms and drugs, large-scale police operations and informant-based evidence.

Corporate crime cases often overlap with Szilvia’s general criminal practice, as many of her clients act as, or represent the interests of, corporations, and are white-collar professionals. This can also be said about Szilvia’s cases involving organised crime. Szilvia has defended a number of people accused of setting up corporations either for the purposes of crime, or, as vehicles for laundering the proceeds of crime.

Szilvia is regularly asked for pre-charge advise by the CPS and by the Hertfordshire police in cases involving corporate manslaughter.

Szilvia is routinely instructed to prosecute and defend cases involving allegations of fraud and financial misconduct, including: bank fraud conspiracies, high value systemic defrauding of the benefit system, VAT frauds and income tax evastion, and related money laundering offences.

Many of the cases in which Szilvia appears, involve organized criminal networks, whose assets are restrained by the police at the earliest stages of proceedings. Challenging such restraints, or responding to challenges against restraint, are common legal applications undertaken by her in such cases. Asset recovery, and in particular, recovering the proceeds of crime through confiscation proceedings form part of cases concerning human trafficking, drug importation, high-value frauds, and arms dealing. Szilvia is well versed with the applicability, reach and limitations of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Szilvia has been involved in the pursuit of the hidden assets of international criminals, utilising the assistance of forensic accountants, joint international investigation partners, and the deployment of foreign jurisprudence to refute claims for, or to asserts rights over, assets held outside the United Kingdom

Szilvia has drafted requests for assistance under the provisions of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (1959) and (2000), in obtaining certain information, statements and exhibits in relation to a criminal investigation being conducted by officers of the Metropolitan Police Service, and advises other police forces and regional prosecution authorities.

Similarly, she has been involved in cases requiring legal mutual assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigations in the United States, and requests for disclosure and assistance from private digital data and social media companies.

Notable Cases

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R. v. D [2017] – defending a client accused of downloading and erasing IIOC and IVOC using file sharing & erasing software, by calling a defence expert to challenge the prosecution assertion that files recovered from unallocated space on the hard drive is capable of amounting to an attempt to possess such images and an act intending to pervert the course of justice.

R. v. A et al [2016] – successfully defended a father accused by his daughter of honour based abuse, requiring the instruction of an expert social media analyst.

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R v. S et al [2014] – junior prosecution counsel in a familial child abuse and sexual exploitation case involving multiple young children and family members, with sensitive social and cultural issues.

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Asmeron v. R [2013] EWCA Crim 435 a case concerning the defence available under 2(4)(c) of the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004, ultimately challenged in the Court of Appeal.

Her notable human trafficking cases include:

Operation Lokrum [May 2017] – the first case resulting in conviction for child sex trafficking under the new Modern Slavery Act 2015, arising out of joint investigation with the Romanian authorities into the organised trafficking of Romanian females from the Roma community into the London street prostitution industry, including some who were under the age of 16, and some who were deceived into entering prostitution with promise of paid work in the UK, leading to a peripatetic existence for these vulnerable females.

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Operation Woodgate [March 2017] – successfully defended in a case involving the grooming and trafficking of teenaged girls to Travelodge hotels around west London for the purpose of sexually exploiting them after supplying them with drugs and alcohol.

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Operation Rakuyou [May 2016] – the operation of a sophisticated internet brothel enterprise servicing clients who booked sex workers on line, from a succession of rented properties in the Kilburn area of London, using money transfer services to launder and transfer the proceeds of this lucrative enterprise.

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Operation Rastrelli [Jan 2016] – the police investigation into a series of brothels, protected by a corrupt PCSO, used in the trafficking of young females who were controlled in prostitution, imprisoned in these premises, and abused sexually by their controller. Evidence by way of satellite link from Romanian courtrooms was utilised to prevent these vulnerable witnesses from having to travel back to the UK to give evidence.

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Operation Flandrau2 [April 2016] – the recruitment of Thai masseurs into the West End sex industry, using false travel and visa documents, and enforced debt bondages in order to exploit those prostitutes who have overstayed visa permits in the UK, and recruit them into drug supply and the provision of extreme sexual services. Addiction to crystal meth was a common affliction for those coping with this lifestyle.

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Operation Flandrau [Aug 2015] – the large-scale trafficking from Thailand, of prostitutes, and transgender sex workers, into the luxury Kensington and Chelsea sex industry, operated out of a sophisticated network of brothels, into which the sex workers were initiated under large debt bondages, and confined by the retention of their travel documents by their controllers.

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Operation Peltier [May 2015] – the wholesale trafficking of sex workers from Hungary, using budget airlines, ferry operators, and coach services, into East London and Peterborough brothels, operated on a commercial scale for substantial financial gain for a group of men and women living off the exploited earnings of prostitutes.

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Operation Kenwell [Dec 2014] – the targeting of a young female from a remote village in Romania, by a gang of traffickers who deceived her into travelling to the UK, where she was groomed and controlled for her enforced initiation into an organised prostitution ring. The case involved the cross-jurisdictional investigative and legal processes of Romania, and requests for legal mutual assistance from the FBI in the United States.

Online news articles removed under data protection law in Europe