Called 1987
2002-2008 Licensed Advocate on Isle of Man
2009 – Licensed for Direct Access Work


  • Pre-charge criminal advisory
  • Criminal defence work – Fraud, Money Laundering, Confiscation and related Regulatory proceedings.
  • Criminal Cost Appeals
  • Claimant civil actions against the Police and Prison Service – advisory, pleadings and trial representation.
  • Representation provided at VAT & Duties Tribunal hearings (1st and 2nd Tier)

Colin Wells may now accept work directly from the public. For further details contact his clerks.

Colin Wells can be followed on twitter @cwells25br

Colin Wells is associated with the following areas of expertise:

Extradition & Mutual Legal Assistance
Fraud & Financial Litigation
Human Rights Law
Regulatory and Disciplinary
Restraint, Confiscation & Asset Recovery


Recommended as a leading junior in fraud in Chambers and Partners UK 2015

"He's effective and juries listen to him."

'an “excellent” fraud junior who is “extremely hard working and very bright.” Commentators say he is the go-to person on abuse of process matters.'

"a tough defender of client interests"


Fraud and Financial Regulation

  • R v B (2015) boiler room allegations on diamond sales.
  • R v H (2014 -5) - diamond fraud acquittal of company director as expert evidence excluded under section 78.
  • R v O (2014 - ongoing) - Internet fraud on dating agency website, Court of Appeal sentencing leave granted.
  • R v K (2014) - Wonga loans fraud of £1 million. Conspiracy to defraud with associated money laundering.
  • SFO v O (2010-14) Conspiracy to Defraud, Fraudulent Trading, Financial Services and Markets breaches, POCA Money Laundering and Hampering an Investigation. SFO prosecution, of £4.1 million "boiler-room" fraud, involving  Canadian stock exchange stock and UK AIM. Background of Company Director Disqualification proceedings and regulatory involvement of the English FSA, Irish and Spanish counterparts. Allied Contempt-extradition proceedings in the Supreme Court (breach of s.41 POCA, civil - criminal contempt, speciality rule under section 151 of Extradition Act 2003).
  • Triton Communication Limited v Commissioners (2011-12) - VAT Tribunal - appeal £2.6 million reclaim on behalf of company and sole trader, with MTIC background, of computers.
  • Greener Solutions Ltd v Commissioners (2010-12)  - VAT Tribunal 2ndTier - knowledge to be imputed to trader of agent in VAT reclaim with MTIC background, of recycled mobile telephones.
  • R v H (2010-11) (Operation Ghast) MTIC VAT fraud. Four conspiracies to cheat the public revenue of £19 million with associated money laundering counts, relating to the purchase and sale of  sim-card adaptors, with FCIB money transfers. Computer disk material containing £5 billion worth of “fraud-kit”. Issues of Legal Professional Privilege.
  • R v  J (2009- ongoing) (Operation Vaulter) MTIC VAT fraud. Cheating the public revenue of £20 million VAT and associated POCA money laundering counts (over £800 million), through various companies in Dubai, Poland and Tanzania through FCIB money transfers. Allied Restraint proceedings
  • R v P – (2004-2009)(Operation Campaign) £44 million MTIC VAT fraud involving Hexagon computer banking transfers and cloned companies in Hong Kong with hidden assets (Dubai, Malta and Hong Kong) and recusal arguments mounted in the Court of Appeal. Related Ancillary Relief proceedings in High Court Family Division.
  • R v P – (2009)Ponzi” fraud involving spread betting, share trading and Royal Protection Police officers.
  • R v F – (2009-10)  £5 million “Ponzi” high yield investment fraud, over 4 year period, with associated POCA and FSMA breaches.
  • R v H – (2007-8) - Defrauding the public revenue of £1.9 million, national insurance on “ghost” labour.
  • R v B – (2004-6) MTIC VAT carousel fraud, involving contra-trading and legitimate “hijacked” businesses, delay abuse of process arguments.


  • R v N (2013- ongoing) Money Laundering from an alleged land bank fraud
  • R v S (2012) - conspiracy to money launder £32 million pound from the Ukraine into the UK.
  • R v S (2011-12)  POCA Money Laundering as part of “hidden assets” confiscation finding in tobacco duty evasion fraud with benefit figures of £1 million.  Legal issues of  abuse of process re delay, management receiver fees suffered in Restraint proceedings.
  • R v M (2011-ongoing) DEFRA prosecution of the largest European supply of illegal veterinary medicines contrary to the Medicines Act and Veterinary regulations, with associated POCA money laundering (£5.6 million)
  • Marine Maritime Organisation v F (2011)  – MMO prosecution of a waste management company (in administration) and a company director, involved in the demolition and dredging of Falmouth docks (a site of Special Scientific Interest) contrary to the Food and Environmental Protection Act 1985,   depositing silt contaminated with toxins, without a licence
  • R v L (2011-12) – Drug trafficking of 40 kilos of cocaine and associated POCA money laundering (£5.5million) spanning nearly a decade of property investments in the UK and Europe, with off-shore trusts and companies domiciled in Mauritius, the Seychelles, Azerbaijan and Switzerland.

Reported Cases

  • R v Brian O'Brien [2014 UKSC 23] (whether a contempt of court flowing from a breach of a s.41 POCA restraint order constitutes a civil or criminal contempt, interpretation of Art.18 of the United Kingdom - United States Extradition Treaty 2003, speciality rule Extradition Act 2003), click here to see the judgment. Crimeline link here. Solicitors Journal, Vol 158 n. 18 06-05-14 link here
  • R v Baybasin, McMullen and Molloy [2013] EWCA Crim 2357 (jury selection and misconduct)
  • R v Johnson, Nettleton & Others SCCO Ref 58/13, [2014] 2 Costs L.R. 387. CrimeLine Link, transcript link
  • Tuckers Solicitors v Lord Chancellor's Department 18.10.13 [2013] EWHC 3817 (QB). download here Crimeline link
  • Commissioner v Greener Solutions Limited - Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery chamber) [2012] UKUT 18 TCC, (agent knowledge imputed to trading company)
  • R v Quinn [2010] 1 Cr App R (S) 34 (Drug trafficking sentence for importer)
  • R v Piggott [2009] EWCA Crim 2292, Archbold News 10 (2009) (Confiscation Appeal in MTIC fraud, relating to recusal and default time period)
  • R v Wakeman (1999) 1 Cr.App.R.(S) 222, CA (Supply of Ecstasy sentencing authority)
  • Merthyr Tydil Crown Court, ex parte West and others Archbold News Issue 5 June 1997, 2, CO4481/96 (Custody Time Limits Judicial Review)
  • R v Kinsella (1995) 16 Cr.App.R.(S) 1035, CA (Warrington gasholder bombing, admissibility of IRA political memorabilia)
  • R v Maidstone Crown Court, ex parte Schultz and Steinkeller (1993) COD 183, DC (Custody Time Limits Judicial Review )

Publications and Seminars

  • "Civil/criminal contempt:R v O'Brien" for the Fraud Lawyers Association 6th October 2014. Link
  • "Fraud, Bribery and Money Laundering Sentencing Guidelines 2014" at LCCSA European Conference 2014, Alicante, Spain.
  • "Fraud: a practitioners handbook" - Bloomsbury 2014. Link
  • 'Abuse of Process - a practical approach', 2nd edition published by Jordan Publishing, December 2010.
  • "Fraud: Law, Practice and Procedure".  - published by Lexis Nexis 2014 chapter 30 Abuse of process.
  • "Breach of POCA: a civil contempt for extradition" - Solicitors journal, Vol 158 n.18 06-05-14. Link
  • "The right to a fair trial, access to justice and state funding": Operation Cotton falls foul of Grayling cuts. Crimeline link
  • Jury Selection, Protection and Misconduct, Criminal Law & Justice Weekly 25th January 2014; Criminal Bar Quarterly, Issue 12, Spring 2013, p.11 link
  • Funding Decision, Criminal and Law Justice Weekly 21st December 2013 link
  • Human Trafficking and Children, 18th September 2013, LCCSA link; Criminal Law & Justice Weekly, Vol.38, 21 Sep 2013, p.615-617 link
  • The Annual Human Rights and Criminal Law seminar, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand: New Zealand Centre for Human Rights Law, 27th July 2013 1)R v Abu Qatada - admissibility of torture evidence 2) R v Abu Hamza - media reporting and abuse of process 3)R v LN - Human trafficking and article 26 Council of Europe anti-trafficking convention link
  • The Right to Silence - A Practical Approach - paper presented to the New South Wales Public Defenders Office, Sydney, Australia, 4th July 2013  link
  • Costs Orders against the CPS - 378 (2011) 175 JPN Criminal Law & Justice Weekly
  • Tainted Gifts under the Criminal Justice Act 1988   - link
  • Prosecution Witness Disclosure - 282 (2011) 175 JPN Criminal Law & Justice Weekly - 14 May 2011
  • Prosecution Misconduct (R v Warren) - Criminal Law & Justice Weekly - 234 (2011) 175 JPN April 2011 - link
  • Fitness to Plead 162 (2011) 175 JPN - Criminal Law & Justice Weekly - 19 March 2011 - link
  • Reaction to Accusation 98 (2011) 175 JPN- Criminal Law & Justice Weekly - 28 February 2011 - link
  • Sensible Prosecuting & Article 26 (Human Trafficking) - 34 (2011) 175 JPN - Criminal Law & Justice Weekly
  • Defence witness notification Aggressive Compliance -Criminal Law & Justice Weekly - 13 November 2010.
  • Electronic Tagging – Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 – Solicitors Journal May 2009
  • Police & CPS on Juries - Criminal Bar Quarterly April 2008.
  • Representation in Confiscation Proceedings & Unfairness - Criminal Bar Quarterly issue 3.
  • Systematic disclosure failures at HMRC – Solicitors Journal 8.1.08
  • Abuse of Process as an appeal ground – Criminal Bar Quarterly March 2007

Associated Work

  • Panel member of the VHCC Appeals Committee
  • Bar Pro Bono Unit (Criminal Law Reviewer)
  • CPD accredited speaker on Criminal Procedure

Professional Memberships

  • European Criminal Bar Association
  • Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association (POCLA)
  • Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers (ARDL)
  • Fraud Lawyers Association (FLA)
  • Financial Services Lawyers Association (FSLA)


BSc (Economics and Law) - Plymouth Polytechnic
MA (Industrial Relations and Employment Law) - Warwick University


T. 020 7067 1500


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