Balraj Singh Bhatia (Known across the circuits as Baz Bhatia)

Southampton University LLB (Hons)

Year of Call 1982

Inner Temple

Recorder Crime 2001

Baz has been a Specialist Practitioner in Crime for almost 30 years and a member of these Chambers since 1992.

The last 5 years have seen him involved in the most serious and substantial Defence cases all over the country, so much so that he relinquished prosecution work some years ago.

The sort of work that sees him regularly in demand includes the following:

i. Complex and substantial fraud cases.
ii. Money laundering with complicated POCA issues.
iii. Human-trafficking: both sexual and economical exploitation.
iv. High value drugs cases.
v. High value duty evasion cases.
vi. Serial rape and child sex abuse.
vii. Murder and attempt murder cases.

Cases in which he has defended in the last few years include:

R v Patel and others. A large scale conspiracy to evade duty by the importation of counterfeit cigarettes valued at over £8 million and duty evaded of £1.2 million. The defendant was as a result of the ensuing POCA proceedings ordered to, and did, satisfy a million pound Confiscation Order. That Order was appealed successfully to the Court of Appeal as part of “The Chambers Review” which resulted, to the delight of the defendant, in the return of £1 million.

R v Dean Letts and others. Large scale drugs importation and distribution involving 165 kilos of cocaine and 168 kilos of cannabis.

R v Amit Kotecha and others. Largest importation and drugs distribution in Northamptonshire involving sophisticated importation of and distribution of very large quantities of cocaine and cannabis.

R v Kuldip Singh Hayre and others. The largest distribution of cannabis in Leicestershire and Derbyshire involving millions of pounds worth of drugs.

R v Shaun Boston and others. Large scale importation of cocaine involving evidence from Belgium and France.

R v Vin Nahm and others. Commercial cultivation of cannabis in warehouses in Leeds and Wolverhampton.

R v Sukhwinder Singh Kandola and others. Professional set-up involving various warehouses for the cultivation of cannabis.

R v Pravin Patel and others. The largest conspiracy to traffick illegal immigrants from India to Great Britain and the United States of America in the Midlands involving the use of very professional forged travel documents and passports which included the use of South African legal provisions for students to study in the United Kingdom. The case involved over 20,000 pages of evidence (VHCC case with 2 counsel, Baz as Leading Counsel).

R v Raza Khan and others. The first prosecution of the importation and economical exploitation of restaurant staff and chefs from India, Dubai and Pakistan to the United Kingdom. A case which inevitably went to the Court of Appeal where it was prosecuted by two Silks to deal with appropriate sentencing guidelines in this area.

R v Gulpinder Singh and others. Operation Ruby was the largest human trafficking for economical exploitation in the Midlands involving over 20,000 pages of evidence. The case also involved very substantial amounts of money laundering.

R v Simon Nicholas Haslam and others. (VHCC case involving two Counsel, Baz as Lead Counsel) Large conspiracy to defraud involving the supply and sale to well known Supermarkets across the country of poultry which was unfit for human consumption.

R v William Lane and others. (VHCC case involving two Counsel, Baz as Lead Counsel) Complicated conspiracy to defraud involving the buy out of large companies and exploiting various provisions of Company laws for huge financial gains.

R v John Mervin Jones. (Baz as Leading Counsel) Conspiracy to defraud involving defrauding the Land Registry of £1.5 million and the money laundering thereof. The POCA enquiry involved 15,000 pages of documents involving money laundering allegations of some £15 million pounds.

R v Tarsem Singh and others. Conspiracy to defraud involving mortgage fraud of just under £3 million.

R v Matt Irannizad and others. “Cash for Crash” conspiracy involving defrauding insurance companies by staging false road traffic accidents. Resultant publicity has caused Baz to be briefed in a similar (64 handed) trial in Newcastle Crown Court.

R v Martin Harriman and others. Large scale conspiracy to steal copper wiring from railway tracks across the United Kingdom.

R v Geoffrey Manning and others. Conspiracy to steal from ATM machines involving over a £1m from ATM machines across the East Midlands. Highly professional. The evidence involved detailed analysis of telephone evidence and cell site analysis. Described by the Judge as a professional crime of a highly organised and sophisticated nature.

R v David Scott and others. Very large scale conspiracy to evade duty involving the importation of tobacco and cigarette manufacturing machines sourcing warehouses throughout the Midlands to set up illegal cigarette manufacturing plants.

R v Raj Bhadry and others. Conspiracy to kidnap involving the son of a wealthy businessman and the ransom of over a million pounds. Baz’s client being the only defendant that was acquitted.

R v John Allen and others. Conspiracy to defraud. Case involved two Counsel, Baz as Lead Counsel. Included analysing substantial chapters of evidence relating to Spain and consequent money laundering.

R v Vinod Sharma. Substantial money laundering in Birmingham, London, Preston and Leeds: professional conjoined conspiracies with a national impact requiring the most adept case management and preparation.

R v Raymond Spencer. A highly technical Appeal against sentence 4 years out of time to correct wrong approach by the Sentencing Judge to the imposition of a sentence in default following proceeds of crime application resulting in the reduction of a 10 year sentence in default to one of 6 years.

R v Lawrence Bell and others. Large conspiracy involving theft of very large amounts of money by a solicitor from clients accounts and the money laundering thereof.

R v John Ashley and others. Triple murder of homeless people in Nottingham.

R v David Stokes and others. A professional shooting of a gang member in Nottingham.

R v Patrick Gallagher. A foster father on 64 counts of sexual abuse on numerous foster children over a significant period of time, involving oral and anal rape. Described by the Recorder of Nottingham as the worst and most serious case of its type with a starting point after trial of 42 years imprisonment.

R v Wayne Williams. Sexual digital abuse of a two week old baby with substantial medical evidence to analyse.

Presently involved in “Operation Inertia”, one of the biggest VAT frauds in the country with evidence approaching 100,000+ pages, VHCC case.

Baz is also a qualified Advocacy Trainer for the Midland Circuit and has lectured on “the Art of Advocacy”.

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