Group of five ‘cocaine crew’ jailed for £54m smuggling plot launch fresh bid to clear prove their innocence
- Five men jailed over cocaine smuggling plot believe they are innocent
- Jonathan Beere, Dan Payne, Jamie Green, Scott Birtwistle and Zoran Dresic accused of taking fishing boat off Isle of Wight to collect cocaine from sea
- New evidence to show they came within 486 yards of shipping container and could not have collected the drugs
The Court of Appeal is to hear new evidence that five men jailed over a £54 million cocaine smuggling plot believe will finally prove their innocence.
Lawyers for Jonathan Beere and Dan Payne have unearthed surveillance records from the UK Border Agency patrol boat Vigilant, which uses radar, satellite and sonar data to plot the position of other vessels.
Prosecutors told jurors in 2011 that Beere, Payne and their co-defendants – Jamie Green, Scott Birtwistle and Zoran Dresic – took the Galwad-y-Mor fishing boat out from the Isle of Wight in a Force Eight gale in May 2010 and retrieved 12 rucksacks containing 560 lb of cocaine that had been hurled into the sea from the Oriane, a container ship coming from Brazil.
The crew on the Galwad were found guilty of picking up the bags of cocaine that were supposedly dropped from Oriane before tying them together to a buoy and dropping them back into the ocean
Behind bars: Crewmen Daniel Payne and Zoran Dresic, pictured with wife Marina and one of their two children, were sentenced to 16 and 24 years each
They said the five, who were jailed for a total of 104 years, anchored the bags in shallow water which were found the next day by the authorities.
Now a file submitted to the Appeal Court says data from the Vigilant shows the closest the Galwad-y-Mor came to the Oriane was 486 yards and that currents would have taken any bags well away from it. The data also reveals the presence of an unidentified vessel.
Lawyers are confident the convictions will be quashed. Beere’s wife Susan said: ‘At last… for once, we have hope.’
Family men: Fathers Jamie Green, the Galwad’s owner and captain, and his lifelong friend Jonathan Beere – who was not present on the Galwad at the time of the supposed smuggle – were sentenced to 24 years each