Prosecution offer no evidence in major organised crime case following submissions by Rebecca Trowler QC and Jake Taylor on disclosure and special counsel

Today the prosecution offered no evidence in the cases of 4 defendants charged in Operation ORLANDO with domestic and international cocaine trafficking and money laundering activities between 2006 and 2010. All four defendants were alleged to sit at the top of organised crime groups with a geographical reach within the UK from the South West of England, to London and the South East, and to Liverpool in the north, and beyond the shores of the UK into Spain, Holland, Switzerland and Ireland.

The indictment alleged overarching conspiracies to import and supply and a number of specific conspiracies for which others lower down in the alleged hierarchy had previously been tried and convicted. The decision to abandon the prosecution came following submissions made by Rebecca Trowler QC and Jake Taylor on behalf of the first defendant, TE, in relation to inadequacy of disclosure, concerns in relation to the legality of investigatory techniques and the appointment of special counsel. In open court leading counsel for the prosecution explained that the challenges to the disclosure regime and ‘defects’ in the scheduling process had been considered ‘at the highest level’ within the Crown Prosecution Service and resulted in a conclusion that problems in the disclosure process could not be remedied and the prosecutions in Operation Orlando and the linked Operation Broadus no longer met the evidential and public interest tests for prosecution. Not guilty verdicts were entered on all counts.

Rebecca Trowler QC and Jake Taylor were instructed by Suki Thumber at Hine Solicitors.