Sophie O’Sullivan

Sophie has a multi-disciplinary practice encompassing both criminal and regulatory law. She appears regularly in cases of murder, serious violence, large scale drug operations, serious sexual offences, complex fraud and dishonesty,

Sophie is also experienced in dealing with regulatory offences brought by Trading Standards, Solicitors Regulatory Authority, Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Pharmaceutical Council,  Health and Care Professions Council and the Financial Conduct Authority.

Fraud and Financial Crime

Sophie is regularly instructed in serious fraud and financial crime matters. She recently appeared as a junior alone in a £500,000 VAT fraud, a money laundering case arising from international heroin importation and a multi-handed consumer fraud relating to sophisticated website fraud and misdirection of funds via worldwide payment mechanisms such as Paypal.

Sophie has experience in corporate and financial crime as well as financial regulation. She is currently seconded to the Financial Conduct Authority having been specifically recruited to assist in the investigation of a major high street bank.

Sophie is also experienced in defending complex matters brought under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, including cases involving hidden and overseas assets.

Serious Crime

Sophie has appeared in a number of complex and multi-handed murder trials, conspiracy to murder trials, serious violence, firearms as well as allegations of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and the most serious sexual offences.

Sophie has been led by her Head of Chambers, Oliver Blunt QC, on a number of occasions, including multi-handed murder trials and a firearms trial defending a vulnerable adult who required an intermediary.

Regulatory

Sophie has advised and represented clients in regulatory and criminal proceedings brought by Local Authorities, Trading Standards, the Solicitors Regulatory Authority, the Health and Care Professions Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the General Pharmaceutical Council.

Notable cases include the successful defence of an autistic intensive care paediatric nurse who was charged with incompetence arising from her autism and specific clinical failings relating to treatment of new-borns in intensive care. All disputed facts were found not proved and there was no finding of misconduct or impairment on health or competence grounds.

Sophie also successfully defended a prison nurse who was accused of multiple clinical failings said to have occurred in the hours before a prisoner under her care died of an overdose. It was alleged that her failings significantly contributed to the failure to prevent the prisoner’s suicide. All facts were found not proved.

Recent Criminal Cases

R v KB & Others (2019): Sophie was instructed as a junior alone representing one of four defendants said to have committed consumer fraud and money laundering offences totalling a loss to consumers of over £350,000 through the creation and development of companies and websites purporting to sell electrical goods. The case involved sophisticated website fraud focusing particularly on the mis-direction of monies via bogus websites using worldwide payment mechanisms such as PayPal with evidence of at least 850 consumer transactions illustrating the breadth of the fraud.

R v SS & Others (2018): Led by Oliver Blunt QC in a 13-week multi-handed murder trial before HHJ Chris Moss QC at the Central Criminal Court. This was an extremely complex case involving  5 linked attacks over a 3 month period.

R v MI & Others (2018):  Sophie was a led junior in the second of two trials on behalf of one of eight defendants relating to > £1,100,000 motor insurance fraud conspiracy.

R v DH (2018): Led by Phillipa McAtasney QC, Sophie acted for the defendant accused of killing his mother in the home they shared together. The case was high profile, attracting local and national news coverage. Their client was acquitted of murder.

R v AZ & Others (2017): Sophie represented the central member of a family who was charged jointly and severally with money laundering offences to a value of £500,000. This money represented the defendants’ benefit from the large-scale importation of heroin from Pakistan to the UK by another.

R v RL (2017): Sophie defended as a led junior in a multi-handed high value car-ringing conspiracy which involved complex analysis of evidence particularly in relation to covert surveillance, prison audio recordings and cell site analysis.

R v AA (2016): As a junior alone Sophie successfully defended a young man charged with grievous bodily harm with intent having been accused of repeatedly stabbing the victim in the chest and stomach. Following legal argument relating to the admissibility of the Defendant’s police interviews the Crown offered no evidence.

R v RY (2016): Sophie appeared as a led junior in Birmingham Crown Court in the successful defence of man charged with conspiracy to murder. The proceedings required meticulous examination of the Crown’s disclosure process and volumes of unused material which precipitated complex disclosure arguments. Following upon 7 weeks of disclosure argument the prosecution discontinued their case against the defendant.

R v BG (2016): Led by Oliver Blunt QC, successfully advancing a submission of no case to answer at the close of the prosecution case to an allegation of grievous bodily harm with intent on the basis that the Crown are unable to prove that the Defendant’s actions, even if proved, were causative of the Complainant’s injuries – other potential events could not be excluded as being the sole cause of the head injuries, therefore causation could not be established.

R v JT (2016): Successful defence of the first of two defendants charged with joint enterprise actual bodily harm where it was alleged that the Defendant used a metal pole to beat the Complainant to the ground, causing a fractured skull. The Defendant accepted presence but successfully advanced the defence of self defence.

R v CD (2016): Led by Jeremy Carter-Manning QC securing the acquittal of the Defendant who was charged with rape. The case required careful scrutiny and examination of complex forensic and toxicological evidence, the issue in the case being that of consent and/or belief in consent.

R v EC (2016): Successful defence of an allegation of sexual assault said to have been carried out by a mental health nurse upon a colleague whilst on duty at work.

Recent Regulatory Cases

North East Lincolnshire Council v SL (2019): Sophie appeared on behalf of a restaurant chain charged with breaching provisions of the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 following random testing showing dangerous levels of peanut in their nut-free foods.

NMC v LD (Nursing and Midwifery Council) 2018: Successfully defending an autistic intensive care paediatric nurse who was charged with incompetence arising from her autism and specific clinical failings relating to treatment of new-borns in intensive care. All disputed facts were found not proved and there was no finding of misconduct or impairment on health or competence grounds.

NMC v GN (Nursing and Midwifery Council) 2017: Sophie appeared on behalf of a prison nurse who was accused of multiple clinical failings said to have occurred in the hours before a prisoner under her care died of an overdose. It was alleged that her failings significantly contributed to the failure to prevent the prisoner’s suicide. All facts were found not proved.

NMC v SA (Nursing and Midwifery Council) 2017: Sophie secured a 1 year Caution Order for the Registrant following a fully contested hearing where the facts found proved included physical and emotional mistreatment of the patient under her care.

GPHC v LR (General Pharmaceutical Council) 2017: Secured a 6 month Conditions of Practice Order for a pharmacist who had admitted lack of competence across broad core areas of practice over an 18 month period in circumstances where at the time of the Final Hearing the Registrant had been out of work for nearly 3 years. The case had specific health features and required particular sensitivity throughout the proceedings.

HCPC v CH (Health Care Professions Council) 2017: Sophie secured a 6 month suspension order for a practitioner who had findings of protracted dishonesty against her as well as misconduct in relation to clinical errors over a 7 month period.

NMC v MAS (Nursing and Midwifery Council)  2016: Secured the minimum 1 year Caution Order at the outcome of a trial where it was accepted by the Registrant that but for her error in the administration of the relevant medicine to the patient he would not have died.

HCPC v DB  (Nursing and Midwifery Council) 2015: Successful submission of no case to answer at both the factual and misconduct stages. Facts found not proved on 3 charges Misconduct not found on any of the 12 charges.

NMC v NC (Nursing and Midwifery Council)  2015: Secured a Caution Order at the outcome of proceedings for a registrant who had been found to have dishonestly concealed from her employer the NMC referral and investigation. 5 further charges found not proved.

Education

2011: Bar Professional Training Course, BPP

2010: Graduate Diploma in Law, BPP

2008: BA (Hons) English Literature, University of Leeds

Other experience

During her pupillage Sophie contributed to the lengthy and complex case preparation of trials which are part of the News International litigation relating to alleged offences of misconduct in public office.

Prior to joining Chambers, Sophie worked as a paralegal at court on a number of lengthy, high-value MTIC (multi-trader intra-community) fraud trials. Sophie also worked for Reprieve UK, an organization offering free legal representation to UK citizens detained in Guantanamo Bay or on death row around the world.

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