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Year of Call:  1995

Year of Silk:  2014

John Butterfield QC Crime CV

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Senior Practice Manager
Andrew Trotter

Practice Group Clerks
Craig Nicholls
Michael Powell 
Drew Platt
James Harte
Daniel Lillis
Marc Forrest-Thomas

Chief Executive & Director of Clerking
Tony McDaid

Tel: +44 (0) 845 210 5555
Fax: +44 (0) 121 606 1501
[email protected]

John Butterfield QC - Crime

“An exemplary advocate.”
“Without doubt one of the best performing.”
“Each case is meticulously prepared.”
“A persuasive and impressive manner.”
“First rate.”
“Amongst the best.”
“Knows how to exploit weaknesses in his opponents’ cases.”

John has practised exclusively in crime, both prosecuting and defending, since his call to the Bar.

John is one of the very few Criminal Law barristers to have been feted by the Times in their 'Lawyer of the Week' section.

He has extensive experience in all types of homicide cases as well as grave sexual offences and matters 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 trials.

Prior to taking Silk John was a Grade 4/Level 4 CPS Prosecutor for over a decade.


Achieved national publicity for his defence of a journalist facing a charge of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office as part of the Crown’s Operation Elveden investigation. The coverage included full-page national newspapers reports on a closing speech described by experienced media commentators as "Brilliant" and "A masterclass".

Kathryn Smith. Represented the Mother in the intensely-publicised murder trial which followed the death of 21 month old Ayeeshia-Jayne Smith who was said to have sustained injuries of a severity such as would be seen in the victim of a car crash.

Defence Counsel in leading Court of Appeal authorities on witness intimidation (R v Patrascu) the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (R v Colohan) the law of hearsay (Twist & others) and the admissibility of DNA evidence (Dlugosz & others).

John has prosecuted Counter-Terrorism Unit investigations in Operation Yapton and Operation Thorp. Both were ‘disruption’ prosecutions which involved detailed consideration of the sort of sensitive unused material generated in CTU cases.

Prosecuted 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, in which consideration of RIPA authorities and covert material was paramount. Led by a Silk.

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.

Prosecution Counsel in R v Pritchett and others (the “Cuddles” brothel case, Operation Larman) a case which attracted substantial national publicity and led to a confiscation order in the sum of £2million.

Junior Counsel in “Operation Stanstead” (R v Ellis & Others) - the “New Years’ shootings” case.


Operation Earsh
Prosecuting two defendants on charges including murder and attempted murder.

Damian Borowiec
Defending a murder case (the Crown’s Operation Door) in an alleged beating to death.

R v PC ‘W’ (Leeds Crown Court)
Defending a police officer accused of the sexual assault of a member of the public and misconduct in a public office. Secured an acquittal which was returned by the jury in under ten minutes.

Trevor Connor and others.
Defending the Crown’s Operation Absolver -a case alleging importation of heroin with a potential street value of £4.8million.

Kathryn Smith
See notable cases, above.

Joel Jones
Defending. Secured acquittal on a charge of causing death by careless driving in a case which attracted local and national publicity.

Atiqzoy and others
Successfully prosecuted Operation Jitiri (a multi-handed stabbing murder).
All Defendants were convicted on all charges.

Ross Gill
Defending a manslaughter case.
Secured a plea on a favourable basis to a reduced number of Counts and with an agreement that the Crown would discontinue against all those who were co-accused.

Nicola Coleman.
Defending. Successfully applied for the charge of murder to be withdrawn at the close of the evidence in the trial of a fatal stabbing.

Santhosh Rajan
Successfully applied for an acquittal to be directed at the close of the Prosecution case in a high profile care-home manslaughter allegation which attracted national publicity.

Defending in Operation Elveden (see notable cases, above).


Queen's Counsel
Included on the CPS Special Advocate Panel July 2013
Attorney-General's List of Approved Counsel (List B)


LLB First Class (Honours) Liverpool
President of the Legal Society
Bar Vocational Exam (Inns of Court School of Law - 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