Paolo Martini

Paolo Martini is the managing partner and a director of Cobleys Solicitors Ltd. Paolo Martini has spent most of his near 30-year legal career with Cobleys and for over 15 years he has been a partner/director. For a quarter of a century Paolo Martini has been dealing with some of the most serious and complex cases and prosecutions around the country and you may well have read about some of these cases in the national press or heard them reported on national radio or seen them reported on the national news. Paolo Martini’s reputation is nationwide, him having represented clients in almost every town and city in the country.

Paolo Martini’s attention to detail and total support of his client means that he has a fiercely loyal client base around the country. Paolo Martini loves to study and prepare a case to the nth degree and always achieves his target of knowing the case better than anybody else in the courtroom. Knowledge is power. Cases have been won and lost on the finest of details.

Paolo Martini believes that everybody deserves a chance. There is always a reason why a person ends up in court. Everybody deserves professional representation irrespective of the charge and irrespective of the evidence. Any person who is forced through the criminal justice system should at the conclusion of the process, whether they are acquitted or convicted, at least be able to honestly say that they were treated fairly.

Paolo Martini truly believes in this country’s criminal justice system, but only when everybody involved in the process performs his or her function professionally and honestly and to the best of their ability. It truly pains Paolo Martini when he comes across people who have been treated unfairly or unprofessionally. Paolo Martini has forged a reputation for putting right the wrongs of others and has enjoyed many famous victories in the appeal courts.

Paolo Martini also trains, manages and supervises his various teams within Cobleys. He’s fiercely proud of his work colleagues and Cobleys Solicitors Ltd.

“At the Vanguard of defending EncroChat prosecutions”

Recently, Paolo has been heavily involved in representing defendants charged with conspiracy based on EncroChat evidence. Paolo Martini is at the vanguard of defending EncroChat prosecutions making Cobleys one of the foremost EncroChat and EncroPhone Legal Experts.

The leading case and authority from the Court of Appeal on the matter of admissibility of evidence of EncroChat was a Cobleys case supervised by Paolo. More recently Paolo is the supervising solicitor for another Cobleys case which is before Manchester Crown Court and which is currently going through the preparatory hearing process with a view to being determined at the Court of Appeal. You may know the case as Operation Estevan joined with Operation Embossed.

First Victory For The Defence In An EncroChat Prosecution

In April 2021, a legal argument submitted by Paolo Martini and his counsel was successful and as a consequence, the whole case was ruled a nullity, meaning that the case ended and all defendants walked free from the Crown Court.

Paolo is very proud of this victory and believes it to be the first victory for the defence in an EncroChat prosecution which has resulted in the collapse of the prosecution case and the release of both defendants.

Robert Pearce, and Joseph Drake, after being on remand in Altcourse HMP since December 2020, were released by Liverpool Crown Court on 16th April 2021.

Robert writes:

Paolo, a huge thank you to you and all your team at Cobleys. Your support and professionalism has given me my life back.

Joseph Drake writes:

Paolo Martini and my barrister, the men that moved the earth and got us out on an Encro case. Keep up the good work and continue to fight this travesty of justice.

The wife of Joseph Drake had this to say about Paolo:

We cannot thank Paolo Martini enough, literally one in a million. He worked tirelessly and went above and beyond to give me my life back. A highly recommended professional who goes the extra mile and actually cares for his clients. Miracles do happen.”

Demand For EncroChat Legal Services Increases

Paolo writes:

There has been another exciting development in another case I’m dealing with. After last week’s success for Joseph Drake and Robert Pearce in Liverpool Crown Court I have been instructed by another defendant who is due to appear in Chester Crown Court next week. He instructed me on Thursday. I checked his case papers that afternoon. The legal argument was submitted on Friday. You can imagine the chaos and panic at the CPS when it was received.

In this case the Crown Prosecution Service some weeks ago formally told the defence teams and the Crown Court that the procedural point was in order and everybody then involved accepted what the Crown said.

This is not a case of dishonesty on behalf of the Crown. It’s just a matter of really knowing what the law is. Seeing as a number of the Court of Appeal cases that form the case law on the point are cases that I took to the Court of Appeal my barrister and I immediately spotted the fundamental mistake.

Our complex legal submissions were presented to the judge yesterday (Monday). The Recorder of Chester yesterday told the advocates that he found the jurisdictional point very interesting but for the defendants in the case it was terribly important because it could be the case, if we are right, that they were being held unlawfully. The Recorder refused an application by the Crown to adjourn the case to next week for the Crown to prepare a response to the defence application that the prosecution was a nullity. The Recorder ordered that the matter had to be clarified on Friday of this week and one way or another a decision would be made.

I anticipate that the prosecution case will go the same way as the case of Drake and Pearce.”

Rupert Bowers QC speaks out on EncroChat admissibility

Since the first EncroChat arrests Paolo has been working very closely with the barristers most involved in the fight against the admissibility of the EncroChat evidence. On an almost daily basis he speaks with Mr Rupert Bowers QC on the topic. This is what Rupert had to say:

The current judgment of the Court of Appeal, which refused leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, is very unlikely to be the last word on the admissibility of the EncroChat evidence. The Court of Appeal adopted the facts as found by Mr Justice Dove who heard the evidence called in the preparatory hearing of that case.

One of the defendants (not my client) called an expert witness who made a concession on his then understanding of how the EncroChat system operated. That formed the factual backdrop to the Court of Appeal’s judgment.

I am closely involved with other ongoing cases which also have preparatory hearings before Mr Justice Dove. In those cases the defence have called no expert, but the prosecution have now called their own expert evidence.

Since the Court of Appeal’s judgment in my case the authorities in France and Holland have revealed the takedown of Sky ECC (a very similar system to EncroChat) and have revealed they had the capability to decrypt messages intercepted live.

This was not known at the time my case was heard. Mr Justice Dove has to find the facts as based on the evidence called in the case before him now. He can’t adopt the facts he found in my case. The Crown has also made far reaching disclosure since the Court of Appeal’s judgment.

It seems likely that Mr Justice Dove will reach different conclusions on the different evidence he is now hearing. The Court of Appeal would then need to revisit the same issues, but with different facts. This all means that there is the very real prospect of a different outcome. The situation is fluid and evolving day by day. It seems nothing is certain in this context at present.

Read Rupert Bowers QC’s article: The search for electronic material: a changing landscape

Paolo writes in response:

I have to say that I do feel for all defendants charged with offences based on EncroChat evidence. The pressure that is on them from all sides to plead guilty must be massive and must be very difficult to cope with.

The Crown Courts are forever telling them that maximum credit is only available if they plead guilty at the first possible opportunity. Indeed defence solicitors are professionally obliged to tell our clients this before the plea hearing and this is what we do.

If you do not indicate your guilt at the Magistrates Court you run the risk of losing your third off. If you do not plead guilty at the PTPH at the Crown Court in a month’s time after the Magistrates Court hearing you are in danger of losing the chance of 25% credit. And all the while the client is under huge pressure because the allegations by definition are terribly serious and very long prison sentences will follow for those convicted.

I can understand the attraction of pleading guilty early on and the peace of mind that follows. But what peace of mind will there be if ultimately EncroChat evidence is ruled inadmissible and one is serving a lengthy prison sentence just because of a guilty plea?

Given the uncertainty in the area of EncroChat admissibility I am so careful to advise my clients on the credit available for an early guilty plea. A third off a 30 year sentence is 10 years. But compare that with the mental anguish of serving 20 years when co-defendants who didn’t plead guilty are free because the Court of Appeal ruled that due to the French authority’s refusal to tell the English exactly what was/is going on the evidence cannot be relied upon?

I have to say that as a lawyer I really struggle to accept that the data which is clearly missing in my case is as a result of the technology deleting it or not recording it properly. If the missing data was less than relevant then maybe I would be more prepared to accept this explanation. But in the case of Drake and Pearce for example the missing data is super important to the defence case. An explanation that a human being has excised the data is far more palatable for me.

Everybody involved in EncroChat prosecutions knows of the gaps in the evidence. And there will always be credit available to those who ultimately plead guilty. Surely judges have to have some sympathy for those defendants who delay their plea until we actually know for sure what the admissibility of this evidence will be?

Rupert’s comments above are fascinating. His opinion is one that I share. I have worked with Rupert for years and enjoy working with him. I admire his tenacity and his intellect is intimidating.

Get in touch with Paolo Martini by email (p.martini@cobleys.com) or call today on 0151 242 9000 for his expert opinion on EncroChat and EncroPhone legal defence.