Caroline Rees QC

Call 1994 Silk 2018

Caroline Rees QC

Practice Overview

Caroline is a member of our Crime@30 team and one of the 'go to' counsel in Wales practising as a specialist in serious crime. Caroline advises and represents both Prosecution and Defence.

Caroline has a particular specialism in cases concerning serious sexual offending and has notable expertise in trials concerning allegations of historical sexual abuse and multi complainant cases. Caroline has received instructions for a significant number of high profile criminal cases such as trafficking of persons into and within the UK for purposes of sexual exploitation and serious cases with unusual factual backgrounds and evidence. She is a highly skilled advocate with extensive experience in dealing with cases concerning young and /or vulnerable witnesses and the use of special measures, including intermediaries.

Her practice also includes other serious criminal offences including homicide and drugs conspiracies arising from large scale police operations . Caroline is regularly instructed in large and complex cases and is very well equipped to deal with the particular demands of cases which require strong leadership combined with collaborative team work.

Caroline is a Grade 4 CPS Prosecutor and approved counsel for rape and serious sexual offences prosecution.

She is fluent in the Welsh Language and able to conduct conferences and cases through the medium of the Welsh language

Notable and Reported cases

  • Serious sexual offences

    R v JW and others (Operation Swan) – 6 week trial.  Leading  junior counsel  in large scale prosecution of multiple defendants for historic offences of serious sexual abuse against multiple complainants within a familial context.  Allegations spanned 20 years and a number of generations and reflected changes in legislation relating to sexual offences, Included a number of vulnerable witnesses requiring various special measures, including use of intermediaries.  Complex issues of disclosure.

    R v AS – defence counsel. 16 year old Defendant. Allegation of rape upon a mentally vulnerable adult. Defendant also vulnerable with various behavioural disorders.  Trial conducted via use of intermediaries and appropriate trial procedures for young defendant.

    R v CN – Prosecution counsel. Historical sexual allegations within a familial context spanning the change of legislation relating to sexual offences. Multiple victims. Defendant had admitted incestuous conduct but denied non consensual offending – trial concerned issue of consent with young victims in a close  familial context. Trial involved extremely sensitive recorded footage of offending which had to be presented as part of the evidence.

    R v NW – Prosecution counsel. Defendant was a convicted sex offender who made a complaint that he had been victim of familial sexual abuse. In course of his complaint, he disclosed a large volume of previous serious sexual offending  by him upon multiple victims, including babies. Complex indictment and significant issues of disclosure.

    R v RJ – prosecution counsel. Defendant had raped multiple victims, all of whom were sex workers. Victims were distrustful of the court process and were vulnerable. Case involved working closely with the Crown Prosecution Service, police and “Streetlife” ( outreach team working on the street with sex workers).

    R v CD – defence counsel. Trial concerned allegations of historical sexual abuse within familial context. Multiple vicitms, including vulnerable and young witnesses who required a careful approach in cross examination within current guidance as to best practice.

    R v LI and JO (Operation Crimson) – prosecution counsel. Defendants had trafficked two women into the UK from  Nigeria and into prostitution. Victims had been subjected to “JuJu” ceremonies to ensure their compliance with the Defendants’ demands. Evidence included expert evidence on the cultural background of the vicitms in Nigeria and, in particular, the force of the JuJu ceremony. Victims extremely vulnerable and frightened of the court process. Complex evidence regarding financial transfers within and  outside the UK. Case also involved Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings in relation to controlling prostitution.

    R v LW – prosecution counsel. Trial of allegation of historical sexual abuse by brother upon sister. Trial involved analysis and presentation of  expert evidence upon a number of complex areas  including soil analysis, DNA evidence and fingerprint evidence.

    R v CG – Prosecution counsel. Trial concerned  allegations of historical sexual abuse within a familial context commencing in 1970. Multiple Complainants. Issues of disclosure of material from children’s home, abuse of process and “doli incapax”. 

    R v KP – Defence counsel. Multiple complainant case concerning allegations of sexual abuse over 30 years previously upon children who were as young as 3– issues of abuse of process and expert evidence regarding aspects of childhood memories.

    R v JN – Prosecution counsel. Defendant charged with rape on his partner.  Victim and Defendant both deaf and with impaired speech. Trial conducted through British Sign Language interpretation. 

    R v WB (Operation Thistle) – Prosecution counsel.. Allegations of rape and serious sexual offences against multiple Complainants, all of whom were vulnerable young women with a background of being in care. Case concerned allegations of rape, bestiality, controlling prostitution and indecent images. Case also involved Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings in respect of brothel keeping offences.

    R v JR – Prosecution counsel. Defendant charged with the kidnap and rape of a young child who was playing in a local park. Vulnerable victim and complex medical evidence on issue of penetration.

  • Homicide

    R v PL and othrs (Operation Kestrel) – prosecution counsel. Murder trial lasting 4 months. Multiple Defendants, all of whom spoke only Polish. Trial conducted through interpretation. Complex medical issues as to causation, intervention of a new act and joint enterprise.

    R v AV – defence counsel. Manslaughter trial. Multiple defendants. Involved a vulnerable defendant requiring an intermediary. Issues of causation and joint enterprise.

    R v SA – prosecution counsel. Murder allegation. Issues of diminished responsibility.

    R v MD – defence counsel. Manslaughter trial. Defendant accused of manslaughter by gross negligence. Defendant was leading army cadet group on a caving expedition. Victim drowned in underground pool during the expedition. Case concerned complex issues of law and fact concerning causation and law concerning manslaughter by gross negligence.

    R v RC – defence counsel. Defendant was a nurse charged with manslaughter by gross negligence in context of a death in a nursing home where she was working.

  • Drugs

    R v DT and othrs – (Operation Corolla) Defence counsel for first Defendant in multi handed  trial concerning conspiracy to supply heroin

    R v MM and othrs – (Operation Hallett) Prosecution counsel. 26 Defendants charged with conspiracy to supply Class B drugs, including a very rare quality of amphetamine sulphate at high purity

    R v AH and othrs – (Operation Orange Gobi) Prosecution counsel. 13 Defendants charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs – cocaine

  • Nursing home abuse

    R v SS and othrs – Defence counsel for first Defendant in multi Defendant trial concerning physical abuse of elderly and mentally infirm adults in a residential nursing home where Defendant was working as a nurse.

    R v SW –  Defence counsel Case involving allegations of physical abuse by a nurse at a hospital psychiatric unit

    R v K – allegations of physical abuse against a carer at a home for vulnerable adults with mental health issues

  • Recommendations
    •  "She is an outstanding advocate - she is thoroughly prepared and has an excellent manner with both clients and the court alike." "She is a hard cross-examiner and gets to the heart of the case." (Chambers UK, 2022 - Crime)
    • "An exceptionally strong cross-examiner. She really gets to the issues quickly and she's effective in front of the jury." "She doesn't miss a trick. She is thorough, well prepared and she understands how sex crimes are handled." (Chambers UK, 2021)
    • 'Her advocacy is very polished and she has an aura in the courtroom.' (Legal 500, 2021)
    • 'She is a fantastic advocate, as well as being very approachable and down to earth. She is also very good with clients and is able to make them feel comfortable.' (Chambers UK, 2020)
    • 'She has the perfect personality for an advocate: pleasant and direct to deal with, but a tough opponent in court.' (Legal 500, 2020)
    • 'An outstanding silk.' (Legal 500, 2018)
    • 'She is a thorough and experienced barrister. She works very hard and is very well throught of.' (Chambers UK, 2018)
    • 'She demonstrates great client empathy'. (Legal 500, 2017)
    • Recommended in Chambers and Partners (Crime: Wales) every year since 2009.
    • Currently recommended as a Band 1 recommended counsel in Crime:Wales.
    • 'A very experienced prosecution and defence barrister, with particular experience of acting in cases involving sexual abuse. Many of her cases arise from historical accusations or deal with multiple complainants or the trafficking of people for sexual exploitation. She also acts in homicide and drug conspiracy cases' (Chambers UK, 2017) 
    • 'Her practice encompasses both prosecution and defence work. She is noted for her skill at dealing with vulnerable clients and witnesses.' "She is very good with clients and is an excellent advocate." (Chambers UK, 2016)
    • 'Acts as both a Grade 4 prosecutor and a criminal defence advocate. She is noted for her expertise in complex sexual abuse claims with vulnerable witnesses."She is a calm, firm advocate who doesn't let anything phase her." (Chambers UK, 2015)
    • 'Caroline Rees is acclaimed for her extensive experience in sexual offence cases. Clients view her as a "talented and effective advocate.' (Chambers UK, 2013)
    • The "very thorough" Caroline Rees has a reassuringly "calm and deliberate" manner. She advised for the prosecution of Joseph Rees in a case alleging rape of a child'. (Chambers UK, 2012)
    • Recommended in Chambers 2011 in relation to serious sexual offences
    • ‘Caroline Rees is “deservedly popular and persuasive”’ (Chambers UK, 2010)
    • ‘Caroline Rees is known as “an excellent all rounder, who is very good with the clients and an outstanding jury advocate”’  (Chambers UK, 2009)
  • Appointments
    • Recorder of the Crown Court – December 2015
    • Silk - February 2018
  • Career
    • Oct 1994 – Oct 1995: 33 Park Place, Cardiff. 12 months pupillage.
    • Oct 1995 – Dec 1999: Tenant at 33 Park Place, Cardiff
    • Dec 1999 to date: Tenant at 30 Park Place, Cardiff specialising in crime 
  • Education & Qualification
    • Ysgol Gyfun y Strade, Llanelli ( 1983-1990)
    • University of Birmingham Llb (Hons) (1990 – 1993)
    • Inns of Court School of Law, London (1993-1994) Bar Vocational Course
  • Awards

    Gray’s Inn Major Scholarship – Wilfred Getz award (1994)

Caroline Rees QC
'Her advocacy is very polished and she has an aura in the courtroom.'Legal 500, 2021