Call 2000

Appointed to QC 2019


Apex Chambers, Cardiff

5 Paper Buildings, London

Exchange Chambers, Manchester

Linenhall Chambers, Chester


Jonathan has a heavyweight practice in white collar, complex and serious crime, and has been involved in some of the most important authorities on fraud and costs in the criminal courts in recent years.


He is highly regarded as a specialist in regulatory prosecutions, being regularly instructed on behalf of local authority trading standards teams, environmental agencies and other government bodies. He has an outstanding reputation for representing police officers in criminal and gross misconduct proceedings, and acted in the UK’s biggest police corruption trial. Jonathan’s case history includes:

  • Defending in proceedings for the murder of an adopted infant daughter by a gay father; high profile and national media publicity; complex medical evidence (25 expert witnesses) relating to the cause of death and injuries (‘non-accidental head injury’ case);


  • Defending in a £35 million international money laundering prosecution involving cross-jurisdictional evidence (England, Netherlands, China and Pakistan);


  • Defending in a £170 million ‘blockbuster’ SFO fraud case, involving complex issues of planning law, mineral law, local government law, company law and international law – defendant acquitted with the SFO ordered to pay costs in excess of £3m;


  • Defending a former police Inspector accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in relation to a murder investigation in 1988-1990 which resulted in three men being convicted for the murder of a prostitute in Cardiff following alleged forging of witness statements and the use of oppression – acquitted after 4 month trial collapsed;


  • Prosecuting an international prostitution ring, involving Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Bulgaria, the Republic of Ireland, and UK; led a cross-jurisdictional team, with investigators from the Garda, the PSNI and the Serious Organised Crime Agency, resulting in a hidden assets confiscation order and a total of 17 years’ imprisonment for main offender;


  • Defending soldier accused of abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the Bread Basket Camp, Basra during the second Iraq war.


“... outstandingly able” Chambers and Partners 2019

“... his technical knowledge is first class” Legal 500 2019

"...very clever, very hard working and has great judgment" Chambers and Partners 2018

" exceptional operator" Legal 500 2017

'...extraordinarily able and exceptionally hard-working" Chambers and Partners 2017

"...highly experienced in white collar crime" Legal 500 2016

"...intellectually gifted, hard-working and thorough in his preparation" Chambers and Partners 2016

"Strong-willed and always fights the fight for the client"​ Legal 500 2015

"A measured and considered advocate who does his research...strength in depth and great attention to detail"​ Chambers & Partners 2015


R v Zara Radcliffe, 2020, Cardiff Crown Court – defendant charged with the murder of an 88 year old and the attempted murder of three other persons; ongoing


R v Jordan Brown, 2020, Cardiff Crown Court – murder on Holton Road, Barry in front of Christmas shoppers; ongoing


R v Leon Symons & others, 2020, Newport Crown Court – 8 defendant murder trial, involving the stabbing at Barry Docks, Wales; ongoing


R v Tony Richards, 2020, Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) – clarification of the law on voyeurism involving recording a sexual act


X, 2020, The Hague/Prishtina - assigned by the Defence Office of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers to represent suspect X as Specialist Counsel during an investigation by the Specialist Prosecutor into alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes


R v Colin Payne, 2019, Swansea Crown Court – murder trial involving a reported martial arts expert killing a former assistant to Mother Teresa


R v Quinn & others, 2019, Cardiff Crown Court - successful application to stay 8 month serious and complex fraud trial on grounds of abuse of process (allegations related to claims management companies and solicitor firms working in personal injury)


 R v Gay & others, 2018, Cardiff Crown Court - prosecution of 7 defendants for industrial scale mortgage fraud; at conclusion of 10 week trial, all defendants convicted


R v Matthew Scully-Hicks, 2017, Cardiff Crown Court - represented the accused in the alleged 'babyshaking' murder of an adopted infant daughter by her gay father 


R v Mark Glover, 2017, Cardiff Crown Court - represented serving detective accused of a carrying out a series of rape and sexual assaults on a daughter and her mother (acquitted of all counts after trial)


X, 2017, Police Misconduct Hearing - represented an senior officer facing highly sensitive gross misconduct allegations relating to sexual misconduct and the abuse of covert intelligence police procedures and resources


R v Mundy (Ian) [2018] 4 WLR 130 - on the scope of orders for reconsideration of the available amount under section 22 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and the test on appeal under section 31 of the 2002 Act


R v Stromberg (Paul) [2018] 3 WLR 812 - authority reviewing the historical background to the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) to issue writs of venire de novo and the scope of its powers


R (on application of McKenzie) v Director of the Serious Fraud Office [2016] 1 WLR 1308 - as to the lawfulness of the policy and practice of the SFO in regards to isolating and reviewing material potentially subject to LPP embedded in electronic devices


Evans & others v Serious Fraud Office [2015] 3 Costs LR - authority on the assessment of costs under section 19 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 in serious and complex cases


Evans & others v Serious Fraud Office [2015] 1 WLR 3595 - successful application for costs against the SFO in civil proceedings on an indemnity basis and in criminal proceedings on the basis of an unnecessary or improper act under section 19 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985


Serious Fraud Office v Evans & others [2015] 1 WLR 3526 - re applications in the High Court for voluntary bills of indictment


R v Evans & others [2014] 1 WLR 2817 - successful application to dismiss SFO blockbuster fraud involving an extensive review of the scope and boundaries of the common law offence of conspiracy to defraud


R v Mouncher & others, 2011, Swansea Crown Court – represented 3rd defendant in the UK’s biggest prosecution for police corruption (see the Mouncher Investigation Report, 2017 into the collapse of the trial of 8 defendants in 2011)


Contributor to Guardian article, “Kosovo president Hashim Thaçi vows to resign if war crimes trial goes ahead”, 1st July 2020


“COVID & the Backlog”, Speech to Wales Governance Centre Webinar, 30th June 2020

Joint Enterprise in International Criminal Law: An Overview (slides & script), Crimeline Webinar Lecture, 21 May 2020


Joint Criminal Enterprise in the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, ANZSIL Perspective, May 2020 Edition 13, 


Court’s Jurisdiction to Order a Writ of Venire de Novo, Lexis PSL Corporate Crime, 16th April 2018


Jogee – Parity and Clarity?, CDLS Lecture, 27th October 2016


1996-1999 Cambridge University, Jesus College:

Law MA Hons (Cantab) 1st Class, Foundation Scholarship


Jonathan Elystan Rees KC


White collar fraud

Serious crime

Professional misconduct

International criminal law

For any enquiries, please contact the clerking team:


Phone: 02920 23 2032


Admitted to the List of  Counsel eligible to practise before the International Criminal Court

Admitted to the List of Specialist Counsel eligible to practise before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers established to exercise jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, war crimes and other crimes under Kosovo law which allegedly occurred between 1 January 1998 and 31 December 2000

Member of the Welsh Government Advocates' QC Panel 2020 - present

Treasurer of the Wales & Chester Circuit, 2020 - present

Member of the Board of the Legal Wales Foundation, 2013 - present