Deans Court Chambers

Expert legal advice and advocacy, delivered by an outstanding team of Queen’s Counsel and barristers.

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Virginia Hayton

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Virginia Hayton - Deans Court Chambers


  • St Aidan’s College, Durham University
  • College of Law Chester
  • BVC, Manchester Metropolitan University


  • CPS Advocates Panel - Cat 4 (R)
  • Approved Counsel for the Falkland Islands

Professional Associations

  • Northern Circuit
  • Criminal Bar Association


Virginia Hayton, following a general common law practice, has concentrated on Crime since 2001. She mainly appears on the Norther Circuit, however has appeared in Courts nationwide. She notably specialises in serious sexual offences, including familial historic rapes, gang rapes, grooming cases, and people trafficking.

She has significant and wide ranging experience in conducting inquests, representing insurers, doctors, families, NHS trusts, prison service, local authorities and private limited companies.

Her general criminal work includes fraud, drug conspiracies, firearms offences and offences of violences up to and including murder. She has defended in a number of fitness to plead hearings and, thereafter, finding of fact hearings involving rape and serious sex offences. She mainly defends, however, also has a significant prosecution practice as a Level 4 prosecutor

Her regulatory crime practice includes a broad range of disciplinary cases, Health and Safety Executive Prosecutions, and defending in the General Medical Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council. Cases ranging from those relating to the practitioner’s health (physical and mental), and cases involving concerns about alcohol and opiate misuse, including self- prescription, criminal offences including sexual offences, allegations of dishonesty and performance issues. She frequently delivers lectures in both Criminal and Regulatory Crime areas.

Virginia’s practice includes representing companies and individuals in trading standards prosecutions. Virginia has provided specialist advice and representations across a wide range of matters including trade descriptions, counterfeit goods, unfair trading, product safety, food safety and food standards (particularly food labelling) as well as animal welfare cases. She has experience prosecuting and defending at all levels.

Notable Cases

  • Inquest

    Represented Lancashire County Council in a high profile inquest where the deceased had been murdered by her partner who was on life licence for murdering his ex partner. The probation service and police were criticised by the jury; LCC were not criticised.

  • Inquest

    Inquest in to the death of MM.

    Represented G4S in a self inflicted death inquest. The death was of a prisoner at HMP Birmingham. He was transferred to HMP Birmingham in February 2018, he self harmed on March 19th and then was found with a ligature around his neck on 24th April. The Jury concluded that he committed suicide. There was a series of failings with the ACCT process that the jury concluded possibly caused or contributed to his death. G4S no longer run the prison.

  • Health & Safety

    HSE v Inflite Engineering

    Company was prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 when 2 employees were knocked from a platform whilst servicing an aircraft. Another engineer had gone into the cock pit of the aircraft and pressed the wrong button which caused a jet of air to be expelled from the brakes on the aircraft. This high pressure air caused the two engineers to fall from height and they both sustained significant injuries. The Company has a turnover of over £30 million pounds. Successfully argued lower culpability.

  • SIA Paramount Monitoring and Responses Ltd

    I prosecuted on behalf of the Security Industry Authority. The Company prosecuted had provided security staff who did not have licences. The Company Director and Manager were convicted of providing a number of unlicensed security operatives to a number of venues. Defendants were convicted and sentenced.

  • HSE v Shearfab

    The Company was prosecuted for one offence of breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 further to an accident to an employee whereby steel sheets fell causing a fracture to his leg. The Company was a steel fabricating company.

    Processed steel components were stacked against work stations or in the workshop for short periods when they were to be worked on imminently.

    The HSE put the case as being one of high culpability harm category 1. The Company did not accept this and maintained that there was a system in place in relation to the use of trollies and racking to store the steel. In respect of industry standards, the guidelines for the storage of steel changed during this case being investigated.

    Company pleaded guilty to the offence, Court found medium culpability as per our submissions. Fine £10000.

  • HSE v Supaglaze Ltd (AKA Shepley Glass)

    Company is a window and composite door fabricator. Company pleaded guilty to a number of breaches under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. £30000 fine following guilty plea having mitigated that it was a medium culpability harm category 4 case.

  • He Cheng Ltd

    The case involved the company’s restaurant serving customers with food contaminated with salmonella. There was a number of people hospitalised including a baby and an elderly gentleman. The company accepted liability and was sentenced to a Fine of £8000.

    The company admitted the single charge of between 24th August and 2nd September 2017, placed unsafe food that was injurious to health on the market at China Red, Gladstone Street, Darlington in contravention of Article 14(1) of Regulation (EC) 178/2002, contrary to Regulation 19 of the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.

  • HSE v Complete Maintenance Solutions

    Company pleaded guilty to s. 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, when an employee was operating a turret machine she got her glove entangled in the machine and sustained an injury to her ring finger. The company failed to properly guard the machine. Successfully argued level of culpability and company received a minimal fine.

  • JL Engineering

    Company faces a charge under s 2 Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Two employees have carried out an inappropriate lift of an oversized piece of steel that wasn’t secured properly to the forklift truck. The steel fell and caused crushing injuries to one of the employees. Case ongoing.

  • NPS Worldwide

    Defendant is a multi national company charged with a number of breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The company’s principle activity was making absorbent products. One of the Company employees sustained severe injuries when she placed her hand inside a sock and boom line machine next to the propeller which caught her fingers when she was trying to remove a blockage. Matter ongoing.

  • Inquest

    Inquest into the death of MT

    Represented the care home; MT resides in the care home for 4 months and was suffering from vascular dementia. The home manager contacted various health care professionals for advice on how to manage her aggressive and agitated episodes. Various doctors and health care professionals prescribed sedatives and other drugs. Following an incident in December 2016 she was admitted to hospital. She died after a short stay in an EMI unit and hospital. The Coroner did not find neglect but found the care home manager had over-sedated her. Narrative conclusion given.

  • Inquest

    Inquest into the death of Shahida Shahid.

    Shahida ate a chicken burger marinated in buttermilk after telling the waiter that she had allergies to eggs, dairy fish and nuts. Represented the head chef. Narrative verdict and accidental death.


  • Crime

    Case of John Beaumont and Susan Beaumont.

    Defendant charged with sexually assaulting brother and two sister in laws. Historic abuse. Told them he was doing research to see whether they were infected by Chernobyl. Injected them in their groin, breasts, penis and vagina. Also inserted tubes into their anus. Crown alleged his wife, their sister assisted him in committing the offences. Defendant had a number of identical previous convictions. Defendant pleaded guilty to some offences, Crown did not proceed against the wife.


  • Inquest

    Inquest into the death of BC

    Death of 6 year old boy killed in a road traffic incident. Represented the driver of the vehicle. that ran him over. Accidental death.

  • Inquest

    Marsden House Limited - Inquest into the death of CJ.

    5 day inquest. Young male returning harm and escaped from a broken lift but fell down the lift shaft and died later in hospital from his injuries. Narrative conclusion.

  • Inquest

    Friends of the Elderly. Inquest into the death of MM

    Elderly resident of secure care home escapes during a pre planned electrical shut down. She walked through an insecure door and fell down a flight of steps. Accidental death.

  • Inquest

    Inquest into the death of JS

    10 day inquest. Represented company who employed construction worker who died following the collapse of a trench. Main contractors subsequently fined £2,000,000 in health and safety prosecution.

  • Inquest

    Hamilton Care Home - Inquest into the death of AG

    3 day inquest into death of elderly resident of care home who died following a fall from her bed onto hot water pipes. Died from the effects of the resultant burns.

  • Inquest

    MCC - Inquest into the death of MB

    Represented local authority. Elderly lady suffering from schizophrenia who had been admitted to a local hospital. Self discharged and subsequently found drowned in the River Mersey.

  • Inquest

    Inquest into the death of JC

    6 day inquest. Acted on behalf of the local council. Young female suffering from Prada Willi syndrome under the care of local authority and living in supported accommodation. Deceased was killed after running into traffic on the A580. Narrative conclusion.

  • Inquest

    Inquest into the death of KL

    10 day inquest. Involved the death of a young woman recently released from custody found hanging from a tree in a local park. Represented GeoAmey. Suicide conclusion.

  • Inquest

    LCC - Inquest into the death of SM

    Represented local authority in inquest into the death of man in the care of the local authority who died following a house fire caused by smoking in bed. Accidental death conclusion.

  • Inquest

    LCC - Inquest into the death of AW

    Inquest into the death of a resident of a challenging behaviour unit, subject to DOLS, who died following an attack upon him by a fellow resident. Represented the local authority whose care the deceased was in. Narrative conclusion.

  • Inquest

    Friends of the Elderly - Inquest into the death of MP

    Represented a care home involving the death of an elderly resident who died following complications arising from bed sores. Written submissions accepted by the Coroner and no neglect conclusion followed.

  • Rape

    R. v B

    Defendant was the youngest ever person to convicted of rape. He was 11 when he anally raped his 9 year old nephew on a number of occasions, he sexually assaulted his other 7 year old nephew and also an 11 year old friend. He had googled gay porn and gay rape websites from a young age. He had been abused himself at the age of 4. Sentence was 4 years detention. The matter was reported in the Times and also the Daily Mail.

  • Crime

    Regina -v- Dardai and others

    Represented a defendant in a case where four defendants from the same family were prosecuted for people trafficking. The two victims, one of which was one of the defendant's girlfriend, were trafficked into the country where they were beaten, kept in poor conditions and forced into prostitution.

  • Crime

    Regina -v- McKenzie-Ayres

    Represented defendant charged with s.20 wounding.

    Received a suspended sentence due to mitigating circumstances of the incident.

  • Crime

    Regina -v- Alexne Breier

    This case involved the operation of a prostitution business in the UK from November 2012 to March 2014. This was a business, set up, controlled and operated by a large Hungarian family, for their benefit financially. To support the business the Defendant Brier brought young women from Hungary into the UK to work as prostitutes. He was responsible for moving them to several premises in Oldham, Manchester, Bolton and Blackburn and at / from these premises he controlled their prostitution. His family were involved in the running of the brothels where the girls worked.

  • Inquest

    Inquest touching upon the death of BC [2015]

    Represented the driver of the vehicle that hit the little boy. He was driving within the speed limit and it was recorded as an accident. There are no prosecutions to follow. It was accepted by all interested parties that the little boy died as a result of multiple injuries following a collision with a vehicle.

  • Crime

    R -v- Raymond Teret

    Historic sex case - dated back to 1961 and the last allegation is 1996, 17 complainants. There are counts on the Indictment where Mr Teret is said to have raped the Complainant with Jimmy Savile.

    The Defendant was a radio DJ on Radio Caroline and Piccadilly radio and was very well known in the 60’s and 70’s, he was convicted of offences against 11 of the 17 women, 7 of them rape the other 4 were indecent assault. He received a determinate sentence of 25 years.

  • Murder

    R -v- Minto

    Defence Counsel on Murder case where the victim was stabbed over 50 times and indecently assaulted whilst either dead or dying. Guilty verdict after a trial.

  • Indecent Assault

    R -v- Thomas

    Defence Counsel for Mr Thomas who was charged with indecently assaulting a woman, unaware that she was HIV positive.

  • Fraud

    R v Wiles

    Falsely claimed that her daughter had been abducted, leading to an investigation involving over 50 officers, a thirteen day man hunt and two innocent men being arrested.

  • Drug Importation

    R v Joseph

    Defending in a large scale drug importation from St. Lucia.

  • Inquest

    Re: R

    Represented the family informed of relative's death following routine operation. Deceased discovered still to be alive some hours later whilst in the mortuary. Victim lived for further 3 days before being pronounced dead.

  • Sexual Offences

    R v Lowe

    Defending in fitness to plead and thereafter, finding of fact in sexual assault.

  • Inquest

    Re: K

    Represented a nursing home. Patient rolled off the bed and was trapped by the cot sides and was found hanging with her head trapped between the bars of the cot side.

  • Rape

    R v Ngowi

    Defending a 15 year old charged with Rape of his 15 year old girlfriend. Defendant is HIV positive. Unfit to plead and thereafter found not to have committed the act following the finding of fact hearing.

  • Dept of Public Prosecutions

    Holloway v DPP, 169 J.P. 14 DC

    Divisional Court Case, successfully argues point of law on s. 5 Public Order Act, 1986, reported in Archbold.

  • Rape/Robbery

    R v Fishahaye

    Successful acquittal of multiple rape/robbery on prostitutes despite DNA evidence.

  • Inquest


    Represented the insurers, young male overtook on a blind bend whilst riding his motorbike, found to be under the influence drink and drugs.

  • Inquest

    Re: Kerr

    Representing gas fire fitter in the property where Mrs Kerr lived when she was exposed to Carbon Monoxide poisoning in her flat. The fire was not found to be the cause of the carbon monoxide, the flat was above the RBS building and the boiler in the basement of the bank was faulty. Son survived the exposure, however Mrs Kerr did not.

  • Firearms

    R v McKay

    Defending 15 year old girl charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition. Successfully argued exceptional circumstances and thereafter minimum sentence not imposed.

  • Rape

    R v Afridi and others

    Prosecuted gang rape on 14 year old girl, having been drugged was repeatedly raped and sexual assaulted by a group of males.

  • Crime

    R v Weaver

    Defended in 'baby shaking' where mother blinded her 12 month old baby twin.

  • Drug Conspiracy

    R v Lyons

    Defending in multi handed drugs conspiracy. Inquest reported in The Times as deceased came back to life, following pronouncement of death. Subsequently died 3 days later.

  • Fraud

    R v Edwards and others

    Defending in large scale diversion fraud in Kingston.

  • Court of Appeal

    R v Harrop (Wesley James) & Ors

    (2010)[2010] EWCA Crim 2915

  • Court of Appeal

    R v W

    (2011)[2011] EWCA Crim 340

  • Court of Appeal

    R v Ravenhill (Dale)

    (2008)[2008] EWCA Crim

  • Court of Appeal

    R v Pakes (David) & Pakes (Paul Michael)

    (2008)[2008] EWCA Crim 206

    Attorney General's Reference No 155 of 2004 sub nom R v Martin (Deborah Michelle)

    (2005)[2005] EWCA Crim 968

  • Dept of Public Prosecutions

    Holloway (Alan) v Director of Public Prosecutions

    (2004)[2004] EWHC 2621 (Admin)

  • Court of Appeal

    R v Patel (Asif Ibrahim) & ors

    (2010) EXCA Crim 1858

What the directories say

"She is a very able pair of hands and very approachable. She is hugely respected by the profession and judiciary." "She is thorough, reliable and has a lovely manner with clients." "She commands a great deal of respect; she has great attention to detail and focusses on the most important points." "She brings a world of experience."

Chambers and Partners, 2022

"She's fantastic on her feet and is an amazing advocate. She's very thorough, meticulous and well prepared."

Chambers and Partners, 2021

"She is collaborative and she really takes comments on board. She is good with clients and is an excellent advocate." "Meticulous in her preparation."

Chambers and Partners, 2021

'She is is very calm under pressure and sympathetic and supportive with witnesses giving evidence at inquests. The quality of her paperwork is also excellent.’

Legal 500, 2021

'Forthright, she is a strong court room advocate with excellent client manner who takes no nonsense from prosecutors.’

Legal 500, 2021

"She's always available for advice and her responses are excellent. She's also very thorough in her preparation."

Chambers and Partners, 2020

Confident, knowledgeable and hard-working, plus a very good jury advocate. ’

Legal 500, 2020

A respected advocate with an impressive serious crime practice. She is particularly well versed in defending those charged with murder and sexual offences, including rape, prostitution and child abuse. She also appears for the defence in cases concerning serious organised crime. She has experience in regulatory and health and safety work. "A very sound practitioner." Recent work: Acted for the first defendant in historic rape allegations involving gang rapes including Jimmy Saville as a participant.

Chambers and Partners, 2019

‘She has a great bedside manner with clients.’

Legal 500, 2018

A respected advocate with an impressive serious crime practice. She is particularly well versed in defending those charged with murder and sexual offences, including rape, prostitution and child abuse. She also appears for the defence in cases concerning serious organised crime.

Chambers and Partners, 2018

‘An accomplished advocate.’

Legal 500, 2017

A respected advocate with an impressive serious crime practice. She is particularly well versed in defending those charged with serious historic and current sexual offences, including rape, prostitution and child abuse. "An excellent barrister who is bright, thoughtful and a safe pair of hands." "An effective advocate who has handled some really big cases."

Chambers UK, 2017

'Thorough in preparation, forthright in her advice and an excellent jury advocate'

Legal 500, 2016

'Thorough in her preparation, and robust with clients; a formidable advocate'

Legal 500, 2015


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