Richard first started practising criminal law in 1995. He has several high profile and
successful cases to his name. He acts as both defence counsel and prosecution.
Richard acted as prosecutor against a jailhouse snitch who made false allegations about his cellmate accused of a double murder. The successful prosecution on eight counts of perjury resulted in a base sentence of 9 ½ years
imprisonment, and raised public awareness about the reliability of
The name of the Secret Witness was
revealed as Roberto Conchie Harris
after an application to lift the
permanent suppression order was made by Richard
and Arthur Taylor in the Court of Appeal.
Harris appealed his sentence claiming it was manifestly excessive. The Court of Appeal dismissed the case. While it conceded this was not the most serious offending in its class, it stated "it was, as Mr Francois submits, certainly near to that category of case". Refer Harris v Taylor  NZCA 393 at para .
In terms of criminal defence, Richard has defended clients charged with offences ranging from assault to homocide, In terms of precedents, he established a landmark case in Litten v Police (1996) 13 CRNZ 604 (CA). The Court of Appeal held that a person in custody is entitled to more than a single Bill of Rights warning (Miranda warning), because in certain circumstances the right extends to a detainee to have it
repeated more than once.