Sir Desmond de Silva QC

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The Rt Hon Sir Desmond de Silva PC QC is a member of  Goldsmith Chambers (which merged with Argent Chamber in 2014). He was the Head of Chambers at 2 Paper Buildings and then Argent for nearly 25 years.  One of the country's leading criminal QCs, he took silk in 1984 - the earliest of any barrister still practising today. He became a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in October 2011 and is a former United Nations Chief War Crimes Prosecutor in Sierra Leone. In 2002, Kofi Annan, the then Secretary-General of the United Nations, appointed him as Deputy Prosecutor for the new International Criminal Tribunal for Sierra Leone at a rank of Assistant Secretary-General. In 2005 Annan promoted Desmond to the post of Chief Prosecutor with the higher rank of Under Secretary-General, one of just four incumbent international Chief Prosecutors in the world. As a defence counsel, Sir Desmond has been credited by The Times as having saved more people from capital punishment in the Commonwealth than any other London-based practising member of the English Bar.

Sir Desmond was born in Sri Lanka in 1939. He was knighted in the 2007 New Year Honours and is also a Knight of the Most Venerable Order of Saint John and a Knight Commander of the Royal Order of Francis 1. He was called to the Bar in 1964 and was appointed as a Bencher of the Middle Temple in 2008 and Counsel to HM Revenue & Customs before VAT and Duties Tribunals the same year. He is a member of the Criminal Bar Association and the International Association of Prosecutors.

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