Is it wise leaving comments open on a live crown court prosecution?
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An ex-Sun journalist has been charged with a computer hacking offence and also faces a second charge relating to the alleged handling of a stolen mobile phone. Ben Ashford, 34, had worked on Rupert Murdoch's tabloid newspaper, which is published by News International (since rebranded as News UK), for four years from 2006. " …
Your lawyers may have "views"!
Pre-moderated. Carry on.
Right, in that case -- as someone who found a mobile on a bus one morning and turned it into the police (rather than the bus driver) -- what is the protocol in this situation?
You didn't have reason to believe it was stolen and you had no intent to deprive the legitimate owner of possession so I don't see an issue. If you'd kept it for a month before handing it in - grey area. What bothers me is - does turning it on to see in the lock screen has contact info count as "using it without authorisation"?
"What bothers me is - does turning it on to see in the lock screen has contact info count as "using it without authorisation"?"
Well, to put the icing on the cake. After handing the phone in, and getting a receipt ("We don't want you to be done for receiving stolen goods, do we Sir"), the WPC turned it on, and because the PIN wasn't in use, she rapidly found "Mum" under the contacts list.
The ensuing conversation "She did what? On the bus?" did not bode well for a happy Mother-Daughter reunion that evening!
... that criminal proceedings against Ben Ashford will now be commenced and that he has a right to a fair trial".
It's a pity the Sun didn't consider that in their witch-hunts of Robert Murat or Christopher Jefferies.
What, you didn't know that newspapers, well the media in general, are above the law?
"May I remind all concerned that criminal proceedings against Ben Ashford will now be commenced and that he has a right to a fair trial. It is very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice that trial."
...then going on to make the charge sheet and the name of the person charged publicly available and planting the seed of guilt.
Right to a fair trial would be no information available to the public until after the trial.
"then going on to make the charge sheet and the name of the person charged publicly available and planting the seed of guilt"
In the overwhelming majority of cases, adult criminal charge sheets are a matter of public record (speaking as a former court press reporter who used them to fill in columns of space on newsprint). And it's made clear these are all allegations and, of course, as a right-thinking Briton you know that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
It sounds harsh to run someone's details so early on during proceedings just because they've been charged, but without publicly available information our judicial system would dissolve into a Kafkaesque nightmare.
"Right to a fair trial would be no information available to the public until after the trial"
PS: Read The Trial by Kafka. Proceedings shrouded in secrecy mean you'll never be able to guarantee your right to fair trial.
He is described as an "ex-Sun journalist" and there does not seem to be any mention of a prior career at the NOTW.
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