Pete Gotch's Blog

My friends are always asking me about my cases and especially the interesting points of law that arise. So I thought I would have a go at a blog. I've never done one before but here goes. Facts that could lead to the identification of clients have been changed unless I have specific permission from them.  


I have had a busy few weeks and have dealt with Criminal cases in Courts from Preston to Southend. There has been a good mix of cases. 

The case of the fluffy slippers

This one had its funny moments. A young lady called the police because her drunk boyfriend wouldn't leave her home. Once he realised she had called the police he left. 

Half an hour later the police arrived and demanded to search the house. My client explained that the boyfriend had left and she no longer needed assistance. The officer put his foot in the door and tried to push his way in. My client put her foot the other side of the door and pushed back. She was the arrested for obstruction and assault police. The police rather, than being embarrassed that they had arrested the victim of domestic abuse took it all the way to trial. By the time of the trial there was a single charge of assault police. It was claimed that the client had stamped on the officers foot. At the time he was wearing his size 12 boots and the client was in PJs and fluffy slippers.

My client was a good sport, and we had a bit of fun with the officer at trial. We exhibited the fluffy slippers and asked the officer if these were the ones that had contacted his hobnail boots. You can imagine how that went especially as my client was 5'1'' and 7 stone.

 Ultimately, I used the case of R v Syed which sets out very clearly that entry into a home by the police in these circumstances is illegal. A person may use reasonable force to prevent such an incursion. 

We got the not guilty verdict then posed for pictures outside the Court with the fluffy slippers held hight. 


Failing to provide a sample of breath

My client had been stop checked in his car and asked to give a sample of breath. At the police station he was unable to give the breath sample that was requested and was charged.

When I met the client he had quite a pronounced cleft pallet. He told me that he had had several operations to correct the condition but there was still a problem in that when he blew from his mouth air escaped from his nose. 

I arranged for a doctor to examine my client and confirm this and we went to trial on the basis of 'reasonable excuse.' The Magistrates agreed with us and found the client not guilty.

 You may wonder why the police didn't just take blood when they saw the problem. I asked the officer this in cross examination and she said that she had only been trained on the breath part of the test and didn't know how to request blood. She was honest enough to admit that she would do it differently next time.  

You couldn't make it up!


Firearms licencing appeal won

I was very happy with this one because firearms appeals are notoriously hard to win.

My client was a firearms certificate holder and following a false complaint had had his house searched by the police. 

His guns were all safely put away and accounted for. The officers however found 1000 rounds of ammunition in a draw which was not secured in a locked box as it should have been. They also found what they said were 13 throwing stars which are a martial arts weapon which were made illegal by the new Offensive Weapons Act.

As a consequence, they took all his guns away and revoked his firearms certificate on the basis that he was a danger to the public.  

The client had been shooting for 30 years and was a person of immaculate character. We thought the police had overreacted and so appealed. 

The police made much of the 'throwing stars' but they had destroyed them. Before destroying them, they hadn't even taken a picture, so we had no idea what they looked like.  The client said they were blunt film props made for showing not throwing. Although the police insisted that he was a threat to public safety because of the stars they didn't even produce the officers who had seen them to give evidence of what they had seen. 

The police said that a criminal offence had been committed by not having the ammunition locked away. In fact, that is untrue. Home office guidance is that best practice is to have ammunition locked in a separate container from the guns. 

What was missing from the police case was any link between the breach of Home Office advice and danger to the public.

The Judge found that the client's approach was 'lackadaisical' but nevertheless found against the police and reinstated his certificate. 

Many shooters think that the police enforce guidance as if it is law and I have to say this is my experience to. The also use revocation as a punishment for infractions which it isn't supposed to be.

A busy 2023

When I decided to provide direct access services to the public I had no idea as to how busy I would get. So busy in fact it has taken me a year to update this blog!

My practice has now established a reputation for obtaining results that others said were not possible. A large amount of my clients have recently sacked solicitors because they feel that they are not fighting for them. I hate to hear that. Why become a lawyer if it's not to fight for your clients?

I have had great success in firearms appeals this year as well as motoring and criminal matters. Taxi appeals are picking up to as councils take a tough line with drivers over the most minor issues. 

Here are a few of the interesting ones!

Stuck in a field with Nowhere to go but the nick

I represented two clients for drink driving in Stockport Magistrates. One had got his car stuck in a farm gateway and a passing police car stopped and breathalysed him. He was over. Then his mate turned up in his car with a tow rope. He was also breath tested and was over. Two for the price of one thought the police! 

Both men were desperate to save their licences but the evidence was as strong as it gets. We entered a not guilty plea on the basis that the men had only had a couple of bottles of beer with lunch. Both thought they would be under the limit.

As often happens this case was won on a procedural argument. We had asked for various disclosure which was not provided. I legal argument on the day of trial resulted in the case against both men being discontinued.

This is quite common and this kind of argument has provided some great results for clients. 

Sending a birthday card could get you five years

My client had ben made subject to a restraining order by a bitter ex partner. He didn't get the chance to argue against it and the grounds were spurious to say the least.

Some time after the order was made my clients ex wife sent him a birthday card which had ben made by his six year old son. My client replied to say thank you and tell him I love him. 

On fathers day he got a fathers day card for his son, which had been posted by the ex wife. He replied with a thank you and a short video featuring the tree that the boy had helped to plant and a few favourite places in the garden. Both messages were messages of love. She went to the police. 

My client had breached the terms of his order which clearly stated NO CONTACT. He had breached it not once but twice and so he was charged.

The Magistrates thought that the offence was of such seriousness (looking at 5 years) that their powers to sentence for 12 months for the two offences was not sufficient and sent the case to the Crown Court.

Other lawyers pointed out that he was guilty as he had sent the messages. No one wanted to represent him. This is when I got involved. We entered a not guilty plea and set a date of a jury trial. 

I was very interested in the Bristol Crown Court case involving the 'Colston Four'. These were the idiots who pulled down the statue of Edward Colston and threw it in the river. They admitted to what they had done and most people would think that would be criminal damage.

The jury said no though. They found all four not guilty. Why?, because juries are wonderful things,  they have an unfettered right to do what they think is the right thing. 

My argument was not so much a legal one as a moral one. How can it be right to send this man to prison for sending two messages of love to his child?

The Crown fought it all they way to the day of trial at the Crown Court and then in a spectacular climb down dropped it. 

Cases like this make you think the world has gone made especially when the police tell us they no longer have the resources to attend burglaries. 

Firearms appeal for a man branded a sexual predator

My client had his firearms certificate revoked because the police said he was a sexual predator. Why was this? It was because he had chatted to a young lady shop assistant in his local coop. He had invited her to go with him for a walk to visit a historic church. Later, because she lived across the road he dropped a note through the door with his phone number on it. He was never charged with any offence but the police formed the view that he was a risk to the public.

The cross examination of the Chief Superintendent as hilarious. She accepted that there was 'no evidence of any kind' that the appellant was a sexual predator or that he was looking for anything other than a friend to walk with. She never the less maintained that his motivation must be sexual because he was middle aged and she was young. 

Needless to say he got his guns back.

Causing serious injury by dangerous driving

This was a stressful case. The prosecution were relentless is stretching the evidence to the limit. They had also over charged it. It would have been serious injury by careless driving but the incident occurred a short while before that offence came into being. So the CPS tried to ram a square peg into a round hole and claim it was dangerous.

My client had failed to see a lady who walked out into the road between parked cars. He hit her with hit van and she unfortunately was badly injured. It was classic carless driving, it was a simple mistake and not dangerous driving at all. 

The Crown tried to suggest that he was drunk. They got a police witness to say that he smelt of drink and that he was unsteady on his feet. He had admitted drinking the night before. What they tried to gloss over was that when they breath tested him a couple of hours later the score was zero. 

They tried to suggest that he had fled the scene. This was on the basis that he went into a shop and bought a drink while waiting for the police. The facts were that when the police arrived his van was at the scene and so was he. 

He was acquitted by a wise jury but found guilty in the alternative of carless driving. He was given four points and a £175 fine. A good result. 












Client Reviews and Press

Abuse of Process Hearing High Wycombe Magistrates Court Mr L

Pete was amazing. I was caught doing 63 leaving a 30 limit. My job was on the line. Pete found issues with the service of unused material and turned the case into an abuse of process hearing. The Court staff and district Judge were incredibly hostile but Pete stood up to them through 5 different Court appearances. Eventually the case was dismissed. Increasable work and thank you so much. 

Harassment hearing Reading Magistrates Court Mr B

They said that I was harassing my neighbour and had threatened him with a knife and stabbed his door. Pete took the witnesses apart. He then made a submission of no case to answer after the Crown Prosecution Service had put their case. It was thrown out and I didn't even have to give evidence. Nice one! 

Carless Driving Lincoln Magistrates Court Mr K

I am a lorry driver and if I had got convicted I would have lost everything. Mr Gotch ask the CPS to inspect the other car involved to obtain telematic information from the engine management system. The police had destroyed the car. Case dropped before we even got to the trial. 

Driving offences Snaresbrook Crown Court

Peter Cross examined a traffic officer and made him admit that he didn't know the braking distances in the highway code and he didn't know the distance between me and the other cars involved. The Court found that there was doubt and found me not guilty. I am a taxi driver so I was very relieved. I would recommend Peter to anyone in trouble. He really took time to explain everything to me and keep me informed with the progress of the case. I could see the quality difference between Mr Gotch and the person who represented me at the Magistrates Court.  

Press reports

Case of Baden (abuse of process) Harassment case collapses due to disclosure failings | Daily Mail Online

Taxi Case won Taxi 'sting' lacks bite - Berkshire Live (







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