Administrative Law or Judicial Review
Joseph O’Keeffe is widely regarded as the counsel of choice in many of the most serious and complex cases in Northern Ireland.
He has a significant criminal law practice representing clients in matters involving complex tax fraud, corporate financial crime and money laundering. He has longstanding experience of defending persons and companies in matters involving multi-jurisdictional tax compliance, missing trader (MTIC) carousel fraud, construction industry scheme (CIS) fraud and the proceeds of crime legislation. Joseph is renowned for his meticulous preparation of all aspects of his clients’ cases and attention to detail, which has resulted in a consistent record of successful outcomes for his clients. Joseph has also given seminars to fellow professionals on the operation of the Proceeds of Crime legislation, particularly the operation of the criminal and civil confiscation provisions of the legislation.
Joseph has acted in many of the most serious and complex recent cases brought under the terrorism legislation in Northern Ireland. His knowledge and expertise of the terrorism legislation and the law of surveillance is highly regarded and his recent cases have involved the defence of clients charged after multi-jurisdictional terrorism and surveillance investigations. Joseph’s conduct of these cases has been highly accomplished and he is regularly instructed in non-jury trials in which individuals are tried in the Crown Court without a jury due to the nature of the offence.
Joseph regularly represents clients employed in the public sector who are charged with criminal and regulatory offences arising in the course of their employment. His cases in this area have included representing police officers, front line nurses, psychiatric nurses and other health care workers charged with offences whilst performing their professional duties.
Extradition cases have also been a consistent aspect of Joseph’s practice, in which he has represented persons from both the UK and elsewhere who are sought under a European Arrest Warrant issued by another Europeancountry. Joseph has represented clients in extradition proceedings before the County Court, the Divisional Court of Northern Ireland and the Supreme Court, in cases engaging the fundamental human rights of the individual including Article 3 ECHR (prohibition on torture), Article 5 ECHR (right to liberty), Article 6 ECHR (right to a fair trial) and Article 8 ECHR (right to a private and family life). Joseph’s written and oral advocacy skills have led to successful outcomes in many extradition cases and he continues to be instructed in cases at the forefront of the development of the law of extradition in the United Kingdom.
Outside of criminal law, Joseph is regularly instructed for clients who have suffered serious personal injury in accidents. His knowledge and experience of the law in respect of both the attribution of liability and the assessment of damages is highly sought after, particularly in cases in which a plaintiff has suffered severe disability with consequences for his or her future employment prospects. Joseph also represents individuals and companies in high value commercial disputes involving restraint of trade, intellectual property, breach of commercial contracts and property rights. He has experience in obtaining orders on behalf of clients for commercial injunctions and the freezing of assets before trial.
Joseph has also represented individuals and companies before the Planning Appeals Commission (PAC) with regard to breaches of planning regulations, waste management licences and environmental impact assessments, with successful outcomes for his clients.
Joseph regularly represents clients in judicial review proceedings to challenge the decisions of public authorities across a range of areas, including taxation, agriculture and police powers.
In addition to his busy practice at the Bar, Joseph maintains strong links with legal education and has been appointed by the Council of Legal Education for Northern Ireland as the Course Advisor on the Criminal Practice course at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies. He also regularly judges mooting competitions at the Law School at Queen’s University, Belfast.
Law & Accounting LL.B, Queen’s University, Belfast (First Class Honours)
2004; Certificate in Professional Legal Studies, IPLS, Belfast (Distinction)
2017; Called to the Bar of Ireland
Department of Justice (NI) appointee to the Crown Court Rules Committee for Northern Ireland (2013-2019).
Council of Legal Education (NI) appointed as Course Advisor for the Criminal Procedure Course at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies
Notable cases in which Joseph has been instructed include:
R v PC – multi-defendant HMRC fuel laundering investigation – sophisticated tax evasion scheme – corporate financial fraud – high value evasion of fuel duty
R v BMA – multi-defendant HMRC VAT fraud – new build residential property fraud – proceeds of crime investigation
R v RM – HMRC VAT fraud – agricultural business fraud – proceeds of crime investigation
R v A Ltd - multi-defendant HMRC VAT fraud – MTIC fraud – carousel fraud – tyre industry fraud
R v AP & R Ltd – international charity fraud – corporate financial fraud – waste management offences - proceeds of crime investigation – confiscation hearing
R v PMN - multi-defendant HMRC VAT fraud – MTIC carousel fraud – tyre industry fraud – multi-jurisdictional investigation – change of venue application
R v KMG – largest fraud case in Northern Ireland legal history – Construction Industry Scheme fraud - multi-defendant HMRC VAT fraud – law of surveillance – authorisations under Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 – transfer under the Criminal Justice (Serious Fraud) (NI) Order 1988
R v CS - largest fraud case in Northern Ireland legal history - multi-defendant HMRC VAT fraud - money laundering regulatory offences – corporate financial fraud – transfer under the Criminal Justice (Serious Fraud) (NI) Order 1988 –one of two charges dismissed by Court after legal application
R v T Ltd – multi-defendant HMRC investigation - waste management company charged with waste management offences – evasion of fuel duty – evasion of VAT
R v DM – multi-defendant HMRC fuel laundering investigation – evasion of fuel duty – charges dismissed on legal application – No Bill application granted
R v PON – HMRC fuel laundering investigation – evasion of fuel duty
R v TM – HMRC fuel laundering investigation – evasion of fuel duty
R v PH – high value supply and transportation of Class A drugs – use of road haulage to transport drugs –use of wholesale or retail valuation of drugs for proceedings
R v KA – multi-jurisdictional supply of drugs – multi-jurisdictional surveillance – cell site analysis – phone content analysis – forensic evidence
R v XY – police officer charged with sexual offences – anonymity order made due to security assessment – Article 2 ECHR – disclosure application finding material discrediting complainant – charges dismissed on legal application
R v B – police officer charged with serious assault – Police Ombudsman for NI investigation
R v W – police officer charged with theft – Professional Standards Branch investigation – voir dire on conduct of store detective – stock practices of large international retailer
R v SD – soldier charged with serious assault – cross-border investigation – expert medical evidence – social media evidence & disclosure used – charges reduced
R v AD – psychiatric nurse charged with false imprisonment – residential care home – complex medical disclosure – expert evidence on standards of care
R v GC – multi-defendant terrorism investigation – terrorist training camp – authorisation of surveillance – covert audio surveillance – non-jury trial
R v SMG – terrorism investigation – use of mobile phone to detonate improvised explosive device – cell site analysis – automatic number plate recognition – non-jury trial
R v GM – terrorism investigation – kidnapping and murder – legacy case – incident occurring before Good Friday Agreement 1998 – pollen evidence – mineralogy evidence – fibre analysis evidence – scenes of crime analysis –Historical Enquiries Team (HET) investigation - non-jury trial
R v CD – terrorism investigation – directing terrorism – membership of proscribed organisation – preparation of terrorist acts - one of the largest terrorism investigations in Northern Ireland legal history – multi-jurisdictional international surveillance by security services – covert surveillance – forensic speech analysis evidence – computer virus evidence – digital forensic evidence – clothing comparison evidence – No Bill application granted on charge of attempted murder – No Bill application granted on charge of conspiracy to murder – No Bill application granted on charge of possession of firearms and ammunition - non-jury trial
R v CM – multi-defendant terrorism investigation – preparation of acts of terrorism – collecting information of use to terrorists - covert surveillance – No Bill application granted to CM
R v GB – terrorism investigation – possession of multiple firearms, weapons and ammunition – possession with intent to endanger life – non-jury trial
R v PC - terrorism investigation – attack on RUC Station – legacy case – incident occurring before Good Friday Agreement 1998 – shooting by undercover soldiers - firearms and ammunition evidence – DNA evidence – non-jury trial
R v JL - multi-defendant terrorism investigation – preparation of acts of terrorism – terrorist training – conspiracy to possess firearms - covert surveillance – forensic voice analysis – non-jury trial
R v BW – Court of Appeal – appeal by prosecution from terminating ruling by Crown Court
R v CF – Court of Appeal – reference from DPP on unduly lenient sentence
R v JPW – Court of Appeal – appeal against sentence – burglary – harassment – criminal damage – sentenced reduced
R v DD – Court of Appeal – legacy case – use of State agent not disclosed at trial – effect of non-disclosure on conviction – law of agent provocateur and entrapment
Greece v OC – extradition –Supreme Court – Divisional Court of NI - County Court – assurances given by Requesting State – compliance with Article 3 ECHR – time limits for appeal – expert evidence on Greek prison conditions
Ireland v ET – extradition - Divisional Court of NI - County Court – impact of Brexit on extradition arrangements between the UK and Ireland
Latvia v MA – extradition – drink driving offence in Latvia – whether the expression of the drink driving limit in Latvia corresponds to the same limit in the UK
Slovakia v PS – extradition – Divisional Court of NI – County Court – child with severe medical condition – Article 8 ECHR – expert evidence on impact of extradition on family
France v ZV – extradition – Divisional Court of NI – County Court – EAW being signed by prosecutor – Article 5 ECHR – interpretation of the EU Framework Decision on Extradition – submissions on interpretation by Court of
Justice of the EU
Bulgaria v BA - extradition – domestic arrest warrant and EAW being signed by prosecutor – interpretation of the EU Framework Decision on Extradition – submissions on interpretation by Court of Justice of the EU
SSL v ASG – Commercial Court – acted for plaintiff - restraint of trade – breach of contract of employment – trade secrets – commercial injunction
GL v EC – Commercial Court – acted for defence - intellectual property – international contractual rights - multi-defendant claim – high value claim for damages
IF v SEHSCT – personal injury – electrocution at work – complex medical evidence - high value claim for damages
SMC v BM – personal injury – brain damage - road traffic accident – interpretation of stopping distances in Highway Code – expert engineering evidence
JB v CCPSNI – litigation arising from murder of Patrick Finucane – representing investigating police officer – use of findings in Da Silva Review
Re AT Ltd – judicial review of decision by HMRC – vat repayments – tax manuals – internal guidance – illegality of withholding repayments
Re PT – judicial review of decision by Department of Agriculture – imposition of penalties on Single Farm Payment – procedural fairness of internal appeal
Re TM1 – judicial review of decision by police to categorise a child as a terrorist for purposes of a search - section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 - illegality of Terrorism Act Code of Conduct – UN Convention on the Rights of the Child