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The case was also adjourned, until April 1976 when the Court sat for a week, and heard the prosecution call 25 witnesses to testify that  the radio station  was actually broadcasting at the time the alleged offences took place.

One defendant was charged on five separate counts and another on one count under Section 5 (3)(f) of the MOA (which prohibits the publication of details (i.e. times and frequencies) of offshore radio broadcasts). A third defendant had one charge against him, that of booking the Radio Caroline Roadshow and displaying a poster "intentionally promoting the illegal station." All three men pleaded 'not guilty'.

One prosecution witness, a Home Office official, told the Court that on 14th June 1975 he had visited one of the defendants’ premises at Prescot Street, Liverpool with two other witnesses and taken photographs of the window display which contained posters and offshore radio information. They also watched vehicles at the back of the building load up with disco equipment then followed them to a hotel in St. Helens. Other witnesses testified to the fact that Radio Caroline and Radio Mi Amigo were at that time broadcasting from the MV Mi Amigo anchored in a position in international waters near the Thames Estuary.

At the end of the hearing all three defendants were found guilty - one was fined £25 with £50 costs, while sentences against the other two defendants were deferred for social reports. A month later, on 21st May 1976 the mobile DJ owner and the defendant accused of displaying a Radio Caroline sticker in his car were each given a 90 day prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £500 costs. Not surprisingly both men decided to lodge appeals against their sentences.

The appeal hearing was eventually heard on 25th and 26th October 1976. The Appeal Court upheld the sentence passed on one defendant (2 years suspended prison sentence and £500 costs for displaying a Radio Caroline car sticker) but reduced the other defendant’s suspended prison sentence to a £100 fine, with £500 costs (for running the Caroline Roadshow Disco).

(A postscript to this story is that the defendant accused of displaying a Radio Caroline car sticker refused to pay his fine and subsequently served a jail sentence for non-payment. A warrant for his arrest was issued by Liverpool Magistrates and he spent the period from 25th November 1977 to 3rd January 1978 in jail.)

This case, having now reached its conclusion, had earned a particular significance, even notoriety, in offshore radio history. The vast majority of prosecutions in Britain and elsewhere were for breaches of the MOA in connection with working on or supplying offshore radio stations or the ships used to house them. These Liverpool prosecutions, however, referred only to incidents connected with the publicising and promotion of an offshore station and none of those found guilty had any direct involvement with the day-to-day operation of either the Mi Amigo or the radio stations operating  on board the vessel.

The mobile disco involved in this case was in fact established many months before Radio Caroline even returned to the air in September 1972 and operated under the name 'Radio Caroline Roadshow' quite legally during that time. The return of Radio Caroline in late 1972, although at the time welcomed by those operating the disco, also had the effect of making the use of  that name illegal overnight  because it contravened Section 5(3)(f) of the MOA. The fact that the disco continued to operate using the name "Radio Caroline Roadshow", meant it was effectively promoting the offshore radio station, and this led the authorities to take action against those involved, petty though the charges were.

It was estimated that the case had cost £4,000 to bring to Court.

In Court the representative of the Director of Public Prosecutions stated that, following an advertisement for sightseeing boat trips to view the Mi Amigo, the Detective Constable had posed as a free radio fan on board the trawler, using a false the name. The police officer told the Court that he witnessed each of the twelve passengers purchasing a 15p Radio Caroline badge being offered for sale by one of the defendants. While alongside the Mi Amigo one of the defendants threw on board record requests from passengers on the boat trip as well as mail and newspapers for the crew of the radio ship.

One defendant, the trip organiser, was found guilty and fined £125 with £20 costs, while the owner of the fishing boat was fined £200 with £20 costs for allowing his vessel to be used to supply mail and newspapers to the Mi Amigo. The boat owner had previously been convicted in September 1975 for taking people off the Mi Amigo and bringing them back to Britain.

At Norwich Magistrates Court on 9th September 1977 the solicitor acting for the Director of Public Prosecutions, explained that the Mi Amigo was anchored in the Thames Estuary and from it broadcasts were made by a station known as Radio Caroline. The defendant, he alleged, was involved in the maintenance of radio equipment on the ship. On 5th August 1977 a Belgian trawler, Vita Nova, had entered Gorleston Harbour and from it three men leapt ashore and took a taxi which was later stopped by police. The men were initially suspected of entering the country illegally.

The defendant admitted in Court that he was responsible for maintaining radio equipment on the Mi Amigo, but explained; "There has been a reference to the ship broadcasting illegally on the high seas, but it is not illegal to operate. It is just that the British Government made it illegal for a Briton to work on the ship. Under international law what I am doing is not wrong. It is wrong because I was born British." The Magistrates, however, found him guilty and he was fined £150 with £20 costs.

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Arguments Against Offshore Radio

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