Ben Close has been a specialist criminal practitioner since he was called to the Bar in 2009. His practice also encompasses regulatory work.
Ben is instructed by various prosecuting authorities and the defence, typically in serious and complex cases. His recent and ongoing cases include murder, attempted murder, large and complex drug conspiracies, high-value fraud and cases involving serious sexual offences.
As well as appearing regularly in the Crown Court, he has also appeared successfully numerous times in the Court of Appeal including in reported cases, where he has been complimented for his thorough approach.
He is a Grade 4 prosecutor (the highest grade). He is on the specialist Grade 4 lists for Fraud, Serious Crime and Proceeds of Crime and he is on the Grade 3 Counter-Terrorism panel. He has also been appointed to the CPS specialist rape panel.
He has several ongoing cases in which he is leading junior counsel.
Ben is on the Serious Fraud Office’s Panel A for confiscation and Panel B for fraud, and he has been appointed to the ‘B’ list of Specialist Regulatory Advocates.
Ben has earned a reputation for a hard-working and thorough approach, but without losing sight of the importance of being personable and persuasive. He is equally at home addressing juries or judges.
After obtaining a First Class degree in Law where he achieved the highest marks in his University year, Ben completed an LLM in Criminal Justice prior to completing the Bar course.
He is a Midland Circuit trained advocacy tutor.
In 2020 Ben was elected to the Bar Council where he sits on the Education and Training Committee. He is a member of St Philips’ pupillage committee.
‘The Approach to increasing the Available Amount under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002’, published in The Criminal Law Review, Issue 9, 2020.
Case comment on R (on the application of Kombou) v Wood Green Crown Court  EWHC 152, published in The Criminal Law Review, Issue 10, 2020.
Case comment on R. v Bajaj (Arun)  EWCA Crim 1111, published in The Criminal Law Review, Issue 1, 2021.
Ben’s practice focuses on serious and complex cases, typically involving multiple defendants with large quantities of evidence. He is very experienced calling expert evidence, particularly in relation to the use and movement of mobile phones and vehicles, facial and body mapping, and firearms.
Ben has several ongoing cases in which he leads junior counsel.
Recently, notable prosecution successes include:
Notable defence successes include:
Ben continues to act in numerous cases of attempted murder, and murder.
In 2022 he prosecuted an attempted murder involving the multiple shooting of another man, a case with a drug dealing context.
In 2021 he prosecuted the attempted murder of an ex-partner’s new partner, by inflicting multiple stab wounds.
In 2020 he was the prosecution junior in a murder case involving 4 defendants and a ‘drive-by’ shooting involving a shotgun on a residential street in Birmingham. The evidence involved large amounts of CCTV compilations, cell-site material. DNA, fingerprint evidence, gunshot residue, firearms expertise, and an audio expert.
In 2019 he was the prosecution junior in a case involving 8 defendants in a tit-for-tat exchange of violence between drugs gangs that resulted in convictions for the attempted murder of 2 people amongst other offences. The case involved horrific injuries being inflicted and was described in the national press as a ‘mini war’. Again, the case involved presenting evidence spanning various fields of expertise.
Ben has considerable experience prosecuting and defending fraud cases including, most recently, frauds committed by company directors, courier frauds, VAT fraud, identity thefts, benefit frauds, and frauds in breach of trust more generally. He is on the CPS’s most senior specialist panels for fraud and confiscation and he is on the Serious Fraud Office’s Panel A for confiscation and Panel B for fraud.
He is currently leading junior counsel in the prosecution of film producers for the fraudulent abuse of Film Tax Credits and VAT.
In 2021 he prosecuted the first case of
Examples of cases include successfully prosecuting trials in:
Ben also has extensive experience of complex benefit fraud cases including a case of identity theft involving 17 defendants and high-profile cases involving, for example, a local politician and a defendant who received disability benefits whilst working as a stage-actor.
Ben is on the most senior specialist panels for confiscation for non-QCs for both the CPS and the Serious Fraud Office, where he is one of 14 counsel in the country appointed to panel A.
Recently, he was junior defence counsel in the Court of Appeal case of R v Arun Bajaj  EWCA Crim 1111, which has had far-reaching consequences for the approach to confiscation taken by Local Authorities, particularly involving Houses of Multiple Occupancy.
He prosecuted complex confiscation proceedings in a conspiracy involving drug importations valued at £1billion (without a leader). He was also a junior in a case where more than £2m was confiscated as a result of drugs offences (benefit figures were between £16 and £17million).
He has been successful in several hearings involving the determination of ownership of assets in accordance with the changes introduced by the Serious Crime Act 2015. One case litigated over 2 weeks involved multiple defendants as well as a third party and resulted in the successful confiscation of more than half a million pounds worth of property. His experience extends to prosecuting specialist Queens Counsel in this area.
He has successfully appeared in the Court of Appeal in multiple cases including R v. Malhi  EWCA Crim 2025; R v Mohammed Suleman Khan  EWCA Crim 2287, and R v. Muddassar  EWCA Crim 382.
His experience also extends to restraint and enforcement hearings, encompassing legal argument in those fields and appearing in a related multi-track trial in the County Court, again on the issue of ownership of property.
He is also experienced in dealing with cases involving companies and the complications that can arise including piercing the corporate veil.
His published work in this field includes:
As a Grade 4 Serious Crime panel advocate and a Grade 3 Counter-Terrorism advocate, Ben is instructed in cases of the utmost gravity.
Recently, Ben successfully prosecuted trials in (all without a leader):
In 2019 he was the prosecution junior in a case involving 8 defendants in a tit-for-tat exchange of violence between drugs gangs that resulted in convictions for the attempted murder of 2 people amongst other offences.
Ben was the junior for the prosecution in what was described by the trial Judge as the largest ever cannabis case in the UK. The case involved the prosecution of those at the head of a criminal organisation responsible for the production of cannabis across the country including its sale using Bitcoin. More recently, he prosecuted a case involving the growing of cannabis at 10 sites including large disused commercial premises.
He has been instructed in numerous cases involving ‘street supply’, including prosecuting 15 defendants for conspiracies to supply cocaine and heroin in Birmingham.
In 2018, Ben secured a positive outcome when defending in a multi-million pound case of sophisticated tobacco smuggling. The case ran to many thousands of pages of evidence.
Ben has prosecuted and represented numerous defendants in cases involving a broad range of sexual offences including successfully acting in rape cases and cases involving historic allegations. He is also a busy member of the CPS rape and serious sexual assault panel.
Ben obtained the acquittal of a teacher accused of sexually assaulting a student, and a nurse accused of assaulting a patient. Other notable successes include defending a schoolboy alleged to have assaulted a younger classmate.
Ben was the junior for the defence in a case where the defendant was charged with sexual offences against 13 victims, male and female and adults and children, over three decades, a case with complex issues around disclosure and bad character (mixed verdicts followed a lengthy trial).
He has successfully prosecuted cases of rape and other serious sexual offences. That experience encompasses DNA evidence and the use of various special measures.
He has undertaken specialist courses in the handling of vulnerable witnesses and other courses required of a specialist prosecution advocate in this field.
Ben has acted and advised in a full range of road traffic matters including cases involving allegations of dangerous driving resulting in death and serious injury. In one recent case where dangerous driving causing serious injury was alleged (and indeed, caused), he successfully acted for a bus driver where the prosecution ultimately accepted a guilty plea to careless driving avoiding the loss of his employment and resulting in an absolute discharge and a finding of special reasons.
He secured a suspended sentence in a case of careless driving where the defendant killed two occupants of another vehicle in a motorway collision.
Ben played a leading role in defence submissions accepted by the Court of Appeal in the case of R v. Needham and others  EWCA Crim 455, providing guidance on sections 35A and B of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988.
Ben has prosecuted grave road traffic cases including causing death by dangerous driving.
He has experience of calling expert witnesses, in one such case successfully arguing that a defendant’s ability to drive was not impaired notwithstanding (accepted) use of illicit drugs.
In the Magistrates’ Court his work has encompassed document offences, mounting successful arguments in relation to ‘exceptional hardship’ and ‘special reasons’, and successful procedural arguments concerning the taking of samples.
Ben has prosecuted and defended in a broad range of regulatory matters in both the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts. Ben has been appointed to the ‘B’ list of Specialist Regulatory Advocates.
Ben has acted in cases concerning food safety and consumer protection in the Magistrates’ and Crown Court. Recent successful examples include:
Ben has successfully acted in a number of trials involving the illegal depositing of waste. Those cases include successfully prosecuting a crown court trial in a case involving multiple tons of waste deposited at Sarehole Mill park at a time when travellers were illegally encamped at the site.
Ben also has experience of waste cases involving the prosecution of companies.
He has experience of ancillary orders flowing from such convictions, for example, the forfeiting of vehicles used to transport waste (see above).
Ben has successfully acted in licensing cases on appeal to both the Magistrates’ and crown courts. Recent successful examples include:
Ben also has experience of illegal money-lending cases which has complimented his work in financial crime and confiscation (see above).
He has recent experience of both prosecuting and defending in cases involving allegations stemming from the operation of (unlicensed) HMOs including at confiscation (see publications and R v Arun Bajaj  EWCA Crim 1111).
Ben has represented the interests of companies at inquests, specifically in cases involving deaths following road traffic accidents.
Ben has acted as an instructor on witness familiarisation courses for HSE inspectors involving the cross-examination of HSE experts and investigators.
In 2020 he successfully prosecuted a large company for health and safety breaches leading to life-threatening injuries (six-figure fine imposed).
“Ben gets to grip with the details of a case quickly. He has excellent drafting skills and delivers a great service every time.” Legal 500 2023