Guilty verdict in successful Private Prosecution
Thursday, August 11, 2016

Guilty verdict in successful Private Prosecution

Mr B was in the midst of a messy divorce during which he was still living with his wife. Upon returning from a business trip to Ireland Mr B logged onto his private laptop computer which he had left at home. Mr B checked the computer’s browser history, he found that whilst he was away his private Gmail account had been accessed. Emails between himself and his divorce solicitor had been read along with emails relating to the valuation of his assets.

Mr B had not given anyone permission to view these emails and the only people who had access to the computer was his soon to be ex-wife and his very young daughter.

He contacted the police and made complaint. The police refused to fully investigate the matter and stated that as he had not personally seen his ex-wife access the emails there was no proof that she was responsible.

Mr B sought the help of Quentin Hunt in launching a private prosecution against his wife for her unauthorised access of his emails. He contacted and instructed Quentin who reviewed the potential evidence and gave detailed advice that a private prosecution stood a good prospect of success under s1 of the Computer Misuse Act 1985.

Quentin together with a carefully instructed investigator collected evidence in the case by way of s9 witness statements and exhibits. Quentin also instructed a forensic computer expert to examine the laptop to show that it had accessed Mr B’s home wifi network to view the emails at a time and date when Mr B was out of the country.  

Following collection of the evidence Quentin drafted the necessary paperwork including the Information and Summons and lodged it at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court on Mr B’s behalf. Shortly thereafter a summons was issued against Mrs B which was served upon her and Court proceedings commenced.

A fully contested trial was heard at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court, Quentin carefully deployed the evidence for the prosecution and conducted an expert cross examination of the defendant.

Following consideration of the evidence the Court found Mrs B guilty of an offence under s1 of the Computer Misuse Act 1985. She was sentenced and has a criminal record against her name. The Court also made an order for Mr B to recover the full costs of the investigation and prosecution, this meant that although the matter was a private prosecution Mr B did not lose any money whatsoever.

If this matter had been left with the Police, the crime would have been left unprosecuted and unpunished. Due to instructing Quentin Hunt and instituting a private prosecution Mr B secured justice in respect of an important breach of his privacy and the compromise of his divorce proceedings.

If you have been the victim of crime and the Police and CPS appear to want to take no action you may be able to launch a private prosecution in order to achieve justice in your case. You may contact Quentin Hunt, an expert in the conduct of private prosecutions, for a free, no obligation conversation about your case.