Benjamin Waidhofer and Sophie Stannard

Benjamin Waidhofer leading Sophie Stannard successfully secure the stay of a 17-count money laundering indictment

In May 2017, HS was extradited to the UK from Spain on the basis of a European Arrest Warrant issued a matter of days before his arrest which alleged his involvement in the supply of 1.5Kg of cocaine.

It was subsequently alleged that HS was the head of an Organised Crime Group involved in the receipt and onward distribution of many kilograms of Class A drugs. Following a lengthy legal argument advanced by Benjamin Waidhofer before HHJ Jeremy Jenkins at Cardiff Crown Court, on 22 September 2017 that allegation was stayed as offending the protection provided by speciality which ensures that a person extradited to the UK is not dealt with in this jurisdiction for any offence other than those for which he has been extradited (see, for example, R v Seddon [2009] EWCA Crim 483, [2009] 2 Cr App R 9).

HS was subsequently sentenced to 8 years’ imprisonment for his involvement in the allegation set out in the European Arrest Warrant. Others who stood trial were sentenced to double that tariff (i.e. over 16 years’ imprisonment) and the case was subject to widespread national press reporting under the title of ‘Operation Nightjar’.

A matter of months before his release at the halfway point of his 8-year sentence of imprisonment, HS was later charged, as one of 9 defendants, laundering over £1 million following a prosecution that commenced by way of postal requisition. HS featured on 17 of the 42 counts on the indictment before the Court.

Benjamin Waidhofer and Sophie Stannard, instructed by Fadi Daoud at Lawrence & Co CDS LLP, representing HS in the money laundering proceedings, asserted:
(1) The Crown Court had no jurisdiction to try the defendant on the 42-count indictment because the indictment offended the protection afforded by ‘speciality’ as previously determined; and
(2) The proceedings amounted to an abuse of process as the prosecution of money laundering offended the prohibition against sequential prosecutions also referred to as the prohibition against double jeopardy.

In an apparent attempt to avoid judicial determination of those assertions, a matter of weeks before the matter was listed for a substantive legal argument, the Crown Prosecution Service served a notice of discontinuance upon the defence and the court pursuant to section 23A of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985. In the course of correspondence, the prosecution repeatedly asserted that its decision to discontinue was a matter for the prosecution alone.

Discontinuance would purportedly have provided the Crown with an opportunity to liaise with the Spanish authorities in order to try and obtain consent for the prosecution of the ‘new’ matters.

In the course of a subsequent listing, driven by those representing HS despite the assertion that such a listing carried a risk of wasted costs against counsel personally, Benjamin Waidhofer and Sophie Stannard explained that in light of the reasoning set out in R v Jessemey [2021] EWCA Crim 175, the purported notice of discontinuance was ‘misconceived’ as the Crown had no power to discontinue proceedings against the defendant following the decision to upload an indictment to the Crown Court Digital Case System.

On Monday 12 April 2021, all 17 counts of money laundering against HS, were stayed by His Honour Judge Jeremy Jenkins at Cardiff Crown Court.

Benjamin Waidhofer and Sophie Stannard are frequently instructed in cases of considerable factual and legal complexity, particularly in relation to allegations of complex financial transactions and allegations of financial wrongdoing in both the civil and criminal arena.

Benjamin Waidhofer and Sophie Stannard are available to advise and represent individuals and corporates alike both remotely and in person. They specialise in defending individuals and corporates in both civil and criminal cases involving substantial factual and legal complexity. Cases involving applications to stay the indictment, particularly as they relate to ‘double jeopardy’, are precisely the type of case that they are frequently sought to advise upon. Any queries about this matter, or any other, ought to be addressed to .