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The Manchester Evening News 2016

February 13, 2016

Ex gangster Jason Coghlan – who features in documentary on Salford gun crime – now works as legal troubleshooter.

The ex-con from Stockport spent 12 years in one of Britain’s toughest prisons for post office robbery – but the ex-con from Stockport is now helping Brits in trouble abroad.

Former armed robber Jason Coghlan has turned his back on crime and is now working as a legal fixer on the Costa del Sol.

Five years ago Jason set up a legal firm with the aim of putting British criminals who found themselves in trouble with the law in touch with top-quality Spanish lawyers, the Mirror reports.

He said: “The gangsters on the Costa del Sol are significantly more comfortable trusting me, a man they’ve known for many years, either in person or by reputation, rather than some Spanish lawyer whose name they couldn’t even pronounce.”

And the venture has proved such a success that he has now opened branches of his company, JaCogLaw, in Portugal and Thailand.

Jason, originally from Stockport, set up the firm after finding himself locked up in the tough Alhauran prison, near Malaga, facing charges of extortion.

He said: “I spent 10 months inside and I was shocked at the lack of representation for foreigners.

“The local lawyers and judges all seemed to have a ‘tough luck’ attitude towards us. The only good thing they seemed good at was demanding money on a rolling ad hoc basis.”

After fighting his case through the Spanish courts and securing his release he began canvassing for Spanish law firms who could represent his clients.

While he does not claim to be a lawyer himself, he does have a lot of experience of criminal legal systems, both in Britain and Spain.

He said: “For many years I plied my trade as a villain, gangster, call it what you want, but through this I found a way to turn all the negativity into something positive.

“I make sure they’re represented properly and handle the translation issues, but because of my background I can talk their language.”

Since setting up the company Jason, 44, has seen a steady stream of customers approaching him for help after landing in trouble on the “Costa del Crime”.

His caseload has included numerous suspected drug smugglers bringing cannabis into Europe from Morocco.

He said: “Most of drugs coming into Europe come via Africa, especially Morocco. Corruption, slack policing methods and powerful well-equipped gangsters, all manifest in an ideal narcotics opportunity.”

Speaking from his home in Malaga, Jason said: “It is hard to describe how bad the legal service is out here for foreigners. I’m not pretending to be a lawyer, I’m just a good case administrator.”

Explaining his chequered past Jason freely admits he was arrested in 1999 for a post office robbery. Coghlan features in a BBC Panorama documentary on gun crime in Salford that was screened on Monday.

When he appeared before Trafford Magistrates he fooled his guards into believing he needed crutches for a leg injury – but when in the dock he vaulted to freedom and spent two years on the run.

After being arrested a fortnight later he was classed as a double A high-risk prisoner and served his time in some of Britain’s maximum security prisons.

While inside he taught himself law and helped other inmates on their cases and appeals.

He got the idea for his current business while locked up in Spain – where he says his designated lawyer only visited him once.

He now works with top-quality Spanish lawyers, such as Antonio Lors, of Lawbird, and Luis Brana, who helped secure Jason’s release when he was locked up in Spain.

Article from the Manchester Evening News,  8th February, 2016

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