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EXCLUSIVE: How Huyton Firm man Edward Jarvis pleaded with Judge for 'fair' EncroChat trial amid claims of disclosure delays and after losing legal team in case that dragged on for years

AN EncroChat defendant who was facing charges of conspiracy to supply drugs and blackmail had to plead with a judge to allow him a fair trial after he lost another legal team.

Manchester Crown Court heard in November 2021 that the trial of Edward Jarvis, 58, (above) and Michael Earle, 47, was facing delays due to legal, disclosure and health issues.

The pair were charged with three conspiracy to murder charges, conspiracy to supply cocaine between March 1 and June 17 2020 and a separate blackmail charge.

Jarvis, (below in police mugshot) who was today found guilty of drug supply and blackmail offences at Manchester Crown Court, was also charged with conspiracy to supply heroin to others between the same date.

He had denied this charge in November 2021.

Both men also denied a charge of blackmail which alleged that between May 22 and June 17 2020 they conspired with others to make unwarranted demands with menaces.

They had earlier denied the cocaine conspiracy charge and three separate charges that between May 22 and June 17 2020 they conspired together and with others to murder Michael Eves, Brian Maxwell and Iyobosa Igbinovia.

The conspiracy to murder charges were later withdrawn.

But, the court heard the case, which began life when they were arrested in June 2020, was besieged by delays caused by coronavirus, other medical problems and legal issues.

The pair were arrested as part of international investigations into the encrypted EncroChat mobile phone system.

The EncroChat investigation happened after Dutch and French law enforcement managed to hack into the supposedly secure communication system in April 2020.

They allowed access to British police forces to historic and live messaging being sent on the devices used by around 9,000 people in the UK.

This triggered scores of police raids across the country with more than 3,000 people suspected of using the EncroChat arrested, more than 1,800 alleged EncroChat users charged and around 400 already convicted.

However, many cases were held up as there were a number of legal challenges around admissibility of the evidence as live interception of phone calls in the UK is not usually admissible.

At the November 2021 preparatory hearing, Jarvis made an emotive speech to Judge Mr Justice Ian Dove (above) that he should have a "fair trial", after parting company with his second legal team.

Given permission by Judge Dove to address him from prison, where he had spent 18 months on remand at the time, via remote link, he said: "I would like to detail my experiences over the last 18 months with my legal team through no fault of my own."

He said his first legal team had told him the only evidence in his case was EncroChat messages and there were no further disclosures.

He also said he was promised his lawyers would only miss one or two days of court hearings during the case, but two of them had missed a full week and left him with "no counsel" in court for two whole days, before he chose to part company with them.

He was then represented by barristers Michael Bromley-Martin QC and Joanne Cecil, who had since obtained him the disclosure of 2,000 documents of unused material from the CPS.

Jarvis said they had secured him an expert witness on EncroChat messages, but it was going to take him until April 2022 to prepare a report after a further 700 pages of evidence were served on him by the prosecution just over a week ago.

But, Jarvis' speech came after Mr Bromley-Martin and Miss Cecil told the court they would no longer act for him, after they faced criticism from Judge Dove about their preparedness for the case.

Judge Dove said: "Nothing I have heard was a sound basis for withdrawal...

"If I withdrew from every case where I was criticised by the court, it would have been a difficult way to practice."

Jarvis said Mr Bromley-Martin and Miss Cecil had been brilliant in securing him the disclosures and expert witness, and he was now floundering trying to secure new legal representation from his prison cell with the aid of his girlfriend on the outside.

He asked Judge Dove for an adjournment to secure legal representation and for the report to be prepared.

He said: "The prosecution served 700 pages of evidence a little over a week ago and (my expert witness) will not have the report ready until April next year... I now find, through no fault of my own, I have no legal team and all I want is a fair trial and look to you (Judge Dove) to make that happen.

"These are serious offences and I am facing a life sentence so all I ask is to be fairly represented to fight this case."

Representing Earle, Matthew Ryder QC, said any new legal team for Jarvis would "need considerable time to get on top of the brief" as there were now "about 10,000 pages of evidence"

Mr Ryder revealed his legal team was facing its own problems after solicitor Daniel Kenyon became ill then tested positive for coronavirus the night before and now he and fellow barrister Simon McKay would have to be tested.

The day before the court heard of earlier delays caused by Jarvis needing "regular bathroom visits" followed by full strip clothes changes, due to him being a class A prisoner, after he suffered a bout of Gastroenteritis, but a doctor had judged him fit to stand trial.

Judge Dove said he was not prepared to allow any lengthy delays to the trial continuing.

He said: "This trial has been on foot for over a year and I am not going to adjourn it into the ether. We need a way forward and I want to know where we are headed, it is also in your client's interest that we have a plan."

He adjourned the case to allow Jarvis time to try to secure legal representation.

The difficulties were resolved as Jarvis was represented by Mr Bromley-Martin during the trial which concluded today.


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