Not Saussure

April 21, 2007

Fraud victims wrongly convicted in Operation Ore?

Filed under: Internet, Law — notsaussure @ 1:38 pm

Via Tim Worstall, a very disturbing account from Alex at The Yorkshire Ranter of how many of the men caught up in the Operation Ore child pornography prosecutions may have been completely innocent victims of credit card fraud and phishing — essentially, their stolen credit card details were apparently run through a site, in order to generate charges that the fraudsters pocketed, that provided merchant services to various shady enterprises, including vendors of child pornography.

Alex’s article is based on an article by investigative journalist Duncan Campbell in The Guardian and a much longer piece by him in PC Pro (pdf).

Someone’s commented on Tim’s article to the effect there are — or should be — safeguards against wrongful conviction in this sort of case. Well, yes, there are, and they should be effective, but they clearly didn’t protect the people who, as Campbell describes in his article, had their computers seized and lived with these charges hanging over their heads for a year or 18 months before being dropped or thrown out by the judge. Nor did they protect people who apparently wrongly accepted cautions in the mistaken belief this would be an end to the matter (it isn’t, since that means admitting the offence, and ending up on the Sex Offenders Register).

And, in the light of what Campbell has to say about the police’s unwillingness to turn over unused materials to defence lawyers (and, I think, lack of knowledge at the time among many of the criminal bar about phishing) there’s no knowing how many people were mistakenly advised to plead guilty to incitement to create child pornography (the standard charge in Operation Ore when the prosecution found someone’s credit card details on one of these sites but nothing on his computer) on the grounds that they’d be found guilty anyway and might as well get it over with in return for a lower sentence.

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2 Comments »

  1. […] >> there’s no knowing how many people were mistakenly advised to plead guilty to incitement to create child pornography (the standard charge in Operation Ore when the prosecution found someone’s credit card details on one of these sites but nothing on his computer) on the grounds that they’d be found guilty anyway and might as well get it over with in return for a lower sentence. https://notsaussure.wordpress.com/2007/04/21/fraud-victims-wrongly-convicted-in-operation-ore/ […]

    Pingback by Last week’s letters and blog pingbacks in full — March 7, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

  2. […] >> there’s no knowing how many people were mistakenly advised to plead guilty to incitement to create child pornography (the standard charge in Operation Ore when the prosecution found someone’s credit card details on one of these sites but nothing on his computer) on the grounds that they’d be found guilty anyway and might as well get it over with in return for a lower sentence. https://notsaussure.wordpress.com/2007/04/21/fraud-victims-wrongly-convicted-in-operation-ore/ […]

    Pingback by Last week’s letters and blog pingbacks in full - Payment Protection Insurance Wiki — July 13, 2012 @ 11:23 pm


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