VHCC Panel Member
"Has a strong reputation for large scale fraud work" - (Legal500, 2012)
'He is highly experienced in medico-legal cases and adept with expert witnesses' - (Legal500, 2009)
'Expert at medico-legal cases with complex elements' - (Legal500, 2006)
'Attracts instructions with complex forensic elements' - Legal500, 2005)
'Forceful but sensitive in his conduct of cases with medical or psychiatric issues' - (Chambers and Partners UK Guide to the Legal Profession, 2005)
Mr Clarke has spent over 30 years at the Manchester Bar and has extensive experience across the whole criminal spectrum. He was made an Assistant Recorder in 1999, a Recorder in 2000 and Queen's Counsel in 2006.
Mr Clarke has acted in a number of large scale frauds, starting in the 1980's when he defended a solicitor and a part time District Judge in the largest mortgage fraud prosecution on the Northern Circuit - a case of solicitors, accountants and surveyors involved in multiple back to back property transactions. Since then he has acted both for the prosecution and defence in cases involving many tens of thousands of documents. He is on the Serious Fraud Office panel of Prosecutors. He has defended SFO prosecutions served in electronic format. He defended the CEO of a number of companies in the North East charged with conspiracy to defraud investors of over £85 million. He has defended in some of the largest cases of drugs importation to come before the courts, including a conspiracy that imported £250 million worth of cocaine. He has appeared in contested claims for realisable amounts extending to millions of pounds.
He has acquired a reputation defending and prosecuting cases of homicide, large scale drug importation and sexual and physical abuse of children. He has taken a particular interest in cases with a medical or psychiatric background and has extensive experience of cross-examining expert witnesses including pathologists, psychiatrists, neuroradiologists and paediatric specialists in various disciplines. Mr Clarke defended in the first trial in this country in which the Crown relied solely on earprints to identify the defendant during which he cross-examined an expert from Holland in earprint identification.
He has conducted cases involving palynological evidence as a geographical signature (by pollen and spores).
Mr Clarke had led many members of these chambers and others. He was in one of the largest gangland murder cases heard on circuit involving the notorious Gooch gang murdering two members of the Doddington gang. He has also been in cases involving Lithuanian gun runners importing converted Baikal handguns, silencers and ammunition for onward distribution to gangs in Manchester, Liverpool and elsewhere.
Mr Clarke appeared on BBC’s Panorama in relation to the disclosure provisions of the CPIA 1996. He has also appeared on television to discuss the case of a youth who incited the murder of himself. He has embraced new technology to assist in the preparation and the presentation of material in Court (eg Powerpoint presentations and/or the use of electronic presentation of documents using Courtroom computers and monitors for all Court users including the jury). He is prepared to accept instructions and case papers via email or on disc. He is an efficient professional who remains aware of his pastoral role and the need to communicate with and retain the confidence of the lay client.
Mr Clarke is chairman of 3rd Hazel Grove Scout Group and a member of Disley Golf Club. He is a Manchester United season ticket holder, keeps marine fish and grows orchids.