At the trial, which saw five men sentenced to a total of 104 years, the prosecution claimed that during a force 8 gale fishing trip the men had, in less than four minutes, collected 11 holdalls from the water that it was claimed had been thrown from the container ship, MSC Oriane.
The prosecution say the holdalls – which contained £53m of cocaine – were then dumped by the men in Freshwater Bay, and discovered the next day by another fisherman.
New radar information
During the trial, the prosecution argued that Galwad Y Mor fishing boat had crossed in the wake of the Oriane in the English Channel, but radar information from UK Border Agency vessel, the HMC Vigilant, suggests the Galwad was actually more than 170m away from the Oriane.
Other evidence also reveals details of what should have been a suspect vessel.
The small vessel had been recorded as being near HMC Vigilant, but then sped off to Freshwater Bay where the cocaine was found the following day.
On top of those two pieces of evidence, new information points to the suggestion that a surveillance plane could have been in the area where the drugs were claimed to have been dropped in Freshwater Bay.
Emily Bolton, the lawyer for the Freshwater Five, tells The Guardian’s Anushka Asthana that the holdalls of cocaine would have been visible to the surveillance plane at the time they flew over the Bay, but no details were disclosed at the trial.
All protest their innocence
All five men protest their innocence – following the trial they were sentenced for a total of 104 years; Jamie Green for 24 years, Jon Beere for 24 years, Zoran Dresic for 24 years, Dan Payne for 18 years (released in 2019) and Scott Birtwistle for 18 years (released in 2018).
The Appeal hearing begins tomorrow (Tuesday 23rd Feb 2021), when the Guardian’s investigation mini-series concludes with part five.
If you prefer not to listen to the podcast series, a feature by Mark Townsend featured in the Sunday Observer.
Image: © Used with permission of Steve Potter