William Paynter is an experienced in-house Barrister who joined Lansbury Worthington in 2011 after eight successful years as an independent barrister at 1 Gray’s Inn Square.
He has experience in many different areas of criminal law and has practiced at all levels of the criminal courts system.
In Oct-Nov 2017 Mr Paynter represented a client in a case that was widely reported in the media in which a Youth was attacked outside a pub in South London. Both Mr Paynter and Mr Gowthorpe (our other senior advocate) represented a brother and sister said to have been part of the attacking group. Both of our defendants were found Not Guilty (BBC article).
In Sept 2017 Mr Paynter represented a client in an unusually short single day Crown Court trial. The allegation was one of supply of class A drugs to two clubbers witnessed by two plain clothed officers. Despite both officers’ evidence that they had heard our client offer to supply drugs to the two males outside a nightclub, and additionally saying they had witnessed him produce the drugs which were seized, after robust cross-examination and evidence from our client the Jury found him Not Guilty. He was fined for possession of the drugs but this was substantially less than the 4 years 6 months he faced if convicted of supply of class A.
In April 2017 Mr Paynter represented a client who was accused of multiple accounts of fraud against his employers – a famous West End department store. The trial involved cross-examination of the highly experienced Store Security Manager – particularly in relation to the payment systems used at the store and a frame-by-frame analysis of CCTV that the police had obtain from the store. The client, a man with no convictions for whom a guilty verdict would have been devastating to his reputation, was found not guilty.
During a two month long trial from January to March 2017 at Blackfriars Crown Court Mr Paynter obtained an acquittal for a client who was accused of evading VAT on shipments of cigarettes as part of a large alleged conspiracy. The case involved the careful examination of many thousands of pages of phone evidence and the instruction of an expert report which used the data contained within smartphone photos to show the client’s location when those photos were taken (geo-data). Mr Paynter also managed to show in cross-examination that the HMRC officer had failed in her investigative duties.
In November 2016 Mr Paynter successfully secured a Not Guilty verdict for a client accused of sexually assaulting his ex-wife. Exhibits obtained by our defence team from social media were put before the Court when Mr Paynter cross-examined her which demonstrated that the account she had given in evidence was not accurate. The defendant himself did not give evidence, which was his right, but our Solicitor involved in the case had obtained a statement from their landlord, an honest and independent witness, and he was called by the defence to give evidence which helped the defence case.
In a two month trial from February to March 2016 Mr Paynter represented an Indian national accused, as part of a larger conspiracy case, of having falsely claimed he was entitled to remain in the UK based on his professional qualifications. The case was highly complex and involved many thousands of pages of computer, phone and other evidence that needed to be considered. 6 of the 9 defendants on trial were convicted but Mr Paynter’s client (and others) faced a re-trial at a later date as the Jury could not reach a verdict.
In October to December 2015 he represented a client accused of being part of a conspiracy where 4 males had targeted a male leaving a high street bank and proceeded to rob him of his briefcase. All the defendants were convicted, as were another 5 also on trial for linked robberies, but Mr Paynter managed to successfully persuade the Judge to suspend the prison sentence for our client (all the others received immediate lengthy prison sentences).
In May 2015 Mr Paynter represented an Italian client who had been pestered by a drunk male in a West End pub and was accused of ‘glassing’ him with a pint glass. Through careful analysis of the CCTV and cross-examination of the complainant it was demonstrated that he had acted in lawful self-defence despite accepting he had struck him with the glass causing a facial injury.
In February 2015 Mr Paynter obtained an acquittal for a client accused of affray having brandished a knife during a domestic argument. It was successfully argued before a Jury that he was acting in self-defence as he feared he would be attacked if he had not armed himself and so he was found not guilty. The following week he represented a client accused of intending to supply drugs that were found during a raid on a flat he was sleeping in. Careful attention was drawn to the circumstantial nature of the evidence upon which the prosecution relied and the Jury found him not guilty.
In December 2014 he represented a client who was linked to a £59m cyber-phishing scam fraud. The evidence was overwhelming but pleas were entered to lesser charges than the Crown originally sought and the amount he was said to have personally gained from it was significantly reduced. This meant a significantly lesser sentence than first anticipated.
Also in December 2014 a long running but difficult case came to an end with a suspended sentence for a client who in his police interview had admitted being involved in a residential burglary and was subject to the 'third-strike' automatic three years imprisonment law. A series of medical reports were obtained that helped Mr Paynter to successfully argue that the Court should be merciful because of the client's personal issues and a suspended sentence was passed.
In November 2014 he represented a client at trial on charges of intending to supply drugs. The DNA evidence of the Crown was successfully challenged both in cross-examination and by the use of a defence DNA expert. The case was thrown out at the half way point.
In June 2014 Mr Paynter was led by Bernard Richmond QC on a murder trial at the Central Criminal Court (The Old Bailey). Our client was accused of murder and multiple other serious charges resulting from a night-time incident outside a nightclub. The case involved DNA, blood spatter, pathology reports, toxicology reports, CCTV, phone analysis and so on. The case resulted in a not guilty on the murder charge and most of the other charges.
In November 2013 he represented a young man at trial accused of knocking a person unconscious during an altercation on a bus. His two friends had already pleaded guilty. As well as carefully examination of the witnesses the CCTV of this incident was carefully analysed at trial and our client was found Not Guilty by the Jury.
In July 2013 he represented a female client on two extremely serious charges of arson. She was accused of setting fire to her flat, on two separate occasions within a fortnight, in a large tower block. The London Fire Brigade investigators were insistent that the fires were intentionally lit and a highly qualified independent expert was instructed by Lansbury Worthington who concluded that this was not the case. She maintained her innocence and was found Not Guilty by the Jury at Kingston Crown Court.
In January and March 2013 he represented two different clients in separate but linked trials before Southwark Crown Court that were part of a major police investigation called ‘Operation Obsidian’ into police corruption and drug dealing. Both clients represented by Mr Paynter were found Not Guilty. (Daily Mail).
In December 2012, following a month long trial before Wood Green Crown Court, he secured an acquittal for a client accused of taking part in the London Riots. The Not Guilty finding was despite the client being arrested at the scene along with many others who were convicted. (Kilburn Times).
In September 2012 at Isleworth Crown Court he represented a client who was accused of serious football related violent disorder outside a pub in Shepherd’s Bush. Police officers said that they could recognise him from the CCTV footage of the incident. An application for the charges to be dropped was granted by the trial Judge when it was successfully argued that our client could no longer get a fair trial due to police failures in the disclosure of vital evidence. (Fulham Chronicle).
In January 2012 he represented a client in a five week long drug gangland shooting trial before Reading Crown Court, and although the client was convicted of robbery he was acquitted on the more serious firearms charge he faced.
In March 2012 he represented one of nine defendants accused of a religiously aggravated attack on a London Mosque. The trial lasted four weeks before Kingston Crown Court - the client was found Not Guilty.
In 2011 he defied the odds by obtaining the acquittal of a young man who was accused of class A drug dealing on a housing estate in West London. The defence put forward was duress of circumstance - that although he was not directly threatened by the men who told him to deal the drugs he felt so threatened he had no other choice but to deal them. This is a very difficult defence to mount and the prosecution did all they could ensure a conviction. The defence succeeded and our client walked free. If convicted he would almost certainly have faced a multiple year jail sentence.
He has also appeared on many occasions before the Court of Appeal and one of his cases, concerning how much sentencing weight Courts should give offences that a defendant asks to be taken into consideration (TICs), was reported widely in The Times newspaper and beyond. It is considered a guideline case.
Education and Professional Qualifications
William was called to the Bar in 2002