Profile – Roger Jairaj Sahota
The first solicitor to conduct a war crimes trial in the Hague, Roger Sahota is one of London’s leading criminal lawyers with an internationally recognised reputation for taking on challenging and complex cases and a track record of many notable acquittals to his credit.
Before training as a lawyer, Roger worked in the City of London on the trading floor of several major banks and he traces his long standing interest in all areas of financial crime from this experience. He blogs at Fraud Focus, an online forum for the discussion of developments in financial crime, the only solicitor amongst a group of expert barristers appointed as editor.
Roger travelled extensively across South Asia and Australasia before returning to London to qualify as a lawyer in the early 1990s. He completed his articles at a top London criminal law firm and six years later set up his own practice in 2002. Since then Roger’s domestic casework experience encompassed a wide range of serious and complex SFO cases, fraud, murder, drug and terrorism cases as well as general criminal defence and regulatory work.
In 2006 Roger left London to work as defence counsel in the Prosecutor v Prlic and the Prosecutor v Charles Taylor, two of the signature cases before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (UNICTY) and the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL).
Since returning to full time domestic practice in the UK in 2013 Roger has specialised in serious crime and in particular fraud and business crime. He specialises in confiscation law and challenging search warrants and charging decisions in the context of business crime investigations.
Roger also represents clients in cases across the criminal spectrum including a number of corruption, murder, conspiracy, drugs importation and VAT fraud.
Roger’s background as a solicitor is unique as, in addition to his international profile, Roger is one of small number of solicitors to haveconducted reported cases before the Court of Appeal as well as judicial review and confiscation appeals before the Admin Court and High Court. Roger has been variously described as “very able” and “one of the best criminal solicitors in the country” by some of the leading silks in the UK.
In the highlight of his career to date, Roger received judicial praise for his cross-examination and closing submissions in the Prlic case. He was subsequently recognised as Solicitor Advocate of the Year in the 2011 Law Society Excellence Awards and appointed as a judge in the 2012 competition.
Roger also writes and lectures on current affairs and criminal law issues. He has preparedarticles for the Guardian, the Criminal Justice Weekly, Progress magazine and the LCCSA bulletin. He is often asked to comment on legal issues for media outlets such as the Law Society Gazette, Observer, BBC News and Channel 4.
Roger is Secretary of the Solicitors Association of Higher Courts Advocates and a member of the Law Society Human Rights Committee, the Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association and the Society of Labour Lawyers. He is also listed as an adviser on the Anti Money Laundering Advice directory of the Law Society.
In 2013 Roger delivered and organised the inaugural International Advocacy Course for the Law Society Human Rights Committee in Diyarbakir, Turkey.
The Prlic case is one of the most complex criminal prosecutions ever staged, involving six accused charged with 26 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, related to approximately 70 crime sites. In the course of a five year trial, 9,800 exhibits were tendered, generating more than 1,000,000 pages of evidence and the testimony of over 400 witnesses considered.
Mr Taylor, the former President of Liberia faced 11 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity over his alleged role in the civil war in neighbouring Sierra Leone. Roger has also acted for General Zdravko Tolimir, the Head of Intelligence for the Bosnian Serb army reporting directly to Ratko Mladic.
Articles, Media, News
Would your AML practices make the SRA 'raise an eyebrow'?, Roger Sahota, Solicitors Journal, October 9 2015
Roger Sahota - Legal Network Television DVD - a practitioners guide to changes made by the Serious Crime Act to POCA 2002, October 2015
Orders Need to Suit the Facts, Roger Sahota, Law Society Gazette, September 2013
Clarifying the Hearsay Rule, Roger Sahota, Criminal Law and Justice Weekly, June 2013 (with Tim Welch)
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Solicitors Association of Higher Courts Advocates – Secretary
Proceeds of Crime Lawyers Association
Law Society Human Rights Section
Law Society Advocacy Section Steering Committee
Court of Appeal Users Group
London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association
Association of Defence Lawyers Practising Before the ICTY
Society of Labour Lawyers