Rodney W Wilson LLB P.G.Dip(Law) SA(HCC)

Admitted 1997

The Director of ESL, Rodney W Wilson has been in the legal profession for more than 30 years and was the first local black man to be admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court and a High Court Advocate. A Highly experienced and able Higher Court Advocate and Duty Solicitor specialising in Criminal defence and Immigration law.

His experience in the field of Criminal law has been recognised by the Law Society who: granted dispensation from the requisite 2 year training contract; dispensation from the requirement to have been qualified 3 years before being permitted to open a practice, and granted the status of Higher Court Advocate by exemption.

He was Senior Lecturer in the Laws of Evidence and in Criminal Practice and Procedures at the UWE Bristol.  He is also registered as a Mentor at the City of Bristol College.  Over the years he has acted as legal advisor to the Sickle Cell and Thalassemia Centre.

His community work extends to playing for, managing and chairing local teams including St Phillips AFC, Lebeqs Tavern AFC and Lockleaze Basketball Clubs. He has given many inspirational talks to local schools, colleges, universities and other influential organisations and has supervised the qualification of a number of solicitors. He remains a positive role model for members of the community in which he was raised and continues to practice.

Rodney WIlson - Elite Solicitors Bristol

Notable Cases:

R v B 1993 – Murder reduced to Manslaughter. Setting the sentence tariff for Motor Manslaughter cases.

R v C 1997 – Murder reduced to Manslaughter at the Old Bailey.

R v G 2005 – Murder, acquitted at the Old Bailey.

R v L 2005 – Murder reduced to Manslaughter, 12 months’ Imprisonment.

R v E 2007 – Death by Dangerous Driving, reduced to Careless Driving.

R v M 2009 – Arson, group of youths burning down part of a school. Reduced to criminal damage.

R v W 2010 – £40 million drugs Conspiracy, Kingston Crown Court, acquitted.

R v A 2012 – Drugs supply in prison, Isle of White.

R v M 2014 – £600,000 Fraud case at the Old Bailey. Conditional Discharge after trial.

R v S 2015 – £1 million Drugs Conspiracy, acquitted after trial..

R v W 2016 – Murder. Issue of joint enterprise.  Acquitted after trial.

R v L 2016 – Possession of a loaded firearm with intent to endanger life, possession of ammunition, possession of class A drugs with intent to supply and possession of class B drugs. Instructed to prepare and conduct former professional footballer’s trial in London following a recommendation. All items found in Defendant’s bedroom. Acquitted after trial.

R v G 2017 – Rape.  Instructed, following a recommendation to represent a former professional footballer charged with raping a teenager. Acquitted after trial.

R v W 2018 – Murder.  Defendant acquitted of murder after throwing acid on victim who subsequently died following an assisted suicide.

R v A 2018 – Racially Aggravated threatening behaviour.  An equal rights pioneer and activist acquitted after trial following an allegation of racially aggravated threats to shoot someone.

Melissa Toney – BA/BSC PGd(Law),SA(HC)

Admitted: 2005

Cited as being “one of the City’s unsung heros who mentors and develops the next generation”,  Melissa was listed in Bristol’s inaugural BaME Powerlist showcasing the City’s top 100 inspiring, successful and influential  black and minority ethnic people.  This recognition expands the opportunities for both Melissa and ESL to continue to build beneficial relationships to help serve and shape our community and Bristol City generally.  Melissa is committed to giving inspirational talks and presentations to universities, colleges, schools, and charitable organisations.

Melissa joined the legal profession in 2005 and has practiced criminal and immigration law since, dealing with a wide and varied caseload.  She has gained extensive experience nationwide in these areas of litigation. Melissa is a Duty Solicitor and regularly advises clients at both the police station and Magistrates’ Court. She attained her Higher Rights of Audience in the Crown Court in 2006 and has defended cases prosecuted by  the CPS, HMRC, DWP, the FIU, UKBA and Trading Standards amongst others, appearing at numerous court centres including the Old Bailey.

Cases dealt with include serious and complex fraud, murder and other homicide cases, serious sexual offences including historic rape allegations, high value drugs offences as well as all matters of dishonesty and motoring cases.

Melissa manages a large and complex caseload including deportation, entry clearance, EEA and human rights matters.  She specialises in bringing applications within the immigration rules and represents clients at the First and Second Tier Tribunals.

As the firm’s Compliance Officer for Finance and Administration (COFA), Melissa plays a fundamental role in the firm’s compliance and governance arrangements.

Melissa Toney - Elite Solicitors Bristol

Notable Cases

Criminal Cases

R v D (2018) – The Defendant was  acquitted following the Judge’s directions in what was the second FGM prosecution in the UK leading to the establishment of the ‘Bristol Model’, setting the precedent for the way in which  all FGM cases in the UK are to be dealt with.

R v N (2018) – Gang Rape allegation. Acquitted.

R v H (2018) – Conspiracy to Produce Cannabis. Following representations regarding client’s vulnerability the case was discontinued by the Crown.

R v H (2018) – Rape.  The allegations were discontinued by the Crown following disclosure requests made which revealed material which undermined the Crown’s case and supported the case for the defendant.

R v H (2015) – Represented a business owner charged with a number of Trademark offences, accused of selling counterfeit tobacco and cigarettes. The defendant pleaded guilty but avoided custody.

R v B (2015) – Represented a client charged with 2 counts of being in Breach of an ASBO which was made to prevent him from attending hospitals nationwide without appointments and being abusive and threatening to staff. Despite this being his 8th breach of the order in the past 3 years following mitigation the judge passed a suspended sentence

R v S (2015) – Successfully avoided custody for a client charged with a cannabis cultivation within his own home where he lived with his disabled daughter and grand-daughter.

R v O (2015) – Secured an acquittal for a woman charged with 2 offences of assault against her son.

R v J (2014) – Successfully defended a client charged with multiple offences of assault and criminal damage against his partner.

R v O (The Old Bailey, 2014) – Following guilty pleas managed to persuade a High Court Judge that the defendant ought not to receive a custodial sentence for offences of Fraud from the DWP.

R v S (2013) – Secured an acquittal for a youth following trial in a multi handed Burglary

Immigration Cases

R v Sec of State (2018)– The Appellant was convicted of Drug related offences and received a sentence of 4 years, a decision to deport was made. After 3 years and 4 appeal hearings- 2 at the Upper tribunal and 2 at the First Tier Tribunal- his appeal was allowed and he now has further leave to remain.

M v Sec of State (2017) – Following a decision to deport after conviction of violence related offences, we successfully secured him bail and thereafter overturned the decision to have him deported to Jamaica.

H v Sec of State (2017)- Secured a residence permit for  the appellant and his children as EEA dependents after an appeal

V and N v Sec of State (2014) – Successfully appealed against the Home Office refusal of grant of Leave to remain for 2 over stayers from China. Both appellants have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain.

A v Sec of State (2014) – Represented an appellant who appealed against the Home Office refusal of an Entry Clearance Visa for a Holiday

P v Sec of State (2013) – Represented an appellant who was refused Discretionary Leave to Remain as an over stayer.

S v Sec of State (2013) – Secured immigration bail thereafter successfully appealed against the Home Office application for automatic removal of the appellant following his conviction.

P v Sec of State (2012) – Successfully represented an Ex-Army appellant who was granted Discretionary Leave to Remain to enable him to bring a civil claim against the MOD, under Art 6 ECHR following his cold –weather injury.

Ranjit Bains – BA(hons) PGd(Law)

Admitted: 2002

Ranjit is a specialist in criminal law having worked in this field for 19 years. He has expertise in a wide and varied range of cases and has gained experience in all areas of criminal litigation. Ranjit is duty qualified and advises in both the police station and Magistrates court.

Ranjit is a competent trial advocate within his field and has successfully defended a number of cases. He enjoys detailed case preparation and is an effective advocate.

Cases dealt with include murder, and those of other serious violence. Serious sexual offences including those of historic rape. Fraud and theft matters. Drug offences and money laundering, through to motoring matters and driving with excess alcohol.

Notable Cases

Coming Soon

Joanna Hooper – LLB,PGd(Law)

Admitted: 2014

Joanna started her career in Civil Litigation, specialising in Complaints Against the Police and Public Authorities. Joanna went on to qualify as an accredited police station representative in 2011 and subsequently moved in to Criminal Defence full time, as a duty qualified solicitor.

Since qualifying Joanna has rapidly established herself as a hardworking and robust defence practitioner. Joanna has experience representing both legal aid and private clients, and can tailor straightforward, honest advice to ensure her clients understand and are able to make their own informed decisions.  Joanna is passionate about the protection of vulnerable individuals at all stages within the Criminal Justice System; she will go the extra mile to ensure her clients feel  secure and protected, in what is inevitably an overwhelming and intimidating environment.

Joanna has wide ranging experience at all levels of Magistrates Court proceedings including trials in both the adult and youth Courts.  In addition, She has gained significant experience defending some of the most serious matters within Crime. In this capacity, she has acted as the lead solicitor in matters of murder, serious assaults, drug conspiracies, complex fraud and serious sexual offences.

Joanna has also dedicated time to work within the community, in particular running classes and presentations in schools on subjects such as knife crime, police powers and the role of the criminal justice system. In addition Joanna carries out presentations at Universities promoting the profession and encouraging potential young advocates into criminal defence.

Notable Cases

R v I [2015]: Successfully defended a vulnerable individual accused of assisting an offender in a high-profile murder.

R v B [2015]: Following a 6-day, multi-handed trial in the Bristol Youth Court involving the offences of Affray and Assault PC, persuaded the District Judge to avoid an immediate custodial sentence on conviction.

R v S & Others [2016]: Represented all three defendants in an allegation of assault in the context of a group attack. Following arguments around non-defendant bad-character, and hearsay evidence secured three not guilty verdicts, and the complainant was subsequently investigated for harassment.

R v S [2017]: Following guilty pleas for possession with intent to supply cannabis, persuaded the judge not to impose immediate custody, in light of the defendants age and vulnerabilities.

R v F [2017]: Successfully avoided custody for a young female charged with her second offence of possession of a blade in a public place.

Elmira Mirzayan

LLB (Law)

An experienced Paralegal, Elmira graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a degree in Law. She is soon to complete her Legal Practice Course with University of the West of England.  Recently, she has successfully completed her police station accreditation with Cardiff University and is now a fully accredited police station representative.  She is working toward becoming a qualified solicitor specialising in criminal defence.

Elmira currently handles and prepares cases for court hearings, taking instructions from clients, instructing experts, and liaising with the Crown Prosecution Service and courts. She also represents clients at the police station. Elmira deals with a wide range of offences including sexual assault, drug offences, criminal damage, offences against the person, fraud, theft, and motoring offences.

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