Three months after being named as Scotland’s most prominent prosecutors, a leading Scottish QC (45), is found dead in his Edinburgh residence

  • Stephen O’Rourke is the new Prosecutor at the COPFS.
  • This role allowed him to lead a team that included more than 60 Scotland prosecutors.
  • According to colleagues, Mr O’Rourke left a “lasting impression” on all those he encountered. 

The death of a prominent QC is under investigation by police. He was 45 years old when he was discovered dead in his Edinburgh residence.

Stephen O’Rourke’s corps was found just three months after he was 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.

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

Stephen O’Rourke’s corps was found just three months after he was appointed Scotland’s Principal Crown Councilor.

Previous to his studies in law at Universities of Edinburgh and Bologna, Mr O’Rourke had a mix practice and was a member of The Institute of Chartered Arbitrators.

After serving as an advocate deputy himself, he became a senior counsel. In 2017, he took silk.

O’Rourke also published The Crown Agent in 2019, a novel that was compared with Robert Louis Stevenson. 

Scottish Legal, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain (QC) said that she heard with sadness that Stephen O’Rourke, dear friend, and colleague had suddenly died.

“Stephen left a profound impression on all those he came in contact with. His loss will be felt deeply by his friends, family and colleagues, as well as the many others who had the privilege of knowing him.

“I was thrilled when he accepted to be principal crown counsel this year. I was also very thankful for his depth of knowledge and enthusiasm that he brought to the Crown Office.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Stephen’s family as we grieve this loss.