James Gwatkin

Prosecutes and defends serious crime.

YEAR OF CALL 2017

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Education

Sept 2016 – June 2017: BPTC, University of Law (Very Competent)
Sept 2015 – June 2016: GDL, University of Sheffield (Distinction)
Oct 2012 – June 2015: BA (Hons) in History and Politics, University of Warwick (First Class)

Awards

Advanced Criminal Practice Award, University of Law (highest mark in Advanced Criminal Practice module on BPTC)
Exhibition Award, Inner Temple (to fund BPTC)
Irwin Mitchell Award, University of Sheffield (highest marks in the GDL year group)
Bail Application Competition Winner, University of Sheffield
Exhibition Award, Inner Temple (to fund GDL)

Appointments

CPS Panel Advocate (Level 1)

Memberships

The Honourable Society of Inner Temple
Criminal Bar Association

Overview of Practice

James joined chambers in October 2019 following successful completion of his pupillage. He prosecutes and defends in the Magistrates’ Court, Youth Court and Crown Court, and is developing a strong practice in all of Chambers’ main areas of work.

James prosecutes for the CPS, Probation and local authorities at all stages of criminal proceedings. James is also instructed by the Home Office and the Director of Border Revenue in cash forfeiture and condemnation hearings. James defends in all types of cases including allegations of violence, dishonesty, harassment, public order, drug offences and driving offences. He has experience of representing young and vulnerable defendants, and has an excellent grasp of ongoing issues within the youth justice system including “county lines” drug supply and defences under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Prior to joining Foundry, James worked as a criminal defence paralegal at leading firm Hickman and Rose. He assisted partners and associates in a range of cases particularly focussing on allegations of sexual offending (both current and historical) and financial malpractice. James gained invaluable experience and knowledge of all stages of the criminal process from police investigation through to appeal and other post-conviction/acquittal matters.

Whilst undertaking his legal studies James represented excluded children and their parents in school exclusion proceedings as a Communities Empowerment Network advocate. He also taught debating to prisoners through the Vocalise project.

Notable Cases

R. v C [2019] – Uxbridge Youth Court – Instructed to represent a youth defendant who was arrested with a large amount of crack cocaine and heroin in his possession. Secured a Youth Rehabilitation Order following guilty pleas to Possession with Intent to Supply Class A drugs.

R. v YI [2019] – Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court – Instructed to represent a defendant accused of assault by beating against a family member. Secured an acquittal on the basis of self-defence following legal arguments regarding non-defendant’s bad character.

R. v LA [2019]– Ealing Magistrates’ Court – Instructed to represent a defendant accused of a public order offence in a bookmakers. Successful submission of no case to answer following legal submissions.

R. v A [2019] – Reading Youth Court – Instructed to represent a youth of good character charged with the possession of an offensive weapon. Successful submission of no case to answer following cross examination of a 14-year-old witness.

R. v JC [2019] – Reading Magistrates’ Court – Instructed to represent a defendant in a possession of a bladed article case. Secured an acquittal on the basis of reasonable excuse.

R. v F [2019] – Wimbledon Youth Court – Instructed to represent a youth defendant in a special reasons argument following a guilty plea to driving with no insurance. Special reasons found and a small fine imposed.

R. v MW [2019] – Lincoln Crown Court – Instructed to represent a serving prisoner who was accused of a dwelling burglary against disabled victim prior to his detention. Guilty plea on day of trial. Following mitigation, the defendant was given a 6-month sentence to run concurrently to his existing sentence meaning his release date was only extended by 1 month.

R. v ND [2019/2020] – Snaresbrook Crown Court – Instructed to represent the defendant in ongoing case involving an allegation of wounding.