Member of Chambers Profile

Gillian Etherton QC

Year of Call: 1988



Gill has extensive experience in criminal law. She has been instructed in many serious and high profile cases. Whilst Gill prosecutes and defends cases of serious violence and murder she has a particular reputation and expertise in serious sex crime. She prosecutes and defends cases of a highly sensitive nature, including serial paedophiles in positions of trust who rape and sexually abuse children, children who rape and abuse other children and the most serious cases of child cruelty (including when leading to death – murder/manslaughter).

Gill is a skilful advocate and has expertise in dealing with highly vulnerable witnesses including children, those suffering with severe mental health issues, witnesses who have difficulty communicating. Gill has expertise in complex issues of third party disclosure and such issues regularly feature in the sensitive and complex cases she is involved in. She has also lectured to the Bar and wider profession on issues such as disclosure and Section 41 of the YJCEA 1999 (cross-examination of complainants in sex crime). Gill has been invited to talk on Radio 4 (Law in Action and Woman’s Hour) and ‘TV for Education’ on issues such as conviction rates in sex crime involving children and the issue of consent in rape.

Gill has appeared in the Court of Appeal on many occasions and these include a number of important precedent cases.

Gill was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2011.

Cases include:

R v T [2017]: Defendant charged with murder - revenge killing. Substantial legal argument on fitness to stand trial both before and during trial together with self-defence. Complex medical and psychiatric evidence resulting in excess of 15 experts’ reports. 

R v Soper [2017]: Defendant an ex-Abbott and Head Master of a boys’ public school charged with allegations of historical sexual abuse over a number of decades involving multiple defendants. Multiple issues at trial including: dishonesty, false memory (e.g. EMDR), identity and mental health. Complex issues of disclosure. The Attorney General was informed at the request of the trial judge that the disclosure process in this case should be considered as a model of good practice.

R v K and K (2016): 'Baby shaking' case - allegation that an 8 week old baby was assaulted and shaken resulting in the triad of injuries. Issue at trial how did the baby come to be suffering with the injuries sustained - natural causes or one or both parents responsible?

R v S (2016): allegations of trespass with intent to commit sexual assaults and sexual assaults. 25 year old defendant entering a 93 year old woman's house and sexually assaulting her together with taking trophies of his abuse.

R v Boyce [2015]: Defendant charged with murder -kicking and stamping to his girlfriend’s head causing her traumatic brain injury from which she died. The defendant pleaded to manslaughter the trial issue being one of intent. 

R v C [2015]: 2 x rape - 'conditional' consent case. The allegations involved the complainant telling the defendant that a condom must be worn. The complainant alleged that the condom was removed without his knowledge during the first episode of sexual intercourse and the second episode of sexual penetration was without a condom despite the earlier condition being in place.  HIV+ status evidence was relevant as part of background.  Trial issue was had the 'condition' been breached. 

R v Tebbs [2014]: Defendant charged with murder, stabbing his girlfriend 29 times. Defence of diminished responsibility raised. After legal argument the defence of diminished responsibility was removed from the jury, there being insufficient evidence to support the assertion that the defendant was suffering from a recognised medical condition. The defence of loss of control remained. The defendant received a life sentence with a tariff of 20 years.

R v Winskill & 4 others [2014] : Child sexual exploitation case around a Children's Care Home -  offences of rape, sexual activity with a child and drug offences.

R v Mancini [2013/14]: 19 year old defendant charged with 50 counts of sexual offences on 12 younger boys. Extensive evidence of use of social media sites and use of female pseudonym to entrap, manipulate and threaten victims.

R v Brett [2013]: Murder / Manslaughter. Defendant, a professional ex-boxer, punched victim who fell hitting head on pavement and as a result died. One punch manslaughter. 

R v Shah and others [2013] CCC: Historical case of child sex abuse. Two defendants alleged to have raped/sexually assaulted young girl/teenager and third defendant charged with child cruelty and aiding and abetting rape/sexual assault.

R v G & Others [2012]: Family on trial (father, mother and brother) on charges of rape, sexual abuse and child cruelty of daughter / sister.

R v Vaughan-Jones [2012]: Murder / Manslaughter. Diminished responsibility. Defendant stabbed (20 x) step father to death.

R v Daly [2011]: Rapes and sexual abuse by defendant with learning difficulties on victims with severe learning difficulties and communication problems/ intermediary required for all.

R v Lambert [2011]: Warlock defendant, historical offences of rapes/sexual abuse on children/teenagers through deception.

R v G & Others [2011]: 6 youths tried for attempted murder in an underground station and related offences. Gang related violence with sawn off shot gun.

R v Lewis [2010]: Sexual offences/robbery and false imprisonment.  Stranger attack on 91 year old woman with advanced Altzimers and 69 year old carer.

R v Withers [2010] ALL ER (D) 175: Sexual abuse of children. Legal issues in Court of Appeal over issues of contamination and previous similar allegation.

R v Z – [2009] 1 Cr.App.R.34.CA: Hearsay.

R v Clarke (2009): 50 years of rape/sex abuse of defendant’s own children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

R v Tanner [2008]: Stranger rapes/kidnap by long term serial sexual offender recently released from High Security Hospital.

R v B [2006] EWCA Crim 2945: Stranger rape. Whether disclosure of HIV is relevant to the issue of consent.

R v Butt [2005] All E.R (D) 202: Case management.

R v Weir and other [2001] 2 All E.R. 216: Consolidated appeal (bad character).