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Established to meet the need for high quality legal advice and advocacy in Somerset and the West Country, Octagon Chambers has increased in size and legal practice to match the demand.

Harry Ahuja


Year of Call & Inn: 2001, Inner Temple
Qualifications:  LLB (Kings College London), LLM (University of Manchester)
Professional Membership:  Western Circuit, Criminal Bar Association

Harry Ahuja is an experienced practitioner having worked in the criminal justice system for over 12 years.  He was a legal adviser to the justices for 4 years before joining Octagon Chambers in 2006 when he successfully completed pupillage under Alan Large.  Harry has a detailed and extensive knowledge of law and procedure in both the Magistrates' and the Crown Court.  He has quickly developed a busy practise both prosecuting and defending criminal cases in the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal.

Harry is regularly instructed to advise upon and conduct cases concerning a wide range of matters including serious assaults, armed robberies, firearms offences, the full range of sexual offences which include historic allegations, fraud (ranging from theft from employer to large-scale conspiracies to defraud), money laundering, large scale public order and drugs offences.  He has been involved in multi-handed trials and is often selected to deal with cases of a sensitive nature.

Harry has a wide ranging experience of ancillary matters.  He has dealt with cases involving ASBOs, Closure Orders, firearm appeals and has also prosecuted and defended Sexual Offences Prevention Orders.

Harry was instructed as junior defence Counsel in R v Coates, the first court martial of an alleged rape at sea.

Harry Ahuja is a grade two prosecutor and is authorised to prosecute on behalf of various agencies including the Department of Work and Pensions, LocalAuthorities and the National Probation Service.  Harry also has an interest in regulatory work.


Harry accepts instructions in all areas of personal injury and has undertaken work on behalf of both Claimants and Defendants.  He provides advice on liability and quantum.  Property work includes boundary/ownership disputes, restrictive covenants, easements, nuisance and trespass.   Harry has also acted on behalf of the Ministry of Defence for possession of property and eviction of squatters.  Harry welcomes instructions regarding contractual disputes and has previously been instructed by Peugeot regarding sale of goods claims.

Hobbies & Interests:
Away from the law, Harry enjoys all outdoor activities particularly walking and racket sports.  He enjoys travelling and exploring different cultures.  He has a keen interest in technology.

Cases of Interest:

R v Ryan Shaun Andrew (2010) EWCA Crim 798 - Appeal against conviction

Possession Class A drugs with intent to supply.  The focus of this unsafe conviction related to the conduct of the judge at trial.  The court considered the nature of the Recorder's questioning of the appellant when giving evidence before the jury and improper comments made by him during the summing up.  The court held that the standard expected of the Recorder in conducting a trial was not met and that the appellant had not received a fair trial. The appeal against conviction was allowed and accordingly the sentence imposed of 3 years was overturned.

R v Popescu and others [2010] EWCA Crim 2466 - Appeal against sentence

Multiplefrauds.  Sentence successfully appealed in respect of fraudulent use of cloned credit cards of Japanese bank customers by a group of Romanian nationals in the UK.  The court accepted that where criminal activity is within the scope of the ‘banking and insurance fraud' sentencing guideline it is incorrect to sentence outside the prescribed range on the basis of the impact of the offending on the commercial system since such an impact is an inherent part of any activity to which the guideline applies.

R v Chalupa [2009] EWHC 3082 (Admin) - Case stated

Failing to provide a specimen of breath under section 7(6) RTA 1988.  Appeal by way of case stated in relation to the magistrates' decision not to exclude evidence of breath test procedure under section 78 of PACE 1984.  The High Court held that despite an accused's right to independent legal advice prior to the breath test being conducted this was not one of those exceptional cases where a solicitor was immediately available, such that delay would have been minimal.  Furthermore, that it is not a reasonable excuse to refuse to provide a specimen until advice has been received.  Accordingly, in this case section 78 PACE 1984 was not engaged. 

R v Jason Higgins (2009) EWCA Crim 708) - Appeal against sentence

Racially aggravated common assault.  Sentence appealed on the basis that the court should have adopted a two stage approach in considering the appropriate term for the basic offence of assault and then imposing an uplift to reflect the racial aggravation.  The court agreed with this principle and confirmed that the judge had erred in imposing 12 months for the common assault with 6 months uplift, however the overall term of 18 months imprisonment was not manifestly excessive.  The court therefore imposed 6 months for the common assault (statutory maximum for this offence) with 12 months additional for the racial aggravation leaving the sentence at 18 months overall.

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