Defendant accused of planning execution via Encrochat in multi-million pound drug operation acquitted of conspiracy to murder

Friday 26 April 2024

James Scobie KC and Tom Copeland of the Garden Court Crime Team represented a defendant in an eight-week trial at the Old Bailey, instructed by John Kaye at Carson Kaye Solicitors.

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In June 2020, the defendant was arrested following the National Crime Agency obtaining Encrochat data, as part of what is now widely known as Operation Venetic.

The prosecution relied upon thousands of messages spanning a period of two and a half months. It was alleged that he delivered a firearm with ammunition to a hitman and then arranged a driver for the purpose of the shooting. When that was interrupted by police, it was further alleged that he agreed a fee of £200k to organise another hitman and planned it over a period of almost two weeks.

The defendant accepted arranging the supply of wholesale amounts of cocaine. He accepted delivering the firearm, but denied any knowledge of the original plot. He then asserted that although he gave the appearance of organising a hitman, he never intended to go through with it.

The defendant gave evidence over five days. He was meticulously taken through over 2000 messages relied upon by the prosecution and his defence team relied upon hundreds of additional messages that supported his defence, but had been left out of the jury material by the prosecution.

The jury unanimously acquitted all defendants within two days of deliberation.

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