Police probe death of leading QC, 45, found dead at his Edinburgh home

Leading Scottish QC, 45, is found dead at his Edinburgh home three months after being appointed as one of Scotland’s top prosecutors

  • Prosecutor Stephen O’Rourke has only recently secured top job with the COPFS
  • The role saw him head up a team of more than 60 prosecutors in Scotland
  • Colleagues said Mr O’Rourke made ‘a lasting impression on everyone he met’ 

Tributes have been paid to a leading Scottish QC, who was found dead at his Edinburgh home at the age of 45.

Stephen O’Rourke’s body was discovered just three months after being appointed Scotland’s Principal Crown Counsel.

The role is one of the most senior in the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) – the equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) north of the border.

It saw him heading the Advocate Depute team of more than 60 legal representatives in Scotland, who prosecute serious, complex or sensitive cases, deal with conviction appeals and decide which cases should be indicted in the High Court.

Police Scotland said: ‘The death is not being treated as suspicious and a report has been submitted to the procurator fiscal.’ 

Stephen O’Rourke’s body was discovered just three months after being appointed Scotland’s Principal Crown Counsel

He headed up a team more than 60 legal representatives in Scotland, who prosecute serious, complex or sensitive cases, deal with conviction appeals and decide which cases should be indicted in the High Court (pictured)

Mr O’Rourke, from Greenock, previously studied law at universities in Edinburgh and Bologna, had a mixed practice at the bar and was a member of the Institute of Chartered Arbitrators.

He went on to serve as an advocate depute himself from 2010 to 2013, after which he was a standing junior counsel. He took silk in 2017.

Mr O’Rourke was also an author, publishing the novel, The Crown Agent, in 2019 – a work compared to the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson. 

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC told Scottish Legal: ‘It was with deep sorrow that I heard the tragic news that our dear colleague and friend Stephen O’Rourke QC has died suddenly.

‘Stephen made a lasting impression on everyone he met and his loss will be sorely felt by his family, friends, colleagues and the many, many people who were privileged to have known him.

‘I was delighted when he agreed to become principal crown counsel earlier this year and was very grateful for the depth of knowledge, enthusiasm, integrity and leadership he brought to Crown Office in that role.

‘My thoughts are with all those who held Stephen dear while we all come to terms with this profound loss.’ 

Roddy Dunlop QC, dean of the Faculty of Advocates, said Mr O’Rourke had been an ‘inspiration to many and a friend to all’.

Colleagues said Mr O’Rourke (pictured) ‘made a lasting impression on everyone he met’

He added: ‘I grow increasingly concerned at the isolating effect and impact on wellbeing created by the ongoing (and understandable) diktats and restrictions caused by this damned virus. 

‘I would please ask all to remember that support is available for anyone who is struggling. Do not suffer in silence.’

Source: Read Full Article