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Sarah has a proven track record in achieving successful outcomes for clients and specialises in defending sexual allegations and homicide. ‘A go-to QC for defence in sex cases, she works incredibly hard to get the best result.’ - Legal 500, 2018

Sarah only acts for defendants, meaning that her years of expertise are specifically honed in order to ensure that defendants get the best outcome. She has a strong reputation for winning unusual, complicated and demanding cases. Sarah knows the enormous stress and difficulty legal proceedings cause to clients and those close to them, and is skilled at dealing with the issues that arise with firmness and sensitivity.

Successful recent outcomes have included:

  • Securing the acquittal of a former British sports champion on allegations of child rape.

  • Successfully persuading the Crown Prosecution Service to accept a plea to common assault instead of sexual assault for a police officer.

  • Serious sexual allegations being dropped against two different defendants through identifying and persistently pursuing disclosure issues.

  • Negotiating sentences for two different defendants which did not trigger the notification requirements of the sexual offences register on a plea to underage sex for a man due to stand trial accused of two rapes of a child.

  • Successfully arguing for the discontinuance of proceedings against two defendants caught in sting campaigns by ‘paedophile hunters’.

  • Successfully arguing submission of no case to answer for a doctor accused of possession of indecent images of children.

What the Directories say

Sarah is a ranked individual Silk in Chambers and Partners 2019 and has been described as:

 “on the most wanted listed for heavy weight crime.” Solicitor sources for the 2018 edition say that “Sarah Elliott is hugely well prepared for every case she does. She knows the case better than anybody else in court. She’s developed a specialist sex practice. Without a doubt, she’s absolutely top notch", and "She lives, breathes and sleeps her cases. An arch strategist.” 

 

Sarah is recommended as a Leading Silk in the Legal 500 2019 who say:

Her manner and skill before a jury are a master class”. 

The 2018 edition says she is "A go-to QC for defence in sex cases, she works incredibly hard to get the best result."

 

She has been described in the directories as:

“A superb jury advocate, who knows the law from back to front.”
"one of the very best trial advocates around"
“leaving clients reassured by her manner and juries persuaded by her arguments”

 

Sarah is available for advice at all stages of criminal proceedings and regularly provides consultations for individuals and their families at the very earliest stages of an investigation, pre-police interview and pre-charge.

She also is available for advice in criminal appeals or potential appeals and ‘second opinion’ work.

Consultations can either be available in person or via video conferencing/Skype.

Sarah accepts both privately and publicly funded instructions and accepts cases under the Public Access scheme.

She is also available by private instruction for a wide variety of criminal work and at all stages of proceedings.

Please contact Richard Vile from our practice management team for further details. 

Homicide and Related Grave Offences

Sarah specialises in defending the most difficult and demanding of homicide cases which require a particularly careful approach.

In 2019 instructions include representing a woman accused of beating a man to death, (leading David Rhodes) and representing a woman accused of the attempted murder of her 3 month old baby.

Recent homicide and related grave offences cases include: 

  • In 2018 she secured a manslaughter conviction by reason of diminished responsibility for a client charged with murdering his grandmother by trying to behead her, leading Daniella Waddoup.

  • In 2017 she represented a man accused of causing brain damage to his flat mate by beating him and making a video of drinking the victim’s blood.

  • Also in 2017 she secured a manslaughter conviction for a man accused of the incredibly brutal murder of a criminal solicitor.

  • In 2016 she secured an acquittal for a man accused of the ‘mercy killing’ of his father.

  • Also in 2016 she defended a man extradited from Ireland for the murder of his landlord and concealment of his body. The accused was a convicted child sex offender who alleged the landlord asked for sex in lieu of rent.

  • She also represented one of 7 young defendants accused of a ferocious gang murder in Hoxton.

  • She successfully defended in a ‘taking a weapon to the scene’ murder, resulting in acceptable pleas to significantly less serious offences with no life sentence.

Serious Sexual Offences

Sarah is one of the leading silks at the Bar for defending sexual allegations. She is counsel of choice for solicitors and those accused of sexual offences because of her proven track record in achieving successful outcomes in all types of cases, from multiple rape allegations to possession of indecent images, and at all stages of proceedings from pre-charge to appeal.

She is known for her tactical skill and determination in achieving positive results for clients while providing them with a sympathetic and sensitive approach.

Sarah is regularly asked to provide pre-charge advice and can assist solicitors and clients through all of the early stages of proceedings. She is able to advise on the consequential effects of allegations of sexual offending and on reputation management. She is available for post-trial appeal advice and ‘second opinion’ work.

In 2019 Sarah’s instructions include representing,

  • A religious minister accused of historic sexual allegations.

  • A father accused of multiple counts of child cruelty and familial sexual offending.

  • A young foreign student accused of rape where the complainant was highly intoxicated.

  • A defendant accused of breaching a restrictive order by ‘stalking’ his former partner.

In 2018 Sarah,

  • Secured the acquittal of a man on allegations of sexual touching of his step daughter.

  • Persuaded the CPS to accept a plea to common assault rather than the sexual assault charged, thereby avoiding the notification requirements of the sexual offences register.

  • Achieved the acquittal of a former British sports champion on allegations of child rape.

  • Successfully negotiated a plea and sentencing outcome which avoided an elderly defendant being placed on the sexual offences register.

In 2017 Sarah,

  • Secured the acquittal of a GP accused of a sexual assault upon one of his staff at work.

  • Successfully defended a manager of a boy band on allegations of sexual grooming of a child.

  • Secured a non-custodial sentence for an 18-year-old accused of rape after successfully negotiating a plea to sexual activity with a child.

  • Achieved not guilty verdicts for a pastor accused of a brutal night time sex attack.

  • Ensured no further action to be taken in the case of a senior member of the legal profession accused of outraging public decency.


In 2016 Sarah,

  • Successfully defended an 18 year old on work experience in a school accused of sexual assaulting an 11 year old pupil.

  • Secured the acquittal of a celebrity businessman accused of paying a 13 year old for sex.

  • Ran a successful defence in the absence of a defendant who had absconded in a rape trial, relying on consent defence.

  • Secured the acquittal of a man accused of raping and beating his wife.


Sarah has been instructed in many high profile cases and complex cases including (in 2016) the defence of a celebrity business man accused of paying a child for sex; (in 2015) defending a young woman accused of running and participating in a paedophile ring; and the defence of a clergyman arrested as part of the investigation into Bishop Peter Ball and concealment of abuse within the Anglican Church. Also in 2015 she defended in two further large scale prosecutions of non-recent sexual offending, the systemic sexual abuse in a Kent care home of boys with learning difficulties over a 30-year period and the historic sexual abuse of boys in two prominent Catholic boarding schools.