Stephen O’Rourke QC named principal crown counsel; new roles created for Alex Prentice QC

Stephen O’Rourke QC named principal crown counsel; new roles created for Alex Prentice QC

Stephen O'Rourke QC

Stephen O’Rourke QC has been appointed principal crown counsel, replacing Alex Prentice QC in the role.

Mr O’Rourke, whose seniority is immediately below that of the lord advocate and solicitor general, will lead the advocate depute team.

He studied law at Edinburgh and Bologna Universities and had a mixed practice at the bar. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Arbitrators and is also an author – his novel The Crown Agent was published in 2019. Mr O’Rourke served as an advocate depute from 2010 to 2013 and from 2013-2017 was a standing junior counsel to the advocate general for Scotland. He took silk in 2017.

Richard Goddard QC will become assistant principal crown counsel.

In recognition of his high professional standing, a new role has been established for Mr Prentice, who is now senior trial counsel. He will also become the Crown Office’s first director of advocate depute training.

The Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain QC, said: “I would like to thank Alex for his distinguished service as principal crown counsel for the last 10 years. Throughout all of this time Alex has provided support and guidance to the team of advocate deputes and successfully conducted many high profile and complex criminal trials and appeals.

“Of the significant cases he has prosecuted with outstanding skill and dedication, of which there are simply too many to list here, I would wish to highlight the shotgun murder at the Marmion public house in Edinburgh, the murder of Surjit Singh Chokkhar, the murder of Suzanne Pilley and the retrial in the murder of Arlene Fraser. He was also responsible for the conduct of the very challenging and complex trial of Rachel Fee and Nyomi Fee who were convicted of the murder of their son Liam and led the successful prosecution of former MSP Tommy Sheridan for perjury.”

She added: “Stephen is well established at the senior bar with a wealth of experience across criminal law as well as acting for government, commercial and private clients. Stephen joins us from the Faculty of Advocates and I am confident his work on civil liberties, public and administrative law as well as his strong leadership qualities will set him up for success in his new role.”

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