R v Butler and Gray (2016)

Edward Brown QC, leading Ben Fitzgerald and Philip Stott, acted for the prosecution in the trial of the murder of six-year-old Ellie Butler by her father Ben Butler.

Associated charges of perverting the course of justice and child cruelty against her mother Jenni Gray.

The murder followed the overturning by the Court of Appeal of an earlier conviction of Ben Butler for assaulting Ellie, and Ellie subsequently being returned to her parents by the High Court, and involved complex and sensitive disclosure considerations.

Butler was convicted of the murder of his six-year-old daughter Ellie in 2013. His partner, Gray, was convicted of child cruelty and perverting the course of justice by misleading the police investigation. The case is highly charged, because Butler was previously convicted of GBH upon Ellie when she was six weeks old, but his conviction was quashed on appeal when the Court of Appeal considered a number of linked “baby shaking” cases in 2010, and Ellie was returned to her parents’ care. Ben was First Junior prosecution counsel. He cross-examined Gray to enormous effect, as reported extensively in the media. His role also included formulating the Crown’s proposals for the introduction of evidence of Butler’s bad character and leading efforts in the Family Division of the High Court to obtain disclosure.

Read media report here.

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