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Katy Thorne KC – Door Tenant

Call: 1994

Silk: 2018

Appointed as Assistant Coroner in Berkshire: 2020

Languages: French

Related Practice Areas: Criminal Law and Appeals; Business Crime and Investigations; Mediation



Practice Areas


Sexual Crime and Offences Against Children

Katy is extremely experienced in sexual crime (historic, inter-family, gang-related, cold-case, male on male, transsexual; sex rings; relationship); and has a national reputation for cases involving violence against young children and babies.

Her cross-examination skills are so well honed, she is adept at challenging witnesses from medical experts to young witnesses (including those with learning disabilities and with intermediaries).

Notable cases include R v B, a shaken baby allegation. The case became a leading authorityon dealing with experts and led Katy to become one of the most sought-after advocates in this field.

Past successes include cases thrown out due to arguments of abuse of process and/or doli incapax in historic cases. More than one such argument has resulted in the Prosecution choosing not to prosecute, even where clients had relevant previous convictions. Recent cases include R v D & D (the child crushed to death in the footwell of a car) R v K & N (sexual abuse in context  of faith healing).


Serious Violence

Katy has a high level of expertise in cases involving medical, DNA and toxicological evidence and her breadth of cases ranges from gang related murders to attempted mercy killings, deaths in custody and fatal arson attacks.

Katy has been instructed in many cases involving clients with challenging presentations where her exceptional client care skills and talent for expert-handling are a prerequisite to success. In particular, she succeeded in securing an acquittal for a man accused of his third murder – committed in prison of a fellow lifer for cannibalistic motives (R v M); for a mentally ill woman accused of attempting to murder her terminally ill mother for altruistic reasons (R v T); for a lifer accused of raping another male prisoner (R v R); and for a damaged 16 year old who stabbed his 17 year old friend in the back (R v K).

Katy is frequently instructed in cases involving those who are accused of homicide in the course of their work, from prison officers (R v S and others) and (R v H and others) to nurses (R v M and others). These cases in particular benefit from Katys high degree of skill in challenging complex expert evidence.

She has a very strong reputation in serious organised crime related violence (e.g. R v E drug trafficking related murder; and R v G armed robbery murder).


Financial Crime and Drugs

Katys early training in business, insurance and banking gives her a particular affinity and understanding of both the business world and the criminal courts. Her ability to assimilate large amounts of technical information and challenge expert reports in fields as diverse as cell site to forensic accounting mean that she is an excellent choice in money laundering and fraud as well as large scale drugs conspiracies. Recent financial cases have included Premier League private prosecution of multinational football streaming conspiracy, Trading Standards prosecution, large scale VAT fraud and Hawala banking money laundering.


Criminal Appeals

Katys extensive experience in the Court of Appeal and with the Criminal Cases Review Commission for conviction and sentence appeals with an enviable success rate, means that she is frequently instructed by the most respected appeal firms in a range of cases: murder and rape convictions to dangerousness sentences (in which she is a recognised expert and wrote the Insight pages on Westlaw) and is also frequently instructed to look again at baby abuse murder convictions and historic sex allegations.

She represented Hutchinson (2015) in the European Court of Human Rights in relation to Whole Life Terms and Article 3.

Katy has been involved in a number of guideline cases (e.g., R v Henderson and others [2010] 2 Cr.App.R. 24, CA, (expert evidence and shaken baby); R v Brustenga-Vilaseca [2011] EWCA Crim 1099, [2012] 1 Cr App R (S) 3; and R v Beeton [2008] EWCA Crim 1421 [2009] 1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 46 (false allegations of rape).

Areas of Practice

Katy Thorne QCs specialisms include sexual allegations and abuse, child abuse and financial crime. She is also instructed in the most serious criminal cases including murder, manslaughter, high level drug trafficking.

Katy is regularly instructed in heavy fraud and money laundering cases. Her training and experience of working in in banking and insurance early in her career management provides her with particular insight into real business life. She has a flair for getting the best out of anxious clients, and in court knows when to ruffle feathers and when to charm. Her recent caseload includes an international conspiracy to defraud which was privately prosecuted by the Premier League, high value bank fraud/money laundering, conspiracy to defraud by false representation and fraudulent business fraud, involving fictitious EU grants. She is always available for pre-charge advice and will actively pursue all available routes to prevent prosecution.

Katy has over 20 years experience defending and is recognised as having particular expertise in sexual abuse and violence against children. She is always thorough and well-prepared (Legal 500) and her client care is second to none.

Her clients, whether professionals accused of fraud or sexual offending, parents accused of baby abuse or teenagers accused of gang violence, receive a combination of tactical nous, clever legal arguments, robust advocacy and jury craft to obtain the best possible outcome.

One long-standing client said It isn’t often that you come across a barrister who is as excellent in connecting and communicating with the defendant as she is with advocacy, written advices  and prep work, but such a barrister is Katy Thorne

Katy has particular expertise in challenging experts Excellent on forensic issues, especially baby-shaking cases. (Legal 500), from medical to cell site and is often sought by professionals who face proceedings brought by their regulatory body, particularly where those arise as a result of criminal allegations. In 2015, she published Masons Forensic Medicine for Lawyers with Professor Helen Whitwell and others.

Katy also specialises in second opinion appellate work, including CCRC and ECtHR. Her clients praise her brilliant judgment, her robust court presence, fantastic client care skills and being easy to work with.

Why does she get out of bed in the morning? To fight for the little guy against the establishment.


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