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The 36 Group

Work 020 7421 8000
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360 LDE
London, Singapore

William Harbage QC

Work 020 7421 8000
The 36 Group (The 36 Group)


William specialises in criminal law, covering all areas for both prosecution and defence, and regulatory law. Substantial experience in homicide, terrorism, sexual offences (including historic child abuse), drug trafficking, proceeds of crime, fraud, misconduct in public office, trading standards. Particular interest in homicides with complex medical issues, eg involving the conduct of health professionals and cases with expert medical witnesses, which fits well with William’s chairmanship of the Appeal Board of the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority. Illustrative cases include: R v AWM. Defended, for CDA, Lincoln, girl aged 13 charged with murder. Intermediary required. Main issue joint enterprise. R v Jones & others. Prosecuted for CPS St Albans. Four defendants accused of gangland killing. Body decapitated; hands cut off. Issues included disclosure, cell site analysis. R v Norris. Defended for Cousins Tyrer, Leeds. Five month trial of nurse charged with multiple murders of patients on his ward by injecting them with insulin. Hugely complex factual and medical issues. R v Worrell. Defended for Roy Foreman & Co, Grimsby. Extreme right-wing neo-Nazi white supremacist charged under Terrorism Act 2000 with possession of bomb-making equipment for purpose connected with terrorism. R v Musone [2007] EWCA Crim 1237. Carter Slater & Co, Northampton. Defended one of three prison inmates accused of murdering a fourth. Classic cut-throat defences. Leading case on hearsay evidence. R v Murugamoorthy. Samy & Co, London. Parents accused of murdering baby. Serious conflict between medical and toxicological expert witnesses. Leading for defence of husband at CCC. R v Nudds. CPS Cambs. Leading for prosecution. Murder of traveller. Deceased shot, dismembered and burned; no remains recovered. Evidence about blood staining; cell confession; telephone cell site analysis; PII issues. R v Entwistle. McGann Law, Northampton. Defended council officer charged with money-laundering, forgery, misconduct in public office re £1/2m contract for refurbishment of travellers’ sites using grant money from Office of Deputy Prime Minister. Issues relating to abuse of process, mental element in forgery, extent of offence of misconduct in public office. R v Speechley. [2004] EWCA Crim 3607, [2005] Crim LR 814, [2005] 2 Cr App R(S) 15. Defended Leader of County Council accused of misconduct in public office by diverting route of new road around own land to increase its value from agricultural to development land. Issues included abuse of process, right of jury to stop case, scope of offence and dishonesty. Subsequent appeal was first ever to be recorded for television in UK under pilot scheme. R v Ververgaert. Qamars, Dewsbury. Defending Dutch national in massive importation of heroin, cannabis and amphetamines worth millions of pounds from Holland. Evidence from Dutch and UK police. Major issue re tip-off and PII material. R v Sanchez. Shelley & Co, Cambridge. Defended US serviceman for attempted murder of total stranger. No dispute re primary facts. Insane automatism successfully run at trial resulting in absolute discharge. R v McMullan. John Barkers, Grimsby. Defended man charged with random stabbing of heavily pregnant woman; mother and unborn child both died. Defendant hearing voices telling him to do it. Issue diminished responsibility.


Called 1983; Middle Temple; Silk 2003; assistant recorder 1999; recorder 2000 to date (crime and civil); chairman Appeal Board of the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (self regulatory arm of Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries) 2000 to date; chairman of Disciplinary Panel for Rugby Football Union 2011 to date. Publications of note: ‘Losing it’, the new defence to murder of Loss of Control; Solicitors’ Journal 8 Feb 2011, Vol 155 No5. Podcast on ‘Loss of Control’ and on ‘Diminished Responsibility’,


CBA; Midland Circuit deputy leader (London) 2008 to date.


Haileybury College; St. John’s College, Cambridge (1982 BA (Hons) Law, 1985 MA).


Rugby, golf, tennis, walking, wine.

Regional Bar : Midland Circuit


Within: Crime – Leading silks

William Harbage QC - The 36 GroupHe has a compelling presence in front of a jury.

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