Sean Sullivan


Sean is a calm and focused barrister who both prosecutes and defends allegations of serious crime –and has acted across a wide range of cases.

Background and expertise

Sean has handled allegations of murder, rape, historic sexual abuse, drugs conspiracies and financial offences.


R v P, 2019 (ongoing)

Instructed to prosecute the attempted murder of a disabled woman by her son who set her alight after dousing her with lighter fluid.

R v J, 2018

Defending an allegation of attempted murder. The complainant was stabbed seven times to the chest and identified his lodger, the defendant, as his attacker. Sean challenged the complainant’s credibility and asserted his identification was wrong and he had been attacked by someone else. The defendant was acquitted

R v E, 2018

8 defendants aged between 14-16 accused of attempted murder and wounding with intent in two knife attacks in East London. Acting as prosecution junior during five week trial. Dealt with bad character applications and two day sentencing hearing - both complicated by the age of the defendants all of whom were convicted.

News story here

R v O, 2017

Defending an attempted murder allegation deriving from a group knife attack in a night club. Sean ran a series of legal arguments as to the admissibility of forensic and medical evidence that ensured that in due course the prosecution offered no evidence on the attempted murder and accepted a plea to ABH with the defendant receiving a non-custodial sentence.

R v S, 2016

Charged with murder, Smith was the only one of five defendants to be acquitted after a five-week trial. Sean’s cross-examination of the prosecution’s cell site expert helped undermine the prosecution's case. Earlier, in the Divisional Court, Sean had successfully challenged a decision to refuse bail.


Serious Fraud Office Investigation

Instructed by the SFO, Sean has conducted an exercise in identifying material subject to legal professional privilege having been seized as part of the investigation.

Financial conduct/regulation project

Sean worked as part of a team of barristers, assisting a leading global bank with its regulatory obligations. He worked directly with bankers and executives to help them meet standards in relation to “know your client” and anti-money laundering requirements. During the project Sean worked from London, Geneva and Monte Carlo.

R v L & R v K, 2018 and ongoing

Sean successfully prosecuted a defendant responsible for the illegal importation of rare bird eggs into the UK in contravention of smuggling the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997 (CITES). This success led him to be instructed in ongoing proceedings relating to the illegal export of over £1m Anguilla Anguilla (eels) under the same regulations.

R v M & M, 2016

Sean, prosecuting, secured convictions against a father and son who were key players in a group of international money launderers. The case involved substantial amounts of telephone data, financial information, and covert surveillance.


R v D & R v B (ongoing)

Currently instructed to defend in two separate rape trials at Birmingham Crown Court.

R v FGF, 2018

Sean defended a university student accused of rape whose DNA was found on a swab of the higher vagina. The defendant insisted he had never penetrated the complainant. Sean challenged the forensic evidence and suggested a risk of contamination due to not following the correct procedure. The defendant was acquitted.


R v Z (ongoing)

Instructed to defend a businessman accused of kidnap who states he was simply chasing money which had been fraudulent taken from him.

R v A, C & M (ongoing)

Instructed to prosecute three defendants accused of an acid attack in East London.

R v W, 2019

Sean defended a young man accused of kidnapping the complainant whilst armed with a gun. The credibility of the complainant was forcefully challenged and the jury acquitted the defendant.


R v GP (ongoing)

Sean is instructed to defend in a six week trial concerning nine defendants alleged to have conspired to supply cocaine.

R v P, 2017

Sean represented three defendants accused of conspiring to supply cocaine. Sean ran legal arguments at an early stage that led to the prosecution dropping the allegation against two of the defendants; then further legal arguments at trial in relation to non-disclosure that led to the prosecution offering no evidence against the third.

Professional Commentary and Attribution

"He sees the wood from the trees" (Legal 500 -2020)
"His easy-going manner belies the quality of his advocacy, both oral and written." (Legal 500, 2017)
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PROFILE: Sean Sullivan

‘Unafraid, and this shows in his approach to situations.’

Legal 500, 2018

Year called




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Confiscation / POCA

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Financial Crime

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Fraud, Bribery & Corruption

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Serious Crime

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Sexual offences

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Regulatory / Disciplinary

Financial and Corporate law

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VAT Tribunals

Road Traffic

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Road traffic

Direct access



020 7489 2727


BA in jurisprudence, University of Oxford (St Edmund Hall)


CPS Panel (Grade 3) and Rape Panel

Accredited pupil supervisor

Accredited to accept direct public access instructions

Accredited to deal with vulnerable witnesses


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