Denis Henry (English judge)

Sir Denis Maurice Henry, PC (19 April 1931 – 6 March 2010) was an English barrister, Queen's Counsel and judge, rising to Lord Justice of Appeal. He presided over the Guinness share-trading fraud, a major British business scandal of the 1980s.[1]


Denis Henry was born 19 April 1931 in Margate, son of a British Indian Army Brigadier in the 5th Maratha Light Infantry. He lived as a child in Quetta and New Delhi, later in Oxford and during World War II in Boston, Massachusetts as an evacuee. He was educated at Shrewsbury School, then subsequently did national service with the King's Own Royal Regiment, and afterwards read law at Balliol College, Oxford.[1]


His career as a barrister started in 1955 when he was called to the bar, and he was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1977. Derry Irvine was a pupil; Tom Bingham and Charlie Falconer were members of his Chambers.[1]

He was appointed Recorder in 1979, High Court judge in 1986 and in 1993 was made a Lord Justice of Appeal. In the following year, he became chairman of the Judicial Studies Board, a post he held for five years.[1] He retired in 2002.[2]

He is perhaps best noted for presiding over two Guinness share-trading fraud trials in the 1980s, the first resulting in long prison sentences and heavy fines for Ernest Saunders, Gerald Ronson, Jack Lyons and Anthony Parnes.[1] An obituary in The Scotsman suggests that it was for the meticulous care he had shown in representing Acas in a case connected with the Grunwick dispute that he was chosen to preside at the Guinness trial,[2] despite only slight experience in criminal law.[1]


Henry's judgments include:

Personal life

Henry was married in 1963 to Linda (née Arthur), and the couple had three children. He was a keen golfer, playing from a low handicap and was awarded a half blue at Balliol, and elected captain of Royal Wimbledon Golf Club. He contracted Parkinson's disease and died on 6 March 2010 after a long illness.[1][2]


  1. "Sir Denis Henry". The Telegraph. 14 April 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  2. "Obituary: Sir Denis Henry QC". The Scotsman. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  3. "Contract of employment". Heath & Safety Executive. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
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