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Steven Ball

Call: 1996

Mediator

Accredited by the Bar Council for Direct Access

CPS Advocates Panel Grade 3

CPS RASSO Advocates Panel

Memberships

Northern Circuit

[Former Junior of the Circuit 2000-2001]

The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple

The Athenaeum, Liverpool

Education

Inns of Court School of Law, London 1995

University of Hull [LL.B Hons.] 1992-1995

What People Say...

“I recently instructed Steven for the first time on a prosecution brought by the Insolvency Services. Our firm, and Steven came to the case late as a result of a transfer of legal aid and the CBA industrial action. Steven was quick to identify and advise on key areas we needed to work on, including client instructions, defence witnesses and experts. The case had a long history and the client therefore had a vast amount of information to share with us. Steven was calm and in control in conferences, ensuring the client focussed on the right topics. Overall I would recommend Steven as a knowledgeable, calm pair of hands. He works as a team in the preparation of a case, was always contactable, and together we achieved a great result for the client”

Amy Cox, Solicitor, Sonn MacMillan Walker, London

“Steven has an eye for detail and is extremely thorough in both his paperwork and cross examination.  He is an excellent communicator and offers sound advice on both prospects and tactics.  Steven is knowledgeable and very approachable with excellent people skills.”

Charlotte Jones, Solicitor, Crawford & Company, Liverpool

“I instructed Steven in relation to a client of good character, a master of a vessel in the Mersey who was charged with an offence under the Merchant Shipping Act after his colleague fell overboard and unfortunately died.  This was a difficult case under seldom used legislation.  This was an extremely traumatic experience for my client who had suffered the loss, not only of a colleague, but a close friend in relation to the incident that had happened.

The case needed a sharp intellect and compassion to be dealt with in court, and I found that Steven provided this in abundance.  Once instructed, Steven took the initiative on the case making sure that my lay client knew he was in safe hands at all times.  After a tense trial, the client was acquitted of any criminal fault and I am extremely grateful to Steven for the diligence and calm mindset that he brought to the case which is exactly what it needed.”

Sean Conway, Thompsons Solicitors, Leeds

“Steven was fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed working with him. He was instructed very late on in a complex multi-handed fraud case and was able to very quickly get up to speed. He demonstrated excellent attention to detail when it came to preparation and written submissions. Equally, Steven’s advocacy was clear, confident and concise. When it came to witness handling / client care he was warm and personable. I look forward to instructing Steven on future cases.”

Jack Child, Senior Crown Prosecutor, Liverpool

Areas of Practice

 

Background

Steven is a versatile practitioner with over 25 years court experience and is renowned for a calm and engaging manner with his clients and for his direct advocacy in court.

Post-lockdown Steven has returned to his professional roots and enjoys a busy criminal practice once more which sees him blend prosecution and defence work taking him to all corners of the Circuit and occasionally elsewhere.

Steven occasionally mixes his criminal practice with defending fraudulent and/or unmeritorious personal injury/credit hire claims in the county court.  These two areas of practice complement each other as they rely on case strategy, meticulous preparation and robust cross – examination.

 

Criminal ad Regulatory Work

Steven regularly prosecutes on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service in Merseyside/Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cumbria.

He has developed a busy RASSO caseload and has recently undertaken work on behalf of the Serious Organised Crime and International Directorate of the Crown Prosecution Service.

In addition, he has undertaken work in the Crown Court on behalf of the Chief Constables of Merseyside and of Greater Manchester.  He has also undertaken advisory and court work on behalf of several Local Authorities.

Steven regularly defends on and off Circuit and believes that this approach to a mixed practice is beneficial to all clients who instruct him.

He has appeared in the Court of Appeal, the Administrative Court [Judicial Review] and the High Court [Appeal by way of Case Stated]

Steven’s regulatory case load has included defending a maritime prosecution; his fraud defence work has included insolvency and director’s prosecutions and he has also represented those charged with misconduct in public office.

He has undertaken niche work involving cash forfeiture, closure orders and football banning orders.  He has a wide experience of cases involving allegations of police misconduct, disclosure issues and public interest immunity.

 

Recent caseload

 

Rape and Serious Sexual Offences

R v SS [2024] the Defendant was found guilty by a unanimous verdict by a jury in a 6 day trial heard at the beginning of December 2023. He had been in a short-lived relationship in which he subjected his victim to violence including an incident of rape and strangulation in which she received several broken ribs. During another incident he kidnapped his victim’s 6 year old daughter and drove her away having stolen her Mother’s car.

The victim pleaded with the Defendant not to drive away but found herself being grabbed by the hair and was half in and half out of the car as it moved away. The car crashed into a post and the victim found herself on the road. The Defendant deliberately reversed the car over her abdomen in order to get away causing multiple fractures to the spine and permanent scarring.

The victim changed her mind about special measures and rather than be questioned pursuant to section 28 and have her evidence recorded she attended the trial and gave evidence from the witness box which was screened from open court. Judge Parry described the Defendant as dangerous and posing a significant risk of physical and sexual violence which justified an extended period of licence extending the sentence to 26 years.[ instructed by RASSO Unit of CPS in Manchester]

 

R v MV [2023] represented an 82 year old man accused of historical sexual offences against his daughter now 16.   The case was sensitive and distressing owing to the family circumstances which had led to countless hearings in the Court of Protection preceding the criminal case.  This case required careful preparation towards the section 28 cross examination hearing to take into account the complicated factual history of the matter.  The defendant was to die before the section 28 hearing which led to this fact being endorsed on the indictment before the proceedings were stayed. [instructed by Russell and Russell, Bolton]

 

R v AA and MP [2023] instructed to represent a Hungarian female who has been accused of conspiracy to control prostitution and the human trafficking of Hungarian sex workers in Bolton, Preston and Birmingham.    Whilst guilty pleas have been entered there is a significant dispute between the parties as to the basis for which the defendant and her husband are to be sentenced.  A trial of the issue is to be heard in order to determine whether on the basis that the Hungarian girls had previously been sex workers whether or not they had been coerced to continue this work by the defendants.  This case is due to be heard at Bolton Crown Court in Spring 2024 [instructed by BMS Solicitors, Manchester]

 

R v JBT [2023] represented the Crown in a case involving the downloading and distribution of a large volume of indecent images and videos depicting serious sexual activity involving adults and children.  The defendant who was 32 years old and had not been in any previous trouble with the courts was sentenced to an immediate sentence of 2 years imprisonment. [instructed by CPS, Liverpool]

 

R v L [2023] prosecuted a man for the historical sexual abuse of his niece who was 10 years old at the time and independently of this, for abusing the daughter of a family friend who was 13 years old at the time.  The jury heard from both complainants who are now adults and were played their video recorded ABE interviews and played the section 28 cross examination.  A direction on the potential cross-admissibility of the complaints was given and the jury had to carefully scrutinise the evidence to consider the independence of the complaints and to rule out any possible contamination.  The guilty verdicts were secured after a trial and the case has been adjourned for sentence [instructed by CPS, Liverpool]

 

R v R [2023] prosecuted a man for the historical sexual abuse of his step-daughter who was groomed by him in her Mother’s regular absence when at work from around the age of 10.  Sentencing has been adjourned pending the preparation of a PSR and obtaining VPS [instructed by CPS, Lancashire]

 

R v L & S [2023] prosecuted two adults – a man and a woman who met on-line and had never met each other in real life; the first time they met was in the dock of the court. The man encouraged the woman to engage in sexual activity in the presence of a child [under 2 years] who was lying in a cot next to her bed in her bedroom – which she filmed on numerous occasions and sent to him by video from her mobile phone.  The man was also found to have numerous indecent images on his device relating to other children [instructed by CPS, Liverpool]

 

Firearms

R v S [2023] prosecuted a defendant whose DNA was on cartridges found alongside a machine gun and on a live hand grenade. These items were found hidden in a cupboard in a house.  Ballistics testing confirmed that the machine gun had been used 6 years earlier to discharge bullets which had been found in the sand on a beach in Anglesey.  The defendant had been sentenced by a Welsh court for drug trafficking and on the basis of minding a handgun which was found in his car when he was arrested.  The subsequent findings in Liverpool suggested a closer greater degree of involvement than previously admitted and revealed the true extent of his criminality which involved possession of the machine gun, ammunition and the grenade. [instructed by CPS, Liverpool]

 

R v M [2023] prosecuted a defendant whose DNA was found within the muzzle of a 1920’s Webley revolver found hidden behind a shed in L8 which had 3 spent bullets in its chamber and one live bullet. [instructed by CPS, Liverpool]

 

R v F [2023] prosecuted a Cumbrian man for possessing an antique Westley Richards shotgun and ammunition without a licence.  The police had cause to remove the defendant’s firearms which he stored at his Mother’s address due to an un-related incident.  When the certified guns and ammunition were removed the police discovered a large antique shotgun in working order which was kept in a cupboard with the other firearms – but had not been locked away.  The case was subject to a successful application to dismiss following the submission of skeleton arguments.  It was the defendant’s case that the firearm belonged to his late Father and he had not inherited it.  He also maintained that the firearm had been previously wall -mounted in the hall of the family home.  Whilst these assertions would normally fall to be considered by a jury the case was dismissed .  This was on the basis that the evidence gathered by the police including an account from his Mother and old family photographs of the wall mounted shot gun in-situ sufficiently undermined the case so as to enable the court to dismiss the charge. [instructed by CPS, Cumbria]

 

Other

R v RF and SN [2023] was appointed by the court pursuant to section 28 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 to cross examine in a case involving two un-represented defendants facing allegations of perverting the court of justice and perjury arising from a civil case relating to a disputed will.   He was principally appointed to cross examine the sister of one of the defendants and to assist with the preparation of legal arguments on a number of evidential issues which required determination before the trial could proceed.   [appointed by Judge Murray, Liverpool Crown Court]

 

R v P,D, T and M [2022] was instructed to represent the prosecution in an Operation Castle case involving a conspiracy to rob where a team of burglars targeted two houses on different sides of the city on the same morning in June 2022.  The offences were well-planned.  They involved a stolen vehicle and the female victims at each property were left traumatised by the experience of the break-in from the defendants who posed as bogus callers. The case was based on strong circumstantial evidence rather than direct forensic links. Steven drafted a skeleton argument and successfully made submissions against two applications to dismiss the charges. This led to the two remaining defendants pleading guilty.  [instructed by CPS, Liverpool]

 

R v AR [2023] secured the acquittal of a festival-goer who was caught in possession of 40 brightly coloured pills bearing logos on the last day of the Creamfields Festival in 2021.  The defendant was prosecuted for attempted possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply.  The pills had been bought by him at the festival and he believed them to contain MDMA.  In fact the pills contained no regulated substances and were analysed to be Chloroquine – used for the treatment of malaria.  The police believed that he intended to sell them and pass them off as real ecstasy tablets. The defendant denied this and maintained that they were for his personal use and that any left-over pills would be consumed by him at another imminent festival [instructed by Dobson Fisher, London]

 

Regulatory and Misconduct

Steven has a wide experience of cases involving the Health and Safety Executive; the Environment Agency and Trading Standards.  He has undertaken Local Authority prosecutions in the Crown Court.  He has appeared on behalf of care workers appearing in the Care Standards Tribunal.  Steven has also represented proprietors of pubs and clubs in licencing matters.

 

In Rex [Maritime and Coastal Agency] v DE  [2022] successfully defended a Mersey Tug boat skipper in a trial before a jury lasting 8 days which was brought by the Maritime and Coastal Agency. The skipper was acquitted of conduct endangering the life of an individual which caused the death of a colleague who had fallen into the river whilst attempting to step back onto the tug which was moored at the Tranmere Oil Terminal.   The Tug Boat company – Svitzer Marine -had earlier pleaded guilty to offences relating to a lack of risk assessment and poor training.  Until this tragedy it had been common practice for the tug boats to moor up at Tranmere despite the jetty berth being designed for tankers.  The prosecution argued that the practice was unsafe especially in light of the weather and the fact that the tug was not safely pinned against the jetty.   The prosecution also considered the response of the crew in their unsuccessful attempt to rescue the man overboard by reference to how it was performed and the lack of training drills evidenced in the preceding months. The jury heard evidence from an internationally renowned expert – Captain Inseal, a Master Mariner – who opined by reference to his maritime experience – the numerous ways in which the Defendant had failed to discharge his duties as the Master of the Tug. [instructed by Thompsons Law, Leeds]

 

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/tugboat-captain-cleared-causing-shipmates-25822131

 

R v PH [2023] was instructed to represent a prison officer who pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office by taking in class C steroids into HMP Liverpool in Walton to be distributed amongst the inmates.  There are no sentencing guidelines for this offence and Steven was able to distinguish the facts from other more serious cases that had been reported from the Court of Appeal.  The judge took a starting point of 6 years imprisonment which was eventually reduced through mitigation and credit to 4 years.  [Instructed by Thompsons Law, Leeds]

 

Fraud

R v M, A and K – ‘Operation Paintbox’ [2023] represented the prosecution in a trial jointly brought by the DWP and the CPS against several defendants and he helped to secure convictions in a two week trial at Preston Crown Court which related to allegations of fraud and money laundering. The case involved an inside job perpetrated by an employee of the Department for Work and Pensions in Burnley who mis-used the private financial details of 64 customers by passing them on to another person. That person pretended to be the customer over 20 times by using their details to pass security and ask for changes to be made to the banking details.   These payments for benefits would then be diverted into other accounts with the spoils being divided and distributed. As the fraud developed the bogus calls were abandoned in favour of accessing a customers account for no reason other than to falsify information that would generate payments that a customer was not entitled to or expecting to receive.  There were also convictions in respect of stand alone applications for Universal Credit based on false information relating to work status or children or a liability to pay rent where the Defendants were not entitled to receive payments. The value of the fraud was over £80,000 but the scam involved breaches of trust and had a significant impact on a number of vulnerable people who did not receive their payments.   The lead Defendant received a sentence of 5 years imprisonment.  [instructed by Serious Economic and International Directorate of the CPS/DWP, Liverpool]

 

R v LJS [2023] represented a defendant, a company director in a two week trial in Liverpool in a case brought by the Insolvency Service and helped secure his acquittal on three charges of fraud by transferring property in default of creditors before his company was would up.  The defendant was also acquitted of failing to keep accounting records. He was convicted of failing to preserve records and misconduct in the course of the winding up. The defendant avoided an immediate custodial sentence which would have been inevitable had he been convicted of the most serious charges. [Instructed by Sonn Macmillan Walker , London]

 

Civil Litigation

Steven has a wide range of practical experience in personal injury litigation on both the Multi Track and the Fast Track.   His work encompasses complicated medical presentations, fatal accidents, claims against the police , credit hire, LVI and fraud.

Steven is regularly instructed in cases of high value; to draft comprehensive schedules of loss and to attend joint settlement meetings.

Steven has conducted a number of recent successful appeals or cases within the county court adjourned for specific legal argument.

Steven has experience of clinical negligence, dental negligence and cosmetic negligence cases; some industrial disease work and ‘on the field’ sports injuries.

He has regularly appeared in the First Tier Tribunal on appeals involving the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

Steven is happy to accept instructions by e-mail and will endeavour to ensure a quick turnaround of paperwork whether it be advice or pleadings. He is also happy to advise informally pre issue.

 

Inquests

Steven has a wide range of experience in the Coroner’s Court which combines his knowledge of criminal procedure with the careful scrutiny of medical and causation issues. He has represented the interests of the police in cases involving fatal road traffic accidents and deaths whilst in custody.   A particularly interesting inquest for Lancashire Police involved the death in custody of a man who was arrested and detained having gone on a violent rampage due to the effects of cocaine toxidity.  The deceased’s body had overheated and the  inquest brought attention to and understanding of this often un-reported and little known medical phenomenon. He has previously worked on criminal cases involving non accidental injuries with children. Steven recently completed a short course in Coronial Law at Bolton University.

 

Mediation

Steven is a qualified mediator and draws upon 25 years of practice in dealing with a wide range of disputes by understanding and evaluating the issues. Steven will work to reduce conflict and find ways to focus the parties on identifying workable solutions in a cost-effective alternative to litigation.

 

Steven has recently undertaken work on a freelance basis for a conflict management company and was tasked with conducting formal inquiries on their behalf into professional disciplinary matters involving allegations of bullying, harassment and racial discrimination.  These sensitive cases required careful consideration of the evidence. His measure of assessment incorporated the organisation’s own policies and having gathered evidence he would evaluate it and collate his findings in a formal report.

 

Mentoring and Education

In recent years Steven has mentored people coming into the legal profession and has worked on an occasional basis as a visiting lecturer at the University of Law and BPP University in Manchester teaching on the BTC, LPC and LLB courses.

Steven has delivered a number of practical seminars to solicitors and fee earners in recent years at their offices.  For further information please contact him via his clerks.

 

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