Virginia Cornwall

Year of call: 1990

Virginia Virginia

Virginia is a highly sought after criminal practitioner who has developed a reputation on the Western Circuit for her meticulous case preparation and persuasive and engaging court presence. She has experience of criminal advocacy up to and including the Court of Appeal.


Virginia is regularly instructed to both prosecute and defend in cases at the highest level of complexity where her skills are in demand as a specialist practitioner in the conduct of the most serious and complex sexual allegations including rape, familial and historic offending and child pornography. She is experienced in dealing with sexual allegations involving additional complexities such as the use of intermediaries, parallel Family Court Proceedings and those necessitating the cross examination of children. The increasing feature of social media in such cases and its evidential impact is an area with which Virginia is familiar. The preparation and presentation of applications related to cross examination of sexual history and bad character are routine aspects of her practice. Virginia has substantial experience in advising on and conducting cases with a mental health element, particularly relating to hospital order disposals and trials of issue.

Virginia enjoys strong relationships with her professional clients and is known for her conscientious approach to her practice. She offers a confident and reassuring presence to clients with the sensitivity that is demanded.

Virginia's wider practice includes instruction in cases involving serious offences of violence including murder, child cruelty, arson, death by dangerous driving, firearms and drugs conspiracies.

Virginia is able to accept instructions under the Public Access Scheme.

Significant Cases

R v W (2019)
Defending a man who whilst imprisoned for rape, formed a relationship with the psychologist leading his Sex Offender Treatment Programme. He was subsequently charged with her rape and acquitted. 

R v R (2019)
Prosecuting a father who caused severe brain injury to his 11 week old baby in a 'baby shaking' case. 

R v Wilson (2018)
Prosecuting a teacher for sexually exploiting a teenage boy in her care.

R v Clark (2018)
Prosecuting a police officer for perverting the course of justice. 

R v Howeson (2018)
'Operation Turville' prosecuting a former high ranking naval officer for sexual abuse against young men in a multiple complainant case. 

R v M (2017)
Defending a twin charged with the rape of his twin. 

R v Brown (2016) 
Defending a Professional Boxer on allegations of rape and other penetrative sexual offences where the primary issue was the complainant's capacity to consent.

R v Walford (2015) 
Instructed to defend allegations of historic rape where both Defendant and one of two complainants were serving Indeterminate Sentences of Imprisonment for Public Protection.

R v Davies (2015) 
Instructed to defend in a multiple complainant case with the use of intermediaries involving the grooming and serious sexual abuse of three generations of one family.

R v Bickham (2015) 
Instructed to prosecute in a case involving the rape and control of two women within abusive relationships.

R v Wood (2015) 
Prosecuting historic allegations of serious sexual abuse by a stepfather on his stepson.

R v Fawcett (2014) 
Defending a youth with Asperger's Syndrome accused of sexually abusing his sister whilst they were children.

Operation Brooke (2014)
Instructed to defend in a case involving allegations of systemic abuse of vulnerable girls by Somali defendants.

R v McGinty (2013) 
Murder. Junior counsel in a revenge killing.

R v Newton (2013)
Murder. Junior counsel. Issues of fitness to plead and diminished responsibility.

R v P (2013)
Prosecuting the stranger rape of two women on the streets of Gloucester.

R v Dove (2012) 
Defending a caseworker in the Winterbourne View Care Home case which followed a Panorama investigation into allegations of the physical and psychological abuse of residents with learning difficulties.


For further information and enquiries please contact: Lucy Northeast & Grant Bidwell 


  • Grade 4 Prosecutor on Crown Prosecution Service Panel
  • Rape & Child Sexual Abuse approved prosecutor


  • Criminal Bar Association
  • Middle Temple
  • Western Circuit


  • LLB (Hons)