WORLD-OBITS-L ArchivesArchiver > WORLD-OBITS > 2007-02 > 1170705176
From: "Peter McCrae" <>
Subject: [W-OBITS] STOKES: David Mayhew Allen Stokes 29/9/2004
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2007 19:52:56 -0000
His Honour David Stokes
Last Updated: 1:46am GMT 05/11/2004
His honour David Stokes, who has died aged 60, was a leading barrister on
the South-Eastern Circuit and a much-respected Old Bailey judge after his
appointment to the Central Criminal Court in 1999.
A skilful and persuasive advocate, Stokes was involved in a number of
widely-reported cases while at the Bar.
In 1998 he successfully prosecuted a childminder who had killed a baby boy
left in her care.
A year earlier he had acted for the Crown in the trial of Squadron Leader
Nicholas Tucker, who was convicted of killing his wife after he had become
infatuated with a glamorous young Serbian translator.
But his most high-profile case was in 1995, when he prosecuted the then Dean
of Lincoln, the Very Rev Brandon Jackson, in a consistory court.
The Dean was accused of "conduct unbecoming", having allegedly conducted an
adulterous affair with a former verger, Miss Verity Freestone, who was
nearly 30 years his junior.
The Dean denied the charge and was acquitted - but not before Stokes had
entertained the court with the image of Dr Brandon appearing on Miss
Freestone's doorstep, after evensong, decked out in his jogging clothes.
David Mayhew Allen Stokes was born on February 12 1944. He was educated at
Radley and the Institut de Touraine at Tours. He then went on to Churchill
College, Cambridge, where he read History and Law.
He was admitted as a student at Gray's Inn in 1964 and called to the Bar
four years later.
Practising first from 12 King's Bench Walk, and then from 5 Paper Buildings,
Stokes did much of his work in East Anglia, and he was highly regarded by
the legal community at Norwich Crown Court.
He took Silk in 1989, having been appointed a recorder in 1985.
His arrival at the Old Bailey in 1999 was the beginning of an extremely
happy period in his professional life; he loved the work and won admiration
for his patience, firmness, courtesy and humour.
He was never successfully appealed.
He presided over a number of lurid trials, including that of a retired
shopkeeper who chopped off his mother's head with an axe; when police
examined the man's flat in west London they discovered 12 guns, 2,500 rounds
of ammunition, six axes, 40 knives, knuckle dusters, thunder-flashes, smoke
grenades, arrows, blowpipes and catapults.
In 1999 Stokes gave four life terms to Richard Baker, the former disc jockey
who became a serial rapist; and the following year he jailed for life the
paedophile Robert Jebson, who had confessed to murdering two children, 30
years earlier, in the so-called "Babes in the Wood" case.
In 2002 Stokes declined to imprison an elderly man who had suffocated his
78-year-old wife, a victim of motor neurone disease. The judge said that to
witness her suffering must have been "well nigh unbearable", and imposed a
three-year community rehabilitation order.
Six months earlier he had shown less sympathy to a Rolls-Royce driver who
waved a gun at a London cabbie in Mayfair.
Jailing the businessman for five months, Stokes remarked: "I don't know what
got into you, although I suppose showing off to your friends had a great
deal to do with it."
Stokes was a member of the General Council of the Bar from 1989 to 1991, and
chairman of its Professional Conduct Committee in 1997-98, a demanding
responsibility which he discharged with great skill.
He was chairman of the Cambridge and East Anglia Bar messes, and became a
Bencher of Gray's Inn in 1998.
Stokes was a gifted teacher of advocacy, and instructed law students and
young barristers in Britain as well as in Canada (every summer he would take
courses at York University, Toronto).
He also acted as a judge in competitions among schools which staged mock
Outside his profession, music was a passion. He took a particular interest
in the Suzuki method of teaching music, and was a trustee and director of
the London Suzuki Group from 1988 to 1994.
He was a long-standing member of the Madrigal Society.
Stokes's expressive features and his brilliance as a mimic were deployed to
good effect in amateur dramatics.
Every year, during Canterbury Cricket Week, he appeared in a production by
the Old Stagers, said to be the world's oldest dramatic society.
David Stokes died from cancer on September 29. He married, in 1970,
Elizabeth (Liz) Evans, who survives him with a son and a daughter.
|[W-OBITS] STOKES: David Mayhew Allen Stokes 29/9/2004 by "Peter McCrae" <>|