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Michael O’Brien

Call – October 2018 – Gray’s Inn


LLB (Hons)


Solicitor – July 2000


Higher Rights – July 2006

Practice Areas

  • Defence
    • Murder / Manslaughter
    • Violent crime
    • Drug trafficking
    • Firearms
    • Serious Organised Crime
    • Conspiracies
    • Fraud
    • Sexual Offences
    • Revenue and Customs



Member Northern Circuit

Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn

Criminal Bar Association

Areas of Practice

Michael joins Chambers having exclusively defended in the full range of criminal cases for over 20 years. He is a former Solicitor having qualified in 2000, becoming a Higher Courts Advocate (Criminal) in 2006. He transferred to the Bar in 2018 when he was employed as in-house Counsel for a leading firm of criminal solicitors based in Liverpool. He is presently authorised by the Bar Standards Board to conduct criminal litigation which allows for a ‘hands-on’ approach with professional clients.

His experience is varied and vast. He has acted as both litigator and advocate in many cases predominantly focussing on serious organised crime and murder / manslaughter. He is regularly instructed on cases with voluminous evidence and is described as having “an ability to turn the complex into common sense and the novel into normal”.

Michael prides himself on his client care. He recognises that clients are often extremely vulnerable by reason of mental health, age or addiction and he treats all clients with care, respect and fairness bearing in mind their individual needs and sensitivities. His experience allows for a straight-forward approach with clients when circumstances allow for this.

Michael’s courtroom manner is calm and astute. He is considered as “an extremely accomplished advocate having represented clients at trials for the most serious and high-profile offences in the criminal calendar.”

He is a “highly skilled advocate whose professional and friendly manner has made him a well-known and popular figure within the local legal community”

Michael has been led by some of the countries’ most talented and respected KC’s including, Rick Pratt KC, Nick Johnson KC, Nigel Power KC and Andrew Ford KC. Michael has appeared before the Court of Appeal Criminal Division on numerous occasions involving renewed applications for leave to appeal against sentence as well as appeals against sentence and conviction.


Notable Cases

Murder / Manslaughter

  • R v G – Murder of father and attempted murder of mother. Diminished responsibility.
  • R v W – Murder of step-father. Diminished responsibility.
  • R v M – Murder of abusive partner. Self-defence. Acquitted.
  • R v B – One punch manslaughter. Originally Indicted for murder. Acquitted.
  • R v T – Murder involving a defendant who was the victim of a robbery and thereafter used his car as a weapon which caused the death of his assailant.
  • R v D – 14 year old boy charged with murder. Allegedly kept lookout during a violent attack by other youths against the vulnerable deceased. Intermediary assisted at trial.
  • R v H – 14 year old boy charged with others of murder of a ‘rival gang member’ who was stabbed to death in a launderette in Liverpool.
  •  R v H – 18 year old charged with others of murder of a ‘rival drug dealer’ in a shooting at his home address in Southport
  • R v W – One of four defendants charged with the murder of a co-defendant’s abusive ex-partner in St Helens.
  • R v L – Murder of the defendant’s father.
  • R v ? – 14 year old boy charged with the murder of a 12 year old girl in Liverpool. Intermediary assisted at trial.


Drugs / Firearms / Grenades

  • R v F – Lengthy case involving three trials for this defendant who was ultimately discharged from the dock. The case involved the use of grenades as weapons. Mr Justice Henriques (sitting at Woolwich Crown Court) described this case as a “campaign of terror upon the city and people of Liverpool”. The second trial was conducted in the absence of two co-defendants who had escaped from a prison van whilst being escorted to Liverpool Crown Court during the first trial.
  • R v W – Lengthy case of one of a number of defendants charged with conspiracies involving organising shootings following the recovery of a loaded firearm in Liverpool.
  • R v O – Lengthy case of one of a number of defendants charged with conspiracies to supply drugs as well as possession of firearms with intent to cause fear of violence.
  • R v A – one of a number of defendants charged with conspiracies to supply drugs as well as possession of firearms with intent to cause fear of violence
  • R v S – terrorism case involving sending racially targeted letter bombs. This case involved the instruction of an eminent explosives expert.
  • R v S – A major targeted international undercover surveillance operation against one individual who was responsible for organising the importation of multi–tonnes of class A drugs throughout the world.
  • R v M – Importation of CBD flowers (cannabis).
  • R v K – Conspiracy to supply drugs following seizure of 84kg of Heroin in Liverpool.
  • R v Z – Lengthy case involving conspiracies to produce cannabis on a massive scale throughout Liverpool.


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