Nigel Edwards KC led Andrew Stranex on R v Francis Hunt et al, one of Britain’s longest drug prosecutions involving more than 10,000 pages of evidence, 500 witnesses, 14 barristers, five juries and more than 160 days in court.
Taxpayers were landed with a £6million legal bill for one of Britain’s longest drug prosecutions after juror, Joanne Fraill, allegedly exchanged messages with one of the defendants. Four trials took place leading to legal proceedings and investigations equating to over £5.1million and court security and police wages of £1million.
Fraill, 40, was also accused of using the internet to research the case against the judge’s orders. She faced contempt of court proceedings and a possible prison sentence for using the internet to undermine the centuries-old jury system.
The case involved drug dealer, Gary Knox, and corrupt police officer, Phil Berry, who were jailed in a protracted case. Gary Knox bribed former PC Phil Berry with a £20,000 BMW and Premier League match tickets in return for sensitive police information on his rival drug dealers in Bolton.
The first trial was abandoned due to legal arguments which led to ‘jury fatigue’ after the jury were outside the courtroom so long they could not be expected to remember the evidence given.
The second trial was abandoned after four weeks when a police emailed out confidential documents with sensitive passages obscured. However, lawyers were able to see through the black marks.