On Tuesday 28th July Timothy Murphy was acquitted by a jury at Basildon Crown Court of Conspiracy to Facilitate a Breach of European Immigration Law – people-smuggling. One other defendant was found guilty by the jury and two others were sent for retrial after the jury were unable to agree verdicts on them.
Mr Murphy had been charged with three others of being involved in the smuggling of 35 Afghan men, women and children into Tilbury Port in a container loaded onto a container-ship from Zeebrugge. The case achieved national headlines, not least because one of the unfortunate Afghans died in the container whilst en-route to the United Kingdom.
The prosecution had alleged that on the 15th August 2014 Mr Murphy had met with the convicted defendant at Lokeren in Belgium and had there loaded the immigrants into a 45-foot shipping container on the back of his lorry. It was alleged that he then drove the container to Zeebrugge harbour and had it loaded onto the container ship MS Norstream for shipment to the United Kingdom, where the immigrants and deceased man were discovered.
The prosecution case against Mr Murphy relied largely on Tachograph and route-tracing evidence, as well as telephone Cell Site analysis and call data. Road Transport expert Simon Clarke, senior barrister of Cartwright King Solicitors and representing Mr Murphy, challenged the prosecution case in detail to secure his acquittal.
Simon Clarke and Cartwright King Solicitors are specialist road-transport lawyers acting in the Road Transport Regulation and Criminal law.