Jack Trustham, the former senior partner of West End firm Wigram & Co, who in August last year was arrested on the Isle of Man on drug money laundering charges and flown in handcuffs to London, was last week cleared of all charges at Southwark Crown Court.
Customs officers had released Trustham on bail the day of his arrest without interviewing him. Judge Fingret said of customs officer David Piper, who had made the arrest: "in his enthusiasm to return his prisoner to London he failed to consider the true nature of his obligations."
Trustham faced four charges alleging the transferring of the proceeds of drug trafficking under to s.14 (2) of the Criminal Justice International Co-operation Act between January 1993 and February 1995.
The prosecution had claimed there were reasonable grounds to suspect at least part of the proceeds arising from the sale of property belonging to Reginald McDonagh and/or Michael Tivnan were the proceeds of drug trafficking by Tivnan.
The judge ordered Customs & Excise to pay Trustham's £75,000 legal expenses and counsel's fees and all costs incurred by the Legal Aid Board. After the hearing, Trustham said he had quit his firm because of the stress of the case and was intending to bring civil proceedings against the customs officers involved.