Michael Goldwater

Year of Call: 1977
Practice areas:
  • Crime


Michael was called to the bar in 1977. He deals with all aspects of criminal law.

For over 35 years Michael also ran a substantial civil / personal injury practice alongside criminal practice. He has recently given up his civil work to concentrate solely on crime, but retains a good working knowledge of civil law which is surprisingly useful in many types of criminal cases. He appeared as Counsel for the representatives of an alleged abuser at a lengthy public enquiry into alleged abuse and child protection procedures at schools in Wales.


  • Serious sexual offences – Michael has developed particular skill in handling sensitive cases and highly emotional witnesses and finds that a “light touch” pays dividends in this type of case.

  • Large-scale drug importation and drug dealing – Michael has particular skill in dealing with large volumes of material, including mobile phone downloads, cell siting and financial evidence.

  • Fraud and money laundering

  • Confiscation and proceeds of crime

Notable Cases

R v CH – £38 million cannabis importation, largely dependent upon cell siting and telephone evidence.

R v SA (Operation Buntline) – large-scale distribution by organised crime syndicate based in Manchester of drugs on the South coast.

R v C (Operation Redbank) largest importation of class A drugs into the North West in recent memory with drugs of a value in excess of £100 million believed to have been imported during the course of this operation. Substantial volume of phone and documentary evidence.

R v S – Al-Qaeda inspired murder of an Imam who was said to hold heretical opinions and engage in unorthodox theological practices.

R v W (Operation Octopod) – large-scale money laundering operation, involving the transfer of money in cash from a group of alleged fraudsters in Manchester to an organised crime group in London, said to have been organised by England’s leading crime family.

R v NS - -Acted for the defendant who faced 36 charges of historic Rape and sexual assault brought by 5 victims going back 25 years.

Reported cases

Michael frequently appears in the Court of Appeal. Most of the cases heard in the Court of Appeal are unreported. These are a selection of some of the cases that have appeared in the Law Reports in which Michael was involved.

R v Chester Crown Court XP Cheshire County Council (1996) Crim.L.R.336 - This case involved a disputed disclosure order in a highly contentious case involving the systematic abuse of young boys by carers at a care home.

R v Highton (2006) 1 CR.App.R (7) - This was a guideline case on bad character evidence following the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

Attorney General’s reference no. 23 of 2008 (Bruce Lee) (2009) 1Cr.App.R(S) 61 - This was a significant case on sentence for possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

R v Cooke (2018) 2Cr.App.R Sentence 16 -Correct sentencing principles in cases of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. 

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