No5 barristers appear in new BBC crime documentary working on complex prison drugs case

Two barristers from a Birmingham Chambers are making their TV debut this week appearing in a new BBC documentary which follows the prosecution of a criminal gang using drones to deliver drugs to prisons across the UK.

Michelle Heeley QC and Antonie Muller, counsel with No5 Barristers’ Chambers, were instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and worked closely with Senior Crown Prosecutor, Eran Cutliffe, on the complex case.

The first episode of The Prosecutors: Prisons, Drugs and Drones airs on Thursday August 2 at 9pm on BBC Two, with episode two on August 9 at 9pm also on BBC Two.

The programme, a co-production between Gold Star Productions and The Open University, gives an extraordinary insight into the work of prosecutors tackling an organised criminal gang that flies drugs into prisons using drones and a shadowy network using children as slaves in UK nail bars.

Filmed over a year, with behind the scenes access to the CPS and West Mercia Police, the programme follows the prosecution team as they build an extremely complex case against a network of people both inside and outside prisons.

Police uncover evidence revealing the precision and frequency of drugs deliveries made by the gang. CCTV footage outside and inside prison helps the Prosecution team piece together who is involved and establish the role of each person within the conspiracy. With insights behind the scenes at court, the documentary reveals how deals are made and the tensions between gang members charged together in a conspiracy.

Michelle said: “I hope the documentary opens up some of the mystique that surrounds the Bar and if it inspires someone to follow law as a career path, then that would mean a lot to me. I am really proud to have been involved.

“It was around Christmas 2016 that we were approached by the CPS and the police, and the film crew was already on board at this point. I was delighted to be asked as I have worked on several multi-handed and complex cases.

“For us, filming really started in March 2017 and the film crew followed every step of the case, from the initial pre-charge to conferences, hearings and court days right through to the conclusion in December 2017. The crew could not go into the court room, but after every hearing, we would have a conference and explain the process for the documentary.

“It was a very memorable experience. At first, I felt quite self-conscious, but once I started talking to the other lawyers it just became normal, and the film crew were a part of the job.”

Michelle Heeley QC is a member of the following groups at No5 Barristers’ Chambers; Crime, Criminal Fraud and Proceeds of Crime, Misconduct and Compliance and Regulatory and Licensing. Antonie Muller is also a member of the Crime Group at No5.

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