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Barrister Profile

MARK O’HARA

Year of Call: 2018

Main Areas of Practice

Administrative Law or Judicial Review
Commercial Law
Criminal Law
Personal Injury

Biography

Mark is focused primarily on Civil and Commercial litigation, Judicial Review and Crime.

Mark has acted for a variety of individuals, sole traders, SMEs and limited companies - both Plaintiff and Defendant - in a multitude of cases. In doing so, Mark has secured successful results for clients in cases ranging from contractual disputes to road traffic actions. Mark also acts in personal and corporate insolvency matters having a background in business and Chartered Accountancy. Mark trained for a time with a ‘big 4’ accountancy firm in Corporate Finance as well as completing professional accountancy exams.

Mark has been instructed in a variety of Judicial Review challenges, as well as regularly accepting instructions to advise on prospective challenges of public authorities. For example: prosecutorial decisions, the use of police powers, the treatment of prisoners as well as the actions of other quasi public/private bodies. More recently, Mark has been instructed in a Planning Permission based Judicial Review, acting for an objector. Mark has also been appointed to the Attorney General for Northern Ireland’s Junior Counsel Panel.

Mark has experience in a range of Magistrates’ Court, County Court and Crown Court matters. Mark has successfully defended clients in a number of contested hearings involving an array of criminal charges, for example: assaults, thefts and various driving offences.

Before practising as a barrister Mark competed internationally as an amateur boxer representing both Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Qualifications

2014: BSc (Hons) Business Studies with First Class Honours, University of Ulster

2014 – 2015: KPMG Belfast, Corporate Finance

2015: CA Proficiency 1, Chartered Accountants Ireland

2016: Mini-Pupillage at Deans Court Chambers – Manchester and Preston

2017: Masters in Law, Queen’s University Belfast

2018: Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Studies at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, Queen’s University Belfast

2018: Degree of Barrister-at-Law, The Honourable Society of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland

2019: Appointed to the Attorney General for Northern Ireland’s Junior Counsel Panel

Experience

Mark spent a year training as a Chartered Accountant with a ‘big 4’ accountancy firm before transitioning to practice at the Bar. As well as being involved in a number of Corporate Finance projects during this period Mark also completed professional exams inFinance, Management Accounting, Financial Accounting and Tax through the Chartered Accountants Ireland programme.

Mark has appeared in the following sample of recent cases:

Civil and Commercial

HK v CB [2020]: Road traffic action - acting for the Defendant - liability and quantum in issue - multiple Plaintiff witnesses against a single Defendant witness - case dismissed after contested hearing.

F Ltd v B Ltd [2020]: Contractual dispute - acting for the Defendant - whether elements of a contract established - jurisdiction also in issue - case dismissed after contested hearing.

CMC v D Ltd [2020]: Road traffic action - acting for the Defendant - liability and quantum in issue - case dismissed after contested hearing.

MOB v MC [2019]: Personal injury claim - acting for the Defendant - ‘fundamentally dishonest’ Plaintiff argued - thorough cross examination of Plaintiff on basis of medical records - case dismissed after contested
hearing.

Judicial Review

JA Emergency Application for Judicial Review [2020] NIQB: Prison law case concerning a prisoner’s access to their legal representatives - multiple grounds of challenge - ECHR compliance of quarantined prisoner policy also in issue - new prisoners being an ‘other status’ under article 14 ECHR argued.

CR Emergency Application for Judicial Review [2019] NIQB: Return of an asylum seeker to Albania - appearing for the Applicant - order for removal stayed.

Crime

R v GW [2020] NICC: GW charged with multiple counts of sexual and violent assault - acquitted on all counts.

PPS v FH [2019]: FH charged with making off without payment - identification in issue - cross examination of police regarding alleged identification using CCTV footage - FH found not guilty.

PPS v AM [2019]: AM charged with assault - self defence argument raised - 3 prosecution witnesses - AM found not guilty.

PPS v TD [2019]: TD charged with various driving offences - whether elements of offence made out in issue - multiple charges withdrawn after written representations made - case in its entirety ultimately dismissed.