Police probe sudden death of Stephen O’Rourke QC

Police probe sudden death of Stephen O’Rourke QC

Stephen O'Rourke QC

Scottish Legal News is sad to report that highly respected silk and principal crown counsel Stephen O’Rourke QC has died suddenly at the age of 45.

It is understood that Mr O’Rourke’s body was discovered at his home yesterday afternoon.

His death is being investigated by police; the procurator fiscal is aware and will be involved as required. The formal processes for identification have not been completed.

Mr O’Rourke had taken up the senior role in the Crown Office in September this year.

He studied law at Edinburgh and Bologna Universities and had a mixed practice at the bar. He was a member of the Institute of Chartered Arbitrators and was also an author – his novel The Crown Agent was published in 2019 and was compared to the work of Robert Louis Stevenson and John Buchan.

Mr O’Rourke served as an advocate depute from 2010 to 2013, and from 2013 to 2017 was a standing junior counsel to the advocate general for Scotland. He took silk in 2017.

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC said: “It was with deep sorrow that I heard the tragic news that our dear colleague and friend Stephen O’Rourke QC has died suddenly.

“Stephen made a lasting impression on everyone he met and his loss will be sorely felt by his family, friends, colleagues and the many, many people who were privileged to have known him.

“I was delighted when he agreed to become principal crown counsel earlier this year and was very grateful for the depth of knowledge, enthusiasm, integrity and leadership he brought to Crown Office in that role.

“My thoughts are with all those who held Stephen dear while we all come to terms with this profound loss.”

Dean of Faculty, Roddy Dunlop QC, said: “Stephen was an inspiration to many and a friend to all. I am, as I know many will be, utterly distraught that we have lost him.

“I grow increasingly concerned at the isolating effect and impact on wellbeing created by the ongoing (and understandable) diktats and restrictions caused by this damned virus. I would please ask all to remember that support is available for anyone who is struggling. Do not suffer in silence.”

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