Lester Cordwell, one of founders of Guardian Chambers, is a specialist criminal defence Lawyer who has successfully defended in the most serious and complex of criminal cases.
Drawing on his 29 years' criminal experience, Lester aims to achieve the best possible outcome for all his clients in every case.
Lester has a reputation as an outstanding trial lawyer who has represented defendants in more than 150 jury trials. He knows his clients only engage him when they find themselves in trouble and he is dedicated to helping alleviate the stress associated with negotiating the criminal justice system. That means he will make himself available to discuss your case and will always provide clients with sound and timely advice. Consequently, he is often sought out and personally requested by clients he has previously represented.
His representation is founded on excellent legal knowledge, comprehensive and precise preparation, exceptional judgment, highly skilled advocacy and access to experts and investigators.
Lester has extensive experience in defending all types of criminal cases. He has been lead counsel in a wide spectrum of trials involving murder and manslaughter allegations, gang violence, armed robbery, kidnapping and other serious assaults.
Additionally, Lester has a wealth of experience and has successfully defended clients facing the most serious of sexual offences and charges involving adult and child complainants in recent and historical sexual abuse allegations.
Lester has a strong appellate practice arguing serious miscarriages of justice in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. He is frequently contacted by those convicted of serious crimes (or their family/whanau) and instructed to review their case to determine if grounds exist for an appeal. He has had many convictions overturned after arguing successful appeals in such serious cases as murder, armed robbery, drug cases and serious sexual offending.
Lester has defended clients facing serious drugs charges involving importation, manufacture and the supply of illegal drugs and has been lead counsel in some of the most serious drug operation trials during the past 15 years.
Lester also has substantial experience in high profile fraud matters involving clients charged with a broad range of white collar crime including money laundering and document fraud. He is regularly asked to advise clients in the early stages of serious fraud investigations and has achieved significant results in complex cases.
His relationships with his clients are based on his understanding of the stress that criminal charges place on them and their families. Lester is considered a tenacious and dedicated defence lawyer who has always been passionate about the pursuit of justice.
In recent years he has been contacted and instructed by the Ministry of Justice to be an 'amicus curiae' in the District Court, High Court and the Court of Appeal to assist defendants who are self-represented. This ensures that the accused person knows all the court procedures and options available to them in the conduct of their defence.
Lester is a member of the Criminal Bar Association and over the years has been guest lecturer at the University of Auckland on the subject of criminal defence practice. He has also been a guest speaker at the Public Defence Service national conference on the subject of 'handling difficult judges'.
He defends clients on a privately funded basis or on legal aid if a client cannot afford to pay for legal representation.