Sarah Waters

Call 1999

Sarah Waters

Practice Overview

Sarah is a specialist criminal practitioner who has many years of experience in dealing with a broad range of criminal offences including fraud, drugs, violence and homicide, for both prosecution and defence. She is regularly instructed in cases involving serious sexual offences. She is a member of our Crime@30 team and a Grade 4 Prosecutor.

Prior to starting her career at the Bar she worked for a solicitor’s firm and therefore has a good insight into what is needed to work effectively on both sides of the ‘legal fence’. As a result, Sarah is committed to working in a team environment and to providing a high level of service at all times. She is known for her thorough preparation and down to earth approach enabling her to quickly establish a good rapport with both lay and professional clients.

Notable and Reported cases

  • R v Conlon and Conlon (2015)

    Prosecuting Counsel in a HMRC investigation and prosecuted by the Serious Case department involving an alleged joint operation to import a large amount of hand rolling tobacco into the UK evading VAT and duty over a period of years.

  • R v Rabjohns and others (2014)

    Defence Counsel representing a client charged with 3 counts of conspiracy to murder with 3 other Defendants, without Leading Counsel . Alleged to be one of the occupants of a 4 x 4 vehicle which rammed a Ford Ka vehicle off the road into collision with a public house after a firearm was discharged towards the latter vehicle, with pellets hitting the vehicle and persons in the Ford Ka. The case involved difficult ‘hearsay’ points of law along with an abundance of ballistics, accident investigation and telephone expert evidence. 

  • R v Yandell and Others “Operation Dino” (2013 to 2015)

    Defence Counsel representing clients alleged to be involved in a conspiracy to defraud insurance companies by falsely claiming they had a road traffic accident occasioning them financial loss and/or personal injury. Known as the ‘cash for crash’ case, this is a huge conspiracy involving 87 Defendants who have a varying level of involvement. The evidence is over 30,000 pages and is the first large scale fraud case of its kind and has attracted national media coverage.

  • R v MS (2014)

    Sole Counsel successfully prosecuting a 3 week contested trial involving a number of sexual offences from rape to indecent assault against a former Elder of the Jehovahs Witness (“JW”) congregation in Barry. There were 4 separate complainants, some of whom were related to the Defendant and 3 of whom were former members of the JW faith. The Defendant used his power and status to abuse these females over a period of over 10 years. The JW had themselves conducted an informal quasi judicial investigation some years ago which significantly impacted upon this trial and raised difficult disclosure issues when past material could not be found and/or other potential JW members would not assist the police in their investigation.

  • R v Gareth Jenkins (2012)

    Junior Defence Counsel representing a client charged with the murder of a male following a fight in a public house in Abergavenny. The case was complicated by the fact that the victim spent 55 days in hospital, sustained further injuries from ‘falls’ whilst there which may have caused/exacerbated head injuries which had contributed to his demise. Medical evidence involving many different specialties, (i.e neurology, hepatology, renal, orthopaedic) needed to be challenged. Ultimately he was convicted of manslaughter after a contested trial.

  • R v Liam Price and Others (2012)

    Defence Counsel for a male Defendant charged with three other males concerning offences of sexual assault by penetration and section 18 causing grievous bodily harm upon a male victim. Involved ‘horseplay’ that took a sinister turn where the victim was stripped naked and subjected to a sustained and sexually degrading attack by other males.

  • R v Mouncher and Others (Lynette White murder) (2010-2011)

    14 police officers were charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, following alleged manipulation of witnesses and evidence to implicate innocent men in the murder of Lynette White in 1988. Often described as the largest police corruption trial in British legal history, with over 10,000 pages of evidence, including complex pathology reports, handwriting and electrostatic detection apparatus (ESDA) expert evidence. Sarah defended the only female officer, a defendant who had cognitive deficits resulting from serious mental and physical health problems. Ultimately the proceedings against her were stayed (nolle prosequi).

  • Operation Thistle: R v Baker (2010)

    Defendant was charged with 33 offences, including rape of multiple victims (aged from 13-21), child abduction, child prostitution and pornography, administering a substance with intent, and keeping a brothel. The evidence was of a highly distasteful nature, including video evidence of bestiality, coprophagia and self-mutilation.

  • Operation Corolla (Newport 2003)

    Class A and Class B drugs conspiracy and money laundering trial involving the Newport area. 

  • Operation Gearstick (2001)

    Class A and Class B drugs conspiracy case involving trafficking from London to Newport. 

  • Caerphilly CBC v Hughes, Verity & Rowlands: LTL 17/3/2006. QBD (Silber J)

    Reported case. Contempt of court in the context of making false statements/fraudulent personal injury claim. Sentencing implications. 

  • Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence
    • Caerphilly County Borough Council v Rowlands – High Court matter attracting National media coverage.     
  • Police Actions & Prison Law
    • Undertaken numerous Advices and drafted pleadings in actions against the police and conducted contested trials on behalf of the Claimant in the County Court.    
  • Recommendations
    • 'A  consummate professional, who is thorough and very good with clients.' (Chambers and Partners, 2018)
    • ‘Very experienced in high-profile fraud, homicide and serious sexual offences matters.’ (Legal 500. 2018)
    • 'She's a good operator.' (Chambers UK, 2018)
    • 'Her practice covers motoring offences, drugs conspiracies and homicide cases'. (Legal 500, 2017)
    • Acts for both prosecution and defence, handling a range of matters from motoring offences to serious sexual abuse and homicide cases. Strengths: "Her contributions to cases are excellent and she is someone who has a very, very bright future ahead of her." Recent work: Acted as sole counsel in R v Rabjohns, Battersby, Bridge and Hooper, representing the defendant in a six-week contested trial concerning three counts of conspiracy to murder. The case concerned a joint plan to ram a vehicle off the road. (Chambers UK, 2017)
    • 'She has recent experience in VAT fraud cases.' (Legal 500, 2016)
    • ‘Clients warm to her and she is willing to go the extra mile to help.' (Legal 500, 2015)
    • 'She acts for both the prosecution and defence, and her practice covers a range of criminal matters including drugs conspiracy, fraud, homicide and sexual offence cases.' (Chambers UK, 2016)
    • 'She is a powerful advocate and very realistic in her arguments.' (Chambers UK, 2015)
  • Appointments
    • Accredited Pupil Supervisor
    • A member of the 30 Park Place Management Committee for five years
  • Career
    • 1998-1999: Paralegal at Myers Lister Price Solicitors, Northenden, Manchester
    • 1999- 2000: Pupillage at 30 Park Place Chambers, Cardiff
    • 2000 – present: 30 Park Place Chambers, Cardiff.
  • Education & Qualification
    • Balderstone Community High School
    • 1994-1997: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne – LLB (Hons) Class 2:1
    • 1998-1999: Manchester Metropolitan University – Bar Vocational Course (Very Competent grade)
  • Awards
    • 1998: Awarded Jules Thorne scholarship (Middle Temple)
    • 1999: Awarded Lady Templeman scholarship (Middle Temple) 
  • Memberships
    • Criminal Bar Association
    • Wales and Chester Circuit
Sarah Waters
'Very experienced in high-profile fraud, homicide and serious sexual offences matters'Legal 500, 2018