I last posted an update on Jock’s case on November 3. It referred to his hearing of October 29. Since that date, there have been two further hearings: one on November 9, the other on November 18. His next hearing — likely to be his last — is scheduled for early December.
November 9, 2009
Two teams of experts were called to give evidence.
One expert witness scheduled to provide testimony regarding the murder victim’s autopsy failed to appear, and so the remaining two experts from this team were unable to testify.
All three experts from the other team came to court, and were able to testify regarding the wound to Anton Zahariev, the man Jock is accused of attempting to murder. They testified, after questioning, that his wound was not the result of a stabbing action, but rather was the result of a slashing motion. This accords with Jock’s account of his attempts to ward off attack using his knife in this fashion.
The experts also testified that Anton did not realise that he had been wounded (his wound was 2cm wide and 1cm deep) until long after the fight was over. His failure to do so — it was stated by the experts — was likely a result of his inebriated state: his BAC was 0.20%. Anton’s original statement to Bulgarian police and court-appointed experts confirmed this account.
In court, however, Anton previously stated that he knew he’d been injured at the time, and by Jock. Subsequently, Anton’s original statement has been blocked by the prosecutor (along with Anton’s lawyer, who is also suing Jock for financial compensation for Anton’s injury).
The expert testimony of November 9 cannot be blocked, so there are now two accounts of Anton’s injury before the magistrate: one he gave in court, the other which appeared in his original testimony and which is supported by the court-appointed experts.
In other words, there is reasonable grounds to believe Anton lied in court.
November 18, 2009
On this date, three experts officially submitted their reports on Andrei Monov’s autopsy and their forensic examination of the knife Jock is alleged to have used to murder Andrei and to attempt to murder Anton.
Unfortunately for Jock, the experts stated that, as the wound to him was very deep — the knife entered Andrei’s body to the hilt — Jock struck Andrei deliberately and with great force. Jock’s defence requested that a new report be made, making reference to other, more contemporary examination techniques: these suggest that the most important factor in determining the nature of such a wound is the sharpness of the blade, rather than the force with which it is used.
The magistrate denied this request.
The experts also stated that it was not possible for Andrei to have fallen on the knife while drunk — a claim which may also be contested in a future appeal.
December 2, 2009
Jock’s trial should conclude on December 2, with summaries of the evidence being given by two private plaintiffs, statements by Andrei Monov’s parents, the state prosecutor, Jock, his lawyer and Jock’s father Simon (in his capacity as one of Jock’s defence counsel).
For more information on Jock’s case, please see:
Jock Palfreeman is a 23 year old Australian currently in prison in Sofia, Bulgaria. He is undergoing trial on a charge of murder and attempted murder, following an encounter with a group of 16 far-right football hooligans.
In December 2007, Jock witnessed a gang of young men attacking two Roma (‘Gypsy’) men in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia. Jock went to the aid of the men, putting himself in the middle of the attack. The Roma were able to escape, but the gang then turned on Jock. The fascists kicked and punched Jock, and then started collecting pieces of broken concrete and throwing them at his head. Jock was alone, and forced to defend himself against the gang of 16 drunken, violent fascists. As a result, one fascist (Andrei Monov) was killed and another (Anton Zahariev) injured. Monov’s father, Dr Hristo Monov, is a prominent Bulgarian doctor, with ties to the government and contacts in the legal system.
Jock has been in prison for two years. Police have beaten and threatened to kill him, and have openly lied about his case in court. Much of the evidence that supports Jock’s version of events has been destroyed or has gone missing. For example, a CCTV video tape which showed the brutal attack on Jock has been “lost” by police and then been retrieved, only to mysteriously explode — again while in police custody. The Bulgarian media has labeled Jock a murderer and a hooligan, and has consistently and systematically published lies and distortions about Jock and his case. The court has been repeatedly delayed due to witnesses and court officials failing to turn up.
Attacks against Roma in Bulgaria have spiked in recent years, and the far right has declared that the eradication of Roma from their territories is of utmost political importance. Their anti-Roma campaigns include both propaganda and violence. In February 2009, local fascists organised a rally in Sofia, demanding that Jock be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. A local journalist who attended the rally was threatened by the protesters.
Jock has dedicated his life to fighting against fascism and for social justice, and he is now facing a possible life sentence in a Bulgarian jail because he chose to try to stop a fascist attack.
On December 2, 2009, Jock faces a final court hearing, which will declare his guilt or innocence on the two charges, and impose a sentence.
Jock has supporters in Australia, Bulgaria, Greece, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere. Please consider what you might do to help Jock in his struggle, and please keep an eye open for further updates and details of forthcoming actions.