Viewing: Crime for John Butterfield QC

“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.
“He is a class act. He has a very strong work ethic.“
Chambers UK 2019
Notable Cases
Notable Cases
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 and others) and the admissibility of DNA evidence (Dlugosz and 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 GBP 2million.
Junior Counsel in “Operation Stanstead” (R v Ellis and Others) - the “New Years’ shootings” case.
Recent Cases
R v M
Defending a 16 year old female in the Crown’s Operation Herd, the murder trial which followed the death of Lyrico Steede. Conviction for murder avoided.
Brandon Dowen and another
Defending a young man charged with manslaughter (in the Crown’s Operation Pannier) following the death of taxi driver Ishfaq Hussain.
Operation Mohawk.
Prosecuting a 4-handed trial on Class A drugs and money laundering conspiracies. All Defendants convicted at trial.
Haroon Rafiq
Prosecuting Operation Skipper, the murder of Sajid Hussain. Murder conviction returned by the jury.
Paul Smith and another
Defending Paul Smith in the Crown’s Operation Gateway, the highly-publicised manslaughter trial which followed the death by drowning of Charlie Dunn.
Operation Sodium.
Prosecuting a 9-handed trial on Class A drugs conspiracies and other charges. All Defendants convicted at trial.
Operations Rake and Anchor
Prosecuting an eleven-handed prosecution on a variety of firearms and Class A drugs charges. The sentences of imprisonment following convictions totalled over 100 years.
R v Y. A.
The prosecution of a 16 year old charged with attempted murder following a street stabbing. Convicted at trial.
Operation Earsh
Prosecuted two defendants on charges including murder and attempted murder. Murder conviction obtained.
Damian Borowiec
Defending a murder case (the Crown’s Operation Door) in an alleged beating to death. A murder conviction avoided at re-trial following the inability of the original jury to return a verdict.
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 GBP 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.
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.
Lucy Panton
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)
Member of the Midland Circuit
Member of the CBA
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

Latest News & Publications

John Butterfield QC and Simon Hunka are acting for the defence in a murder trial in which a couple are accused of killing a homeless woman...

Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2019
A convicted murderer making headlines for warning teenagers of the risks of arming themselves with knives was prosecuted by John Butterfield QC of No5 Barristers’ Chambers at his 2015 trial....

Date: Fri, 20 Sep 2019
No5 Barristers’ Chambers’ John Butterfield QC is leading the prosecution of a man accused of killing his friend with a single stab wound last summer....

Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2019