Charlene Sumnall successfully prosecutes UK’s largest ever clandestine channel crossing
The 69 Albanian’s were transported from Belgium to the UK on board a converted fishing trawler “the Svanic”. The Court heard expert evidence as to the unseaworthiness of the vessel and the risk to life and limb it posed to those being trafficked on board in its squalid and dangerous conditions. The case involved multi-jurisdictional evidence from Latvia as well as other European agencies. The case also involved expert nautical evidence. The 3 organisers and a crew member all received substantial custodial sentences with the ring leader having a starting point of 13 years just one year off the statutory maximum for the offence. The court heard that this one trip alone would have netted the conspirators in excess of £1 million. A further defendant is to be sentenced at a later date and POCA timetables have been set.
The case attracted substantial press coverage, a selection of which can be found below: