East Anglia:
01245 280 880
020 7520 6000
Joanna Hardy

Joanna Hardy

Call: 2010

Joanna read Law at King’s College London and graduated with First Class Honours. She was awarded a postgraduate scholarship and remained at King’s to read for her LLM Masters of Law, graduating with a Distinction. Joanna was the recipient of the Harmsworth Scholarship from Middle Temple and was called to the Bar in 2010. She now enjoys a busy, diverse criminal practice.

Joanna is a versatile criminal practitioner and an experienced jury advocate. She has been instructed as sole counsel in allegations of rape, firearms, sexual assault, aggravated burglary, knifepoint robbery, section 18 GBH, fraud, drugs and money laundering. She is also an efficient, diligent junior and has been led in allegations of murder and historic sexual offending.

Joanna has appeared before the Court of Appeal on behalf of both the appellant and the respondent. In 2016 she appeared before the Lord Chief Justice in a conjoined appeal establishing the correct approach to inconsistent verdicts following mixed verdicts on a multiple count rape indictment [Fanning and others [2016] EWCA Crim 550]. She also appeared for the respondent in an appeal against conviction regarding a non-defendant bad character application relating to a deceased complainant [Erwood [2016] EWCA Crim 839]. Joanna has experience of Attorney General’s Reference proceedings. In 2017 she was led for the defence in relation to an unduly lenient minimum term of a life sentence imposed for the offence of conspiracy to murder.

Joanna is a robust, thorough advocate who undertakes meticulous preparation for trial and presents cases with attractive and measured advocacy. She prides herself on being both personable and professional. Joanna is able to provide written advice at short notice and is happy to hold conferences prior to trial.

Joanna updates her instructing solicitors in writing on the same day as each hearing.

Sexual OffencesSerious ViolenceDishonesty

Joanna has developed a particular expertise in defending allegations of sexual offending. Recent instructions have included rape, sexual assault, historic offending and offences committed over the internet. Joanna has experience of the pre-recorded cross-examination of multiple child witnesses.

Recent cases include:

  • R v B (2017) Represented a defendant accused of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act over the internet following a covert operation undertaken by a US Homeland Security officer.
  • R v Z (2016) Represented a professional taxi driver who was acquitted of sexually assaulting a young female passenger.
  • R v O (2015) Represented the first defendant accused of multiple counts of rape against a
    young woman over the course of one evening. Following mixed verdicts [one conviction and three acquittals] Joanna appeared in a conjoined appeal which established the correct approach to inconsistent verdicts [Fanning and others [2016] EWCA Crim 550].
  • R v T (2015) Represented a young defendant on the Asperger’s spectrum accused of sexually assaulting his neighbour. The defence successfully raised reasonable belief in consent.
  • R v A (2015) Defended a taxi driver accused of sexually assaulting an elderly passenger at her home address.
  • R v T (2014) Counsel for a female defendant accused of an historic 25 year old allegation of sexual offending against a male child.
  • R v B (2014) Defended an allegation of inciting a child to engage in pornography via an internet chatroom.
  • R v M (2013) Led junior for the defence relating to 25 counts of historic rape and sexual offences involving 10 complainants.
  • R v R (2012) A sensitive matter of sexual activity with a child which involved legal and factual complexities due to a resulting pregnancy.
  • R v P (2012) A successful application to discharge a Sexual Offences Prevention Order originally imposed for an indefinite period.

Joanna is regularly instructed in relation to allegations of serious violence. Joanna has experience as a led junior in matters of murder and as junior counsel alone in allegations of firearms, aggravated burglary, section 18 GBH and arson. Recent instructions are as follows:

  • R v W (2017) Led junior for the defence in multi-handed conspiracy to murder and aggravated burglary proceedings. The minimum term of the life sentence imposed at first instance was subject to an Attorney General’s Reference.
  • R v D (2017) Represented a female defendant accused of orchestrating the stabbing of two complainants. Successfully applied to dismiss charges of section 18 wounding on the grounds of insufficient evidence to prove a shared intent with the principal actors. The defendant was subsequently convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on a joint enterprise basis.
  • R v S (2016) Appeared for a defendant accused of possessing a loaded sawn off double-barrelled shotgun with intent to cause fear of violence. This involved the rare defence of necessity of circumstances. The defendant was acquitted of the most serious charge and convicted of simple possession.
  • R v K (2016) Represented a defendant accused of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence in a busy public street.
  • R v Z (2016) Defence counsel for a defendant accused of causing serious injury during an alleged hammer attack.
  • R v S (2015) Led junior for the first defendant accused of murdering his neighbour by stabbing. The matter involved a contested confession, DNA, cell site and ANPR evidence.
  • R v N (2015) Counsel for the first defendant in a multi-handed knife attack in the street caught on mobile telephone footage from an anonymous source.
  • R v P (2014) Defence counsel relating to a serious allegation of aggravated burglary including the presence of a knife and alleged threats of rape.
  • R v M (2014) Defence counsel in relation to an allegation of arson and being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
  • R v B (2014) Defence counsel for a highly aggravated section 18 wounding involving a facial “glassing” in a hotel bar.
  • R v H (2012)Defence counsel for a pensioner accused of GBH having pushed his friend down a flight of stairs.

Joanna has experience prosecuting and defending high-value dishonesty allegations. She can digest and present voluminous evidence in a cogent fashion and is experienced in instructing independent forensic accountants in relation to complex financial evidence. Recent instructions include:

  • R v G (2016) Represented a defendant accused of manipulating the Power of Attorney provisions to commit a six-figure fraud against his father who had been diagnosed with dementia.
  • R v M (2016) Prosecution counsel for a six-figure fraud committed through complex identity theft.
  • R v D (2015) Appeared alone for a female defendant accused of laundering over £150,000 cash said to have been from a widespread class A drugs conspiracy. The crown were represented by leading and junior counsel.
  • R v W (2014) A complex conspiracy involving over eighty dwelling burglaries with a total value in excess of £400,000. The matter involved cell site, ANPR, and forensic evidence.
  • R v N (2013) Represented a bank worker who had fraudulently removed customer cash that had subsequently been gambled.
  • R v P (2011) Widespread conspiracy to commit fraud against the DVLA in relation to “impersonation” attempts at driving test centres.


See more

Law LLB [First Class Honours], King’s College London 2008

LLM Master of Laws [Distinction], King’s College London 2009


See more

Criminal Bar Association

Professional Appointments

See more

Crown Prosecution Service, Level Two Advocate


See more

King’s College London Postgraduate Alumni Bursary, 2008-9

Harmsworth Scholarship, Middle Temple 2009