Andrew Bird, 27, of Gale Lane, Acomb, facing drugs charges in Croatia
A DJ from York is being held in custody in Croatia accused of selling drugs during a music festival.
Andrew Bird, 27, of Gale Lane, Acomb, has denied all the charges but is still waiting for a date to be set for a trial.He has been in custody for four months, unable to get bail so far because he could not raise the £33,500 in surety which was originally demanded by the Croatian courts. His father, Kevin, of Pocklington, said the amount had been reduced to £11,000, and he was now trying to raise this sum by January 13 to finally obtain bail.
“I have raised £3,000 so far,” he said. “All I am wanting is for him to be able to come home and stay in the UK until they are ready to start the trial. He is determined to return to Coatia then to attend the hearing and prove his innocence of the charge. I just want justice to be done.”
It is alleged by the Croatian authorities that when Andrew was arrested, he was found to have a variety of drugs on his person and when police searched the flat where he was staying, they found more drugs, including cocaine. Police said he had several thousand pounds on him when he was arrested, leading them to believe the drugs were not for personal use.
But Mr Bird revealed that his son, a former Woldgate College pupil who is a well-known DJ on the house music scene, had made a formal complaint to a British vice consul in Croatia about his treatment in the days after his arrest in the western Croatian town of Rovinj.
His son told the official that police had carried out a search of his villa without a warrant, and a police officer had successfully pressurised him to sign documents which had not been translated into English.
He also claimed drugs which had originally been on a communal sitting room table in the villa were placed in a drawer in his bedroom before a second search of the property by police, and he also claimed he was held in a police cell with no toilet, food or water for 72 hours.
Mr Bird said his son was with 14 other people at the villa, which had been rented for the week.
“Taking this into account, it is fair to assume the quantity of drugs and cash shared out between the 14 was all for personal use between all the people in the property.”
He said his son did not deny possessing the drugs for personal use - which carries a fine – but emphatically denied ever selling drugs, an offence which carries a sentence of up to two years in prison.
Judge Slavica Tomac, who leads the case at the Municipal Court in Buje on the Istrian peninsula, is yet to decide when the trial will start.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are aware of the arrest of a British national in Croatia on September 14 and we are providing consular assistance.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Croatia had not commented on the case by last night.