Darren Preston

Darren Preston

Year of call:

1991, Gray's Inn


Darren Preston




Criminal Bar Association


LLB (Hons), University of Liverpool

Criminal, Regulatory

Darren Preston practices in criminal and
regulatory law.

In his criminal practice, he represents both the prosecution and defence in all areas, but with a particular specialism in cases involving serious fraud, drugs importations,
duty evasion and consequent money-laundering. He is frequently instructed in cases of the utmost seriousness and complexity, and his work includes:

• murder, manslaughter and attempted murder;
• money-laundering;
• duty evasion;
• drugs importation and supply;
• multi-million pound frauds;
• sexual offences, including historic offences and offences against children;
• firearms offences; and
• serious violence and disorder.

He regularly works with Leading Counsel and as a Leading Junior on serious and complex cases. He appears daily in the Crown Court and has appeared many times in the Court of
Criminal Appeal for both prosecution and defence.

Mr Preston is experienced in appearing at all stages of criminal cases, including applications to dismiss, abuse of process, applications under the Proceeds of Crime Act and
ancillary applications such as Serious Crime Prevention Orders and Sexual Offences Prevention Orders. He also has experience of the use of an intermediary.

Through a long-standing professional relationship with RCPO and HMRC (now incorporated into Fraud Group North), Mr Preston is particularly experienced in the area of disclosure
(including disclosure across multiple linked cases), public interest immunity and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. Consequently, he has conducted many applications for
disclosure on both sides, and has much experience of very sensitive areas of criminal practice and disclosure.

Mr Preston is regularly asked to advise precharge, particularly in relation to Fraud Group North prosecutions.

He is regularly instructed to draft complex documents, including Case Summaries, Disclosure Protocols and skeleton arguments on a broad range of subjects. He has been instructed by
investigative agencies to carry out reviews of seized material to assess whether material is subject to Legal Privilege, including in cases involving many thousands of documents.

In regulatory law, Darren Preston has appeared many times before the Fitness to Practise Panel of the General Medical Council (now the Medical Practitioners Regulatory Panel), representing
the Council in cases involving misconduct, convictions, health and performance.

Notable Cases
• R v Miller and others: junior Counsel instructed by Trading Standards in the largest Trading Standards prosecution ever undertaken in the UK, resulting in a 3 month trial.

• R v Chohan and others: multi-million pound international money-laundering case involving investigation of the Hawala banking system and international money-transfers.

• R v S: international money laundering case involving transfer of many millions of pounds from a Rochdale travel agent.

• R v Range and others: multi-handed and persistent cocaine importations from the Caribbean with US connections

• R v Wilmot and others: multi-million pound drugs importation and distribution case.

• Operation Buckeye: leading junior Counsel in large alcohol diversion fraud and consequent money-laundering involving 7 defendants and several spin-off Operations.

• Operation Installbox; eleven-handed alcohol diversion fraud resulting in a three-month trial.

• R v Doherty: leading defence Counsel in case involving allegations of multi-million US Dollar credit card frauds through an illegal website.

• Operation Grassland: leading junior Counsel in fifteen-defendant VAT fraud;

• Operations Incuse & Incubus: leading prosecution junior in multi-handed and persistent international alcohol and cigarette importation conspiracies.

• R v Ward and another; defence Counsel in allegation of murder.

• R v R: allegations of historic rape and sexual abuse of the defendant’s daughter and step-daughter.

• R v Ireland: defendant practicing as a Reiki healer abusing eight females, including children, over the course of four decades.

• Operation Grassland: leading prosecution Counsel in a 13-handed VAT fraud.

• R v Cooper; defence Counsel instructed in multi-handed conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office in a case involving allegations that a police officer passed information to criminals. R v Pickford; Junior defence Counsel in an allegation of manslaughter where the deceased was said to have died during violent sexual activity.


Darren Preston is a practising barrister regulated by the Bar Standards Board. Details of information held by the BSB about Mr Preston can be found here.

Mr Preston’s Clerks will happily provide no obligation quotations for all legal services that he provides. Their contact details can be found here. It is most common for Mr Preston to undertake Crown Court work for a brief fee plus daily refresher fee. Mr Preston accepts instructions on legal aid rates where those are available, details of which can be found here. For advisory work, paperwork and conferences, Mr Preston mostly charges an hourly rate, although fixed rates may be available. Mr Preston will usually return paperwork within 10 days, although timescales can be affected by professional commitments, complexity and volume of documentation.

"Experienced across the spectrum of serious criminal matters."

Legal 500, 2017

"Particularly strong in cases involving fraud, drugs importation and money laundering."

Legal 500, 2015

"has established a strong fraud and POCA practice"

Legal 500, 2013

Specialist Areas of Practice:


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Criminal CV [PDF]

Inquest Team CV [PDF]

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