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Encrochat case collapses after three years

13 October 2023

Mark Heywood KC, leading Alastair Smith, 2 BR, defended one of those first charged by the NCA in Operation Venetic in June 2020. C was charged with three conspiracies to import drugs, and one offence of possessing criminal property, based on Encro messages linked to a phone found at his home. Stay and section 78 applications related to the Encro evidence on grounds not argued elsewhere were at first dismissed in November 2021. Focussed disclosure applications were pursued, which, after two successful applications, led to re-review by the prosecution in advance of a third. On Friday 13 October 2023 the prosecution offered no evidence and not guilty verdicts were entered on each count. The prosecution informed the court that the defendant could not have a fair trial.