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Guardian launches new podcast looking at case of Freshwater Five

The Guardian’s flagship daily news podcast, Today in Focus, has launched a new mini series about the story of the Freshwater Five.

Guardian launches new podcast looking at case of Freshwater Five
Christian Bennett: “The Guardian has always approached audio journalism in new and interesting ways.” Photograph: Romain Huneau on Unsplash.

The Freshwater Five was a group of five fishermen who, over a decade ago, were sentenced to a total of 104 years in prison after £53m of cocaine was discovered floating in Freshwater Bay off the Isle of Wight. All five men have always maintained their innocence.

Freshwater, a new five-part mini series from the Today in Focus podcast, takes listeners inside the story, exploring the case in detail across five consecutive days, beginning Friday, 19 February and concluding Tuesday, 23 February.

Presented by the Guardian’s Anushka Asthana, the series was partly recorded on location on the Isle of Wight and features interviews with Daniel Payne and Scott Birtwhistle — two of the convicted men currently out of prison on licence — and their lawyer Emily Bolton, director of Appeal.

The mini series will play out on Today in Focus ahead of a new hearing at the Court of Appeal this week.

Anushka Asthana, presenter of Today in Focus, said: “It has been fascinating to delve deep into one of the biggest drug convictions in British history — understanding why a jury convicted the Freshwater Five and following their years-long attempt to clear their names.”

Christian Bennett, executive editor for multimedia journalism, Guardian News & Media, said: “The Guardian has always approached audio journalism in new and interesting ways, with engaging storytelling, immersive sound design and high-quality production. Our Freshwater mini series delivers on all this, offering Today in Focus listeners a detailed look at a fascinating story across five consecutive days, expertly told and put together by the brilliant Anshuka Asthana and the hugely talented Today in Focus team.”

The series is presented by Anushka Asthana, with additional reporting from lead producer, Joshua Kelly. The executive producers are Phil Maynard and Nicole Jackson. Sound design is by Axel Kacoutie. Today in Focus is overseen by Christian Bennett, the Guardian’s executive editor for multimedia journalism.

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