Defending the
Human Right
to a
Fair Trial

Jock Palfreeman - Bulgaria

While on holiday in Bulgaria in December 2007, Australian national and British army recruit, Jock Palfreeman, was arrested and charged with murder following a fight which had broken out between Jock and 14 Bulgarian men. Jock claims that he had gone to the aid of two Roma men who were being attacked by the group. In the ensuing fight, a knife in Jock’s possession injured two of the Bulgarian men, one of who died as a result of the injury. Jock maintains that he only used the knife to defend himself. Neutral witnesses have supported his version of events.

Jock was held in pre-trial detention for two years, during which time he spent a substantial period in solitary confinement. Almost completely without human contact, Jock was only allowed 90 minutes in the prison courtyard each day, without the company of other prisoners. In December 2009 Jock’s trial began. Incomplete initial investigations resulted in the failure to identify the two Roma men involved in the original altercation, as well as other key witnesses for the defence. Despite this, Jock was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment. He was also ordered to pay an excessively high amount in compensation – over €200,000.

Last updated: 13 November 2012