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Philip Astbury

Call 1999


Criminal Bar Association

Areas of Practice


Philip is frequently instructed in multi-handed conspiracies involving serious organised crime. He has experience being led, and appearing as a leading junior.

He is a level 4 prosecutor and is included within the CPS rape panel. He often defends and prosecutes rapes and serious sexual allegations in the Crown Court, and has been instructed to defend in a number of historic institutional abuse cases across the country.


Recent cases

Operation Mainframe (2018): Defending conspiracy to supply controlled drugs between the North West of England and Scotland.

Operation Manhattan (2018): Defending conspiracy to distribute Class A drugs across the UK.

Operation Portrayne (2018): Prosecuted a conspiracy to supply cocaine between Organised Crime Groups in Liverpool and Glasgow. Associated prosecution of those who laundered the substantial cash proceeds via the “Hawala” banking system.

Operation Milden (2017): Prosecuted the importation of controlled drugs from Spain into the UK, via France and the Channel Tunnel.

R v Daniels Waste Management (2017): Defended environmental offences involving the export of dangerous pollutants to West Africa, featured in a BBC Panorama investigation.

Operation Waterscape (2016): Prosecuted a series of shootings across the region together with drug trafficking offences which lay behind the conflict.

Operation Camaro (2015): Defended allegations of the supply of automatic firearms between organised crime groups.

Operation Airdrie (2015): Defended a conspiracy to manufacture adulterants for use in the illicit drug trade on an industrial scale.

Operation Firethorn (2012, 2013 and 2014): Prosecuted a series of sophisticated conspiracies to counterfeit currency, creating over £750,000 in forged £20 notes which entered the UK economy.

R v Ash (2013): Defended a conspiracy to possess explosives involving a significant quantity of antitank
landmines stolen from the MOD.


Legal Directory Recommendations

“Highly experienced in fraud and complex criminal casework”. – Legal 500 2009



Philip Astbury practises exclusively in criminal law.

Combative and persuasive in equal measure, Philip is instructed across the entire spectrum of criminal work by both defence and prosecution.



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