Lord Advocate welcomes new Advocate Depute appointments

The Lord Advocate has announced changes with the Crown Counsel team.

The Lord Advocate has announced changes with the Crown Counsel team.

 A statement from Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC: 

As Lord Advocate, I am responsible for directly appointing the Advocate Deputes who serve as Crown Counsel prosecuting crime in the public interest alongside myself and the Solicitor General.

I have made several new Advocate Depute appointments over the summer and I am pleased to advise that the overall number of Advocate Deputes is now at the highest ever level.

I was impressed with the number of strong Advocate Depute candidates emerging from within COPFS and I was pleased to be able to make so many internal appointments. I have also made several excellent Advocate Depute appointments from the Faculty of Advocates and the Solicitor Advocates’ profession and I extend a warm welcome to all of the new Advocate Deputes and look forward to working with them all.

I have also made some important changes within the Crown Counsel team.

Alex Prentice QC will take on the new position of Senior Trial Counsel and Director of Advocate Depute Training. In this role he will oversee the training and professional development of the Advocate Depute cadre. I consider that this new role is extremely important in continuing the professional development of Advocate Deputes as they deal with an increasingly challenging and complex caseload.

I would like to thank Alex for his distinguished service as Principal Crown Counsel for the last ten years. Throughout all of this time Alex has provided support and guidance to the team of Advocate Deputes and successfully conducted many high profile and complex criminal trials and appeals. Of the significant cases he has prosecuted with outstanding skill and dedication, of which there are simply too many to list here, I would wish to highlight the shotgun murder at the Marmion public house in Edinburgh, the murder of Surjit Singh Chokkhar, the murder of Suzanne Pilley and the retrial in the murder of Arlene Fraser. He was also responsible for the conduct of the very challenging and complex trial of Rachel Fee and Nyomi Fee who were convicted of the murder of their son Liam and led the successful prosecution of former MSP Tommy Sheridan for perjury.

Stephen O’Rourke QC will become Principal Crown Counsel. Stephen is well established at the senior bar with a wealth of experience across criminal law as well as acting for government, commercial and private clients. Stephen joins us from the Faculty of Advocates and I am confident his work on civil liberties, public and administrative law as well as his strong leadership qualities will set him up for success in his new role.

Stephen has previously served as an Advocate Depute for COPFS from 2010 to 2013 and from 2013-2017 served as a standing junior counsel to the Advocate General for Scotland. Stephen was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2017.

Richard Goddard QC will become Assistant Principal Crown Counsel, succeeding Jane Farquharson QC, following her appointment as a Sheriff.

I am also delighted to note that two Advocate Deputes have gained the rank and dignity of Her Majesty’s Counsel.  Paul Kearney QC has served as an Advocate Depute for many years and during this time, he has successfully conducted many high-profile trials and appeals. David McNaughtan QC is a member of the Faculty of Advocates was appointed an Advocate Depute in August this year. David had a very successful practice at the Bar, has a wealth of experience in both civil and criminal law and has previously prosecuted cases abroad for the Director of Public Prosecutions. Both appointments are a well-deserved honour and I offer them my sincere congratulations and best wishes for the coming years as Senior Counsel.


Dorothy Bain QC
Lord Advocate