Jason Coghlan was a gangster. As a young man, he gained a reputation as Britain's most dangerous criminal. His luck ran out in 1999 when he was convicted to a twelve-year sentence for armed robbery. Determined to reform himself following his release, he moved to Marbella, Spain. This exotic island resort is notable for more than just its sun-drenched atmosphere and scantily-clad female beachcombers; its also infested by the kind of criminal elements that Coghan knows all too well.
But instead of succumbing to this irony and returning to his dastardly roots, he decided to exploit it as his entry into the legitimate world of business. The infectiously entertaining new documentary Walking Heavy shows us how he's redefined the direction of his life by embracing his past discretions.
The field he's stumbled upon is a limited niche, but extremely lucrative nonetheless. When British criminals are arrested in Spain, they face a tough uphill climb in a court system which is often apathetic to their defense. This is where Coghan comes in. He's well versed in the criminal life, and knows that foreign offenders rarely get a fair shake in court. He's also adept in the local legal processes and maintains close ties to the most effective attorneys in Spain.
This allows him a unique bond and a comfortable sense of trust with the accused. Through his company JaCogLaw, he acts as a middle man by attaching each of his clients with an expert defense. The surprising success of the business has kept him on the straight and narrow, lined his pockets with great quantities of cash, and has inspired expansions into Thailand and Portugal.
It's a strange dichotomy. Coghan is now an advocate for those who are still committed to the criminal life he left behind, and he's doing it by operating within the same system that locked him away all those years ago. His unlikely success story lies at the center of Walking Heavy, and the viewer can't resist being pulled in by his authenticity, brute moxie and force of personality.