Slavery

In April 2010 section 71 of the Coroners and Justices Act created the new offences of ‘slavery’, ‘servitude’ and ‘forced or compulsory labour’. Nick Barraclough defended in the first major slavery/ servitude trial and went on to become an expert in the field, appearing in cases of
slavery, servitude, and forced or compulsory labour. These cases have ranged from allegations involving serious and persistent violence inflicted on vulnerable workers taken off the streets and who were made to all hours with no pay or holiday, to domestic staff who are treated less than ideally.

It is thought that no other barrister has more experience of these cases, examples of which include the following:

  • R v TC: Luton Crown Court, as leading counsel for Tommy Connors Junior, one of the main defendants in a 3 month trial at Luton Crown Court which broke legal ground and attracted national and international press attention as one of the country’s first ever ‘slavery’ prosecutions. After two hard-fought trials, his client was acquitted of all charges though others were convicted.
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  • R v NK: this case involved a domestic ‘slave’ who, it was alleged, had been ‘trafficked from rural Pakistan to work as a maid’. Although the defendant was eventually convicted of keeping the lady in servitude, Nick Barraclough’s cross-examination of the ‘maid’ cast great doubt on much of her account, and the judge subsequently accepted Nick Barraclough’s arguments that NK need not be imprisoned.
  • R v WC: Nick Barraclough represented the main defendant in a 3-month trial. This was another case that attracted national press attention,and one that the Attorney-General himself appeared in the Court of Appeal when he challenged the sentences as ‘unduly lenient’. The case is now used as the guideline case on sentencing slavery, servitude, and forced and compulsory labour offences. In the Court of Appeal, the Lord Chief Justice agreed with the submissions drafted by Nick Barraclough and rejected the Attorney-General’s arguments.
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