OVERVIEW

Martha joined Apex Chambers in September 2019 following the successful completion of her pupillage. She was supervised by Jonathan Elystan Rees QC and Alex Greenwood respectively. 

Martha accepts instructions across all areas of criminal and regulatory law.

Martha regularly prosecutes and defends in the Crown Court and Magistrates’ Court. She has experience in appeals from both Courts and has appeared in the Court of Appeal. Her practice also includes representation of interested parties in inquests.

 

GENERAL CRIME

R v SR, Cardiff Crown Court (2021)

Defence of a man who had pleaded guilty to breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order. The case involved legal argument as to the definition of a 'social networking site'. Following a successful application to vacate his guilty plea on the grounds that the evidence did not establish the elements of the offence; the prosecution offered no evidence.

R v C, Cardiff Crown Court (2021)

Martha was instructed as junior defence counsel led by Susan Ferrier in a case involving allegations of historic child sexual abuse. The case involved review of a significant amount of material. After trial, the defendant was acquitted on all counts.

R v JE, Cardiff Crown Court (2021)

Defence of a man charged with stalking his ex-partner and circulating 'revenge porn'.

R v RB, Newport Crown Court (2020)

Defended in a trial involving allegations of domestic violence. The defendant was charged with false imprisonment by holding his girlfriend hostage at his home. During this time, he was alleged to have made threats to kill, assaulted her and sprayed her in the face with CS gas. The defendant was also charged with perverting the course of justice. 

R v AT, Haverfordwest Magistrates' Court (2020)

Defended in the trial of an NHS employee charged with sexual assault.

R v TB, Bristol Crown Court (2020) 

Martha represented a defendant charged with two counts of possession with intent to supply cocaine and heroin. Following written submissions as the admissibility of hearsay evidence at trial, a plea to a lesser offence was accepted by the prosecution.

REGULATORY

Alongside her current practice, Martha was instructed by West Berkshire District Council to work on secondment between 2020 - 2021. She was involved at all stages, from pre-charge advice to hearings in Court. Martha has experience in prosecutions for a wide variety of offences including those under The Licensing Act 2003, The Housing Act 2004, The Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015, the Food Hygiene Regulations (in both England and Wales), The Animal Health Act 1981, The Education Act 1996 and Taxi Licensing offences.

 

RO v Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court (2021 - ongoing)

Instructed by the Local Authority in an appeal by a taxi driver against the Licensing Authority's decision to revoke his hackney carriage licence. Martha was instructed at first instance on appeal to the Magistrates' Court and then on appeal to the Crown Court.

Operation B, Reading Crown Court (2021)

Instructed as disclosure junior by West Berkshire District Council in a case involving alleged advance fee frauds in connection with the resale of timeshares. The frauds were investigated by Trading Standards and alleged to have been executed by an organised crime group with members in both the UK and Spain.

Pembrokeshire County Council v CC (2020)

Prosecution of a car dealership for falsely representing to a consumer the nature of the vehicle being sold contrary to the Consumer Protection and Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the General Safety Product Regulations 2005.

R (The City of York) v BMM and AMM, Leeds Crown Court (2020) 

Martha was led by Christopher Rees in defending the first defendant. The defendants were charged with fraudulent trading and an offence contrary to the Consumer Protection and Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The case required consideration of over 35,000 pages of evidence served by the prosecution and involved legal argument relating to the power of the prosecuting authority to issue proceedings.

Operation K (2020) 

Martha was instructed by Trading Standards (City of York Council) as Independent Counsel to conduct an extensive review and advise on matters of legal professional privilege. 

Pembrokeshire County Council v ZZ, Swansea Crown Court (2020)

Prosecution of the owner of a Chinese Takeaway for offences under the Food Hygiene Regulations.

INQUESTS

Inquest - Touching the death of JB, Swansea Coroners' Court (2021 - ongoing)

Instructed to represent a care home nurse at an inquest.

Inquest - Touching the death of TO, Pontypridd Coroners' Court (2021 - ongoing)

Instructed to represent an employee at an inquest (with a jury) into the death of an apprentice at work.

Inquest - Touching the death of AB, Pontypridd Coroners' Court (2020 - ongoing)

Instructed to represent an employee at an inquest (with a jury) into the death of another employee at a work.

 

Inquest - Touching the death of SW, Bristol Coroners' Court (2020)

Instructed to represent a senior nurse at an inquest into the death of a resident at a care home.

Martha
Smith-Higgins

PRACTICE AREAS

General crime

Regulatory law

Inquests

APPOINTMENTS & MEMBERSHIPS

Member of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple

CPS Advocate Panel - Grade 2

Member of the Criminal Bar Association

EDUCATION/AWARDS

LLB Law, Cardiff University (2017)

Jules Thorn BPTC Scholarship (Middle Temple 2017)

BPTC (Outstanding) Cardiff University (2018)

Certificate of Honour (Middle Temple 2018)

For any enquiries, please contact the clerking team:

Email: clerks@apexchambers.net

Phone: 02920 23 2032