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‘UK’s top barrister’ forced to defend accusations of being ‘wholly incompetent’

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Convicted murderer unhappy with Michael Wolkind QC, whose incredible website seems to have raised expectations

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The “UK’s top barrister” has been forced to defend his courtroom skills, after allegations suggested he was “wholly incompetent” in representing a multi-millionaire property developer client who was found guilty of murdering his pregnant wife.

Michael Wolkind QC, a criminal specialist at Gray’s Inn’s 2 Bedford Row, dismisses the accusations made by property developer Robert Ekaireb in an application to appeal against his conviction heard last week.

Ekaireb, 41, was given a 22-year jail term last year for the murder of his 27 year-old wife, Lihau Cao, following a row at their luxury apartment in Hampstead, north west London, in 2006. Cao’s body was never found. The property developer is currently challenging his conviction in the Court of Appeal, alleging that it is unsafe because he was not represented properly at his trial.

Ekaireb apparently chose Wolkind after recommendations and internet research — which would have seen him directed to the QC’s legendary “www.topcriminalqc.co.uk” website. But he was not satisfied with Wolkind’s work and dismissed him after the silk’s closing speech to the jury in his trial.

wolkind

According to The Times‘ legal newsletter The Brief, at the hearing last week Ekaireb’s new lawyer, Orlando Pownall QC, made a catty dig to Wolkind about his online presence, stating:

My suggestion, with regret, is that, whether or not you are deserving of the praise contained on your own personal website, you failed Mr Ekaireb by a performance that was — no doubt because you were overworked — wholly incompetent.

Wolkind is standing his ground. The barrister — who was called to the bar in 1976 and took silk in 1999 — reportedly told the Court of Appeal that he had put up a “real fight” while defending Ekaireb last year at the Old Bailey, and was well-prepared and not over-worked.

Wolkind hit headlines back in 2012 when he created his somewhat self-indulgent website.

The site describes Wolkind as the “UK’s top barrister”, includes a ‘Diary of Success’ listing the silk’s “stunning serious crime victories”, and is awash with gushing client testimonials including:

You are the most talented man I have ever met… you have given me my life back… you are awesome.

What can I say, you are the greatest.

The judgment in Ekaireb’s hearing has been reserved, with the result set to be announced next month.

30 Comments

Anonymous

He’ll be calling himself a “Mozart of the courtroom” next…

(39)(3)

Anonymous

As he supposedly failed to follow instructions, Wolkind may claim his disability rights were infringed because he is now deaf and he could not hear his client’s instructions. He is also suing Legal Cheek for referring to him as “Beethoven of the Courtroom”.

(0)(3)

Anonymous

I’d love to see him objectively justify his claim to be ‘the UK’s top barrister’…

(18)(4)

Bonto

Lord Harley PBUH sets a pretty good objective standard

(10)(1)

Anonymous

Surely this is a classic case of a complete chancer of a client trying every last trick to get off?

This is why I dont dirty my hands with crime.

(11)(6)

Anonymous

Oooooh yes I could not agree more…As everybody knows: (1) nobody ever tells lies when arguing about money or property; and (2) no disappointed civil client has ever complained about the representation they have had; and (3) every barrister is born with an innate ability to choose the clients who are telling the truth.

I suppose it might be possible that the Defendant is innocent and his appeal has merit but lets discount that possibility far too much fun to speculate and sneer rather than await a judgment.

(4)(5)

Anonymous

One barrister described the other as incompetent not the client…

(0)(3)

Not Amused

No.

The client must have instructed his barrister to assert that his previous barrister was incompetent. Barristers are advocates, mouthpieces for their clients. They don’t appear as expert witnesses ‘passing judgement’ on their colleagues. They put forward the case their client wants them to put forward – even if that is against their own advice.

(5)(3)

Anonymous

No,no,no,no! That is not how it works at all. The client gives instructions. For example he says: the barrister didn’t cross examine the client. This assertion of fact is an instruction.

The barrister must then formulate a case. The barrister didn’t fail to cross examine for a tacitical reason but must have been incompetent.

It is therefore very much the barrister saying it. How on earth would a lay person ever be able to level accusations of incompetency against a QC?

The court of appeal handed down a nice judgment a few years ago explaining all this again.

(2)(3)

Anonymous

Accuser, not client

(0)(0)

Anonymous

What a load of old bollocks……. Do you honestly believe “They put forward the case their client wants them to put forward – even if that is against their own advice” I think not. You need to get in the real world and get out more.

I would suggest you read the judgment again especially Lord Thomas comments on Mr Wolkind

(3)(2)

Anonymous

“Pownall” QC?

The client’s method of selecting counsel is fairly transparent.

(4)(0)

retiredbrief

Testimonials (and thank you cards) come from acquitted clients.
Grumblings come from the convicted.
Damning letters of complaint about inadequate representation (addressed to new lawyers) come from the prisons.

(13)(1)

Anonymous

So barristers don’t make mistakes or are not incompetent? A view that only barristers hold..? Retired in this instance seemingly having learnt little.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Thank god your retired you old goat…….. You no doubt feel you can do no wrong just like Wolkind, how could you do wrong your a brief too, someone who is always right and looking out for their clients best interest.

All any accused asks for is fair representation, for that person to do their job correctly, not take the job on then not give a fcuk

(1)(0)

Anonymous

He was convicted of murder without a body.

Seems like the guy was really guilty.

If a QC couldn’t create reasonable doubt then clearly the lad was guilty as fuck.

Juried aren’t all stupid. It would take a lot to persuade them of a murder conviction in the absence of a body.

Chancer. Just do the time.

(14)(1)

Anonymous

Is that not the point? A conviction without a body / without the key evidence (no autopsy, no cause of death) – is very hard to secure.

That’s some sh*t defence right there, he would have been rightfully and secretly disappointed with his own performance.

The prosecution had an extremely difficult case to prosecute, I’m surprised no case to answer submissions based on a lack of evidence were not successful.

He may be an unsavoury defendant, who knows what happened in reality. But legally, this was a classic “quick win” case that he fu*ked up…..

(1)(3)

katie

No, clearly the guy was so bloody guilty with overwhelming evidence in the absence of a body that the defendant was guilty as sin. Juries don’t just dish out murder convictions. If a QC couldn’t create reasonable doubt in the absence of the body it means the guy was really guilty, rather than counsel underperformed to such an extent.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

You sound like quite the expert!!

Lets hope you never find yourself in a position needing to rely on such an eminent QC as Wolkind.

Just be prepared for a stretch courtesy of the UK’s No1 QC, because he wont give a shit !!!!!!!!!

(2)(1)

Anonymous

You waited a month to spout that shit?

(2)(3)

John McGlinchey

It is a facetious title for a website and one that is just begging to be challenged. Just desserts, despite the appeal…

(1)(4)

James Guthrie

Wolkind is well known to his peer silks as a complete bullshi…r who has got away with murder for years in not being caught out as a poor performer.

(1)(7)

Anonymous

Not true considering the general dross amongst criminal silks.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Sour grapes?

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Shame on all those silks that knew and was aware that Wolkind was a complete bullshi…r and said or did nothing!!!!!!!!!

Their silence has contributed to many, many people loosing their liberty and countless thousands of pounds lining Wolkind’s pockets for a less than second rate service.

(2)(3)

Anonymous

Ur a nutter, bro

(1)(1)

Scouser of counsel

I would confidently put myself within the top 11,000 barristers in the jurisdiction. I may have to advertise that fact with my own website.

(5)(2)
(1)(1)

Anonymous

What a plonker – needs to see a Shrink

(0)(2)

Anonymous

A few years ago, I checked Wolkind’s website when he defended someone in Cardiff. I thought it was written by someone who was socially awkward and very arrogant. I remember a comment about his partner’s degrees and her reluctance to share any of them with him – AWKWARD!!!

(2)(1)

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