Profile picture of barrister Sally O'Neill KC

Sally O’Neill KC

Call: 1976 | Silk: 1997


Sally O’Neill KC has been consistently ranked as a leading Silk in crime in Chambers & Partners

The editors of the 2017 edition acclaim her as:

“An experienced practitioner who is highly acclaimed for her courtroom performances. An ‘astute advocate’, she is particularly well known for her mastery of serious sexual offence and infanticide cases, most notably those involving ‘baby shaking’. Her handling of the potentially vulnerable witnesses involved in such cases was much commented upon. She also excels in serious and complex murder and manslaughter cases, among others.  She’s very polished. Juries tend to like and trust her, because she has a direct way of communication with them which appeals to them. She’s a really formidable and fair opponent.”

And in 2015 she was acclaimed for: “appearing in complex and sensitive matters, including baby shaking cases and serious sexual and violent crime cases.”

She was the Chairman of the Criminal Bar Association from 2007 to 2008. She was The Times’ Lawyer of the Week on May 13th 2009. Click here to read the article.

"Sally’s cut-glass accent and impeccable court room manners conceal a shrewd and tactically astute advocate with supreme cross-examination skills. She presents her cases with charm and finesse, makes powerful and persuasive legal submissions and her authoritative manner easily gains her the confidence of the court."-Legal 500, 2024
"Sally is a model of how it should be done: she's unflappable and supremely knowledgeable." -Band 1, Chambers UK Bar
"Juries like her because she's completely authentic and completely without pomposity." -Band 1, Chambers UK Bar
"She's flawless in what she does and really does care about the case."-Band 1, Chambers UK Bar
Serious crime

Sally has been practising exclusively in Crime for the last 25 years, mostly at the Old Bailey, and took Silk in 1997.

Since taking Silk she has predominantly undertaken defence work, although she prosecuted in the “Baby P” case and a serious sexual allegation involving a complainant then aged four. She has recently prosecuted two multi-handed murders, one involving a car-jacking and the latest one involving the murder and later dismemberment and disposal of the body. She has considerable expertise in murder, manslaughter and serious sexual cases, especially child abuse and trials involving young defendants. She was also involved in the Oxford sexual grooming case.

Her extensive experience also includes the case of Whiting, which concerned the abduction and murder of Sarah Payne and representing Ian Watkins (Lostprophets) on very serious sexual abuse of extremely young children. Sally also represented Jake Farhi (the Jimmy Mizen case) and is currently representing a mother who stabbed to death a man accused of sexually assaulting three children.

Young & vulnerable defendants

Partly as a result of many years of involvement with the CBA, which included the production of a video with the NSPCC and other agencies on special measures, Sally has a particular interest in cases involving young and vulnerable defendants and she has defended in many such trials. She also has a particular interest and expertise in cases involving scientific, medical and psychiatric issues.


Fraud is another area of particular interest: Sally has experience in all aspects of serious fraud and white collar crime. An impressive track record of success in drugs trials rounds off her broad general crime practice.

Recent Cases

R v Christopher Easey & Carly Easey: Trial at Norwich Crown Court charged with the murder of three-month-old Eleanor, who died from a catastrophic brain injury two days after being admitted to hospital on December 18, 2019 after paramedics were called to the family home at Morton on the Hill. 10-week trial during which the jury heard that baby Eleanor had sustained 31 rib fractures, including 17 at the front and 14 at the back, which were found to have occurred at four different times. Norwich Crown Court

R v Mitchell Gibbs & Sophie Crowther: A baby boy died after being shaken by his mother’s new boyfriend when she went to get her lover a bacon roll. Woolwich Crown Court.

R v Lauren Saint George & Darren Hurrell: Lauren Saint George, 25, attacked baby Lily-Mai Saint George in a fit of rage after being told she would have to go into a residential unit if she wanted to keep her. She was found guilty of infanticide in July and was today handed a two year suspended sentence at Wood Green Crown Court.

R v Andy Anokye: Sally O’Neill QC defended the well-known ‘grime’ artist Andy Anokye, better known as ‘Solo45’. He was charged with 31 offences committed against 4 women in their 20’s, over a period of 2 years, between 2015 and 2017. Including imprisonment, assault, sexual violation and rape. Some of which he filmed. Bristol Crown Court & Court of Appeal.

R v Benjamin O’Shea & Naomi Johnson: A ‘monstrous’ couple who abused their baby girl and left her with more than 60 broken bones – before blaming her injuries on the paramedics who tried to save her life – have been jailed for a total of 15 years. Benjamin O’Shea, 26, and Naomi Johnson, 23, were each found guilty of the physical abuse of their eight-week-old daughter Amina, and also of cruelty to another child. Inner London Crown Court


Appointments and Working Groups

  • Recorder of the Crown Court since 1997
  • Chairman of CBA 2007 – 2008
  • Member of joint CBA/NSPCC working group which produced “A Case for Special Measures” DVD as a training material.
  • Member of ATC working group which has recently published a report “Raising the Bar ; Improving handling of vulnerable witnesses and defendants in court”
  • Member of current CBA/ NSPCC working group producing a new DVD containing working materials re the above.
  • Bencher of Gray’s Inn (since 2003).
  • Sally has a working knowledge of German and French.

  • Legal 500 leading silk 2024 logo
  • Chambers and Partners UK Bar top ranked 2024 Sally O'Neill