British man is jailed for ten years in Morocco after ‘unwittingly’ spending counterfeit money at a nightclub while on holiday
- Oliver Andrews, 29, was arrested in November after a night out in Marrakech
- Authorities said he used counterfeit money and he was handed 10 years in jail
- Andrews maintains his innocence and lodged an appeal against the sentence
A British man has been sent down for 10 years in a Moroccan jail after he was found guilty of possessing and spending counterfeit money in Marrakech.
Oliver Andrews, 29, was arrested along with a friend on the morning of November 11 last year, just hours after they’d returned from a nightclub on the final night of their holiday to the Moroccan capital.
They were immediately detained pending an investigation and it was determined that both Andrews and his friend had used counterfeit money in the club.
After languishing in prison on remand for five months, the pair were convicted and sentenced to a decade behind bars on April 11.
Andrews maintains he did not know the money he spent was counterfeit.
His partner Alanna Cornick told the BBC after the sentencing: ‘I’ve been an absolute mess. I’m lost for words – I literally can’t believe it,’ describing her partner’s jail term as ‘the worst possible outcome’.
Oliver Andrews, 29, was arrested along with a friend on the morning of November 11 last year
Andrews was found guilty of possessing and spending counterfeit money in Morocco. His partner Alanna Cornick (right) described his conviction as ‘the worst possible outcome’
Cornick told the BBC after the sentencing: ‘I’ve been an absolute mess. I’m lost for words – I literally can’t believe it’
Andrews’ family claimed his treatment at the hands of Moroccan authorities was deplorable.
The family said the two defendants were not given an official translator or the opportunity to speak to a lawyer when they were taken in for questioning and were ‘pressured into signing foreign paperwork’ which they didn’t fully understand.
His family also said Andrews suffers from a heart condition and requires daily medication but was prevented from accessing them for more than a month, raising serious health concerns.
Andrews’ solicitor confirmed to the BBC earlier this year he and his friend had also been charged with creating an organised crime group in addition to the counts of possessing and using counterfeit money.
They were acquitted of the organised crime charge last week.
Back in February, Andrews’ family also claimed he had not received any help from British authorities despite being adamant he had no idea some of the money he spent was counterfeit.
Andrews’ family said he was not given the chance to speak to a lawyer or have a translator when taken in by police
Oliver Andrews, from Bournemouth, had travelled with a friend to Marrakech when they were arrested in November (Andrews pictured with partner Alanna)
‘It’s been the most emotional 24 hours ever. We’ve just got to stay hopeful and keep our fingers crossed,’ Cornick said at her partner’s sentencing
‘The British Embassy in Morocco and the FCDO have refused to get involved,’ they told the BBC, adding that when they visited Andrews he was ‘in a very deteriorating mental and physical state’.
Cornick said: ‘We just want to the embassy to do their job and go and visit him, and make sure to check on his welfare.
‘The condition that he’s living in is just heart-breaking on a daily basis,’ she added, claiming he’d told her on the phone he was having suicidal thoughts.
MailOnline has contacted the FCDO for comment.
Andrews has lodged an appeal against his sentence, and his case will now be heard by another judge in a Moroccan court.
But he has not yet received a fresh court date and will remain behind bars until the hearing takes place.
‘It’s been the most emotional 24 hours ever. We’ve just got to stay hopeful and keep our fingers crossed,’ Cornick said.