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Expert Witness & Hugged By A Belgian Skipper…?

A member of staff from Smye-Rumsby was called as expert witness to a court case which was intent on prosecuting a Belgian trawlerman for illegally fishing in British waters. He was arrested by Royal Navy fishery protection. His vessel and all his nets and equipment were confiscated. If convicted he would lose his livelihood and sent to prison. His defence lawyer contacted us because the vessel’s position had been cited using Decca Navigator coordinates by the spotter aircraft. The trawler skipper was adamant he was outside British waters.

We were asked to study the information to see if there was any technical reason for error. The trial was to take place in the morning. A long night ensued with trying to find and justify the skipper’s plea. Eventually, we established that the spotter plane had transcribed the position inaccurately by accidentally reversing 2 figures in the Long-Lat position. When we got to court the following morning, just as soon as the court resumed, the prosecution announced that they had found an error in the evidence the exact same error we had found. The case was dismissed.

Have you ever been hugged by a Belgian skipper!!!?

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