Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker—Cops’ hidden evidence proves framed fisher folk’s innocence

Issue No. 2655

The Freshwater five’s fishing boat

The Freshwater five’s fishing boat


Five fishing workers convicted of smuggling a record haul of cocaine claim that police failed to disclose vital radar evidence that proves their innocence.

The crew was jailed for between 14 and 24 years in 2011 after £53 million worth of the drug was found at Freshwater Bay off the Isle of Wight.

In an application for leave to appeal against their convictions, they say that police did not hand over evidence from the radar of a Border Force cutter patrolling the Channel.

This proves that their boat did not cross the path of a cargo ship from which the drugs were allegedly thrown.

The men’s lawyers say that expert analysis of the radar of the cutter, HMC Vigilant, proves that their fishing boat did not come with 165 metres of the path of the MSC Oriane, on which the drugs were allegedly smuggled from Brazil in May 2010.

The application also says that an expert has found that Vigilant’s radar picked up another small boat in the area where the drugs were allegedly collected.

Police had downloaded the data from the Vigilant’s radar but instead used less detailed information from the fishing boat’s radar system, leading to the miscalculations, the men’s lawyers say.

Sue Beere, whose husband Jonathan was jailed for 24 years, said, “The police have let innocent men rot in prison for a crime they didn’t commit.

“They could have stopped this terrible miscarriage of justice happening at any time they wanted.

“They had evidence in their possession which would have proved the men didn’t do it. We never even knew this evidence existed.”

Edward Fitzgerald QC, who is representing the men, told the Court of Appeal that the data from Vigilant’s radar was not disclosed at the trial or included in a list of unused material drawn up by prosecutors.


Government is still lying about torture

The government has been developing a secret policy on torture that allows ministers to sign off intelligence-sharing that could lead to torture.

An internal Ministry of Defence policy document, dated November 2018, creates a provision for ministers to approve passing information to allies. This is even if there is a risk of torture, should they judge that the potential benefits justify it.

The document amounts to a parallel policy over Cabinet Office rules.

Cabinet Office “consolidated guidance” states that Britain does “not participate in, solicit, encourage or condone the use of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for any purpose”.

But the MoD’s internal policy states that although there is a presumption not to share information with allies when there is a “serious risk” of torture, this can be overridden if “ministers agree that the potential benefits justify accepting the risk”.

  • Women spies are paid almost 10 percent less than male spooks.

About a third of people working at MI5, MI6 and the GCHQ listening centre are women.

But the gender pay gap means a woman intelligence analyst gets £27,000 compared to a male colleague’s £30,000.

Bosses of the three main spy organisations who hold the rank of director general, earn about £200,000 a year.

  • A shiny supplement to the bosses' Financial Times newspaper extolled the virtures of investing in Greece. It included a interview with prime minister Alexis Tsipras of Syriza—“From firebrand to economic reformer”. He defended cuts by explaining, “Reforms are like a bicycle, if you don't make them you fall off.”

Brexit Party fundraiser is a posh money launderer

A disgraced former aide to Nigel Farage who was jailed in America for offering to launder drug money is a fundraiser for the Brexit Party.

George Cottrell, an aristocrat known as “Posh George”, served as Ukip’s head of fundraising until his arrest by federal agents on charges of extortion, money laundering and fraud in 2016.

Cottrell is handling wealthy donors to the Brexit Party.

He grew up on a private island in the Caribbean and was educated at the £36,000-a-year Malvern College in Worcestershire.

He is reportedly worth £250 million.

Meanwhile Aaron Banks has spent £450,000 on Farage to fund his lavish lifestyle, including renting an exclusive £4.4 million home in Chelsea and providing a car and driver.


Care residents moved across country

One in five care home residents have been sent out of their local area, with some stranded more than 450 miles from families and friends.

Some frail or vulnerable people are being taken from five local authority areas in London and southern England to Glasgow and north east Scotland, because closer beds are unavailable.

More than two thirds of the local authorities that responded to a Freedom of Information request said they had sent somebody at least 125 miles away.

On average, one in ten care home residents never receive any visitors.

The figures are based on responses from 111 out of 152 care-commissioning local authorities in England, which moved nearly 28,500 people in residential care outside their area.


UN slams government over troops

The UN intervened into the controversy over investigations into veterans who served in Northern Ireland by demanding the government set up a unit to investigate incidents.

The United Nations Committee Against Torture said it was “seriously concerned” that many allegations of torture, ill treatment and killing that took place during the conflict had not been effectively investigated.

Few had been held accountable and victims had not obtained redress for what had taken place, it added.

The government should ensure “investigations are conducted into outstanding allegations of torture, ill treatment and conflict related killings” to establish the truth and prosecute perpetrators.

Instead, the Tories are promising to bring in new rules to stop British soldiers from being prosecuted for any crime they commit.


The things they say 

‘This is not a job for anyone who thinks of themselves as a cast member of The West Wing’

Labour MP Stella Creasy advertising for an office manager in her Walthamstow constituency.

‘S&M dungeon with dominatrix aunt?’

Tory MP Tim Loughton advises fellow Tory James Cleverly which combination of room and family member for a potential leadership campaign launch photo

‘Extremism is coming up to us from the left and from the right and we need to make sure that we fill the middle’

Work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd’s warning to the Conservative Party

‘It’s a failure, how did that happen?’

Nigel Farage to his security, after being hit by a milkshake

‘She is like an extreme member of a Tupperware party’

Jon Culshaw on Andrea Leadsom, leader of the Commons


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