I notice that Patrick FOSTER, a hard put upon ( according to his twitter comments) member of Her Majesties press has been cautioned for hacking into the E mail account of NIGHTJACK a serving police officer in Lancashire. He and his newspaper subsequently 'outed' the officer, a DC Richard HORTON, causing him some considerable professional and personal dilemmas.
The TIMEs subsequently defend his actions claiming the officers identity had been uncovered via legal means. Following his arrest it was established he had illegally hacked into the officers account and committed an offence under the Computer Misuse Act.
In what seems to me to be a whining and mealy mouthed statement placed on Twitter, he bewails his fate.....saying
" The past two years of this unnecessarily heavy handed police investigation have been a nightmare. I have been unemployable, but have to bear the cost of substantial legal fees.I have cooperated with the seemingly never ending investigations at all times. In order to bring this regrettable episode to an end I have accepted the offer of a police caution for committing a technical beach of the Computer Misuse act 1990.
"I cannot say how likely it is that I would have been charged had I rejected the caution. In 2009 when I committed the technical breach, I was acting on the understanding, common across Fleet street and amongst journalist and lawyers that I would be able to rely on a public interest defence . That understanding was wrong "
A sentimental little piece and about as much as I would expect.
Let me put a little more reality into this in response
1.If you hadn't accepted the caution you would have been charged. The evidential test by CPS is the same whether the disposal offered is caution or charge. I wonder whether your legal team told you to bite their hand off when it was offered.
2. The public interest defence is NOT carte blanche to do as you like to get a story as you have now found out. The underhanded way the Press has undertaken its crusading badge of journalism has rightly been brought out for all to see in recent times.
3.You have committed a criminal offence so lets be straight up about it and lets not keep calling it a technical breach
4. The lawyers at CPS have not seemed to have taken your view ( held by Fleet street and its legal teams ) that what you did was covered by 'public interest'
As the CPS have said in relation to this
" In accepting a caution an individual accepts responsibility for the offending set out"
Exactly ...so lets not try to put a spin on it.
I doubt your misery extends to the effect your actions had on Dc Richard Horton and his family.