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Barrister Profile

CHRISTINE SMITH QC

Year of Call: 1985

QC: 2011

Main Areas of Practice

Administrative Law or Judicial Review
Criminal Law
Family Law
Personal Injury

Biography

After a broad general practice at the Bar, Christine eventually specialised as prosecuting counsel in the Crown Court and Court of Appeal. She has substantial experience at the Criminal Bar having prosecuted the entire range of criminal cases. Since taking silk she has been briefed on behalf of the Defence in cases of alleged rape, blackmail, sexual assault, child cruelty, fraud and possession of drugs. She has prosecuted cases of conspiracy to rob, possession of firearms, rape and sexual assault. Christine also appeared in a number of Family cases. Since 2012 she has been engaged as Senior Counsel to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry. The Inquiry is looking at the issue of systemic failings in the care of children in residential institutions in Northern Ireland between 1922 and 1995.

Qualifications

1984; LLB (Hons), Queen’s University, Belfast

1985; Certificate in Professional Legal Studies, Institute of Professional Legal Studies, Queen’s University, Belfast

1985; Called to Bar of Northern Ireland

1985 – 1987; Part-time tutor in Sociology of Law to Undergraduates and in Legal Process to Diploma in Law students at Queen’s University, Belfast

1996; Called to Bar of Ireland

2002-2010; Appointed one of two nominated Junior Crown Counsel, prosecuting in Craigavon Crown Court

2008- 2011; Appointed to Junior Prosecution Panel by PPS

2011; Called to Inner Bar

2011; Appointed to Senior Prosecution Panel

2012 to date; Senior Counsel to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry

Christine has been a member of the Bar Council 1986-1988 and again 2006-2008. She has sat on a number of Bar Committees and until 2013 was a member of the Bar’s Professional Conduct Committee

Experience

Christine has appeared in a large number of trials in the Crown Court and has appeared in both appeals against conviction and sentence before the Court of Appeal.

Reported cases include:

R v Rice, Brendan John Joseph [2007] NICC 7

Murder trial where ultimately plea to manslaughter accepted after several days of evidence.

R v McKenna, Terence & another [2007] NICC 15

Case involving false imprisonment, robbery and rape of schoolgirl.

R v McArdle, Daniel [2008] NICA 29; [2009] NIJB 212

Guideline case re sentencing under Article 20 Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 1996.

R v C [2009] NICC 37

Assault and rape of an American tourist by a minor.

R v Doyle, Roisin [2010] NICC 26

Plea to manslaughter accepted after medical evidence considered.

R v McNally, Martin Leo [2010] NICC 15

Plea to manslaughter accepted after consideration of complex issue of causation.

R v Boyd, Denise Marie [2011] NICA 22; 2012 NIJB 127

Appeal against conviction for wounding with intent, involving issue re conduct of defence.

R v Crolly, John [2011] NICA 58

Appeal against sentence imposed for diminished responsibility manslaughter.

Other notable cases include:

R v Cunningham, John [2005] and on appeal to Court of Appeal [2007]

Case involved the then biggest seizure of cannabis in Northern Ireland.

R v Purcell, Thomas [2006]

A high profile murder case where Defendant ultimately pleaded to the murder of Megan McAlorum.

Attorney General for Northern Ireland v Hain, Peter [2011]

Appeared with Attorney General for Northern Ireland in his prosecution of former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Publications

The problems of Eye Witness Identification Evidence – paper published by Queen’s University Belfast in 1987