Firearms conspiracy based on mobile call data

Mobile phone evidence central to conspiracy to possess firearms

Wood Green Crown Court R v M and others

Moss & Co were instructed to represent the first defendant on the indictment in a five-handed conspiracy to supply firearms trial which lasted over five weeks. The charges centered on an arms factory, the importation of machine guns and hand guns  from Eastern Europe and a shooting dispute  in  a north London gang. The prosecution case was based, in the main on mobile telephone evidence.

The police investigation had started with the discovery of firearms and ammunition in the flat of a young woman in North East London in early May 2011.  The police mounted extensive surveillance on a business premises in Tottenham. They observed what they believed to be a sale of firearms, and moved in and arrested the two co-defendants who were found in possession of money, ammunition, and various mobile phones which were to play a major part in the case.

The phones contained many incriminating text messages. The police then began a thorough and extensive analysis of numbers contacted by the co-defendants and in time identified our client as one of the contacts. The prosecution case against our client was built on the evidence obtained from the detailed analysis of the mobiles and call data obtained by police from T Mobile and others.  The phone data showed evidence of contacts, movements and meetings between our client and his co-defendants. In short the prosecution was only made possible because the crown had evidence, in the form of data from the mobiles, that an agreement existed to supply guns.

Moss & Co worked hard on their clients behalf seeing him over forty times to take instructions, hold conferences  and  obtain comments on the 10,800 pages of prosecution evidence.  Much of the evidence was served electronically by the Law Enforcement Liaison section of T Mobile detailing  the dates, times, length and type of communication including whether the communication was a Text, SMS message, or voice call between the alleged conspirators as shown by the mobile phone records.   The data available to mobile telephone companies can include the whereabouts of a mobile telephone whenever it is switched on whether a call is made or not. We instructed senior counsel, Piers Mostyn and a junior.  Detailed proofs and schedules were prepared to show innocent explanations for the use of key telephone numbers and for the contacts with the co-defendants.

Mobile phone evidence plays a central part in many serious crime prosecutions. Cases are being brought now where before the advent of the mobile no prosecution would have been possible. A mobile phone is in effect a tracking device and if the authorities wants to track someone’s movements in support of their case nothing could be easier.

A mobile phone used for text or other messaging provides an indelible account of people’s contacts. It will disclose not only what was said but to whom, when and from where.

Keith Hollywood, Solicitor, Moss & Co

Keith Hollywood one of our serious crime experts did this case

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