Will Paynter and Catherine Mescall secure acquittal in 285kg – £22m importation of cocaine trial
This prosecution resulted from a significant cross-border National Crime Agency investigation. YV was accused of being part of a plot to dupe another van driver into repeated trips into the UK via the Eurotunnel border. Once at Folkestone YV would swap vans with the duped driver and make a journey within the UK to deliver drugs hidden in the van. On the fourth of these trips the duped driver was stopped by UK Border Force before crossing into the UK and his van was found to contain 285kg of cocaine in three sealed crates that purported to contain dry ice but in fact contained 285 kilo blocks of cocaine concealed under a layer of dry ice and then cardboard.
YV’s fingerprints were found on multiple items including the cardboard within the crates, false delivery paperwork and on the shrink-wrap that had been used to seal the crates. YV accepted swapping vans with the duped driver four times in Folkestone but denied any knowledge of the drugs and asserted that he too had been duped by the haulage firm owner. The case was rigorously defended and Mr Simon Bunter from KBC provided expert evidence to challenge the ‘matching’ shrink-wrap fingerprint an NCA expert stated was YV’s.
Will Paynter, of 15 New Bridge Street Chambers, was instructed by Catherine Mescall of Lansbury Worthington Solicitors