International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM)

Our Head of Chambers, Stuart Stevens, was one of seven panelists, who were invited to address the IHRAAM at the United Nations in Geneva on the 20th of Sept, on the subject ‘Obstacles to Self-determination’.  The agenda included the situations in Kashmir, Hawaii, Alaska, the Kurds and other regions.


It is not generally known that the kingdom of Hawaiian Islands is actually an existing sovereign independent country with international recognition and treaties, with the United Kingdom, France, and other states, including even the USA, until it was ‘annexed’ by USA  in 1893. Native Hawaiians have been fighting to regain their independence and sovereignty since. 


A similar scenario applies to Alaska where the USA, Great Britain and others asserted the independence of Alaska from the Russian monarchy in the 19th century and asserted international rights to directly trade with Alaska’s indigenous people. The 1867 Treaty of Cession between Russia and the USA did not grant title or jurisdiction to the USA. However once again with all its valuable natural resources it was annexed, and both Alaska and Hawaii have been incorporated as states in the USA. 


The tragic situation in Jammu and Kashmir is widely known. At the time of independence to India and Pakistan, the Hindu ruler of the Muslim majority kingdom, Hari Singh, initially chose to be independent, however under invasion from Pashtun forces, opted to join India. There has been a state of war and human rights abuses ever since, despite the U.N. Security Council resolution 47 in April 1948 mandating a plebiscite to decide whether the territory to accede to India or Pakistan. The resolution sadly did not provide an option to the people of Kashmir to choose independence.   


Mr Stevens in his address, pointed out that although he was addressing the IHRAAM in the U.N building, and although there were clearly moral and legal rights raised, they might as well had the meeting in the middle of wilderness as the major powers consistently ignored the reports and the issue of self determination itself had been removed from the Council’s agenda. He pointed out that domination and exploitation by major states was the major obstacle to self determination, with inevitable human right abuses, and to achieve any practical results there had to be both the political will and powerful backing which attracted worldwide media interest. An example being South Sudan, where George Clooney added his voice to the efforts being made by Amal Clooney. A-list celebrities backing make for international awareness in our digital world, in the cases of Hawaii, Alaska and others, whilst a buffer state on Swiss canton lines may be the only solution for Kashmir.


The panels report will be forwarded to the Council, for consideration.

Saravanak Kumar successfully defends in a conspiracy to supply multi million pound worth of Class A drugs (R v Afrisib, Little and Others)

Mr. Kumar’s client was indicted with 7 others for conspiracy to supply class A drugs (opium) worth millions of pounds.
The client was arrested with 30.5 kilos opium (worth £ 1.1 million) whilst travelling on the M1 by the Serious Organised Crime Squad. The prosecution allegations included that the drugs were picked up after a shipment and that Mr. Kumar’s client was ‘caught red handed’ with the boxes of drugs for what was a nationwide supply operation.Mr. Kumar had to cross examine police officers on telephone evidence as the defence case was that someone else used the phone to make calls involving the drugs trade.
After a five week trial in Kingston Crown Court which involved a cut throat defence, all co-defendants were found guilty by the jury except for Mr Kumar’s client, in whose case the jury disagreed and could not reach a verdict.
In light of the jury’s findings, the prosecution offered no evidence and Mr. Kumar’s client was acquitted. All other co-defendants received custodial sentence ranging from 7 years up to 20 years imprisonment.
Mr. Kumarwas the only junior barrister in the trial under 4 years call whilst all other co-defending Counsel were over 20 years call.

Saravanak Kumar instructed in a serious case of prostitution R v Ziemys

R v T Ziemys – This was a difficult case involving allegations of the Defendant running 10 brothels and having control of 3 prostitutes.
The prosecution served last minute compelling telephone evidence (including cell site and billings data) allegedly connecting the client with the running of the brothels.
A detailed cross examination of prostitutes and police officer over telephone evidence took place by Mr. Kumar where it was made clear that the prostitutes were not being ‘coerced’ or forced into anything by the Defendant.
The Defendant was acquitted of 4 counts which resulted in a much lower sentence than expected (3 and a half years after time served meant 15 months actual imprisonment).
The Judge commented that despite overwhelming evidence, he was passing the sentence as above as it was evident there was no coercion or force by the Defendant.
Read more coverage of the case here.
To instruct SK, contact our clerks here.

S. W. Stevens – Successful high profile prosecution.

R v David MORRIS – A domestic violence case of Assault by Beating on 21/04/16.
Appearing against Adrian Waterman QC (Doughty Street Chambers), Stuart Stevens was instructed in a heavily contested Domestic Violence matter against a difficult backdrop of Family Court proceedings.
The trial took place following an unsuccessful application by Mr. Waterman QC for further disclosure and court intervention into the management of the case. The victim had told the Court of how she had been physically assaulted in a public car park by her ex partner following a disagreement regarding their infant child’s care arrangements. Mr. Waterman QC had sought to adduce the Family Court records as evidence of the victim’s bad character after obtaining leave to do so by the Family Court. Much of the defence case relied heavily on the supposed bad character of the victim which had been granted prior to the trial. After careful consideration the Court found the victim to be entirely credible and honest in her evidence. The defendant was convicted on full prosecution facts following the trial.Stuart is a Public Access Qualified Barrister who accepts work in a wide range of areas. To instruct Stuart, contact our clerks here.

Ahmed Muen (Pupil Barrister) – successful prosecution of a section 18 GBH wounding with intent at Highbury Youth Court.

R v O – A successful prosecution of a s18 wounding with intent matter within the youth court on 15/04/16. Appearing in the Highbury Youth Court, second six pupil Ahmed Muen was instructed for the prosecution in the s. 18 trial. After a full trial, the young defendant was found guilty on the full prosecution facts. The matter was put over for sentence at the Crown Court and is due to take place later this year. The facts were that the defendant was a friend of the 13 year old victim and his family. The Defendant had stabbed the victim in a pre medicated attack using a kitchen knife following a disagreement after they had attended school together. Evidence of the victim was heard through live link due to his age. The defendant had pleaded not guilty claiming that he had not attacked the victim with a knife, but rather that they had been ‘play fighting’ together.
To instruct Ahmed, contact our clerks here.

R v Andrew McKenzie

An allegation of rape was made by the complainant, a young boy, against Client who was his father. Crown called mother of the young Complainant to support their case. Careful cross examination of both the young Complainant and his mother ultimately resulted in a not guilty verdict.

R v Fisaitul Nordin (2015)

Malaysian scholarship student at Imperial College kept 30,000 double encrypted child porn images and a mannequin of young boy in his flat. Wrongly reported in the international press as five years, actual sentence was 9 months which enabled him to return to Malaysia within a month (time served).

R v Alan Weeks (2015)

Led Saravanak Kumar of Holborn Chambers on a privately funded case. Client faced an allegation of historic rape made by the Complainant, his wife. The case also involved extensive cross examination of four individuals where alleged recent complaints where made by the Complainant. An acquittal on the more serious of charge of rape in the end.

R v Ellis Davis & Ors: Central Criminal Court (2015)

Stephen Ellis – Davis represented by, Stuart Stevens, was one of five men charged with Conspiracy to Kidnap, Conspiracy to Falsely Imprison, Conspiracy to Blackmail, two counts of Possession of an Offensive Weapon and Carrying a Firearm.
Under rigorous cross examinations by Mr Stevens, it came to light that the alleged victim was a substantial fraudster who stole people’s identities and lived a lavish lifestyle on the proceeds. The case resulted in an acquittal for the Client.