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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 fantastic trial lawyer – one of the very best cross-examiners of tricky witnesses’. ‘She lives breathes and sleeps her cases and is an arch strategist’ – Chambers & Partners.

Sarah specialises in defending and 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.

Recent successful outcomes in 2019 and 2020 have included:

  • Successful defence of a young man with Asperger’s charged with a “Tinder app” rape.

  • Successful defence of rabbi accused by four men of historic child sexual abuse.

  • Securing the acquittal of one of Britain’s ‘Most Wanted’ on charges of multi-million-pound drug supply.

  • Obtaining a suspended sentence for a man who had pleaded guilty to arranging to meet a 13-year-old for penetrative sex.

  • Successful defence of a businessman accused of breaching a restraining order and stalking.

What the Directories say

Sarah is a ranked individual Silk in Chambers and Partners 2021 who say:

“Produces brilliant cross-examinations and amazing closing speeches. She is both great on the detail and good at stepping back and looking at the wider perspective. “

“Sarah is a fierce advocate who understands juries impeccably”.

“She is a tough opponent and takes the right points firmly”.

Solicitor sources for previous editions have described her as:

“on the most wanted listed for heavy weight crime.”

“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”.

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

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

“The go-to silk for sex cases”

The current edition says

“Her core strengths are having an incredible attention to detail; but also an ability to step back from a case and provide overall strategic advice. Her cross-examination of witnesses perceived as being vulnerable is incredibly skilful. It is an incredibly difficult art; but Sarah is a master of it.”

She has also 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 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 Marc Gilby 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 flatmate 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 2021 Sarah’s instructions include representing:

  • A man accused of multiple familial and acquaintance rapes of 15 complainants spanning 30 years (leading David Rhodes).

  • A headteacher accused of sexual assaults at two boys schools.

  • A teacher accused of sexual relationships with teenage pupils.

In 2020: 

  • Sarah successfully defended a young man with Asperger’s accused of the rape of a woman he met on a dating app.

  • Successfully negotiated pleas to fewer charges and a less restrictive SHPO for a middle-aged man charged with multiple serious sexual offences against a 15-year-old.

In 2019 she:

  • Successfully defended a religious minister accused of historic sexual allegations.

  • Securing the offering of no evidence against a young foreign student accused of rape where the complainant was highly intoxicated, after pursuing pre-trial disclosure issues.

  • Obtained a suspended sentence for a man who had pleaded guilty to arranging to meet a 13-year-old for penetrative sex.

In 2018 Sarah: 

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

  • 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.