Colin Witcher

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Ranked as a Leading Junior Tier 1, Legal 500 2024 and Leading Individual, Chambers and Partners 2024

Year of Call: 2010
Deputy District Judge

– Appointed 2022

"Colin is a natural advocate. His charisma and flair can make even the most unlikely and difficult defence seem plausible. His commitment and passion to his client’s cause is obvious to all. The combination of these qualities as well as a commanding grasp of the law make him a formidable opponent. You want Colin on your side"

– Legal 500 2023, Ranked as a Leading Junior Tier 1.

His written submissions are really persuasive and his speeches are brilliant. He uses the right level of humour when it's needed

Colin is the sort of lawyer you would want on board if you were faced with a novel point of law. He has a real passion for his subject and understands the law very well

– Chambers & Partners 2023 - Ranked as Leading Junior

"Colin is extremely bright, with a very calm and engaging manner. He is a fearless court advocate. Clients know they are in safe hands with him"

– Legal 500 2022, Ranked as a Leading Junior

"Colin Witcher is incredibly calm and well organised, safe and reassuring with clients, with a superb legal brain which gives great attention to the detail in the most complex of cases"

– Legal 500 2021, Ranked as a Leading Junior

"Juries warm to him; he approaches the cross-examination of vulnerable witnesses with care and skill."

– Legal 500 2020, Ranked as a Leading Junior

“A very fine Advocate”, “an impressive knowledge of law and procedure”

– Legal 500 2019, Ranked as a Leading Junior

The “extremely bright” and “standout junior” Colin Witcher is one of only 13 juniors ranked in Tier One, Crime by the Legal 500, 2024. He has been ranked by the Leading Directories for a number of years, where commentators praise his charisma, flair and natural advocacy. Colin is known for his courtroom presence, coupled with meticulous case preparation and excellent client care.

Colin has cemented his position as Counsel of choice for instructing solicitors and King’s Counsel in complex and paper-heavy cases. He is routinely instructed in the most sensitive and high-profile criminal cases, often dealing with cases concerning complex legal and factual issues.

Whilst covering the broad spectrum of criminal offending, both prosecution and defence, Colin is a recognised specialist in financial crime and corporate wrong-doing. He recently appeared as Leading Junior in two lengthy fraud trials at Southwark Crown Court (on behalf of the first defendant in both cases) and prosecuted a fatality at work arising from health and safety failings. Colin was Junior Counsel in the high-profile FA Bribery and Corruption Southwark Trial and Junior Counsel in a seven-figure commericial dispute before the High Court. Alongside a busy court practice, Colin was retained by the Bank of England assisting in a complex investigation (including managing a team of Counsel) and prior to that spent three years assisting a Regulator with an EU competition procurement matter. He is as comfortable in the boardroom as he is in Court with clients appreciating his realistic, pragmatic, and user-friendly approach.

In addition to extensive trial advocacy experience, Colin has a strong appellate practice. He has acted in several Court of Appeal cases of note, including as Leading Junior in Yaryare [2020] EWCA Crim 1314; three of his recent appellate cases feature in the current editions of the leading practitioner texts.

Colin is a Deputy District Judge, Grade 4 Prosecutor, Pupil Supervisor and Advocacy Trainer at Middle Temple. He is also a legal commentator and was recently described in the media as a show’s “secret weapon” following his appearance on a prime-time Channel 4 show.

Current instructions

R v G and others: Led by Kate Bex KC in the prosecution of five defendants for conspiracy to rape (Trial fixed 2024)

R v D: Led by Kate Bex KC in unusual historic rape case on behalf of the defence (Trial fixed 2024)

R v D: Led by Richard Thomas KC in high-profile murder trial (Trial fixed 2025)

R v E: Led by Lewis Power KC in cold case murder review (ongoing)

R v D: Counsel alone defending banker in internal banking fraud (trial fixed 2024)

R v E: Counsel alone on behalf of defendant charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to posses firearms with intent to endanger life (Trial fixed 2024)

R v P: Prosecution Counsel in sensitive rape case (Trial fixed 2024)

R v E: Prosecution Counsel in mutli-handed sophisticated fraud trial invovling five different police teams due to targeting victims nationwide (Trial fixed 2024)

Recently concluded instructions of note:

R v D: Leading Junior (Leading Fiona McAddy of 2 Bedford Row) on behalf of the first defendant in an investment fraud over a six week trial (2023)

R v D: Led by Lewis Power KC in point-blank revenge shooting on behalf of extradited defendant (2023)

R v D: Led by Heather Stangoe on behalf of a defendant facing an indictment arising from twenty separate complainants of sexual abuse over a seven week trial (2023)

R v F: Led by Maria Kariaskos KC in manslaughter trial requiring consideration of complex neuropathology evidence (2023)

BBC v X: Led by Lewis Power KC in defamation case arising from the Bashir/Princess of Wales interview (2022)

R v E: Leading Junior (Leading Michael Polak of Chambers) on behalf of the first defendant in a large-scale sporting event fraud over a six week trial (2022)

R v T: Led by Kate Bex KC in unusual and sensitive historic sex case concerning deception as to anatomical sex (2022)

R v L: Sole Counsel on behalf of defendant who faced allegation of kidnap with intent to commit rape (2022)

R v D: Sole Counsel successfully defending in historic sexual abuse case (2021)

R v W: Led by Alisdair Williamson KC in high profile perverting the course of justice trial concerning a missing body murder (2021)

R v H: Led by Alisdair Williamson KC in high profile manslaughter case in which 39 people died (2021)

Notable Cases

  • R v C

    Appeal against conviction; judicial conduct in VAT fraud.

  • R v D

    Appeal against conviction; cross territorial jurisdictional of document fraud offences.

  • R v G

    Appeal against sentence in respect of manifestly excessive sentence; drugs.

  • R v P

    Appeal against conviction in cold case review; murder, fresh evidence.

  • R v N

    Appeal against sentence in respect of error of law and manifestly excessive sentence.

  • R v G

    CCRC Appeal in respect of cold case review; bank robbery, fresh evidence.

  • R v M [Maidstone Crown Court]

    Led Junior in five day final hearing; confiscation sought for £152million; awarded £500,000.

  • R v P [Warwick Crown Court]

    Privately retained on behalf of company directors in patent/trade mark offences.

  • R v G [Harrow Crown Court]

    Privately retained on behalf of multimillionaire property developer; confiscation sought for £1million; awarded £190,000.

  • R v E [Snaresbrook Crown Court]

    Privately retained; successfully opposed an application by the Crown under section 22 to increase available amount.

  • R v D [Harrow Crown Court]

    Successfully made section 23 application.

  • R v R [High Court]

    Application for Certificate of Inadequacy.

  • R v O [Leicester Crown Court]

    Leading Estelle Thornber of Chambers in paper heavy case (150,000 pages) where 11 defendants faced an indictment alleging violent disorder in the context of an attempted murder.

  • R v D [Central Criminal Court]

    Led Junior in four week murder trial.

  • R v R [Leicester Crown Court]

    Led Junior in multi-million pound conspiracy to supply Class A and B Drug, value in excess of £5million.

  • R v S [Maidstone Crown Court]

    Led Junior in two month conspiracy to supply / import class A Drugs trial, value in excess of £7million.

  • R v N [Luton Crown Court]

    Led Junior in a five week conspiracy to murder trial.

  • R v D [Southwark Crown Court]

    Led Junior in £1m fraud against the Government (deaf defendants).

  • R v S [Maidstone Crown Court]

    Led Junior in a seven week multi-million pound money laundering trial.

  • R v P [Central Criminal Court]

    Led Junior in £1.5m fraud against HMRC.

  • R v G [Kingston Crown Court]

    Led Junior in three week attempted murder trial.

  • R v E [Croydon Crown Court]

    Gang rape by young males of drunk complainant.

  • R v D [Reading Crown Court]

    Multi-Count familiar rape (24 alleged occasions of rape); cross-examination of young complainant.

  • R v P [Northampton Crown Court]

    Violent rape in the context of domestic violence.

  • R v W [Woolwich Crown Court]

    Knife point repeated rape of prostitute.

  • R v C [Inner London Crown Court]

    Assault allegation jointly charged with codefendant facing attempted murder; cross examination on premises of fabrication and “stitch up”.

  • R v X [Woolwich Crown Court]

    Successfully defended in Section 18 and Threats to Kill matter.

  • R v O [Woolwich Crown Court]

    Successfully acted at trial on behalf of a defendant (a victim of domestic violence) who stabbed her husband four times in self-defence.

  • R v D [Central Criminal Court]

    Secured not guilty verdict for lifer charged with aggravated burglary.

  • R v E [Isleworth Crown Court]

    Defence of company accountant; three separate trials resulting in acquittal.

  • R v X [Kingston Crown Court]

    Six week 17 handed conspiracy to rob trial (69 separate high value robberies). Secured one of two only acquittals.

  • R v E [Southwark Crown Court]

    Led by QC in high-profile and unusual fraudulent trading case.

  • R v B [Central Criminal Court]

    Led by QC in cheating public revenue matter.

  • X v X [Advisory]

    Together with QC advising on an international injunction case for LA based clients.

  • MYE [Advisory]

    Retained privately by the European subsidary of an international finance company (with $2.5billion holdings) to advise on insider trading (both FSMA and CJA).

  • SFO [Advisory]

    Retained as LPP Counsel by SFO in respect of international bribery case.

  • HMRC [Advisory]

    Retained as LPP Counsel by HMRC in respect of £400m tax fraud.

  • R v S [Canterbury Crown Court]

    Defence Counsel on behalf of an accountant charged with fraudulent trading.

  • R v P [Nottingham Crown Court]

    Instructed defence Counsel in 12 handed trading standards trial, prosecuted by Queen’s Counsel.

  • R v M [Kingston Crown Court]

    Privately retained in a five day fraud trial concerning misrepresentation to induce and retain building contracts.

  • R v G [Warwick Crown Court]

    Privately retained on the behalf of a company director of a large-scale importers and distributors in respect of trade description offence arising from EU patent breaches.

  • X v D [High Court, QBD]

    Junior Alone in a £3million Freezing Injunction arising out of a breach of fiduciary duty.

  • HSE v F [Bromley Magistrates Court]

    Successfully secured not guilty verdicts in a health safety prosecution in respect of contractors working at height.

  • U v S [High Court, QBD]

    Led by Damien Brown QC in a high-value Employment/Commercial Dispute involving high profile clients and media coverage.

  • X v X [Bournemouth County Court]

    Successfully acted at trial in respect of defending liability for valuable cargo which was damaged during transportation.

  • P v P [Advisory]

    Led by Kerim Fuad QC in advising a leading commercial firm in respect of private prosecutions and injunctions due to conduct by former employee.

Publications

Extradition: Old Dogs, New Tricks (published by IFO) Colin co-wrote this article on extradition law with Kerim Fuad QC offering commentary on the separation of powers in the light of recent high-profile cases.

Disabled Children, a legal handbook (published by LAG) Colin was a researcher for this leading textbook on child disability law, focusing on researching and drafting content in respect of Statements of Special Educational Needs.

An Innocent Man’s Parole (Published by Converse) Article co-written with Charles Archer of J4E ltd offering advice for prisoners seeking parole whilst maintaining their innocence

Seminars and Lectures

The Value of Legal Learning (Law Conference 2014)

TUPE, an update (Chambers’ Lecture Series)

Contempt of Court (Chambers’ Lecture Series)

Forensic Science (Chambers’ Lecture Series)

Confiscation in drug conspiracies (Chambers’ Lecture Series)

Comparative Trial Advocacy (Stetson Law School, USA abroad programme)

Effective Technology in case presentation (Delaware, USA)

Memberships and Appointments

Deputy District Judge, Appointed 2022

Member of the Criminal Bar Association (CBA)

Inns of Court: Pegasus Scholar 2014

Grade Four Crown Prosecution Panel Member

SFO: LPP Disclosure Counsel

Scholarships and Education

Nottingham Law School, LLB (top 2.5 % in cohort)

BPP Law School, BVC (top 2.5% in cohort)

Nottingham Law School: European Funding Award

Middle Temple: Jules Thorn Scholarship

Middle Temple: Certificate of Honour for performance in Bar Finals

Latest Articles by Colin Witcher