Jock Palfreeman
Jock Palfreeman left Australia early in 2006 to travel overseas.  He spent several months in Bulgaria living and working in a small country town about an hour’s drive from the capital, Sofia. In the early hours of 28 December 2007, Jock Palfreeman (21) and a couple of his friends were in Sofia enjoying a night out when they witnessed an attack on a young Roma man (gypsy) by a large group of  football hooligans. Jock went to the aid of the victim and was then surrounded and attacked by the group. In the subsequent melee, two of the group were wounded, one fatally. The police arrived on the scene and arrested Jock, taking him to the police station where he was questioned and then placed in detention.  The police did not search members of the group and did not secure the whole crime scene. Since late December 2007, Jock has been an inmate of Sofia Prison while he and his family have been desperately working for a fair hearing from the Bulgarian justice system. 

Detailed Case facts: Click here
NAME: Jock Palfreeman
AGE: 21 Years Old at the time of his arrest (2007)
ORIGIN: Australian
ARRESTED: Sofia, Bulgaria
PRISON CONTACT: Mail can be sent directly to:

Jock Palfreeman
Sofia Central Prison
21 General Stoletov Boulevard
Sofia 1309, BULGARIA

There are limitations on the size and number of parcels Jock can receive so we suggest that you first establish contact with Jock by writing a letter and asking him what he needs. Usually the limitations don't extend to small packages including items such as books, magazines and games. If you have any questions about sending Jock letters and packages please contact
TRIAL: Jock is serving a 20 year sentence

Jock’s trial started on 21 May 2008 and ran until 2 December 2009 over 19 sessions.  Many court sessions were shortened or aborted when witnesses (including expert witnesses) did not appear or on several occasions, when one of the judging panel was on holidays.  Despite the delays and deficiencies in the investigation, critical evidence was collected that supported Jock’s version of events. 

The essential difference between the prosecution and defence cases was the beating of the Roma boy by the group before the two men from the group were wounded. The prosecution denied this ever happened (based solely on the group’s own evidence).

In May 2010, 5 months after delivering his verdict, the judge finally handed down a written explanation of the verdict.  While acknowledging that all the oral and expert evidence (except Jock’s) was “truthful” and admissible, he determined that it supported the group’s version of what happened that night.  The court did not provide any reasons to explain the detailed defence arguments which supported Jock’s version and outlined the false evidence given by the group.
APPEAL: The first session of Jock’s appeal was held on 21 October 2010, before three Appeal Court judges.  A number of requests were put forward by the defence but only one was accepted.  This was a request to re-question five witnesses to explain the discrepancies in their previous testimonies. Two of the witnesses were from the group that attacked the Roma and Jock.  The other three were policemen. All five witnesses had stated in their original police statements that there was a fight between the group and Roma and yet during the first trial denied ever having said this.   

The Appeal concluded on 19 January 2011 after 5 sessions and a written decision (in Bulgarian) was released in February 2011.   Despite their acceptance that there was a fight between the group and Roma prior to Jock confronting the group, the Appeal court upheld the original decision of the Sofia City Court that found Jock guilty of murder with hooliganism and sentenced him to 20 years. In supporting the original decision and verdict the Appeal Court has also ignored key evidence, failed to provide reasons for rejecting the main defence arguments and refused defence requests to review critical forensic and CCTV evidence.  Jock’s final avenue for justice within Bulgaria was the Court of Cassation and his case was heard on 16 May 2011. The verdict was published by the Court in Bulgarian on 27 July 2011. The Court of Cassation upheld the decision of the previous appeal courts.

Update 2017

Jock Palfreeman doesn’t expect to be released early from a Bulgarian prison after murder conviction


(Link here)


(Click here)


The Australian Government sent a request to the Bulgarian Government that Jock be transferred to Australia to serve the remainder of his sentence. The Bulgarian authorities have rejected this appeal.

If you are concerned by Jock's plight, the lack of a a fair trial in Bulgaria and the ongoing delays in his prisoner transfer to Australia, it would help if you could write to:

1. In Australia - your federal Member of Parliament
• Minister for Foreign Affairs Click here
• European Union delegation to Australia Click here
• The Bulgarian Ambassador to Australia Click here
Key Issues: This is a summary of the key issues that have impacted Jock’s fundamental right to a fair trial. Read more here
Jock Palfreeman

Palfreeman 'held for ransom' in Bulgarian prison

Just in case you forgot - read the Universal declaration of Human Rights
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All information is © Copyright 1997 - 2017 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise - Click here for the legal stuff