Barrister | Called 2018

Oliver Woolhouse


Originally admitted as a solicitor in 1999, a solicitor advocate in 2006 and called to the bar in 2018 as a transferring lawyer Jonathan joins chambers from the CPS.  Before CPS Jonathan was a family law solicitor and then a Magistrates’ Court Legal Advisor. 

As a Crown Prosecutor for 20 years Jonathan has a wealth of experience not only in trial advocacy in serious case work but in leading prosecution teams and directing criminal investigations.  As a reviewing lawyer early in his career Jonathan undertook the area’s first prosecution for people trafficking.  This case involved overseas sex workers.  Jonathan was the reviewing lawyer on a number of high profile murder cases including a defendant who ran a “rough sex” defence regarding his deceased partner. 

Jonathan is a personable, engaging yet always fair jury advocate who makes use of screen share technology re CCTV, plans and photos to bring his cases alive for juries.  Although personable Jonathan always robustly challenges myths and stereotypes in serious sexual offences where he has particular expertise. 

Jonathan has extensive experience in meeting with and talking to vulnerable victims (including young children), witnesses and family members in sexual offences and fatal RTA’s.  He is well versed in the section 28 procedure for young complainants.  He is always empathetic and was described recently as, “a credit to your profession” by a rape complainant. 


  • Business Law: LL.B (Hons)
  • Legal Practice Course, Oxford Institute of Legal Practice (Oxford University/Oxford Brookes)
  • Solicitor 1999 – 2018 Higher Rights (Criminal) 2006 – 2018
  • CPS Panel – Level 4
  • CPS Panel – Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) 

Jonathan’s expertise

Criminal Law

Jonathan is regularly instructed in the full spectrum of serious case work including led junior in murder and junior alone in rape, non-recent child sex cases, attempted murder, fatal RTA collisions, kidnapping, armed robbery, drug supply, blackmail and public justice offences.  Often these offences are “multi-handers.” 

As a result of conducting serious case work Jonathan is experienced in dealing with complicated disclosure issues which may arise.  These include PII and RIPA applications as well as witness anonymity applications for eg undercover drugs officers. 

Jonathan has prosecuted many cases involving child witnesses and witnesses with learning difficulties and regularly uses special measures to assist witnesses give their best evidence including intermediaries and the section 28 procedure. 

Expert witnesses have been called by Jonathan in a number of his cases.  These have included pathologists and fingerprint experts.  Against a KC Jonathan called facial mapping scientist to give expert evidence regarding the comparison of images to prove a wealthy defendant who altered the appearance of his car to escape a speeding conviction was indeed the driver.  A conviction followed.

Ancillary orders are always sought by Jonathan where appropriate such as SHPO’s in sex cases and restraining orders in DV cases.

Notable Cases

Homicide/ Serious Assault

  •  R v N – Junior counsel in murder case where C in her 80’s was brutally bludgeoned to death in her isolated home. Plea accepted to manslaughter on the grounds of DR.
  • R v G and T – Junior counsel instructed late in attempted murder where 2 life sentence prisoners in segregation attempted to murder another inmate with a plastic fashioned “shank” weapon resulting in 40+ stab type wounds. Substantial disclosure issues.  Convictions secured with further life sentences passed.
  • R v E – D repeatedly kicked C as he lay unconscious on floor, left in PVS. CCTV storyboard used re intent.  Pathologist called re severity of blows.  Conviction secured at trial for S18.
  • R v C – D repeatedly kicked and then stabbed C in a park. Storyboard including cell site and forensics to prove ID. Effective trial for attempted murder but late guilty plea to S18 which was accepted.
  • R v D – D repeatedly stabbed brother with a broken coffee mug and then strangled him causing horrific chest injuries. Guilty plea to S18 accepted on the morning of trial for attempted murder.
  • R v V – D threw a brick through the window of C’s house in an effort to entice him outside and then proceeded to attack him with an axe about the head. When C’s wife stepped into help she too was attacked. Conviction secured at trial for S18 x 2.
  • R v C – Serious DV S18 allegation against a defendant who was the stuntman who played the Queen in the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony. Disclosure issues dealt with sensitively. Jury conviction for S20.  Substantial national media attention post conviction. Conviction upheld at Court of Appeal following 2 day “with evidence” hearing. 
  • R v S, S and S – Kidnapping where an 18 YO woman was picked up, tied and bundled into a waiting car from her place of work by her parents and cousin. Compelling evidence adduced by Jonathan from C led to a guilty plea mid trial.
  • R v F and M – Blackmail where 2 D’s went to C’s house and demanded money. They returned to the house later that day armed with a large blade and barged in seeking to enforce the debt.  A submission of no case to answer was advanced for M on ID and dismissed.  Appeal court appeal against conviction for M dismissed.
  • R v N – S18 GBH where C sought to buy drugs in a vehicle but was slashed with a machete by the “seller” of the drugs. Disclosure issues regarding the background of C dealt with by way of agreed facts.  Conviction secured.


  • R v M – D pleaded guilty to a S16A firearms offence but “Newton” hearing ordered when Jonathan rejected a basis of plea. D brandished a handgun at C and pistol whipped him.  D said he saw C with his estranged wife and “snapped”.  Jonathan played CCTV showing that D lay in wait for C and had engineered the attack.  Judge ruled for prosecution.
  • R v L – Trial for S16A where a member of the travelling community burst into a caravan brandishing a sawn-off shotgun at a 12 year old girl and her mother demanding to see her father re payment of a debt. Sensitive handling of a young witness in traumatic case.
  • R v K – D pleaded guilty just before trial to offences regarding discharging a firearm towards a car on a busy Oxford street in broad daylight.

Fatal RTA’s

  • R v R – Highly sensitive sentence where Jonathan met over the internet and then at court the families of 2 cyclists tragically mown down and killed by a driver who failed to react to their presence on the road.
  • R v M – Trial for death by careless driving where D hit a vehicle coming the other way and in the resulting RTA killed a member of his own family in the back seat of his own car. Conviction secured in a case where emotions ran high.

 Sexual Offences

  • R v O and B – O charged with raping a foreign sex worker on 3 separate occasions having entered her flat on the first occasion with B during an aggravated burglary using a meat cleaver. B also raped C during the first visit. O attempted to rape a second complainant later the same day but was stopped when police came to arrest him.  Conviction at trial for all 13 counts.  Both defendants found to be dangerous and sentenced to substantial imprisonment.
  • R v T – Two complainant rape trial where first C withdrew. Following the charge of the second C Jonathan liaised with the Police and the first C rekindled her complaint.  Jonathan secured joinder of both C’s and argued against an application to dismiss as an abuse and against severance.  Conviction secured.
  • R v B – Trial where C was assaulted and where D attempted to rape her at her place of work. Sensitive handling by Jonathan of very traumatised C throughout trial process.
  • R v Pa – Trial for rape where C was raped in her own sitting room by a friend of her sibling who she had never met before. Case required sensitive handling of social media evidence and the challenging of myths and stereotypes re sexuality.  Hung jury in first trial.  Conviction secured in second trial.
  • R v Pl – Late guilty plea to rape where D (having just been released from custody) went into the house of an elderly lady with substantial mental and physical disabilities and raped her whilst armed at times with a blade. Found dangerous and substantial custodial sentence.
  • R v B – Trial for rape x 2 in 2022 (which led to complaint) and multiple non recent penetrative sexual offences by uncle on niece from age 9 to 16. D GP to serious penetrative incitement offences for which indecent images of same were found on his phone.  These convictions went before the Jury who convicted him of all 12 offences and combined with the GP’s led to convictions for 23 counts.  Sentence awaited.
  • R v K – Non recent penetrative child sex trial from that age of 4-7. Jonathan amended the original indictment into mirror particularised counts to assist the jury reflecting the changes in the law from 2003.  D’s convictions for indecent images adduced via bad character.  Conviction secured.
  • R v S – Jonathan persuaded the Judge to adjourn the PTPH to allow the Police time to complete their investigation into other victims to ensure justice for them and for there to be no piecemeal sentence for D. Judge sat as a DJ and all charges placed onto one indictment for trespass to commit sexual offences, assault by penetration, voyeurism and exposure.  D ruled to be a dangerous offender and the substantial sentence was upheld at the Court of Appeal.


  • R v B – Jonathan was instructed by the Complex Casework Unit of the CPS in a case where D pleaded guilty to drug supply to undercover officers but claimed he was simply a “runner”. Jonathan relied upon body cam and mobile phone data to challenge this account and persuaded the Judge in a Newton hearing that D was in fact controlling a very lucrative drugs line.
  • R v T – Here D pleaded guilty to drug supply but denied that he supplied drugs direct to a 15 year old girl who died of a resulting overdose. Jonathan called evidence from the girl’s partner and played CCTV from a number of sources to successfully prove D had in fact supplied to the girl.  Case attracted national media attention.
  • R v W – Jonathan was instructed as junior counsel in a trial where D imported 25 tonnes of Benzocaine (a cutting agent). Unbeknown to him tracker devices were planted on the barrels.  D claimed he was supplying to tattoo artists.  He pleaded guilty during the first week of the trial and Jonathan acted as sole counsel in the resulting POCA proceedings.
  • R v L – D was stopped on the M40 driving a car with 10kgs of importation quality cocaine. After Jonathan’s case work advice to prove that D would have known he was transporting drugs and not cigarettes a guilty plea followed.

Specialist Operations

  • Operation Sorento – Lead prosecutor in an operation where undercover officers were sent into an area of Milton Keynes to purchase drugs with covert cameras. Witness anonymity secured.  37 guilty pleas entered (all defendants).  Defendants sentenced over 2 days in accordance with agreed sentencing matrices.  Jonathan received a Chief Constable’s commendation for the success of the operation.
  • Operation Symphony – An operation where undercover officers were sent into 5 scrap yards with covert cameras posing as thieves. Defendants charged with attempted POCA offences.  Anonymity, PII and RIPA issues.
  • Attempted sexual communications – Lead prosecutor in a series of cases involving undercover officers and peadophile hunters posing as children.  Successful responses to applications to dismiss re entrapment and securing adjournments to await the important decision of Privett re sentence.
Professional Memberships
  • The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple
  • Criminal Bar Association

Outside the law Jonathan enjoys tennis, golf and 6 a side football and although his playing days are over he takes an active role in his local rugby club where he coached the junior section for many years.