Roger Harrison

Associate Member

Roger Harrison has built a reputation as an experienced barrister who can cut through complex issues with ease and as someone who is adept at identifying and successfully arguing previously overlooked points of law. He is also known for his thorough, meticulous preparation of cases. In 2019, after 49 years practice, Roger Harrison retired from full time practice. He retains an associate membership of Drystone Chambers.

His practice is split between serious crime and negligence cases. Roger has for most of his career enjoyed a dual practice and has extensive experience in both areas consequently being one of a relatively small number of members of the Bar who can justifiably claim both a criminal and a civil practice. He has found that the skills involved in dealing with medical negligence cross over to criminal practice so that they complement each other. Roger has considerable skill in dealing with expert witnesses. He is known for finding the best expert for the point in question, and has expertise in defining the real issues, conferring with and using the expert to best effect. He particularly enjoys reviewing complex expert witness reports and advising on them.

Roger Harrison was made a Recorder in 1995 and has spent his judicial career in crime, mainly in the London Crown Courts. He has never been successfully appealed on any legal ruling, point of law or direction in a summing up, a record of which he is justifiably proud.

In summary Roger Harrison is a barrister who enjoys the interface between law and medicine, and also the intellectual challenge presented by complex evidence and legal argument. Consequently he is sought after in cases of seriousness and complexity.

Serious Crime/Fraud

This part of Roger Harrison’s practice is largely a mix of serious sexual and child abuse cases and fraud work. The skills Roger developed in medico-legal matters have particularly influenced his way of dealing with child abuse and child cruelty cases. He is known for his careful handling of vulnerable witnesses and this, with his personable nature, enables him to put clients and witnesses at ease. He understands and uses to maximum effect expert evidence in matters relating to injury, psychiatric illness and psychological, educational and behavioural abnormality. Roger has dealt with serial sex offenders and difficult cases of alleged rape, incest, sexual assault on children and abuse of vulnerable adults.

Fraud cases have been part of Roger’s practice from the outset of his career and even as a young junior counsel he was instructed in important trials such as the Briggate Mill fraud, a long running fire- insurance swindle and (soon after) the Bank of Scotland fraud. The latter was one of the first £1million fraud trials and was followed by an appeal where he drafted an argument on the then controversial topic of the multiplicitous indictment. Roger, although well under ten years call, conducted the trial for 2 months when leading counsel was absent.

Latterly Roger has been successful in defending fraud where his client faced recently enacted Trade Description absolute liability charges and, notably, was instructed to advise a client during investigations by the Serious Fraud Office into very large-scale commercial activities by British Aerospace and its agents and employees.

Proceeds of Crime

Roger Harrison has dealt with criminal confiscation since its inception. He was counsel in R v Robson, one of the earliest confiscation cases, where he successfully argued the case at first instance and in the Court of Appeal in relation to a point concerning the application of trust principles to realisable assets under the (old) Drug Trafficking Act. Quite recently he had an order quashed by that court where the dissipation of realisable assets was the issue. He continues to accept instructions in these cases mindful of their importance to clients whose primary offences may be relatively non-serious.

Medical Negligence

His medical negligence caseload has given him experience in the legal principles and everyday practice relating to the tortuous duty of care, fault analysis and foreseeability and computation of damages as well as an extensive experience in medical issues from pathology and obstetrics through to post traumatic disorder, psychiatric illness and psychological abnormality.

Of note amongst these cases were birth damage matters but Roger has experience in a broad range of issues in clinical negligence. A notable success was the case of Krishnamurthy v Cambridgeshire Regional Health Authority, an early paraplegic birth-damage case, vigorously contested on negligence, causation and damage, where record damages were secured.

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Notable cases

Iraq War shipping fraud.

British Aerospace Serious Fraud Office enquiry.

R v Ozakpinar Defended CPS chief procurement officer on multiple corruption charges.

R v Mulkerris Fraud with difficult indictment involving new Trade Description absolute liability counts. Acquitted of all counts by the jury. R v Attrill. Senior figure in Dr Barnardo’s accused of serial sexual offences against boys whilst a teacher in Welsh Boys Homes. Acquitted after a detailed stay application.

R v Wilkinson Long running child cruelty and manslaughter case involving difficult civil duty of care principles on all counts.

R v Carmichael Schoolmaster accused of multiple child pornography charges running no culpability resulting from a compulsive medical condition caused by drugs lawfully prescribed by NHS to treat physical ailment. Absolute discharge

R v Beaumont Step brother accused of multiple rape and sexual offences- corroborative evidence arose from sexual condition common to both. Acquitted.

R v Hutchinson Academic, ex Deputy Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge accused of sexual offence against ex student police officer. Acquitted.

R v Baker Defendant previously convicted of rape accused of multiple diverse sexual offences of rape, buggery and indecent assault on daughter, cousin, young stepson and another. Tried shortly after CJA 2003 came into force and many cross-corroboration and bad character issues arose giving rise to important appeal and convictions quashed. Eventually acquitted after two retrials.

R v Hill Relation of Fred West accused of multiple rape and other sexual offences against family members and friends. Important ‘memory’ and ‘stay’ issues involved. Acquitted of large part of indictment. Appeal on stay issues. (The third ‘West trial’)

R v Meenan Woman alleging attempted rape while she was asleep and had taken large quantity of alcohol. Potential s74 CJA 2003 case. Acquitted.

R v Matsumoto-Quincey Man of good character accused of long-running sexual affair with under-age niece. First trial acquitted of some serious offences but convicted of some relatively non-serious. Successful appeal on misdirections. Retrial on whole (except acquitted counts). Acquitted of all on re-trial.

R v Hall Defendant indicted for Manslaughter arising from death of drug addict after administration of class A drug. Issue on civil (and therefore criminal) duty of care. Preliminary legal argument before High Court Judge- secured an acquittal.

R v Robson Court of Appeal. Important early confiscation case concerning realisable assets and property held by defendant for a third party/ resulting trusts (interface between confiscation and equity) Order quashed in Court of Appeal.

R v Quinn. Complex confiscation case concerning dissipation of assets and effect on realisable assets. Complex skeleton in C/A. £250000 order after 5 day hearing in Crown Court quashed and reduced to small order.

R v Wu Confiscation case against brothel owner. Financially and legally complex confiscation matter.

R v Singh Guptal [1999] CLR 582. Manslaughter. Important case on duty of care in manslaughter by gross negligence in C/A. Instructed on appeal.

R v Hall Defendant indicted for Manslaughter arising from death of drug addict after administration of class A drug. Issue on civil (and therefore criminal) duty of care. Preliminary legal argument before High Court Judge- secured an acquitted.

R v Quigley Cambrige University lab technician accused of theft of peptide samples, alleging exposure of improper commercial practices- acquitted after aborted trial and consequent legal argument.


  • Called to the Bar 1969

Associations and memberships

Professional Associations

  • Member of Gray’s Inn
  • South Eastern Circuit


  • Recorder 1995