Roger Sahota, Partner, Criminal Defence
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.
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.
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). He continues as Defence Counsel in the ICTY appeal in the case of Prlic.
Since returning to full time domestic practice in the UK in 2013 Roger has specialised in serious crime and in particular fraud and confiscation law. He has a niche in challenging search warrants and charging decisions in the context of business crime investigations.
Domestically, Roger also represents clients in cases across the criminal spectrum including a number of corruption, murder, conspiracy, drugs importation and VAT fraud.
Roger retains a thriving international practice. He is presently advising a number of senior foreign government officials in criminal investigations featuring allegations of war crimes and fraud. Roger has also been represented clients in a number of high profile extradition cases including, notably, allegations of fraud against international businessmen whose extradition has been sought in Germany and India.
Roger’s background as a solicitor is unique as, in addition to his international profile, Roger is one of small number of solicitors to have conducted 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 written 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 a former 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.
Roger continues to act in the Prlic appeal and made submissions before the ICTY Appeals Chamber in Spring 2017. A final resolution of the case is expected in November 2017.
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.
Recently Roger was one of a team of legal experts who filed an amicus curiae brief before the MICT Appeals Chamber calling for a review of the doctrine of Joint Criminal Enterprise Liability in light of the recent Supreme Court decision in the case of Jogee.
Articles, Media, News
Amicus Curiae Motion for Review of Joint Criminal Enterprise Doctrine, MICT Filed 24th August 2017
Guide to Criminal Finances Act 2017, Roger Sahota, Law Society Gazette, 23rd May 2017
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)
Visit our blog for more information.
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