Jock Palfreeman : May 2009 Update

[Update : Palfreeman stabbed Monov in self defense, News.bg, April 24, 2009 | Sofia City Court postpones trial against Australian Jock Palfreeman, FOCUS News Agency, April 27, 2009: “The next court sitting is scheduled for May 27th 2009 at 9:30 a.m.”

Update (May 20): Two — not one — Bulgarian police have testified that Jock acted in self defence and in defence of a Romani. Originally, ten police officers did so, but eight later changed their testimony in court. Further, two pieces of video evidence have been referred to in court: one was ‘lost’. The prosecuting attorney offered a different (false) version of what was on the first piece of tape; the other video footage is still ‘lost’, however the presiding judge ordered for it to be found, and if not, for a report to be written as to what happened to it. To cut a long story short, Bulgarian police failed to secure the tape within a four-day period, and it was deleted. Subsequently, Jock’s lawyer requested that the HDD onto which the footage was recorded be examined. Somewhat miraculously, the HDD then up and exploded (the alleged result of a power surge). Then, when asked to have the HDD examined, it was instead — again, somewhat mysteriously — thrown into what is reportedly Bulgaria’s largest rubbish dump. Finally, it should be noted that, according to court documents, having been tested, there was no evidence of Jock having any traces of illicit drugs in his system, and he was recorded as having a blood alcohol reading of 0.1. Andrei, on the other hand, had a BAC of 0.29, and Anton a BAC reading of 0.19. In other words, of three individuals — Jock, Andrei and Anton — Jock was the most sober, and the only individual among a group of 20 arrested — this despite the fact that the mob attacked police when they attended the scene.]

For those of you coming in late…

Jock Palfreeman is an Australian citizen currently on remand in prison in Bulgaria. He stands accused of the murder of Andrey Monov and the attempted murder of Antoan Zahariev on the night of December 28, 2007. According to the prosecution, on that evening Jock launched an unprovoked attack upon Andrei and Antoan, possibly while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. According to Jock’s defence, Jock acted in self-defence, his action being prompted by an assault upon him by a large group of fascist football hooligans, one preceded by an assault by the same group upon a Romani.

Jock’s case is still making its way through the Bulgarian court system. At recent hearings, evidence has been produced by his defence which lends support to Jock’s claims. Thus:

    One policeman has testified that police who were initially present at the scene informed him that Jock had gone to the defence of two Roma, under assault by a group of men, and that this same group then turned upon Jock.

    Another witness has testified that he saw Jock running away from this group and that upon catching him members of the group proceded to beat him.

    Video footage — which had previously been ‘lost’ — has been found and played in court. It shows a group of approximately 20 men chasing a Roma. Other footage shows the group throwing stones at the same person. Importantly, the footage was taken prior to the incident involving Jock in which Andrei was killed.

Also of interest: in February, 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.

More generally, attacks against Roma have spiked in recent years, and much of the far right, in a number of European countries, have declared that the eradication of Roma from their territories is of utmost political importance. The anti-Roma campaigns include both propaganda and violence. (See : Fascism, the next generation, Anna Porter, Globe and Mail, May 9, 2009 ~versus~ May Day: Festival against racism.)

For further infos, see : The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), “an international public interest law organisation engaging in a range of activities aimed at combating anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma. The approach of the ERRC involves, in particular, strategic litigation, international advocacy, research and policy development, and training of Romani activists.”

freejock.net – A website dedicated to Jock Palfreeman

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
This entry was posted in Anti-fascism, Death, History, State / Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Jock Palfreeman : May 2009 Update

  1. grayham says:

    finally after a year and a half the truth starts to come out

  2. @ndy says:

    Cheers grayham,

    A start, yes — but hopefully not the finish.

  3. Bulgarian_in_Sudney says:

    @ndy, you are up to your Bulgaria = fascist thing again.
    As for this ABC documentary, it was purely one sided, did not show any other opinion on the case except Jock’s family, friends and Jock himself.
    You are trying to blame Bulgarian media about the case, but are doing it now exactly the same in Australia.
    I was present at a court hearing last year and heard it with my own ears as some journalists tried to interview Antoan, the guy who got injured. He refused and said they decided not to talk to the media until the case is over, not to be blamed for biasing public opinion.
    As I mentioned this before, there is another way for influencing the case and this is money. Jock’s father is a rich man, no comparison with Andrei’s. He has hired already scores of the best Bulgarian lawyers, could have bribed more people in the system if not the influence of the other dad. This was in fact the fear of the ordinary Bulgarians – rich foreigners always get away with murder.
    About witnesses changing their evidence in court – this is an everyday occurrence in Australian courts as well. Our prosecutor was no different to Australian – everywhere only testimony given in court is taken as evidence, everybody has the right to change their preliminary one. Bulgarian policemen were not present at the stabbing, everything they said was only second-hand hearing, so not much worth anyway.
    Hope everybody has watched Underbelly, so can’t claim Australian police and judicial system is not corrupt, Australian lawyers not money greedy fleecing their clients, etc.
    And finally, Bulgaria is still to have its racial riot of the size of Cronulla, so stick to Jock’s case only, please.

  4. alatea says:

    Dear Bulgarian, we are discussing a man’s life here. The prosecutor who could not look the camera in the eye whilst being interviewed, and had formed her opinion before the trial (too emotional to be able to carry out her role effectively and with any sense of justice). Lost footage of relevant incident and eyewitnesses not interviewed – anywhere in the world regardless of country or politics this is a gross miscarriage of justice. You are probably young and do not understand that clear thinking and pure intention is what is truly relevant here.

  5. Lumpen says:

    Holy shit. Did B_i_S just tell everyone to get their facts from watching Underbelly? lololololol
    PS Underbelly, the TV show, is notable for minimising the role of the Victorian Police. Read the book.

  6. Bulgarian_in_Sydney says:

    Yes, I also wondered if it is a human life involved here why the English girlfriend did not appear in court to give evidence as officially summoned last year. How about your friend being in danger of spending life in prison and you are blaming Bulgarian authority not wasting thousands sending someone to England to interview the princess, who is too busy to take the 2 hour flight to Bulgaria.

    I can think of only one explanation – she is uneasy being cross-examined in court, as she is going to perjure herself, so better do it from a safe distance. This is an old lawyers’ ploy, similar to someone from far away taking the blame and shaking the “beyond reasonable doubt” of the jury (as in Michael Shield’s case).

    What a conclusion – the Bulgarian prosecutor did not look at the camera, hence guilty. She was looking at the journalist, while somebody else was holding the camera, she is not a movie star accustomed to look at the audience.

    If you read my previous post carefully, I was objecting to @ndy trying to politicise the case beating up racist or even fascist motives in what was actually a drunken brawl.

    I think Jock is generally not an evil person as pictured by some, that’s why he is so desperately looking for some moral justification for the murder.

  7. @ndy says:

    B_i_S,

    1. Your persistence in facile reasoning to the effect that I am arguing in favour of the absurd notion that ‘Bulgaria = fascist’ simply undermines your credibility in terms of assessing the facts surrounding Jock’s case. It’s also a hallmark of nationalist responses to criticism of the precious body politic, and has been and will be continued to be employed by same whether of Australian, Bulgarian, Croatian or any other extraction — in an equally worthless fashion.

    Give it a rest.

    All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. The Liberal News Chronicle published, as an example of shocking barbarity, photographs of Russians hanged by the Germans, and then a year or two later published with warm approval almost exactly similar photographs of Germans hanged by the Russians. It is the same with historical events. History is thought of largely in nationalist terms, and such things as the Inquisition, the tortures of the Star Chamber, the exploits of the English buccaneers (Sir Francis Drake, for instance, who was given to sinking Spanish prisoners alive), the Reign of Terror, the heroes of the Mutiny blowing hundreds of Indians from the guns, or Cromwell’s soldiers slashing Irishwomen’s faces with razors, become morally neutral or even meritorious when it is felt that they were done in the ‘right’ cause. If one looks back over the past quarter of a century, one finds that there was hardly a single year when atrocity stories were not being reported from some part of the world; and yet in not one single case were these atrocities — in Spain, Russia, China, Hungary, Mexico, Amritsar, Smyrna — believed in and disapproved of by the English intelligentsia as a whole. Whether such deeds were reprehensible, or even whether they happened, was always decided according to political predilection.

    The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

    ~ George Orwell, ‘Notes on Nationalism’ (1945)

    2. The ‘English girlfriend’ (sic) is identified in the Foreign Correspondent story as being a woman by the name of Lindsay Welsh. You would do well to view her testimony on that program. Your speculative fictions are just that, and contradicted by the facts.

    3. All cases, in some sense, are ‘political’. What I believe you to mean in the context of the current case is my own and other’s awareness of the fact that a mob of young Bulgarian men chose to assault two Roma, as a result of which Jock intervened on their behalf, and was in turn attacked. This is ‘politics’ in the sense that these and other such assaults constitute evidence of racial/ethnic animosity, and obviously informed the group’s actions. Beyond this, the case is ‘political’ in the sense that the Bulgarian criminal justice system has been criticised as not conforming to EU standards, and Bulgarian elites wish to enter into this super-state structure. Jock’s case highlights faults within this system, and to this extent constitutes further evidence of the failure of the Bulgarian criminal justice system to conform to EU standards.

  8. Thomas says:

    Kiwi here married to a Bulgarian, own property in Bulgaria, many Nulgarian friends. Whether he’s guilty or not I don’t believe he will get a fair trial, as if you come from a background of importance the “party” will look after you. Why is it that the majority of the country lives in poverty while connected people have all the opportunities and appear to get away with day to day crime on all levels. Most Bulgarians I know have no faith in their own system as it’s a bit of a joke. Hopefully over the next 20 years some Western standards may evolve. Makes me cautious of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, silly bastard for carrying a knife whether guilty or innocent. My extended family are very protective of me in Bulgaria as there are two standards one for Bulgarians and one for foreigners.

  9. Bulgarian_in_Sydney says:

    Watched 60 minutes yesterday, about people carrying knives. It looks very different when you are the relatives of the victim. They called the stabbers no else than evil and “self-defence” acquittal as absurd.
    It seems in Australia just carrying such kind of a knife is a criminal offence, punished with $550 fine.
    @ndy, can you explain why Lindsay never volunteered to give evidence in court? What if the Bulgarians really never went to UK to interview her? Isn’t it terrible to do this to a friend? I know for sure a defence witness did not appear in court as summoned last year, although not mentioned by name. It was commented somewhere “a friend chose not to testify” so these are not my speculations.
    Also there is no documented case until now of Bulgarians robbing, beating to death or raping people of Gypsy descent at random. While the opposite is the terrible truth. Don’t make me show you the evidence, then everybody will not be such a moral defender. You already had the taste of the Bulgarian Gypsy pickpockets in Melbourne and Sydney.
    Thomas you are right, WESTERNERS are treated differently in Bulgaria, unfortunately we have always been subservient to them. Isn’t it why so many prefer to live there? Even if they are nobodies in their own countries they can feel special, rich and have the pretty girls’ attention.

  10. Fact_Finder says:

    Bulgarian_in_Sydney, do you actually think that Palfreeman went to Bulgaria for the sole purpose of killing someone and trying to get away with it?

    And what do you have to say about the neutral witnesses (the witnesses who were with neither Jock or Andrei e.g. the Sheraton Security Guard across) supporting Mr. Palfreeman’s version of events?

    Isn’t it strange that all 3 copies of the video of that night went missing?

    Lastly, alleging that Palfreeman’s father is a rich man…

    “Jock’s father is a rich man, no comparison with Andrei’s. He has hired already scores of the best Bulgarian lawyers, could have bribed more people in the system if not the influence of the other dad. This was in fact the fear of the ordinary Bulgarians – rich foreigners always get away with murder.”

    …is laughable because his friends have to raise money now because his parents are running out of money to support him, see http://mosman-daily.whereilive.com.au/news/story/friends-rally-to-free-jock/

    You can allege all you want without proper evidence but I’ll take it how I see it.

    Neutral witnesses support Palfreeman’s story, evidence has gone missing, only the prosecution has changed their stories, and his father is not ‘a rich man’.

  11. Bulgarian_in_Sydney says:

    How rich are the fathers – I said no comparison between them.
    As far as I know a simple GP in Australia gets at least 200K a year, while Simon Palfreeman is some big shot medico owning pathology labs on top of this. Maybe it does not sound rich to some of Jock’s school friends but for me…
    While Andrei father can’t get more than 15-20000 levs per year (1AUD = 1.2 levs) which is a decent salary in Bulgaria, but as you see, no comparison between them. I suppose Simon Palfreeman has already spent a lot of money on his son’s case, but I don’t think he is going bankrupt any time soon.
    Lindsey was summoned once again to appear in court at the last sitting, but she didn’t. How come her boyfriend volunteered to give evidence just to take the blame for initially owning the knife, but she couldn’t. His excuse buying a murderous 10 inch blade butterfly knife – we needed one for the kitchen (don’t think such knives are sold in the local supermarket, though, even in Bulgaria).
    I am 100% sure the knife was Jock’s, who was in the habit of always carrying it with him, but perjurying yourself in a Bulgarian court can’t be a crime – cause of course it is corrupt and doesn’t deserve any respect.

  12. slav4o says:

    Grayham bought the knife at the same time Jock was looking for pepper pray, it was bought to make Christmas lunch and for general house work as the house is still under construction.

    Another interesting point about the knife, is that it didn’t become 2cm wide till after about 3cm from the tip, but Anton’s wound was 1cm deep and 2cm wide! This again proves Jock’s movements with the knife were defensive, it isn’t possible to make a stab wound like Anton had with that knife, only a defensive slash movement which is what he had. It’s pretty funny Jock’s being charged with attempted murder for a 1cm deep by 2cm wide wound!

    Also Dr Palfreeman does not own any business, medical or otherwise.

  13. Bulgarian from Sofia says:

    I don’t know if Jock is guilty. But it doesn’t matter.

    It is absolutely true that Bulgaria is a racist country. There is severe racial segregation, attacks against gypsies are everyday reality, there are no gypsies in the political institutions, gypsies are extremely poor and live in illegal slums that oftentimes get evicted by riot police, gypsies are forced to live in constant fear of attacks from the state and from bulgarians, absolutely noone is on their side. If a gypsy is arrested they don’t get the same rights as bulgarians. There is a lot of racism against gypsies and every time gypsies demand something everyone hates them.

    That is not to think all gypsies are nice people. gypsies are uneducated, extremely conservative, and living in extreme poverty, they are not united at all, they hate each other also. It is very bad also.

    My point is that in this context of racial segregation, extreme nationalism and racism and so on, it doesn’t matter if Jock is guilty. If a group of nazis attacks a gypsy it is almost sure that the authorities will be on the side of the nazis.

    The EU doesn’t care about that. They just want to exploit the country’s resources and they don’t give a fuck about human rights. They just close their eyes, the same as the bulgarian authorities.

  14. kid says:

    Do you know that Jock Palfreeman had previously stabbed someone at a party in Sydney? The guy is a thug and deserves 40 years.

  15. @ndy says:

    kid,

    False. Jock was neither arrested, nor charged, nor convicted, of any such crime.

    Early in 2008 a Sydney newspaper published claims that Jock Palfreeman had stabbed teenagers in a brawl that erupted during a party in the northern Sydney suburb of Chatswood.

    [The claims appear in an article by Gemma Jones and Clementine Cuneo — Bulgaria stabber accused before, The Daily Telegraph, January 3, 2008 — and are repeated in a further article by Gemma Jones: Bulgaria accused’s pals rally, The Daily Telegraph, January 4, 2008.]

    The brawl took place in 2004.

    Three teenagers received treatment in hospital for knife wounds. NSW Police investigated the incident at the time and no charges were laid.

    The media reporting of the incident formed part of the prosecution’s indictment and although the Bulgarian court ruled it inadmissible, public comments by the prosecutor about the attack were seized on by the Bulgarian media and – early on – served to shape public opinion about Palfreeman.

    Reporter Belinda Hawkins asked Palfreeman about the night and the following is a transcript of that interview.

    “On December 30th 2004, my brother called me and asked if I was in the neighbourhood and I said yes and he said his friend was having a party and his friends wanted to see me because I see his friends all the time.

    “So I went over and I was just talking and chatting with his friends.

    “Just as I was about to leave, a big group of boys – maybe 10 or 15 – came.

    About five ran in the front way and then others were jumping over the fences and stuff. Then I grabbed one who knew me and I said hey what’s up? I was happy to see him.

    He said ‘oh we’re here to beat up one guy’. I said ‘oh who?’ And he said ‘oh I think his name is Spenser’. So I went oh shit that’s my brother and as I ran I pushed him and ran in the back of the garden.

    They chased him. He was walking backwards and they’d pushed him into the back fence. I said listen, I am Spenser’s brother and I’m not moving and they said just move aside we only a problem with your brother, not you. It seemed one of them had a grudge against him because of an ex girl friend.

    “So I turned around to Spenser to tell him to jump the back wall and leave because if he left the situation it would be a lot more easier to calm down and to simmer down because with Spenser gone you know there’s nothing there left for them. And Spenser said no, I’m not leaving you here.

    “I had my back to the rest of the group and then all of a sudden they just attacked me from behind and just started punching me in the back of the head. One of them had a knife but I don’t know who and I was pushed against the wall and then I fell to the ground and it was all just chaotic, kicking and punching and stuff.

    “Then one of the guys from the group, I don’t really know who he is, was stopping them from kicking me. And then I got up and I saw my brother’s friend had been stabbed or slashed or whatever.

    “So I got out my mobile and called the police and ambulance and then I took him inside and was trying to put pressure on his wound and whilst I was carrying him they were still trying to attack me and punch me from behind.

    “And then the ambulance came. They (the gang) were all out the front shouting and stuff and then when the police came they started running away out the front gate and down the street, but the police stopped them from leaving.

    “It was a mix of people aged between 17 and 21 or 22 and I was 18 at the time.

    “I didn’t have a knife or anything at all like a weapon.

    “Maybe a week later my father called me and said the police wanted to talk to me and I said no problem and he gave me the detective’s number. I’ve forgotten his name now but then I called him up and said I’ll come in and talk to you. He said ah tomorrow and I said no that’s no good for me. I think it was Wednesday. I said what about what about Friday. He said no problem. So on Friday I went in and talked to them for about I don’t remember, about an hour and then I left.

    “I hadn’t done anything other than stand between my brother and them.

    “I would never have thought that night in Chatswood to have had repercussions down the line.”

  16. "Lise Frances Buckeridge" says:

    I dont know. After the first incident, if instead of being lauded as a hero, someone, his father perhaps?, had been concerned enough to see the guy might have a propensity for violence…
    People who carry knives almost always claim it is for self-defense but it the weapon of people who are looking for trouble or an excuse to use it.
    Only a 1cm deep cut, well it killed him! That what knives do. Had he not worked previously as a butcher? – he was aware exactly what knives do.
    He had just joined the British army, why not the Australian? Was there some doubt that he would be accepted because of the previous incident? The British army refused to contribute to his defense in any way.
    Maybe the urge to find trouble was strong, he couldn’t wait for his take-up and indeed did go to Bulgaria looking for action. A crappy third-world country, who would care? He’d talked his way out nicely the first time, was the “hero”, why not again?
    He reminds me of Joran Van der Sloot, a self-justifying psychopath.

  17. @ndy says:

    For someone who claims not to know much, you seem to know quite a lot. Or claim to. More to the point, all of your claims have been thoroughly debunked.

  18. Jockass says:

    Let him burn in hell. He took a life, period. I hope he gets life.

  19. @ndy says:

    Uh-huh.

    In any case, you’re coming late to the party. Jock was fined 300K (Euro) and sentenced to 20 years jail. He appealed against the sentence and the appeal court ruled against him. His story is recounted by his father Simon here.

    Also:

    The response from Bulgaria’s largest human rights group, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, has been swift.

    “Given the evidence on the attack by the group against the two Roma that the court was now able to hear, upholding the conviction as an intentional murder is unjust,” said Krassimir Kanev, who came under attack by the father of the dead man in his summary to the Appeal Court for his criticism of the prosecution case.

    It is expected that both the defendant and the civil claimants will lodge an appeal to the Supreme Court of Cassation within 14 days of being notified of the verdict.

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