The Freshwater Five
DISCLOSURE VIOLATIONS LEAD FIVE MEN TO BE SENTENCED TO A TOTAL OF 104 YEARS FOR A CRIME THEY DID NOT COMMIT
On 29th May 2010, fishing boat skipper Jamie Green said goodbye to his family, and set off in the Galwad Y Mor with a crew of three from the harbour of Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. He had a typical fishing trip planned – collecting up crab and lobster pots, hauling them on deck, removing the catch and setting them back for the next round.
But this evening was unlike any other. The Galwad had unwittingly steamed into the middle of ‘Operation Disorient’, an investigation run by the Middle Market Drugs Partnership (MMDP) and Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). The Operation was on the hunt for drug smugglers. For want of better options, Jamie and his crew became the prime suspects.
The first Jamie knew that Operation Disorient had decided that his little fishing boat was a coopering vessel was when he and two of the crew (Dan Payne and Zoran Dresic) were arrested when they were back in Yarmouth Harbour. The morning after the arrests, a rope along which were slung bags containing £53 million worth of cocaine was found floating in Freshwater Bay. Another crew member (Scott Birtwistle) and a friend of the skipper (Jon Beere) were arrested months later.
The case is headed to the Court of Appeal on the basis of fresh information that shows that the evidence presented to the jury was incorrect.
A short film about the case made by Jim Reed of the BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme can be found here.
Highlighting what needs to change
Jamie's wife Nikki died on 30 November, 2015. She battled terminal cancer throughout Jamie's imprisonment. He desperately wanted to be with her. Instead he was stuck behind bars for a crime we believe he did not commit.
The Criminal Case Review Commission takes at least 72 weeks to process an application. Nikki's death highlights the terrible human toll taken by delays in the system caused by chronic under-resourcing.
Help win justice for the Freshwater Five
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