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Initially at least the authorities did not institute proceedings under the Marine etc Broadcasting (Offences) Act 1967 (MOA) -  British DJs who remained with Radio Caroline after August 15th 1967 were not challenged when they returned to the UK – especially in March 1968 after Radio Caroline had been forced to cease broadcasts when their ships were towed away by the tender company.

This situation remained largely the same after Radio Caroline returned to the air in 1972 from an anchorage off the Dutch coast. However, after September 1974 when the Mi Amigo moved to an anchorage off the British coast (following the introduction of the Dutch equivalent of the MOA) the authorities started to take more notice of the station’s activities. Over the following decade or more, they adopted an increasingly aggressive (some would argue vindictive) policy towards any British citizens assisting an offshore station.

This list of prosecutions is an indication of the range of actions taken by the authorities to enforce the MOA. It is not exhaustive and there may well have been other prosecutions, but these cases indicate the increasing determination of the authorities to prevent any offshore station successfully operating off the British coast.

On 26th April 1976 at the Crown Court the Judge stopped the case against the DJ and ordered the jury to return a verdict of 'not guilty'. The trial had begun with counsel for the prosecution, informing the Court that with the agreement of the defendant and his counsel, the DJ would admit a number of offences. These included charges that he had been on board the Mi Amigo, but the case for the prosecution then depended on whether the alleged broadcasts had been live or pre-recorded.

The case had been brought under Section 5(3)(d) of the MOA, which required the prosecution to prove conclusively that he had actually made the broadcasts live from the radio ship. Transcripts of two tapes were produced as prosecution evidence - one tape found in the possession of the DJ and the other a recording of a broadcast made by him, but the two tapes differed in content.

Almost from the outset the trial judge had misgivings about the prosecution case and at one stage sent the jury from the Court while he held private discussions with both counsel. During these discussions defence counsel asked for the case against his client to be dismissed, but counsel for the prosecution argued successfully for the proceedings to continue, convincing the Judge that prosecution evidence would show that the DJ  had confessed to the alleged offence. The jury was then recalled and the case continued.

However, when the first prosecution witnesses, two police officers, were cross examined it became clear that the alleged admission by the DJ may never have been made - it did not appear in either officers' notebook recording their original interviews with the defendant in April 1975 and supposedly had only been 'recalled' by one of the Sergeants some nine months later, in January 1976.

After some further discussions the Judge decided to stop the case because he was unhappy about asking a jury to decide on the issue particularly as the main prosecution evidence was not substantiated by entries in the detectives' notebooks and only came into statements made some nine months later. The Judge, after explaining that the DJ had escaped through a technicality largely because the MOA had been so loosely drafted, instructed the jury to return a verdict of 'not guilty'.

At Southend Magistrates Court on 11th December 1975 the Captain pleaded guilty to being in charge of a ship used for radio transmissions contrary to the MOA and was fined £100 with £50 costs. Two DJs pleaded guilty to charges of taking part in unauthorised broadcasts from a ship inside territorial waters and were fined £200 with £50 costs and £50 with £25 costs respectively.

Meanwhile the Station Engineer pleaded not guilty to a charge against him of 'repairing and maintaining radio equipment knowing that it would be used for an unlawful purpose', and was further remanded on bail until 23rd February 1976, but his passport was returned by the Court.

Additionally and most significantly, the Magistrates made an order giving the authorities power to seize the MV Mi Amigo should she ever enter British territorial waters again and authorised the confiscation of items of equipment, papers and a transmitter crystal which had been removed from the ship by police during the boarding on 14th November 1975.

On 23rd February 1976 Caroline’s Engineer changed his plea in Court to 'guilty' and was fined £100 with £50 costs for maintaining radio equipment on board the Mi Amigo. He had decided to change his plea when he discovered that the Home Office had confiscated the ship's log in which he had signed entries at least twice a day, conclusively proving that he was aware of radio transmissions taking place from the ship. Another eleven transmitter crystals seized by police during the boarding of the Mi Amigo in November 1975 were also confiscated by order of the Court.

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Passage Through Parliament

Arguments Against Offshore Radio

Campaign Groups

On Air Promos

Station Closures

Isle of Man Constitutional Crisis


Legislative Amendments


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