06 January 2021
R v S & Oths – Operation Salesperson & Operation Soku – Snaresbrook Crown Court
Deepak Vij, Partner and Rohit Sharma, Senior Solicitor of the Fraud and Complex Crime department at ABV Solicitors successfully obtain an acquittal on a large Conspiracy to Import Class A drug case concerning EncroChat evidence.
The evidence of attribution on an EncroChat device linked to the defendant was challenged at an early stage in the proceedings resulting in the CPS offering no evidence and accepting that they had insufficient evidence to continue with this prosecution.
This case involved a joint NCA & Met Police investigation into defendants who were importing multiple kilos of Class A drugs, Class B drugs, and firearms into the UK from Europe.
The communication data from this particular EncroChat handle, was compared to movements of the defendant using various methods including ANPR, Cell and Geo -Site and covert surveillance evidence to link attribution to the defendant and to his personal phone.
This communication data was obtained through the well-publicised hack by law enforcement agents of the EncroChat servers (Operation Venetic). The legality and admissibility of this action is being challenged and will result in a hearing in due course before the Court of Appeal (R v Coggins et al).
The defendant maintained his innocence and refuted the evidence against him. Following careful analysis of the evidence the CPS were encouraged by us to provide an explanation for a number of issues highlighted which we felt needed exploring. The CPS quite rightly instructed their own expert to assist them. It was clear that the findings of their expert supported the defendant that the attribution was not compelling and ultimately resulted in the defendant’s exoneration.
Counsel Tim Forte from 3 Temple Garden Chambers was instructed on this matter by ABV Solicitors.