Criminal Barrister, Mark Robinson had a truly unconventional path into the legal profession, with the odds having been against him.
At only 3 months old, Mark, physically abused by his birth mother, was placed in foster care, where he stayed until he was adopted six years later. Growing up in Forest Gate, he was excluded from secondary school and finished secondary education without any qualifications, after which he subsequently joined a gang.
When accused of stealing a push bike around the age of 16, Mark found himself at youth court, and received a referral order to probation where his probation officer willed him to find a different path. Mark, taking inspiration from her, vowed to make something more of himself; he recalls this as the turning point for his life.
Seeking more inspiration and purpose, Mark began his next endeavor – music. Attending a warehouse party in the summer of 1992 ignited an ambition in him to DJ. He used his savings and acquired a cheap set of turntables.
Surrounded by haters, people asserted that he would never make it as a DJ. Mark ignored them and would be rewarded for his perseverance with his own show on BBC Radio 1Xtra in 2007, signing a record deal and releasing an album with Ministry of Sound in 2009 and DJing around the world, throughout the USA, Canada and Europe. Mark played several genres of music over his 20-yearillustrious music career, from Jungle, Drum n Bass (which is still his favourite dance music) to House & Garage, UKG, Funky House, UK Funky and Tech House.
Things were going well until one night in the summer of 2012, Mark hosted an event, where a close friend was stabbed and unfortunately killed. Upon much reflection, he chose to retire from music.
Sometime after, things went from bad to worse, when in May of 2013 a disagreement with a jealous ex-partner of his now wife culminated in Mark being accused of attacking the ex with a hammer and charged with Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm.
His knowledge of the legal system was almost nothing, however, growing frustrations with his preferred choice of counsel, whose trial unfortunately overran, meant that Mark ended up representing himself in Woolwich Crown Court in May of 2014 with less than 24 hours to prepare.
The prosecutor of the first trial took of his wig and went to put it on Mark’s head and said, “You should become an advocate”. Mark dismissed it at the time, but the prosecution barrister spoke something into being over Mark’s life.
Mark had a hung jury on the first trial and was forced to have a retrial, which Mark say’s nearly destroyed his mental health, however, his faith in God kept him going and at the conclusion of the second trial in November 2014, he was unanimously acquitted in under 90 minutes.
Mark received some career advice from the police officer that originally arrested him for the assault, who told him about the accredited police station legal representative scheme. Mark was then taken on by the solicitor’s firm that did his litigation over his two Crown Court trials.
Mark’s life was once again altered by a diagnosis of dyspraxia. Nevertheless, he began reading law at Birkbeck University of London in September of 2015 after having earned his place through an impressive case analysis test and graduated in June of 2018 with a high 2:1. Not bad for somebody with no GCSE’s and A levels.
Mark was working at a Youth Criminal Justice charity, Spark2Life at the time and worked with a particular young person who had their solicitor based in East London. Mark went to the firm to drop off a legal document and got into conversation with one of the partners of the firm. Impressed by his story, the partners at the solicitors took him out to dinner, where he was offered a Training Contract before he had even completed his second-year university exams.
Mark qualified as a solicitor, in June 2020 but always knowing his passion was advocacy, he transferred to the bar after receiving a full exemption from pupillage (barrister training) from the Bar Standards Board in October 2020.
Mark was called to the bar on 30 November 2020 and was offered a tenancy with a prestigious Central London Barrister’s Chambers, Great James Street and has been practicing from there since 1 December.
Mark is predominantly a criminal defence practitioner and regular instructed for all matters in the Crown, Magistrates and Youth Courts.
Mark also specialises in Media and Entertainment Law, bringing with him a wealth of experience from his BBC Radio 1Xtra days and also specialises in Public Inquests and Inquiries, Prison Law and Extradition.
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