Member of Chambers Profile

Sally Mertens

Year of Call: 2002



Sally joined chambers in 2013 from Great James Street Chambers. She is an experienced criminal law practitioner who prosecutes and defends a wide range of cases including those involving serious violence and sexual assault. She has particular expertise in dealing sensitively with young and vulnerable witnesses. Prior to coming to the Bar, Sally was employed by Law Debenture in the City to work on financial arrangements that were issued on the London Stock Market and the European Capital Markets, thus involving a commercial understanding of trust law.  She also worked with the magic circle law firms. 


Notable Cases

R v. C – Middlesex Guildhall – May 2005

Prosecution of the first case following the enactment of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 in which the complainant was a transsexual. The defendant was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.  The complainant was a woman who had been born a man.  This case involved a number of issues including (1) the practical application of the bad character provisions (2) making submissions to the trial judge regarding the directions he should give to the jury that the defendant was entitled to consider that the complainant would use the force attributable to her strength and size irrespective of the fact that she was now regarded as a woman.

R v. T and others – Reading Crown Court – September 2005

Representing the fifth defendant in a multi-handed case involving charges of being knowingly concerned in the importation of cocaine valued at three million pounds.  The fifth defendant had driven a lorry from Greece; the drugs were secreted in the fuel tank of that lorry.  Took over from leading counsel who became unwell before the beginning of the case for the fifth defendant and conducted the case for the remainder of the trial.  The jury was hung in relation to the fifth defendant.  Other defendants were convicted and received sentences of imprisonment of between sixteen and twenty years.  

R v. O’B and others – Middlesex Guildhall – February 2007

Prosecuting three defendants who had stolen reels of cable from a compound at London Bridge Station.  The police gave chase and the cable, weighing several tonnes, was ejected into the path of the oncoming police cars with no injury to police officers.  One of the reels landed on the car of a civilian who was not injured but his car suffered substantial damage, as did the street furniture.   The case was originally charged as attempting to cause grievous bodily harm to the officers; following advice that charges of causing criminal damage being reckless as to whether life was endangered should be preferred, the defendants then pleaded guilty and were sentenced to a total of seventeen years’ imprisonment.  

R v. S – Southwark Crown Court – January 2008

Prosecuting Miss S for breach of a Restraining Order imposed by the lower court following a conviction for harassment of Simon Jordan, the then chairman of Crystal Palace F.C.  

R v. P – Luton Crown Court – April 2008

Defending in a case of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.  The complainant was autistic with a borderline personality disorder, and had been a resident of Broadmoor as well as a number of high security mental hospitals. The defendant was a highly qualified mental health nurse and manager who was accused of attacking his patient.  The defendant maintained that he had bitten the complainant in self-defence.  Similar fact evidence was admitted which purported to show that the defendant had bitten another patient whilst that patient was restrained.  The defence involved cross-examination of a psychologist who asserted that she was an expert on Asperger’s Syndrome. The defendant was found not guilty. 

R v. L – Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court – November 2009

Prosecuting two cases of interfering with a badger sett by a terrierman.  The defendant was privately funded by the Countryside Alliance. 

R v. McC and another – June 2010

Defending the partner of the first defendant - it was alleged that they were part of a joint enterprise to cause grievous bodily harm to the ex-wife of the first defendant.  This case involved cross-examination of the fourteen-year old daughter from the marriage of the first defendant and the complainant. Both defendants were found not guilty.  

R v. H – Blackfriars Crown Court – July 2010

Defending in a trial involving an allegation of stamping.  The background to the case was a long running noise nuisance between the defendant and his neighbours, the complainants.  The case turned on the issue of causation of the broken ankle.  The defendant was found not guilty.  

R v. G – Central Criminal Court – August 2010

Prosecuting the trial of the Sports Editor of the Sunday Telegraph who was facing allegations of sexual touching and assault PC.   The matter came to court some two years after the date of the incident.  

R v. C – Blackfriars Crown Court – August 2011

Prosecuting the re-trial of Mr C (a prison governor) who was alleged to have sexually assaulted a biochemist on the escalator at Tooting Bec Station. 

R v. A and A – Central Criminal Court – December 2011

Prosecuting the trial of two defendants charged with conspiracy to rob the owner of an art gallery opposite Claridges of antiques to the value of £750,000. One of the defendants had previously been employed by the gallery owner.  This case involved a live issue as to whether or not the main prosecution witness, who had been held hostage at knife point, was in fact a co-conspirator.  

R v. P and other – Croydon Crown Court – December 2011

Instructed to prosecute three youths who were charged with arson with intent to endanger life.  The damage was in excess of £1.5 million and forty flat owners lost their homes.  

R v. S – Blackfriars Crown Court – January 2012

Instructed to prosecute a step-father who was accused of assaulting his ten year old step-son causing actual bodily harm; his step-son had severe learning difficulties and required the use of an intermediary.  The complainant had given various accounts as to how he had sustained his injuries.