Diary Entry 1
When much younger, I considered becoming a writer. After wars, famines, land-mines and murders intervened in my country of birth, I looked for alternatives. The alternatives have been useful, but, as I grow older, they begin to appear less attractive and more risky.
I would like to retire and wrote a book. I will start by keeping a journal, writing down a few thoughts and experiences.
I am in Greece. It’s 2017 and I’m on a working holiday. Read ‘working’ as a loose term. The truth is I am British citizen intent on breaking the law in another country.
Seated at a small, marble-topped table, outside a quiet cafe in this small seaside town, with a tall glass of strong, Greek coffee in front of me, I am in Heaven and being paid to be here. The road runs down to the sea and, from where I sit, the marina with its odd assortment of aged and modern fishing vessels is in full view. Beyond this vista lies the ocean. I have spent most of my time in towns like this since Brexit. Who wouldn’t like this kind of lifestyle?
Diary Entry 2
When the United Kingdom (UK) exited the European Union (EU), any previously held agreement remained unratified. The EU expected the Brits to continue honoring old contracts. They didn’t bother. Unemployed and restless immigrants who, like myself, had been forced to survive by illegal means in their countries of origin, recognized these oversights and saw ‘golden opportunities’.
Diary Entry 3
Becoming a British citizen was an interesting challenge. Once the written test was out of the way, citizenship papers and passport safely in my hand, not one official tried mapping out a more attractive, legally acceptable, route for me. Not that I didn’t look for such opportunities (changing my ways had been a consideration). Unfortunately, my dark skin and heavy accent shut these kinds of doors whenever I knocked on them.
Diary Entry 4
Drug dealing kept me alive in the old country. The strands and nets of this kind of business were familiar to me. I had to live, so started to put out feelers. The UK network was welcoming in ways its legal avenues were not. Initially comfortable doing small deals to keep myself in necessities, my ideas began growing bigger. Unfortunately, I wasn’t vigilant enough. A clever, undercover cop fooled me. I did my time in jail. After release I got tired watching my back. The constabulary was always following my trail. I went on the dole, becoming restless and miserable. That is, until Brexit changed my life.
Diary Entry 5
I don’t think Brexit was a tidy enough process. Soon after the formal separation, agreements started to break down between countries. The Schengen Information System (information on wanted persons, suspected terrorists, and stolen objects) was the first to falter. Following, hot on its heels, was the Customs Information System (CIS). The CIS, used mostly in drug trafficking cases, now excluded UK access to any ‘prum’ decisions. The CIS provides EU countries with information from police databases on fingerprints, license plates and DNA. Laws allowing exchange of criminal records, also disintegrated. When the UK stepped aside, it failed to count the costs. All good news for me.
Diary Entry 6
I can’t complain. Brexit certainly made it easier for UK criminals to venture into the European crime sector. Effectively, it gave folk like me free rein to plunder the European Union through credit card fraud, or other means. The UK police force is now directing the bulk of its stretched resources to the identification of terrorists and drug dealers within its own borders. Not yet having signed any new legal agreements with the EU, the greedy eyes of criminal opportunists in the UK are sparkling. Look at mine!
Diary Entry 7
I note the complex issues surrounding transnational law enforcement are underfunded. I still scan the newspapers daily, ready to detect any weakness or change. The UK is still looking to renegotiate the 80,000 pages of legal agreements with the EU, but, because of the current strain in its legal resources, it hasn’t happened. Good news!
Diary Entry 8
The unwanted consequences of allowing ‘free movement’ of goods and people under EU law has been the ‘free movement’ of criminals, drugs and contraband. The EU criminal law system was implemented to deal with this problem. Brexit has created such big holes in these laws, a pterodactyl could fly through one of them. European crime-fighting bodies no longer cooperate with the UK or participate in mutual recognition deals. What a mess!
Diary Entry 9
Despite an increase in loopholes and a decrease in watchful eyes, it hasn’t been an easy run. I was caught out in Portugal recently. It didn’t blow up into anything like it might have done in the past, thank Heavens. I was released within a couple of days. With the absence of information exchange between international law enforcement agencies, the EU police intelligence agency became ignorant and powerless.
The UK had already abolished the prima facie test, with the 2011 Baker review of UK extradition law. This decision was made due to the difficulties posed for extradition in practice. A White Paper produced in 1986 stated that it ‘did not offer a necessary safeguard for the person sought by the requesting State but was a formidable impediment to entirely proper and legitimate extradition requests’. Ultimately the Baker review recommended that there was ‘no good reason to reintroduce the prima facie case requirement’ where it had been abolished, and that, ‘No evidence was presented to us to suggest that European arrest warrants are being issued in cases where there is insufficient evidence’. This still has not been fixed. So, without EU law, or a prima facie test, I will always be safe from extradition procedures. A comforting thought.
Diary Entry 10
Of late, I have been planning my own exit; and I don’t mean dying! I want to retire. I need to carry out a bigger job to do this. I’m not too worried about getting caught. The Portugal experience was reassuring. As I stood in front of the Judge the Prosecutor pleaded with him not to grant me bail. She stated that, if bailed, I could exit the country and not be required to return and face charges, or do time. She was right. The judge brushed aside her pleas, stating, “The law is the law and has to be obeyed to the letter.” I was released.
Diary Entry 11
I’m determined not to make the same mistake as with my last Portuguese experience. I was caught withdrawing cash using a stolen credit card. Someone at the bank recognized me from a previous occasion. CCTV footage is as incriminating as meeting your ex-mother-in-law in the bank when you have a gun in your hand! My biggest mistake had been in thinking I could get away with it a second time, and in the same place. The penny didn’t drop until the two police officers walked right up to me and put on the handcuffs. They were only able to charge me with the two illegal credit card transactions. A very minor outcome considering I had already stolen more than 50 credit cards whilst in that country, and committed 90 or so smaller crimes. If the prosecutor had been able to investigate me properly, I would never would have been released!
What a laugh! The only thing that is going to stop me now is if I’m hit by a bus!
Diary Entry 12
I’ve been depositing money into a Swiss bank account in readiness for my retirement. So far I’ve banked £150,000. I’m planning this next job carefully and hoping it will be the last. I’ve been checking out this Greek seaside town for its security vulnerabilities. Robbing a bank might be my best option. I’m not a greedy man, £400,000 should cover the cost of my comfortably settling on one of the smaller, Greek Islands. The money already saved will be icing on the cake. Breaking into a jewelry store wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. There are three such stores in the town. Poorer Greeks trust gold more than banks. This might require a bit more research, though. I have to make sure I get the amount I need on the first hit. Whichever option, the getaway has to be quick and clean. My face mustn’t be seen again in that town. No clues in my wake, either. No mistakes this time.
Diary Entry 13
Today’s the day! I have just awoken to a beautiful morning. Very auspicious! I spent last night in a small guesthouse in town. My hire car is already parked in a street behind the bank I’ve decided to rob. City International is the largest bank here and will easily have more cash in its vaults than the other two. I know exactly what to do and how to do it, having spent more time planning this hoist than any other job in my entire life. I’ll run my kitbag over to the hire car, first.
Time for my exit from this rat race! My next entry should be very interesting!
TRAFFIC INCIDENT REPORT
TO: Police Captain Costa Raptis
REPORT WRITTEN BY: Police Constable Pateno Andropolous
(Please see attachments)
This morning I was called to attend the scene of a fatal road accident. The victim was a dark-skinned man of Middle-Eastern appearance. At approximately 9.00AM, the victim walked out of the Sea-View Guest House, where he had been staying, stepping directly from the kerb into the path of a bus. A statement to this effect, made by the bus driver, has already been corroborated by five other persons; one of these being the manager of the City International Bank.
As part of my investigation into this road fatality, I attach copies of entries written in a diary belonging to the deceased. This diary was found inside a khaki-colored kitbag, along with a small hand gun, large wrench, two palm-sized, explosive devices, a few items of clothing, and 43 different identity cards.