Claire-Harden Frost and Thom Dyke secured the convictions of three bungling conspirators who were involved in a potentially life-threatening conspiracy to bring illegal immigrants to the UK. Henry Dunn, Christian King, and James Davis were all convicted at Snaresbrook Crown Court after two trials which took place in March and September.
Under cover of darkness on 6 November 2017, King and Davis attempted to launch a RHIB (Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat) from Dymchurch Beach in Kent. As the hapless duo tried to unhook their boat from the trailer, they became stuck in the sand and had to abandon their 4X4 to the rising tide.
Davis was eventually able to launch the RHIB and piloted it overnight to France where he collected four Vietnamese youths. The court heard evidence that the RHIB was wholly unsuitable to undertake such a dangerous journey, at night, across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Despite Mr Davis having brought protective clothing for himself the Vietnamese youths were left to shiver in jeans and t-shirts, without even a life jacket for safety. The RHIB was not fitted with appropriate navigation lights and did not have a radio in the event of an emergency.
Despite the danger, Davis landed the RHIB on Folkestone Beach in the early hours of 7 November 2017, where the sodden youths were shepherded into a waiting vehicle, bound for an uncertain fate.
Fortunately, the conspirators’ activities hadn’t gone unnoticed by the authorities and they were subsequently arrested. Davis initially denied any involvement telling the police he had been fishing. It was a lie maintained by King at his trial. He denied any knowledge of the plan to bring the youths to the UK and maintained he had simply been helping his friend Davis by launching the RHIB so Davis could indulge in a spot of night fishing in the Channel, despite not having any sea fishing equipment. Dunn was linked to the offence after police analysed the phones of the other. Dunn and King were organisers of the conspiracy and that all three expected to profit from this endeavour.
Sadly, recent years have seen a rise in the commission of this kind of offence as increasingly desperate and dangerous attempts are made by individuals to enter the UK. The men convicted of this offence took advantage of the vulnerability of four young people who had no legal right to enter the UK. The three conspirators were remanded into custody and will be sentenced on 11 October 2019.
Claire and Thom were instructed by the CPS Complex Casework Unit.