Patrick Harrington

One of the best jury advocates in the UK. He plays the jury like a really good musician

Chambers UK 2017

Patrick Harrington QC

  • Called in 1973
  • Silk in 1993

Health & Safety

  • R v TJ Smith Contracting Limited (Exeter Crown Court).
    TJ Smith Contracting Limited was charged with offences under sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety Act 1974.  The company operated Mobile Elevated Working Platforms (commonly known as “cherry pickers”) as part of its decorating business. In December 2014 one platform toppled over, throwing clear one worker who was not harnessed but causing a crash injury to a worker who was wearing an appropriate harness. Although he did not suffer serious injuries he subsequently died of an embolism. At trial the defence successfully argued that as there was no causation between any fault of the defendant company and the death evidence of the fatality should be excluded. Although the company was convicted of both counts the modest fine imposed reflected the lack of culpability for the death.
  • R v DL [Cardiff Crown Court] (2010): Represented, with Carwyn Cox, a Company charged with Health and Safety offences arising from a fatal accident at a water pumping station. The case was stayed as an abuse of process after lengthy arguments.
  • R v Fryer [Sheffield Crown Court] (2009).
    Donald Fryer was the captain of a North Sea rig support vessel. When leaving port the anchor was hauled in and the anchor chain held within a chain locker. If unrestrained the chain rattled and disturbed crewmembers especially when they were trying to sleep. One crewmember opened the chain locker hatch intending to tie the chain down: he did not realise the toxic air within the chamber and within seconds of entering collapsed dead. A colleague entered the locker intent on rescue: he too collapsed dead within seconds. A third colleague suffered precisely the same fate. Donald Fryer was charged with the marine equivalent of manslaughter. After a three-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court he was acquitted of all three counts.
  • R v Reed [Cardiff Crown Court, Pitchford J] (2009):
    With Carwyn Cox, successful defence of a company employee charged with manslaughter following a fatal accident at a water pumping station.
  • R v Porter (2008): Philip Porter was the proprietor of a private school in Bangor, North Wales catering for children aged three upwards. The school building was not purpose built.  A four-year-old child jumped down the last few stone steps of a perfectly safe set of steps in the school playground. He fell, banged his head and tragically died of his injuries. Mr Porter was prosecuted, personally, for alleged breaches of the Health and Safety Act 1974. At the conclusion of his trial at Mold Crown Court, to the surprise of many, he was convicted. On appeal to the Court of Appeal (Moses LJ) his appeal against conviction was allowed. The case is extensively quoted in academic and other learned articles as authority for the proposition that it is unreasonable to expect all risk to be avoided. Please read the article on this case in the New Law Journal.
  • R v Barton: The defendant was a CORGI registered gas fitter. He carried out a service on a gas boiler in a house in Derbyshire. A week later a 15-year-old girl whose school had closed for the day because of a heavy snowfall met up with her older boyfriend at the house. Whilst occupied upstairs they each died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
    The defendant was prosecuted for alleged offences under the Health and Safety Act.
    At his trial at Nottingham Crown Court a jury failed to agree.
    The retrial took place and again the jury failed to agree.
    The prosecution then offered no further evidence and not guilty verdicts were entered.
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Notable Cases


R v Peter Morgan (Newport Crown Court)
Defence of multi millionaire property developer charged with the murder of his 'girlfriend', an escort for whom he had provided a lavish lifestyle.

Operation Bulkhead (2016)
Prosecuting a six month £100 million film fraud case with 4 defendants and over 50, 000 pages of served evidence. The case was described during sentencing by the Judge as "one of the most difficult and complicated cases presented at the Bar." All four were found guilty of conspiracy to cheat the public revenue and sentenced to a total of 29 years.

R v Simon Drew (2014)
Successfully represented an independent financial adviser charged with 34 counts of investment fraud to the value of £15m; led Shawn Williams throughout a 4½ month trial; Simon Drew was acquitted on all counts.

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R v P (2014)
Successfully represented a solicitor charged with money laundering in a dismissal application at the Swansea Crown Court. A conjoined argument with two other solicitors led to the charges being dismissed.

R v Evans [ERIC] 1 WLR 2817 (2014)
Successfully represented a senior solicitor charged with conspiracy to defraud arising from a complex land transaction involving restoration obligations at open cast mining sites. Patrick was first instructed in 2010; he led John de Wall QC, and Ben Douglas Jones, instructed by Phil Williams of Blackfords, Cardiff throughout the very complex proceedings. After a week of submissions, Hickinbottom J acceded and dismissed the charge.

R v Evans [ERIC] (2014)
Successfully represented the same solicitor in resisting an application by the SFO in the SFO's application for a Voluntary Bill of Indictment. After two weeks of argument before Fulford LJ, (sitting as a Judge of the High Court) he reserved judgment and later handed down judgement dismissing the application. The same legal team acted for Eric Evans.

R v Beadell (2014)
Represented a 22 year old man jointly charged with a drug related stabbing murder. The same defendant were also charged with firearms offences. Beadell and another were convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a tariff of 27 years.

R v Hope & Richards (2014)
Representing the prosecution in resisting appeals and an application for leave in relation conviction and appeals against sentences of life imprisonment with forty year tariffs arising from convictions for murder: application and appeals refused.

Operation Valgus - Part 3 (2014)
Prosecution of sole remaining defendant in this long running case.

Operation Valgus - Part 2 (2013/2014)
Prosecution, with Ben Douglas Jones, of 7 defendants indicted in Part 2 of a massive mortgage fraud. All pleaded guilty (at earlier hearings) either as indicted or with alternative offences.

Operation Valgus - Part 1 (2013)
Prosecuted, with Ben Douglas Jones, six defendants charged with conspiracy to defraud arising from a massive mortgage fraud involving 800 residential properties in North Wales and elsewhere. A five month trial, which resulted in the conviction of five defendants.

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If you would like to instruct Patrick Harrington QC or would like help or advice in doing so, please call and talk to our excellent clerking team, led by senior clerk Alan Kilbey MBE. Our phone number is +44 (0)20 7583 9241. Alternatively, please email us at chambers@farrarsbuilding.co.uk

For more information about our clerking team, please click here for the clerks page.

Appointments & Memberships


  • Recorder of the Crown Court
  • Bencher of Gray’s Inn
  • Former Leader of the Wales & Chester Circuit
  • Former Vice President of the National Anti-Doping Panel
  • Protector of the Millennium Awards Trust
  • Protector of the Legacy Trust
  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Sports Law Association
  • London Commercial & Common Law Bar Association
  • Wales & Chester Circuit Criminal Law Association
  • Ebbw Vale Rugby Football Club
  • Glamorgan County Cricket

Education & Qualifications


  • MA, in English Literature, University of Wales
  • LLB (Hons), Birmingham College of Commerce
  • Ebbw Vale Grammar School

Directory Quotes


Patrick Harrington QC is listed as a leading silk for crime in both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500.

Renowned for his skill in handling the prosecution and defence of high-value financial crime, including alleged tax frauds related to film finance, mortgages and carbon credits.

Strengths: “One of the best jury advocates in the UK in my opinion. Juries just love him. He plays the jury like a really good musician; he knows exactly what’s right for the jury, strips the case down to bare essentials whether prosecuting or defending a serious crime, and is very good at pretending to the jury that he’s just coming to terms with the facts of the case as the case is developing, even though you know he’s got an encyclopaedic knowledge of the case.”

Recent work: Acted for the prosecution arising from the Operation Bulkhead investigation, involving a suspected £275 million film finance tax fraud.
Chambers UK 2017

Hugely experienced barrister on the Wales Circuit with significant experience in fraud and murder cases and who is highly praised by his peers.

Strengths: “He’s the top man. No one would say otherwise. He’s very good.”

Recent work: Defended one of nine defendants charged with dealing in criminal property. The case involved the theft and sale from storage sites of BT equipment worth £1 million.
Chambers UK 2017

A vastly experienced advocate who has defended and prosecuted over 200 cases of homicide and fraud in his career. He receives high praise from peers for his expert knowledge in high-profile murder cases.

Strengths: “He is a robust cross-examiner.”

Recent work: Prosecuted a case involving a contract killing, successfully securing the conviction of the two defendants.
Chambers UK 2016

A formidable financial crime silk with significant defence and prosecution experience. He handles high-value criminal fraud matters including major commercial fraud, investment fraud and money laundering matters.

Recent work: Acted in Johnson & Johnson, a multimillion pound fraud involving the concealment of illegally obtained money.
Chambers UK 2016

‘A formidable advocate with a wealth of experience in the criminal courts.’
Legal 500

‘A particularly strong track record in high-profile homicide and fraud cases.’
Legal 500

‘Sought after for his experience on the defence side of multiple death cases.’
Legal 500

Chambers & Partners 2017 Leading Barrister Legal 500 2016 Leading Individual

Publications


  • “A Nutshell on Evidence” (1974)
  • “The Session Man” (with Bobby Graham)(2004)

Personal Interests


Patrick’s hobbies centre around music and sport and he has a keen interest in classic cars.