UPDATE OCTOBER 2019 : Almost 10 years later, Jock remains in prison, despite having won parole in September 2019.
Even moar meeja: Bulgarian court sentences Australian to 20 years, Malcolm Brown and Ari Sharp (and AAP), The Age, December 4, 2009 / Family vows appeal against Bulgarian ruling, Malcolm Brown and Ari Sharp, The Sydney Morning Herald, December 4, 2009. Note that ‘A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said the Government had ”made representations at senior levels of the Bulgarian Government”’, which is the first reference I can recall reading regarding any such ‘representation’.
Follow Jock’s case on Twitter, and help support Jock and his family stay strong for the trials ahead.
Moar meeja: Family’s anger at Bulgarian murder verdict, ABC, December 3, 2009 | Australian convicted of Bulgarian murder to appeal, David Barbeler (AAP), Herald Sun, December 3, 2009 | Life sentence for Jock Palfreeman, Boel Eriksson, The Mosman Daily, December 3, 2009 | Palfreeman trial unfair: prisoner advocate, Independent Weekly, December 3, 2009: “An Australian man sentenced to 20 years’ jail for murder in Bulgaria did not receive a fair trial, a prominent foreign prisoner advocate says…”
- Sydney man found guilty of ‘hooligan’ murder
December 3, 2009
A Bulgarian judge has found 23-year-old Sydneysider Jock Palfreeman guilty of first degree murder and sentenced him to 20 years imprisonment…
- The ABC has obtained Dr Simon Palfreeman’s summing up of his son Jock’s case, which is printed here in full: Father’s summing up of the case [PDF].
A verdict in Jock’s case is expected to be handed down very soon…
Family’s agonising wait for a decision on Jock Palfreeman’s future
The Mosman Daily
December 2, 2009
THE Mosman brother of Jock Palfreeman has spoken for the first time of the “tough and emotional” two years since his brother was locked up in the notorious Sofia Central Prison in Bulgaria on murder charges.
Jock is set to give his final statement in court today. It is understood he could be facing up to 20 years in jail.
Today’s statement is Jock’s chance to tell his side of the story in court, almost two years since the day that changed his life…
Australian awaits fate after years in Bulgarian jail
Belinda Hawkins (Australian Story)
December 2, 2009
Winter in the Bulgarian capital is bitterly cold and this is the third Jock Palfreeman has spent in the notorious Sofia Central Prison.
The 23-year-old Sydneysider is charged with the worst count of murder – murder with hooliganism.
His trial has been underway since May 2008 and after a series of almost farcical delays looks set to conclude today.
The verdict is likely to be handed down late today or tomorrow…
Australian man Jock Palfreeman awaits verdict in Bulgaria trial
December 2, 2009 7:25PM
JOCK Palfreeman’s family was braced for a verdict as the Australian’s long-running trial for murder in Bulgaria resumed tonight.
The 23-year-old, from Sydney, remained silent as he was led into court, almost two years after the bloody street brawl that landed him in prison.
His father, Sydney pathologist Simon Palfreeman, flew in to Sofia to support his son in the resumed hearing and greeted him as he arrived at court.
“I’m not going to say anything until after the verdict,” Dr Palfreeman said.
“We expect a verdict either today or tomorrow.”
Verdict expected soon in Palfreeman case
The Sofia Echo
December 2, 2009
A verdict is expected on December 2 or December 3 in the trial of Australian Paul “Jock” Palfreeman.
Palfreeman, 22, is charged with the murder of law student Andrei Monov after a street brawl in Sofia at the end of 2007. He has also been charged with the attempted murder of a 19-year-old (with a knife) during an altercation.
Palfreeman, from Sydney, denies both charges and says he was trying to defend himself from a group of men when he intervened after seeing them attack a group of Roma…
Dad’s hero plea for son charged with murder in Bulgaria
The Daily Telegraph
December 3, 2009
JOCK Palfreeman’s father appealed to a court in Bulgaria to free his “heroic” son last night.
Palfreeman, from Sydney, is facing trial for murder and attempted murder after a brawl in the capital Sofia almost two years ago.
His father, Sydney pathologist Simon Palfreeman, flew to Sofia to support his son and made a direct appeal to the court.
The 23-year-old had gone to the aid of a gypsy being assaulted by a group of drunk football fans, Dr Palfreeman said.
“This is an act that can only be described as heroic,” he said…
My son is innocent: father’s final plea in murder trial
December 3, 2009
NB. Both accounts by Belinda Hawkins are of excellent quality, and provide the most detailed summary of Jock’s case. Her latest account includes Dr Simon Palfreeman’s summing up of the case in full. Dr Palfreeman concludes his summary as follows:
…In summary, the prosecution has to establish without any doubt a motive for her accusations. The prosecution has had to resort to the motive of hooliganism to explain her versions of events in the absence of any other evidence supporting her view. I am close to my son and know him well. He comes from a large, strong and morally upright family. Combined with a good Christian education, this has encouraged Jock to grow into a young man with firm values of social justice, the worth of every human being and respect for social order. His strong belief in, and desire to defend justice and social order was behind his decision to join the British army. He is a good-natured man with a lively sense of humor. He makes friends easily. The presence of so many loyal friends and family from Sofia, Samakov, the UK and Australia in the courtroom throughout this trial is a testament to his character.
I am particularly proud of the way he has conducted himself throughout this trial, when so many witnesses were so obviously lying in an attempt to keep him in prison. My opinion of Jock is completely supported by the expert psychological report that confirms this impression of a man with a strong sense of social justice and a non violent character. The character reference presented to the court confirm this in all aspects of Jock’s life. His school wrote “He displayed a strong interest and commitment to [social] justice” and “he would go out of his way to help others”. One of his employers wrote “Mr Palfreeman does not have an inherently aggressive or threatening manner or approach to people. This is what makes the reports of the 28 December incident so incredible and seem so out of character for Mr Palfreeman”. The father of the Bulgarian family that Jock lived with (an ex-Bulgarian air force pilot) also provided a reference. He stated that Jock was reliable, not aggressive and a good friend to the family.
From the first night in the police station, throughout the investigation period and giving evidence in front of this court, Jock has not changed his story. This is because it is the truth. It is clear from Jock’s history, the expert psychological report and his conduct in court that Jock is not the homicidal hooligan the prosecutor has tried to portray.
From the evidence we are now able to attach the real motives to all the events that happened that night. The initial motive was the assault on a Roma man by this gang, initiated by Monov and Yordanov. This was a racially motivated attack. All of this gang should be held responsible for the tragic outcome and for their subsequent attempt to hide the truth with lies (they could be charged under Article 163). The motive for Jock’s involvement was initially to help the Roma man and then defend himself. This was an act that can only be described as heroic. While as a parent, I would have preferred he stayed safe, as a human being I am proud that a young man would try to help another person despite such dangerous circumstances.
There can be no doubt that when the group (initiated by Yordanov and Monov) attacked the Roma boys, someone was going to be seriously or mortally wounded. It could have been Jock, the Roma boy or as it happened 2 from the group.
I am also in no doubt that the subsequent events that led to such a tragic end were the result of the vicious attack by the gang on Jock and his justified self defense. This gang made a determined and conscious decision to assault Jock that night, using their superior numbers and large concrete tiles as weapons. They did this because he dared to confront them and prevented severe injury to the Roma man. They left him no choice but to defend himself.
What happened on that evening of 27th Dec 2007 was a tragedy. As I am also a parent I can understand and respect the grief being experienced by the Monov family and would like to express my sorrow for their loss. As a family we too have suffered with Jock being in prison for almost 2 years. It would only make this tragedy worse if the truth of what happened that night was ignored and another young life lost.
I would like the court to free my son on the basis that all his actions that night were motivated by a genuine desire to help another human being in mortal danger. There was no intention to hurt anyone. He then, in a state of severe fear, had to defend himself when he, too, became the victim of this violent gang.