Serious Sexual Offences

Practice Summary

Doughty Street’s criminal practitioners offer a wealth of experience in defending allegations of sexual crime, including rape allegations of the utmost gravity, non-recent allegations arising from families and institutions, and allegations against individuals in the public eye. We have been involved in significant sex cases in the changing climate including cases arising from Operation Yewtree (Saville and linked cases), Operation Bullfinch (Oxford Grooming cases) and Operation Moccasin (Norfolk paedophile ring headed by a woman). We are experienced in managing the consequences that arise from sexual accusations including reputation and financial issues. We are able to offer a comprehensive service from pre-charge  advice, through to trial, and new appeals/CCRC referrals.


Specialists within the crime team regularly undertaking this work include:-


Queen’s Counsel


Isabella Forshall QC

Isabella Forshall QC is hugely experienced in dealing with cases with vulnerable defendants and witnesses and arising from institutional settings such as hospital and care homes. Instructed in both Operation Bullfinch and Operation Moccasin.


Kirsty Brimelow QC

Kirsty Brimelow QC has over two decades experience defending against allegations of serious sexual offences at all court levels. She is experienced in the application of international law to sexual offences allegations and has led fact finding missions. She has led training in cross-examining complainants of sexual offences to the Service Prosecuting Authority, Bar Council and for UNICEF.


Sarah Elliott QC

In 2016 Sarah has successfully defended a celebrity business man accused of paying a child for sex and a member of the ruling family of a Gulf State on charges of rape.

In 2015 she acted for the principal defendant in the Operation Moccasin Norfolk paedophile ring, defended a 24 complainant trial of four decades of rape at ‘Swaylands’ care home, and acted for the music teacher accused of abuse at Ampleforth College and Westminster Cathedral Choir School.




Paul Taylor

Paul specialises in criminal appeals. He is editor of Taylor on Criminal Appeals. He has extensive experience in sexual offence appeals involving non-disclosure, fresh evidence, as well as the specific sentencing issues that often arise


Katy Thorne

Katy Thorne has long standing and extensive expertise in sexual allegations in relation to children, men and women, including child sex rings, historic inter-family and gang rapes. She has co-authored "Mason’s Forensic Medicine for Lawyers" including the chapter on sexual offences. 

Emma Goodall

Emma Goodall specialises in both serious historic and contemporary allegations. She has considerable experience in dealing with young and vulnerable defendants and witnesses. Her recent instructions include allegations of gang rape, systematic abuse within a care home, and cross generation family abuse. 


Benjamin Newton

Benjamin Newton is consistently instructed in the most serious and high profile sexual offences cases. He regularly writes and lectures on the subject, but is also recognised for his compassionate and client-centred approach to cases.


Erimnaz Mushtaq

About cookies on our website

Following a revised EU directive on website cookies, each company based, or doing business, in the EU is required to notify users about the cookies used on their website.

Our site uses cookies to improve your experience of certain areas of the site and to allow the use of specific functionality like social media page sharing. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but as a result parts of the site may not work as intended.

To find out more about what cookies are, which cookies we use on this website and how to delete and block cookies, please see our Which cookies we use page.

Click on the button below to accept the use of cookies on this website (this will prevent the dialogue box from appearing on future visits)