Michael Forster

Teams: Crime & Regulatory (General Crime, Asset Recovery & Money Laundering, Trading Standards, Health & Safety, Food Safety, Animal Health, Inquests, Judicial Review), Common Law (Inquests), Public Access (Direct Public Access)

Year Called: 1984

Inn: Gray's Inn

Qualifications: LLB

Appointments: Attorney General's Specialist Unified List of Prosecuting Counsel Grade "A", Specialist Counsel to the Environment Agency, Specialist Counsel to the Health and Safety Executive on the Western Circuit, CPS Prosecutor Level 4

Memberships: Criminal Bar Association, Health & Safety Lawyers Association, Western Circuit

Mr. Forster's practice is divided between Criminal work, for both prosecution and defence, and Common Law. He covers all areas of criminal work but specialises in cases involving commercial fraud and regulatory crime. He has been instructed by the CPS Headquarters Casework Fraud Division. In addition he undertakes work for Local Authorities, both county and district, as well as private clients; focusing on Trading Standards, Breaches of Planning Control, Food Hygiene, Licensing and Health and Safety at work.

His Common Law practice centres on commercial contract.

Criminal:

Mr. Forster has been instructed in a number of murder / attempted murder and gross negligence manslaughter cases. 

He was instructed on behalf of the police to advise in respect of a large investigation into a number of deaths of elderly patients at a hospital following the administration of morphine.  The case concerned consideration of gross negligence manslaughter.  There were significant issues in relation to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to relatives and investigating bodies such as the General Medical Council and the Strategic Health Authority.

Mr Forster has conducted numerous jury trials involving fraud charges.  By way of example, he was instructed to prosecute the case of R-v-F & J which was a trial in respect of cheating the revenue re an approximately £1 million VAT reclaim fraud in respect of expenses ancillary to the supply of zero rated produce.

In the case of R-v-O & Others Mr Forster was leading Prosecution Junior, where three defendants faced charges of conspiracy to defraud NatWest plc, involving fraudulent transfers by an employee of the bank to a businessman.  The trial lasted 41 days and the jury bundle comprised two lever arch files.  The case involved circumstantial evidence (e.g. telephone call data) which was presented by use of extensive visual aids such as time lines and flow charts showing the connections between the defendants and incriminating events.

R-v-S & Others was a seven handed jury trial in which Mr Forster was leading junior for the Crown.  The case involved conspiracy to defraud a large number of elderly householders in relation to building work and associated money laundering offences.  Many of the witnesses were extremely frail and vulnerable.  There were issues with regard to the period of the conspiracy and a complex interrelationship between the evidence implicating some, but not all of the defendants.  There were also significant issues as to the nature of the conspiracy and the admissibility of similar fact evidence.

Mr. Forster has conducted a number of cases involving serious sexual offences, including rape involving both adults and children.  An example is R –v- F, which he prosecuted alone against a Q.C. and Junior.  The case involved offences against seven young female complainants who alleged rape and other sexual offences.  There were numerous issues in relation to special measures and arguments in respect of evidence of bad character, including evidence of offences for which the defendant had previously been acquitted.

R-v-K involved the abduction, rape and murder of a teenage girl.  Mr. Forster was instructed as Junior Counsel for the Crown, advising on disclosure and PII issues relating to a large volume of unused material and in particular communications with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Regulatory:

He has represented a number of well known high street retailers in respect of trading related and Health and Safety issues; for example, on charges of offences contrary to the Trade Descriptions Act; concerning delivery hours; under age alcohol sales; food hygiene legislation; breach of advertising regulations; and on water pollution offences under s85 of the Water Resources Act 1991.

Mr. Forster has advised and represented major high street retailers in relation to appeals against the issue of prohibition notices by the Health and Safety Executive.

He has represented a number of Local Authorities in relation to Trading Standards and other trading offences; for example, the prosecution of a toy manufacturer and wholesale distributor in respect of unsafe and incorrectly marked toys; and offences under the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations.

Mr. Forster has been involved in a number of cases involving branches of Health and Safety legislation involving accidents in industrial and commercial premises. For example, in relation to a dangerous fork lift truck and side loader, and a case involving an appeal against a prohibition notice in relation to an escalator in a large department store after an accident in which a child's wellington boot and foot were drawn into the mechanism. He has advised a fire and rescue service in relation to fire escape route provision.

As Leading Junior, Mr Forster has prosecuted a case involving offences contrary to the Medicines for Human Use (Marketing Authorisations etc) Regulations 1994.  The case concerned multi-national internet based sales of ‘legal highs’ following prohibition by the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA).  The business had a turnover in excess of £3.5 million per annum and the case involved complex legal and factual issues as to the definition of ‘medicinal product’ and procedural requirements to be fulfilled by the MHRA as a result of the interpretation of the Regulations by the ECJ.

He has conducted a number of unlawful deposit cases on behalf of the Environment Agency; for example R v. B, involved the deposit of a very large quantity of builders' waste within sight of an area of outstanding natural beauty. He was instructed to advise the Environment Agency in relation to the unlawful deposit of (possibly contaminated) waste from a large office building site excavation in Kent. He has advised a Local Authority as to the ambit of 'special waste'.

Mr Forster has prosecuted a two week jury trial in relation to Regulatory Offences arising from a failureto comply with the disposal regulations in respect of poultry under Regulation 5 of the Animal By-Products Regulations 2005.  This included an argument on a complex point of law re the meaning of ‘food producing animal’ and the applicability of EU Community Regulations.

In 2011 he advised a water company in relation to proceedings under Section 85 of the Water Resources Act 1991 and the Water Industry Act 1991 in relation to a serious pollution incident involving the discharge of cyanide into a river.

He has represented a Local Authority in a noise nuisance prosecution appeal in the Crown Court, where he was against Queen’s Counsel and Junior which lasted for two weeks.

Mr Forster has advised a Local Authority in relation to an appeal to the High Court, with regards to the ambit of a resolution prohibiting street trading.

He has advised a Local Authority as to whether there were any criminal offences committed as a result of alleged irregularities during a local election.

He has prosecuted a number of cases involving breaches of animal welfare legislation, i.e. causing unnecessary suffering and associated offences.

Mr. Forster has been instructed in a number of inquests involving for example; the fatal injury of a maintenance contractor falling onto a railway track, the death of a young worker in a grain silo, a fatality during police pursuit and the death of a young person whilst in the care of a local authority.

Judicial Review and Appeals:

Mr. Forster has long experience of applications for judicial review/appeals by way of case stated.  For example, a judicial review case concerning the issue of whether a head teacher was bound by codes under PACE when questioning a teacher about an alleged assault on a pupil, which is reported as DPP-v-G (duty to investigate – see Archbold 2013 paragraph 15-9).  He has also represented the Prosecution in several applications for judicial review relating to technical aspects of Road Traffic Offences, latterly P-v-DPP, a test case in relation to the ‘envelope argument’ which postulates that any non-compliance with the Signage Regulations results in unenforceability of the speed limit.  This would have significant consequences for traffic enforcement nationally.  The Divisional Court rejected the argument but certified a point of law – the Appellant indicating an intention to apply for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

He has represented the Prosecution in an appeal to the Court of Appeal in relation to a ‘Terminatory Ruling’ in the crown Court.

He has represented the Prosecution in the Court of Appeal in a case which is the leading authority of the meaning of ‘demand’ in blackmail [see R-v-Lambert [2010] 1 CR APP 21 – Archbold 2013, paragraph 21-261]

 

VAT Number: 403302712

       

Michael  Forster

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