Kingsley Napley: top ten cases


General Pinochet: extradition proceedings

In October 1998 the ex-dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet, was arrested in London and found himself in dire need of a lawyer. He turned to KN's Michael Caplan QC, who was known for his expertise in international law. Months of legal chaos ensued: Pinochet was held in London while Spain tried to extradite him to face trial there. In the end, Pinochet was released on medical grounds by then home secretary Jack Straw, and flown back to Chile. He died having never been convicted of any of the 300 plus human rights violations charges against him.

Jeremy Bamber: the White House farm murders

Sir David Napley himself defended Jeremy Bamber, who was jailed in 1985 for killing four family members. Bamber, now 51, still professes his innocence. In 2013, he was one of three convicted murderers who successfully brought an appeal to Strasbourg: they argued that a life sentence without possibility of parole constituted a violation of their human rights.

Charlie and Rebekah Brooks: phone hacking case

When the News of the World was forced to close in 2011, partner Angus McBride and practice leader Stephen Parkinson (apparently described to Rebekah Brooks as 'excellent' by none other than Tony Blair) were called upon to assemble a team. The Brookses were subsequently represented by several KN lawyers until their acquittal in 2014. The phone hacking trial was described by The Daily Telegraph as 'one of the most expensive prosecutions and most lengthy police inquiries in criminal history'.

The 'Fake Sheikh': Tulisa's drug bust

The Sun on Sunday reporter Mazher Mahmood (aka the 'Fake Sheikh') earned himself a rep for pulling off numerous stings, often to catch celebrities selling drugs. One such scheme resulted in pop star Tulisa Contostavlos being brought to trial in 2014. However, as the trial progressed, Mahmood got more than he bargained for: he was accused of lying under oath, suspended from the Sun and eventually charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice. KN was there to guide him, and in 2015 Mahmood denied the offence via a press release issued by the firm.

Colonel Kumar Lama: torture accusations

Kumar Lama was accused of torturing two civilians in 2005, during the Nepalese civil war. While visiting family in Sussex in 2013, Lama was arrested under Section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act. He denies all charges, and is being represented by KN's extradition and international law team. The trial is ongoing.

Nick Leeson: rogue trader

In the early 90s, Nick Leeson made the City's oldest merchant bank collapse by secretly losing almost £1 billion due to fraudulent trading. After Barings Bank crashed, Leeson went on the run, but was arrested in Frankfurt and extradited to Singapore. KN partner Stephen Pollard (now at WilmerHale) represented Leeson, who went on to serve four years before being released in 1999.

Pollard revealed his thoughts on the case to The Independent in 1995: 'While the firm has had the experience of high-profile cases in the past, like the Jeremy Thorpe case, or the Blue Arrow or Barlow Clowes fraud cases, there has been nothing that could have prepared me or the firm for this.'

Leeson's clearly been a busy boy since then: he wrote an autobiography (which became a film starring Ewan McGregor), became CEO of Galway United, then resigned, got divorced, remarried, and to top it all off, appeared on Celebrity Apprentice Ireland.

Jeremy Thorpe: murder conspiracy

A scandal ensued in the 70s when Jeremy Thorpe (then leader of the Liberal Party and MP for North Devon) stood accused of conspiring to murder Norman Scott. Scott claimed that the two had been lovers during the 60s, before homosexuality was legalised. The rumours had been kept under wraps for a decade, but as Thorpe's career progressed they increasingly signified a threat. The situation was brought to public attention when a hired killer's botched attempt to murder Scott resulted in the shooting of the latter's dog. Thorpe initially evaded the police's attention, but was eventually charged with conspiracy to murder. KN stepped in, and Thorpe was ultimately acquitted; he even reconciled with the North Devon Liberal Democrat Party in the late 80s.

Michael Luvaglio: the inspiration behind Get Carter

Michael Luvaglio and Dennis Stafford gained notoriety when they were imprisoned for murdering Angus Sibbett in 1967. Deemed the first gangland killing in the North East, the case became known as the 'one-armed bandit murder.' Sibbett was not missing an arm: he had links to the gaming industry in the region, where fruit machines were commonly referred to as 'one armed bandits.'

Christopher Murray (previously a senior partner at KN and now a consultant) has represented Luvaglio during a number of appeals as he fights to clear his name. Stafford also protests his innocence.

Rolf Harris: historical abuse charges

Disgraced TV personality Rolf Harris called upon KN when he was accused of indecently assaulting young girls between the 60s and 80s. He was found guilty and jailed for five years and nine months.

Andrew Mitchell: 'plebgate'

In September 2012, newly appointed chief whip Andrew Mitchell was asked by Downing Street police to get off his bike. The officers involved subsequently accused Mitchell of calling them 'f-word plebs'. Mitchell denied using the p-word, but did resign a month or so later. That didn't put a stop to the matter though: a flurry of new evidence lead to 'Operation Alice,' which was launched by the Metropolitan Police to investigate the incident.

Mitchell eventually sued The Sun and was countersued by one of the police officers. He lost and had to pay both parties' costs, which came to about £2 million. The rippling effects of the case are still felt today: it's been cited in recent discussions about police misuse of RIPA (the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which enabled the police to get hold of a journalist's phone records to establish which officer had leaked the story to the Sun), as well as proportionality of costs and court deadlines – particularly in the post-Jackson climate.