Leah Connollysolicitor

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    Leah Connolly

    Leah completed her Law degree at the University of Essex and qualified as a solicitor in 2012. Leah is recognised across the legal profession as a Youth Specialist and joined Sonn Macmillan Walker in 2019 as the Head of the Youth Team.

    Leah specialises in defending young people at the Police Station, Magistrates Court and Youth Court. Leah understands the importance of building a relationship of trust and the need for continuity when representing young and vulnerable defendants. She is known for her skilled representation of these clients, such that she is often called upon by the Youth Offending Team and Local Authorities to advise and represent young people. Leah is passionate about ensuring young people are aware of their rights within the Criminal Justice System. She is always striving to ensure that Court proceedings and criminal records are avoided for young people where possible.
    Leah represents clients charged with a wide range of offences and her practice extends from minor offences to the most serious and complex offences including, murder and sexual offences.

    Through her expertise as a solicitor Leah has built up a wealth of knowledge and contacts including Psychologists and Psychiatrists to ensure that young people understand the case against them and can actively participate in Court proceedings. She has the experience necessary to work effectively with vulnerable clients including those suffering from learning difficulties and mental health issues.

    Leah co-founded the Youth Practitioners’ Association (YPA) alongside other members of the legal profession. The YPA is a pan profession organisation which aims to ensure proper representation for young people within the Criminal Justice System. Click here to find out more about the YPA.

    In her spare time Leah volunteers at local Youth Clubs. In conjunction with these Youth Clubs, she established free legal advice clinics, offering young people support and guidance and ensuring they know their legal rights. Leah also works with Centrepoint, a charity which supports homeless young people. She provides free legal advice both to young people and those that support them.

    Leah played a key role in Centrepoint’s investigation into the link between Homelessness, Criminality and Exploitation, providing a point of view from those who defend young people and viewpoint that hadn’t initially been considered. Click here to read the resulting report.

    Leah was also part of the Select Committee at the House of Commons, that launched this research. Additionally, she has also been invited to speak at Children Rights Inquiry.

    Following their research, Leah was been ranked as a “Rising Star” by Legal 500 2024.

    Recent cases

    R v A (2023) – On appeal, our client’s YRO was quashed and replaced with a referral order. Click here to read more.

    R v R (2023) – On appeal, our client’s YRO and parenting order were quashed and he was sentenced to an extension of his ongoing referral order. Click here to read more.

    R v S (2023) – Following expert instruction and personal mitigation obtained by the defence, our vulnerable client received a drastically reduced sentence for s18 GBH and other serious offences. Click here to read more.

    R v T (2023) – After an age determination hearing and representations from the defence, the Court agreed to treat our client as someone who had only recently turned 18. Click here to read more.

    R v A (2021) – Our client was a vulnerable 18 year old charged with attempted robbery and unlawful wounding. She was acquitted of all charges following a 4 day trial. Click here to read more.

    R v. LW (2020) – Leah represented a 14-year-old, suffering from Autism and other complex learning difficulties, who had been arrested in relation to possession of two bladed articles. Following full admissions in interview, she successfully persuaded the police not to press charges and deal with the matter by way of a youth caution.

    R v. SC (2020) – Leah represented a 15-year-old charged with rape. The matter went to trial at Chelmsford Crown Court where Leah instructed Nick Bonehill of 2 Bedford Row. After a 4-day trial, the defendant was acquitted.

    R v. KK (2019) – Leah represented a 17-year-old charged with grievous bodily harm. Having represented him at the police station, the matter went to trial before the Guildford Crown Court where Leah instructed Nick Bonehill of 2 Bedford Row Chambers. After a 4-day trial, the defendant was acquitted.

    R v. KS (2019) – Leah represented a 16-year-old client at Wimbledon Youth Court, charged with possession with Intent to supply class A drugs and possession of a blade. Following a positive National Referral Mechanism finding, Leah wrote extensive written representations to the CPS which resulted in them dropping all charges.

    R v. KM (2019) – Leah represented a 19-year old client who came before Kingston Crown Court for sentence in relation to the third offence of possession with intent to supply class A drugs, having previously pleaded guilty to two previous offences of the same nature. The prosecution argued that the Defendant should be sentenced in line with the mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years. Leah instructed Emma Heath of 9 Bedford Row and, after successfully persuading the Judge that the mandatory minimum provision did not apply in this case, a sentence of 30 months was secured.

    What people are saying

    “Hi Leah I Just Want To Say Thank You So Much For Everything You Have Done For My Son And Our Family You Are More Appreciated Than You Could Ever Truly Understand, To You Its Your Job, But There’s Work And Then There’s Going Above And Beyond… Thank You, Jermaine” Client’s dad, 2023.

    “As him mum, this was a truly terrifying experience, hopefully never to be repeated! You made yourself completely available, you displayed compassion, patience, professionalism and explained the process with clarity and precision. You have a calming and approachable manner and for that I thank you.” Client’s mum, 2022.