Operation Venetic – Prosecutions for users of Encrochat in serious drug and firearms matter

Michael Mckeown explains what work we can do for those arrested in relation to serious offences following on from the Encrochat hack in 2020. 

Operation Venetic was the UK investigation into users of the encrochat network, believed by the NCA to be used solely by those involved in serious and organised crime. The users of the encrochat network were attributed a ‘handle’ which was a two-word username. Attribution of that handle to an individual has been the key component in arresting suspects. 

Once arrested, if the attribution evidence is strong, namely, there are messages or images that would be specific to an individual, the likelihood is that individual would be charged with the offence alleged. 

We have and continue to deal with many encrochat cases and would describe ourselves as experts. Our advice has resulted in fantastic results, and we instruct the lead experts in this area from around the country. We instruct lead experts such as drug expert witness Darrell Jones and have successfully argued on substantial cases that the defendant should not be sentenced at category 1 plus.

We have also successfully negotiated with the prosecution that defendants play a significant role over a leading role. Originally the prosecution and court stance being that any offender with an encrochat phone played a leading role. In relation to those individuals who have pleaded not guilty, there continue to be complex arguments before the investigative powers tribunal (IPT) which may result in adjudication from the Supreme Court. 

At MSB, we instruct some of the lead barristers in the country in dealing with Encrochat evidence and are aware of some individuals seeking advice on appeal in relation to their guilty pleas. Those pleas concerning the basis of their guilty pleas to offences of conspiring to supply drugs. We believe in an approach whereby no stone is left unturned with straight, honest advice being the key to our clients continued successes in this area. 

Contact us, we are here to help

If you or a family member is held in custody and would like to instruct MSB Solicitors, please contact our office on 0151 281 9040.