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Conor Quinn

Year of call: 2007

Conor is the Head of the Criminal Team. He specialises in cases involving allegations of murder, serious sexual offences, organised crime and financial crime.
He has recently acted as Leading Counsel in a drugs conspiracy to supply hundreds of kilograms of Class A drugs and defended historic rape allegations.

As well as acting as Leading Counsel in his own right, Conor also has considerable experience as a Led Junior, defending allegations of murder. He has particular experience in cases involving firearms and those where joint liability is an issue.

Conor’s experience of financial crime is perhaps best illustrated through his involvement in Operation Larkshot, which was one of the largest money laundering cases in UK history, alleging the transfer of £266 million in criminal cash.

Conor is also regularly instructed by the Chief Constable in applications for a variety of different Orders, in Inquests and in Firearms Licensing Appeals.

What most of Conor’s current cases have in common are the seriousness of the allegations and the complexity and volume of evidence that they entail. As well as his tactical prowess, he is noted for his attention to detail and the ability to spot and exploit factual and legal points that others may miss.

Conor has also been involved in cases prosecuted by HM Revenue and Customs, Local Councils, the RSPCA and the Financial Services Authority.

Practice Summary 

Conor’s practice focuses on defending in cases of the utmost gravity. Meticulous preparation and adaptability are the key skills that make him such a sought-after advocate. By leaving no stone unturned he is quickly able to gain the confidence of those he represents, which, coupled with his down to earth style, means that he is able to ensure that his client’s case is presented in the most effective manner possible.
No two clients or cases are the same, nor does the evidence remain static throughout the life of a case. Conor’s ability to “roll with the punches” and make tactical decisions with an eye firmly on the ultimate goal of securing an acquittal is what separates him from the rest.

Notable Cases

Murder and Serious Injury

R v. Sykes (March 2024)
Represented a Defendant accused of attempting to murder his partner by stabbing her in the back with a kitchen knife.

R v. Sheikh (December 2023) – Represented a vulnerable Defendant, who was accused of causing or allowing serious physical harm to a vulnerable adult. The victim was her sister in law, who suffered a catastrophic brain injury that left her in a permanent vegetative state. The case involved expert medical evidence from nine different specialist fields and was tried by Mrs Justice Lambert over the course of 11 weeks.

R v. Satia (July 2023) – Secured the acquittal of a Defendant who was accused of perverting the course of justice by wiping her brother’s phone following his arrest on suspicion murder.

R v. Sadoun (October 2022) – Represented a Defendant accused of assisting in the murder of Steven Cawthorn in circumstances where the principal offender was never found.

R v. Gaskin et al (December 2021) – Appeared as Junior Counsel for the first Defendant, who was alleged to have shot a man in the heart with a shotgun from point blank range. The evidence in the case was entirely circumstantial and raised issues of anonymous hearsay and joint enterprise.

R v. Chapman et al (May 2021) – Represented the only Defendant who was acquitted of both murder and attempted murder following a fatal drive-by shooting.

R v. King and Bowman (October 2018) – Secured the acquittal of a Defendant accused of assisting an offender following the murder of Gareth Atkinson. This was despite a co-defendant being convicted of murdering Atkinson by stabbing him in the throat and the Defendant not giving evidence during the trial.

R v. Cohen et al (February 2018) – Appeared as Junior Counsel in the murder trial in relation to the shooting of Aseel Al-Essaie in Sheffield.

Fatal Road Traffic Collisions

R v. Hussain (May 2024) – Persuaded the judge that there was no case to answer in relation to an allegation that the Defendant aided and abetted his wife driving a car in a dangerous condition that she was driving when she collided with and killed an 86 year old lady.

R v. Baxter (November 2021) – Defended a young man with PTSD who was accused of killing his cousin by dangerous driving.

R v. Smith (June 2020) – Successfully resisted a Prosecution application to adduce hearsay evidence placing the Defendant in the driver seat of a vehicle that collided with and killed a pedestrian a short time later.

Serious Sexual Offences

Operation Hazelshot (July 2023)
– Represented a Defendant at re-trial who was accused of raping a child. He was acquitted of all counts.

R v. Deegan (March 2023)
– Secured the Defendant’s acquittal in respect of an allegation that he indecently assaulted his 8 yr old cousin in 1983, when he himself was aged just 15.

R v. Mahmood (February 2022) – Took the lead role in cross-examining a Complainant who made non recent rape allegations against multiple Defendants over a number of years.

R v. Ali et al (October 2021) – Following a three-week trial before the Crown Court at Burnley, Mr Ali was the only Defendant acquitted of allegedly sexually abusing his daughter-in-law. He faced trial together with his wife and son, both of whom were convicted by the jury and sentenced to up to 13 years imprisonment.

R v Rashid (March 2020) – Secured the Defendant’s acquittal in respect of two allegations of sexual assault. Through a careful analysis of the Complainant’s phone, messages were discovered that potentially undermined her account. These were then deployed in cross-examination and formed the basis of the closing speech. By highlighting the impact of the undermining messages, together with other inconsistencies in the case, Mr Quinn persuaded the jury that the proper verdict was one of not guilty. This resulted in a man of previous good character retaining his good name, his employment and his freedom.

R v. Wilson (January 2018) – Obtained not guilty verdicts in respect of two allegations of rape in circumstances where the Defendant was alleged to have raped his 13 yr old cousin and 15 yr old half-sister.

R v. Middleton (March 2016) – Defended a 24-year-old man with learning difficulties, who functioned on the borderline range of intelligence, and was alleged to have groomed and raped a 15-year-old boy.

Organised Crime

R v. Aftab (April 2024)
Mr Aftab was one of 17 Defendants accused of conspiring to pervert the course of justice by entering false details on s172 notices. Despite accepting that he paid someone in cash to complete the form for him to avoid receiving points and that his actions were not honest, he was acquitted after trial

Operation Surrenal (April 2023)
– Represented a defendant in a trial before Mr Justice Hilliard in respect of an allegation of attempting to acquire an explosive with intent to endanger life.

R v. Lawrence (March 2023) – The Defendant faced counts of conspiring to posses a firearm with intent to endanger life, conspiring to cause GBH with intent, and conspiring to supply class A drugs, all arising from EncroChat. A successful negotiation of pleas to lesser offences on a basis, resulted in a significant reduction in sentence.

Operation Uttoxeter (January 2023) – Secured not guilty verdicts in relation to allegations of supplying Class A drugs a wounding with intent. The defendant was alleged to have been involved in a the “Goldie” drug dealing line and to have played a role in a joint enterprise attack that left a man with serious knife wounds.

Operation Canyon (November 2022) – Persuaded the Prosecution to offer no evidence on day 4 of a 10-week trial, which resulted in the jury returning not guilty verdicts in respect of three conspiracies to convey drugs and prohibited items into prison.

R v. Wright et al (September 2021) – Instructed as Leading Counsel for the first defendant on a multi-handed indictment alleging conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. The evidence ran to over 18,000 pages and necessitated a detailed examination of the attribution of 11 mobile phones.

R v. Ochomna (March 2020) – Obtained not guilty verdicts in respect of allegations of violent disorder and possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. The case involved an attack with bats and machetes and culminated in the discharge of a firearm. The jury were persuaded that a series of identifications of the defendant were all unfortunate coincidences.

R v. Lungs et al (September 2019) – Exposed disclosure failings on the part of the police and the CPS that resulted in the jury having to be discharged and led to all the charges being dropped, which included multiple allegations of supplying Class A drugs.

R v. Payne et al (May 2019) – Appeared as Leading Counsel in a case involving a conspiracy to supply hundreds of kilos of Class A drugs that were flown into the UK by helicopter. There were 10 other Defendants named on the indictment, the served evidence ran to over 100,000 pages and the trial necessitated the cross examination of a police drug expert, who ended up conceding that the defence case was possible.

R v. Choudury (January 2018) – Secured the acquittal of a Defendant accused of being involved in a violent disorder by persuading the court that there was no case to answer because his purported identification by a police officer was inadmissible.

R v. White (February 2017) – Successfully defended a man accused of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, having persuaded the jury that, when he punched the Complainant, he was acting in pre-emptive self-defence.

R v. Ali (January 2017) – Persuaded the judge that there was no case to answer in an allegation of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life on the basis that the telephone evidence was insufficient to prove the case.

Financial Crime

Operation Larkshot (April 2022) – This was a VHCC involving an allegation of laundering £266 million in cash. The served evidence was in excess of 180,000 pages and the case ran for over 100 days.

R v. Waring (September 2021) – Argued the definition of a “Tainted Gift” pursuant to s77 and 78 of POCA before the Court of Appeal-https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Crim/2021/1369.html

Legal 500 - Leading Junior

Additional Information
Before joining Chambers, Conor was an Accredited Police Station Representative. He also served as a Lieutenant in the Territorial Army and has represented both Ireland and the TA at target shooting.

Practice Summary

Conor has regularly appeared before both the Magistrates’ and the Crown Court in relation to a variety of Civil Applications. Conscious that these are often applications that tribunals will not be familiar with, he will always prepare a skeleton argument to assist with his presentation of the case. His reputation for thorough preparation and succinct advocacy has resulted in this area of work forming an increasing share of his practice.
He also regularly represents individual officers, both before disciplinary panels and at inquests. His cross-examination skills and ability to deliver a considered and persuasive speech, which he honed at the Criminal Bar, have resulted in him developing a reputation as a skilled and tenacious advocate.

Conor has also represented the police in Employment Tribunal claims, with a specialism in discrimination cases, work related stress and constructive dismissal.

Conor has experience in the following areas:
  • Football banning orders
  • Cash forfeiture orders
  • Sexual offences prevention orders
  • Violent offender orders
  • Gang injunctions
  • Inquests
  • Police disciplinary work
  • Employment
  • Firearms appeals

Practice Summary

Conor is a popular and meticulous junior barrister with particular experience in Police Disciplinary Hearings and Coroner Inquests. He is actively developing his expertise in this specialist field with a focus on professional disciplinary work.

He regularly represents individual officers, both before disciplinary panels and at inquests. His cross-examination skills and ability to deliver a considered and persuasive speech, which he honed at the Criminal Bar, have resulted in him developing a reputation as a skilled and tenacious advocate.

Conor has experience in the following areas:

  • Police disciplinary hearings
  • Inquests
  • Medical professional disciplinary hearings relating to midwives, doctors and nurses
  • Sports disciplinary hearings

  • Fee-paid Employment Judge of the Employment Tribunals (England and Wales)
  • Fee-paid Tribunal Judge of the Health, Education and Social Care Chamber
  • Disciplinary Commission Member for West Riding FA
  • Independent Costs Adjudicator
  • Level 4 CPS Prosecutor
  • Lecturer in Advanced Crime for BPP Leeds

  • University of Nottingham BA (Hons) 2005
  • Nottingham Law School (Bar Vocational Course) 2007

Professional Memberships
  • North Eastern Circuit
  • Criminal Bar Association

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