Jonathan O’Brien has been jailed for 13 years after abusing boys as young as ten in the 1980s.

A packed-out public gallery watched O’Brien’s sentencing for 15 counts of indecent assault on children aged between ten and 15. A number of his victims were at the court today. One of them said in a victim impact statement: “I can’t quantify exactly what impact this has had on me and therein lies the tragedy. “How would I be if this hadn’t happened? Would I be more successful, more patient, more passionate? I don’t know, which is sad.” The indecent assaults took place when O’Brien was a teacher at the Oratory School, near Reading, and Winterfold House School, near Kidderminster. O’Brien still proclaims his innocence and during the trial last year many witnesses shed tears as they were subjected to lengthy cross examination by O’Brien’s lawyer. Sentencing, his honour judge Robert Fraser spoke of the suffering recounted in victim impact statements: “The sentiments expressed reflect the evidence that each of them gave in court – a number of them unable to hold back tears as they were forced to relive your abuse.” He added: “It was abundantly clear from the understandably emotional evidence they gave during your trial that your actions have left a very dark shadow which each them has had to find ways to deal with.” O’Brien was given sentences of eight years, seven years, six years and four years concurrently, with a five-year term to be served consecutively. He will serve half the total sentence in prison and the other half out on licence. O’Brien was visibly shocked at the verdict, with Judge Fraser saying: “You have never accepted your guilt.” He was originally charged with 28 counts and stood trial last November. He was convicted in December of 15 counts of indecent assault and five counts of gross indecency by the jury. He appealed the conviction this year, but was successful only in overturning the gross indecency convictions. O’Brien was made subject to a sexual offences prevention order and will be on the sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life. If you or a loved one were subject to abuse at the hands of O'Brien please do not hesitate to contact Charles Derham our specialist child abuse solicitor. We will treat any communications with the strictest of confidence.


Charles has considerable specialist experience in pursuing claims for compensation for those who have been abused in childhood. His specific expertise means that he is recognised locally, nationally and internationally for his work which has taken him all over the world including, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

He is also recognised for his significant involvement in the high profile litigation against St Georges School (Anglemoss Limited) and Cyntwell High School. These cases involved a staggering number of individuals who pursued those responsible whom despite heavily defending the claims brought against them settled by way of out of court settlements.

Charles regularly features in local and national press and he is often asked to provide his professional opinion and commentary on relevant abuse law issues and developments on radio and television broadcasts. Such broadcasts include BBC South Today, BBC Wales, ITV and ITN News.

Charles is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers.

You can follow Charles on Twitter and Facebook.

Charles obtained his Law degree at Kingston University, before successfully completing his Legal Practice Course. He trained and qualified with Verisona Law beginning his specialism in the field of child abuse claims. He received his higher rights of Audience in 2012 making him one of the youngest Solicitor-Advocates in the country who is able to represent his clients in the High Court. Charles is head of the abuse team who collectively have secured compensation for hundreds of victims of abuse.

He began diversifying in to other aspects of abuse law and his team are one of the very few in the country who specialise in claims against social services.

He is involved in complex group action litigation and also represents a number of individuals and who are pursuing private companies, local authorities and perpetrators in pursuit of their justice.

Charles has strong contacts with some of the most prominent barristers who advise on abuse claims including a number of QC’s. He also has robust connections with highly qualified expert witnesses he instructs in support of those who he represents.

  • Child abuse claims
  • Claims against social services
  • Complex/Catastrophic Clinical Negligence claims

"Thank you for all your much appreciated hard work. I will truly never forget your kindness towards me. Your patience, respect and understanding at all times was beyond words. The sincere compassion shown meant more to me than words could ever express. This firm will forever hold a special place in my heart."

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