A police electronics expert made a clumsy attempt to ‘doctor’ vital evidence that led to the conviction of four fishermen and their friend for drug smuggling, according to legal documents. The five men were accused of picking up rucksacks containing 560lb of cocaine worth £53m in the middle of the English Channel, before dropping them overboard off the south coast of the Isle of Wight for someone else to recover. At their trial, data from the satellite tracking device on their boat appeared to damn them. But new evidence shows that after officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca) seized the vessel’s Olex GPS machine, an officer tried to alter internal databases, apparently to make them conform more closely to the prosecution’s theory. But he not only failed to achieve his goal, he also left a computerised ‘fingerprint’ revealing how he tried to interfere with the crucial testimony. The fresh evidence is included in a dossier from the men’s lawyers to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, which is being asked to order a new appeal.
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