64 High Street
Lewes
East Sussex
BN7 1XG
DX: 50250 Lewes 4
Tel: 01273 480510
Fax: 01273 483179

Christopher Prior

Christopher Prior

Called 2007 Lincoln’s Inn   |   Email: cprior@westgate-chambers.co.uk

Areas of Practice

  • Crime – prosecution and defence
  • Motoring Law
  • General Civil, with an emphasis on personal injury and road traffic

Crime

Chris has wide-ranging experience dealing with all aspects of criminal law, and as a meticulous researcher he is quickly able to cover new or novel areas.

Chris is happy to offer advice and assistance at all stages of a case and takes a pro-active approach to ensuring matters reach court in the best possible shape.  Chris routinely advises following charge on matters including the indictment, expert evidence, further investigations and legal argument.  He has recently advised on SOPOs, Football Banning Orders, the dangerous dogs legislation and evidence in fraud trials.

Chris has been praised for his ability to deal with difficult and vulnerable clients/witnesses, and prides himself on his ability to put them at their ease.

Prosecution

Chris is a grade 3 prosecutor, appearing in Crown Courts in London and across the South East.  As well as frequently acting in burglary, affray, and similar trials, he is also instructed in trials involving sexual offences, firearms, armed robberies and complex frauds.  In addition to the CPS, Chris also acts for other prosecuting agencies including the DWP, Probation Service and the Home Office.

Recent prosecution instructions include:

  • R v C (Guildford CC): Secured guilty verdict for fraud for a defendant who cheated her 91 year old neighbour out of £20,000 following two week trial.
  • R v C (Croydon CC): Guilty verdict in a trial involving a defendant who had concealed a loaded ‘sawn-off’ shotgun in his house.
  • R v A (Basildon CC): Prosecuted a defendant for sexually touching a school girl and masturbating in front of her and another on a bus.  Obtained guilty verdict for sexual assault and outraging public decency.
  • R v D, D & B (Guildford CC): Successful prosecution of group of confidence tricksters who targeted elderly victims,
  • R v J (Lewes CC): Successful prosecution of a Treasurer who defrauded the committee of a charity by mismanaging their funds.
  • R v K (Central CC): Guilty verdict (section 18 GBH) for defendant who brutally attacked male and two daughters waiting for a bus.
  • R v X (Chichester CC): Child cruelty and false imprisonment.
  • R v B (Lewes CC): Guilty verdict following trial.  Defendant beat his girlfriend over 18 month period, including rupturing her bladder.

Defence

Chris is regularly instructed to represent defendants across the country covering all manner of offences.  In addition to ABH, offensive weapon, and burglary trials, he is regularly instructed in relation to sexual offences, drug importation and fraud matters.  He also receives frequent instruction in relation to animal welfare charges, achieving significant success in both the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts.  Chris also represents clients in the Youth Court and is well versed in youth procedure and sentencing.

Recent instructions include:

  • R v O (Kingston CC): Secured acquittal for a nightclub bouncer accused of indecently assaulting a female patron.
  • R v T (Guildford CC): Not guilty verdict for defendant accused of trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence, when he accepted entering the complainant’s room in the early hours of the morning.
  • R v W / G & M: Animal welfare charges dismissed following successful section 78 PACE argument on illegal execution of warrant.
  • R v K/V (Central Criminal Court): Successful defence of two defendants charged with possession of offensive weapons.  Representations led to Crown offering no evidence.
  • R v S (Mid-Sussex YC): Successful defence of a youth charged with a multi-handed affray.
  • R v S (Mid-Sussex YC): Secured not guilty verdict for 14 year old boy charged with sexual assault.
  • R v C (Oxford CC): Successful appeal of a poaching offence
  • R v D (Lewes CC): Represented a client charged with aggravated burglary who suffered a psychotic episode.
  • R v L (Aylesbury CC): Represented 18 year old accused of engaging in sexual activity with a girl under 13.

Motoring Law

In addition to his general crime practice, Chris specialises in representing clients facing motoring charges.  He is experienced in all aspects of driving disputes, with mitigation for clients who risk losing their licence a particular specialty.  He has had significant success in trials including failing to provide, excess alcohol, failing to stop and offences related to manner of driving.  He is fully familiar with the complex law in this area, and is able to advise on exceptional hardship, special reasons and rules relating to new drivers.

Civil Law

Chris has an expanding civil practice, with particular focus on personal injury and road traffic accidents.  He has recently been instructed in cases involving contract disputes, industrial accidents and highway ‘tripping’ cases.  Chris regularly undertakes advisory work on both the merits of a claim and the potential level of damages, and can swiftly research novel areas and provide practical guidance.

Qualifications

LLB (Hons)
BVC

Professional Associations

South Eastern Circuit
Sussex Bar Mess
Criminal Bar Association
Association of Court Martial Advocates

Pupillage Coordinator for Westgate Chambers
Presents at careers events and in schools