John Butterfield QC - Crime
John has practised exclusively in crime, both prosecuting and defending, since his call to the Bar.
He has extensive experience in all types of homicide cases as well as grave sexual offences and cases involving serious violence. He is routinely approached to conduct cases of the highest sensitivity and complexity.
He has conducted cases which have involved elements of Police Discipline, ‘undercover’ police operations, Foreign Letters of Request and all aspects of Public Interest Immunity. John also has substantial experience in fraud cases.
Grade Four/Level 4 CPS Prosecutor (achieved at the age of 31).
He has prosecuted Counter-Terrorism Unit investigations in Operation Yapton and the upcoming Operation Thorp.
Included on the CPS Special Advocate Panel July 2013
Attorney-General's List of Approved Counsel (List B).
Sits as a Recorder
LLB First Class (Honours) Liverpool
President of the Legal Society
Bar Vocational Exam (Inns of Court very competent)
Recipient of the Sir Thomas Moore Bursary (Inns of Court School of Law)
Hardwicke Scholar (Lincoln’s Inn)
Qualified Pupil Supervisor
Member of the Midland Circuit
Member of the CBA
Junior Counsel in “Operation Stanstead” (R v Ellis & Others) - the “New Years’ shootings” case.
Prosecution Counsel in R v Pritchett and others (the “Cuddles” brothel case, Operation Larman).
Defence Counsel in leading authorities on witness intimidation (R v Patrascu) the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (R v Colohan) and the law of hearsay (see the recent cases section, Richard Boothman, below).
Acted more than once in fraud cases lasting over 5 months, in R v Mudhar & others (Defending, Led by a Silk) and the “Centrex Fraud” (Prosecuting, Led by a Senior Junior).
Prosecuted a large number of the cases arising from the 2005 Birmingham Riots (Operations Siluga, Mehari and Geronda). The offences included murder and violent disorder as well as firearms charges.
Led by a Silk in the complex and sensitive undercover officer cases Operation Pragmatic (leading to a multi-handed trial lasting 3 months) Operation Glebe and Operation Pragmatic 2.
Ralph McConnell. Defending an alleged cannabis importer in a trial lasting 3 months. (Led by a Senior Junior.)
Jury acquittal secured.
Elizabeth Dalton. A stabbing murder emanating from Warwick which was tried at Birmingham. Led by a Silk.
The Moosab trials. Rape and numerous other sexual offences based on the systemic degradation of young females by their Father and brothers. Multi-handed prosecution over two trials.
Operation Nallart (Highfield & others). A multi-handed prosecution at Wolverhampton Crown Court on charges relating to Class A drugs, money laundering and firearms.
Operation Balopy (Najafi & others). Prosecuting fraudsters who arranged fraudulent loans with the assistance of a corrupt employee of a major bank. The dishonesty included wide-scale identity theft by the alteration of details on the electoral roll and the creation of fictitious companies.
Operation Enact (R v Hoolichan). A highly sensitive manslaughter prosecution arising from the ‘body in the river’ case of the death of Jack MacLeod. Led by a Silk.
Prosecuted numerous multi-handed drugs cases including Operation Fatique (Miller & others) Operation Muscadet (Akhtar & others), Operation Diversify/Trooth (a 13-handed case leading to two separate trials, acting as a Leading Junior) and Operation Flurrie part 1 (a 10-handed trial, acting as a Leading Junior).
Prosecuted the firearms/robbery cases of Operation Stargaze (part 1 and 2) and also (as a Leading Junior) the countrywide building-work fraud which targeted elderly victims namely Operation Mustang.
Richard Boothman (the Crown’s Operation Variation 2). Defending charges of Class A drug-dealing in a multi-handed indictment. Now a leading case on the law of hearsay, reported as R v Twist and others.
Defending an alleged drug dealer who also faced money-laundering allegations with an indictment span of 6 years. Not guilty verdicts secured. Police Operations Torchio and Redchange.
Defending a large-scale fraud perpetrated on the budget of the West Midlands Police and which had formerly-serving police officers as Defendants. It was alleged that the proceeds of fraud were laundered through 3rd-party business and Mr. Willn alleged to have assisted in that way. The Crown’s Operation Acumen. Rulings obtained at the start of the trial obliged the Crown to offer no evidence.
Defending. The violent armed robbery of commercial premises (the Crown’s Operation Sport) whereby the owner of a motor repair business was stabbed, shot and the subject of an attempted kidnap.
The defendant accepted he drove the armed robbers to the scene but sought to maintain a defence of duress.
His acquittal by the jury marks a rare instance of such a defence succeeding.
Paul Ayre and others
Prosecuting as Leading Junior. A sensitive multi-handed case in that it was acknowledged one Defendant had been registered as a Covert Human Intelligence Source (CHIS) –i.e. police informant.
Witness anonymity orders were made for officers including his case handler
Believed to be one of the first cases in UK regarding methamphetamine.
The indictment also included a heroin importation valued at £1 and a quarter million and a conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Concerned with the distribution of ‘cutting agents’ in such amounts as could have been used to generate Class A drugs worth £2billion.
Defending a man charged with sexual assault. Objection taken to the admissibility of the DNA evidence. Became part of a conjoined appeal which is now a major authority on the admissibility of DNA evidence, reported as Dlugosz, Pickering and MDS.
Kieron Powell & Tallon Walford
A sensitive prosecution which involved calling the sight-restricted, brain-damaged, epileptic victim to give evidence of rape by two males including her half-brother.
Defending multiple charges of rape & sexual assaults in a complicated family context. Acquittals secured on the only counts the jury could decide upon.
Defending multiple historic allegations of rape and indecency with a child in charges going back over 30 years previously.
Ibrahim Lyazi & others
Prosecuting a complex 9-handed bank robbery trial whereby the West Bromwich branch of the Co-op was attacked in broad daylight by males armed with batons and £130,000 taken. Acting as a Leading Junior. Convictions secured.
Defending a surveyor charged as part of a voluminous conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud.
Acquitted after a 2-month trial.