Andrew O’Byrne QC – Head of the Criminal Group


Phone: 0161 214 1500

Year of Silk: 2006

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“Eloquent yet concise, and instils complete confidence in clients.” Legal 500 2017

“Recommended for heavyweight murder and fraud cases.” Legal 500 2017

“Head of the Crime group and a leading silk who possesses an in-depth knowledge of all areas of criminal law. He continues to act in all areas of serious and complex crime, and has extensive experience of handling homicides, large-scale drug importations and historic sex allegations”.

Strengths: “He has consistently provided an excellent service and has a very good bedside manner”. “He has a very good grasp of the details and is able to win over very difficult clients. His presence in court is exactly what you would expect from a top silk”. Chambers & Partners 2017


Andrew O’Byrne QC is a leading Silk who practises throughout the country.  He was Leader of the Northern Circuit (2014-2016) and has featured in the Legal 500 and Chambers UK. He is an extremely experienced, heavyweight practitioner who is well regarded by his lay and professional clients.

He is also willing to provide pre-charge advice and likes to get involved with a case as early as possible.  He is qualified to carry out Direct Access Work.

Chambers & Partners (2009) referred to him as “a fantastic jury advocate”.

The Legal 500 (2011) as “a very intelligent and able advocate whose formidable skills are enhanced by a polite and amiable nature”.

“One of the most considered, capable silks on circuit.” Legal 500 2015

A natural in the courtroom, and always well prepared.”

“He is the circuit leader. He’s formidable – an excellent advocate with great judgement.” “He’s not only meticulously well organised and prepared, but also incredibly personable and very easy to work with.” Chambers & Partners 2015

“A well-respected silk with a long history defending and prosecuting high-level criminal cases. He has a practice that stretches beyond the Northern Circuit and has recently worked on complex murder and fraud matters.
Strengths: “He’s calm and very good with juries. He never loses sight of the wood from the trees.” Chambers & Partners 2016

“Calm under pressure, he instils complete confidence in clients” Legal 500 2016

“A silk with great character and strength.” Legal 500 2016

He is also respected by his peers.  A fellow Silk has endorsed him on LinkedIn as “a comfortingly able co-defence counsel; a worryingly able opponent”.

Andrew is Head of the Chambers’ Criminal Group and a Bencher of Gray’s Inn.


  • Crime

    Notable Cases

    R v Barber and others – Birmingham Crown Court. Defence Counsel in major drug importation case. September/October 2006.

    R v Callaghan – Manchester Crown Court. Leading Counsel for the Prosecution in cold case review Murder. November 2006.

    R v Letts and others – Birmingham Crown Court. Leading Counsel for the Defence in then biggest drug importation case in the Midlands. October 2007.

    R v Harris and others – Preston Crown Court. Leading Counsel for Defence in so called “Goth” killing of  Sophie Lancaster. 2008

    R v Michael Williams – Manchester Crown Court. Leading Counsel for the Defence in a widely publicised Murder case reduced to Manslaughter. October 2010.

    R v Claire Flanagan – Manchester Crown Court. Represented a defendant who was charged with the Murder of her child, aged 15 months. Acquitted of Murder. October 2010.

    R v C D and others – Liverpool Crown Court. Homeless man kicked to death by teenagers. March/April 2013.

    R v Paul Hamilton – Central Criminal Court. Murder of another family member in street fight. January/February 2014.

    R v Mark Slater – Chester Crown Court. Defence Counsel for lorry driver convicted of a “Road Rage Murder”. August 2014.

    Historic Sex Allegations

    R v H – Manchester Crown Court. Allegations of sexual assault against a retired Scoutmaster spanning 20 plus years. January 2013.

    R v Howell – Manchester Crown Court. Rape in city centre car park 24 years previously, Defence Counsel. November 2013.

    R v Amanda Spencer – Sheffield Crown Court. Recruitment of young girls in care for prostitution. February / May 2014.

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  • Regulatory

    Notable Cases

    R v Preston, the Ford Motor Company and others – Winchester Crown Court. Corporate Manslaughter, employee drowned in paint recyling paint tank at Ford Motor Company, Southampton. June 2003.

    R v Nineham – Preston Crown Court. Defence Counsel. Trial involving alleged unlawful waste recycling stayed after five weeks of Abuse of Process Argument. April / May 2013.

    R v Sanders – Mold Crown Court. Defence Counsel in case concerning Death of employee at work. August 2014.

    R v Jagger- CCA. Instructed in appeal as to definition of waste in construction industry. October 2014.

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  • Fraud - Criminal

    Fraud / VHCC Notable Cases

    R v Amin and others – Maidstone Crown Court. Leading Junior for Defence in major VAT Fraud. September to December 2005.

    R v Rahman and others – Leicester Crown Court. Leading Counsel for Defence in large VAT fraud in volving motor vehicles. 2009.

    R v Boston and others [Operation Inertia] – Kingston Crown Court. Leading Counsel for Defence in £120 million VAT Fraud. Involved from November 2009, final hearing, POCA, due October 2015.

    R v Durose and others – Northampton Crown Court. Leading Counsel for Defence in scrap metal VAT Fraud. January / March 2012.

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  • Public Access

    Andrew is accredited by the Bar Standards Board to accept Public Access cases. For more information about Public Access and instructing a Public Access accredited barrister please click here.

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