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Practice Groups

  • Crime

Areas of Expertise

  • Crime
Richard Onslow

Richard Onslow

Call 1982

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Richard Onslow is recognised for his expertise by the Chambers & Partners UK Bar Directory 2017.

Crime - Western (Bar) - Band 2

A very experienced senior junior who has appeared at tribunals ranging from local magistrates' courts all the way up to the Privy Council. He handles a broad spectrum of serious criminal cases including drug and sexual offences, human trafficking and violent crime, and also takes on police disciplinary matters.
Strengths: "He is brilliant - hugely experienced and a consummate performer."
Recent work: Successfully defended a client who was accused of participating in a gang rape.

Chambers & Partners UK Bar Directory 2016.

Crime - Western (Bar) - Band 2

Has a wealth of experience in a broad range of criminal cases, including child cruelty, sexual offences and physical violence. He is also instructed in police disciplinary cases.

Strengths: "His strengths are his experience, advice and advocacy. He is a fearless advocate in court and has a striking courtroom presence."
Recent work: Instructed as defence counsel in Operation Vanguard, a significant cocaine supply case.

Chambers & Partners UK Bar Directory 2015.

Crime - Western Bar - Band 1 Set

Richard Onslow has a smooth style of advocacy, a tenacious approach and vast experience, which has won him a significant following of instructing solicitors. He both defends and prosecutes, and is particularly visible in serious heavyweight crime cases.
Expertise: "He directs cross-examination in a way that pulls juries with him. He is excellent in front of the jury."
Recent work: Prosecuted two serving police officers for rape and misconduct.

Chambers and Partners UK Bar Directory 2014.

Crime - Western Circuit

Richard Onslow, a vastly experienced practitioner, he handles murder, rape, drug and fraud-related cases.
Expertise: “If your client needs to advance a really rigorous, forthright defence, Richard Onslow has a knack for being able to do this without turning it into high drama. He gets great results.”
Recent work: He appeared as the leading junior defending the main defendant in the Operation Crossbow multi-handed historical child abuse case.

The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms

Richard Onslow is recommended by the Legal 500 Bar Directory 2016 for his expertise in the Regional Bar - Western Circuit
Crime – Leading juniors
Richard Onslow - A fearless advocate, who is skilled in case presentation.

Richard Onslow is recommended by the Legal 500 Bar Directory 2015 for his expertise in the Regional Bar - Western Circuit
Crime – Leading juniors
Richard Onslow - A first-class trial advocate

Richard Onslow is recommended by the Legal 500 UK Directory 2014 for his expertise in the Western Circuit
3PB’s Richard Onslow - “Always well prepared, and deals with pre-trial matters promptly.”

Richard Onslow is recommended by the Legal 500 UK Directory 2013/14 for his expertise in the Western Circuit for his Crime expertise at the Bar. "3PB’s Richard Onslow ‘stands out’."


Richard Onslow began his career at the Bar in London, practising on the South Eastern and Western Circuits. He has dealt with cases before a variety of tribunals, ranging from the Magistrates’ Courts to the Privy Council, including Courts Martial and the Stewards of the Jockey Club.

As prosecution Counsel he has been briefed as a Leading Junior since 1995 in serious and often multi handed criminal cases, including conspiracies to supply drugs, and to incite criminal damage, Human Trafficking, Rape, and Kidnap.
He has defended as a Junior and since the mid 1990s as a Leading Junior, in most fields of criminal work, including homicide, violence, child cruelty, sexual offences, drug importation and supply, dishonesty, blackmail, Merchant Shipping offences, and assorted common law offences.

He also undertakes shotgun and firearms appeals, police disciplinary cases and inquests.

Notable Cases - Prosecution

R v A (2015) Prosecution of male for possession of firearm where evidence consisted of finding of minute amount of defendant’s DNA on magazine housing within the weapon;

R v G-D (2014) Prosecution of 20 year old with appetite for 12 year old girls;

Operation Clarion (2012) Leading Junior in prosecution of substantial conspiracy to supply class A drugs;

R v Smith (2010) Prosecution of Gross Negligence Manslaughter of elderly woman;

Operation Anteater (2006) - Leading Junior in prosecution of wide ranging 3 handed Conspiracy to Traffic attractive girls from Brazil for Sexual Exploitation;

Operation Arnish (2004) - Prosecution of series of Supplies of Class A drugs arising from undercover investigation;

Operation Basking (2007) - Leading Junior in prosecution of multi handed conspiracy to steal contents (including a lot of brandy) of goods vehicles;

Operation Elm (2004) - Leading Junior in prosecution of 2 police officers for Rape and Misconduct;

Operation Roadie (2003) - Leading Junior in prosecution of 15 handed Conspiracy to Import and Supply tons of cannabis;

Operation Rowan (2000) - Prosecution of Conspiracy to supply Class A drugs arising from undercover investigation;

Operation Washington (1997) - Leading Junior prosecuting multi handed ALF and Anarchist conspiracy to incite criminal damage;

R v Guerrine and others (1995) - Prosecution of the girls who robbed Elizabeth Hurley, just after she wore That Dress.

Notable Cases - Defence

R v P (2015) - Successful defence of young Romanian accused with 6 others of gang rape;

R v R (2015) - Successful defence of young man with high functioning autism accused of sexual offences against drunk girls after a night out;

R v N (2014) - Successful defence of man of impeccable character accused of historical rapes of  his wife;

R v S (2014) - Successful defence of 43 year old man accused of rape occurring 27 years earlier;

Op Vanguard (2014) - Defending one involved in 27 handed conspiracy to supply cocaine;

R v Ellis (2014) - Representing one of the Huyton team of ATM gas attack dismantlers;

R v Limb (2013) - Representing defendant in first UK ATM gas attack;

R v Robie (2011) - Appeal to Privy Council against conviction for Murder;

R v S (2008) - Leading Junior defending police officer accused of Misconduct;

Operation Benzol (2006) - Leading Junior defending skipper of yacht in Conspiracy to Import large quantity of cannabis into Brighton Marina;

Operation Crossbow (2008) - Leading Junior representing unfit defendant first on indictment with seven fit defendants in historical child abuse case;

Operation Elmer (2008) - Leading Junior successfully defending in multi handed Vietnamese cannabis growing conspiracy;

Operation Silver Eel (2006) - Leading Junior defending in Conspiracy to Cheat Revenue in Hydrocarbon Fuel Oil Rebate Fraud by ancient family of Poole fishermen netting a lot of money;

Operation Fabric (2004) - Leading Junior successfully defending in organised football violence conspiracy;

R v D (2001) - Defending the Tesco Bomber;

R v M (2000) - Successful Defence of skipper of Pleasure Boat charged with Merchant Shipping Act offences said to have occurred in Poole and Swanage harbours;


H v Chief Constable Hampshire Constabulary (2015);

U v Chief Constable Devon and Cornwall Constabulary (2015).


Hants Constabulary v PC S (2009)  - Representing officer in disciplinary proceedings;

Dorset Constabulary v PC S (2014) - Representing police in disciplinary proceedings.


In Re: M.S. (2009) -  Oxford Coroner's Court: representing interests of Police Inspector in inquest into circumstances of death following release from custody. 

See also

Practice Groups

  • Crime

Areas of Expertise

  • Crime


September 17 2015:

3PB’s expertise recognised by bumper rankings in Legal 500 Bar Directory 2015 more

October 30 2013:

3PB achieves a record number of rankings in Chambers and Partners Directory 2013 more

November 23 2011:

Richard Onslow and Francisca Da Costa - Hard Labour for murder more

... more news

Academic Qualifications

MA (Oxon)

Professional Qualifications and Appointments

  • Recorder

Professional Bodies

  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Western Circuit