Computer Misuse & Hacking

Computer Misuse and hacking

Nigel Shepherd acted for “the master of the dark arts”, Jon Rees – whose alleged employment by Andy Coulson whilst editor of the News of the World was a factor in precipitating the Leveson Inquiry  [Read Article]. Rees was supposed to be have been involved in telephone hacking, theft of confidential data, hacking of computers and targeted Jack Straw, Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell, Prince Edwards and the Countess of Wessex, Kate Middleton. Sir John Stevens and John Yates [Read Article]  Despite being targeted by Operations Weeting, Elvedon Kalmyak and Rubicon no charges have been brought in respect of these untrue allegations.

Mr Rees was named in Parliament under protection of parliamentary privilege by Edward Miliband and a little known MP by the name of Watson.

Nigel Shepherd acts for Mr Rees in respect of a complaint to the IPCC concerning the alleged release of confidential material by police to the Panorama program on 14th March 2010; a police officer has been arrested in respect of this.

Nigel Shepherd is retained by a number of journalists and private investigators who may be interviewed by Operation Weeting, or provide evidence to the Leveson Inquiry.

Nigel Shepherd lectures news media on compliance.

Although the Information Commissioner’s reports What Price Privacy 2006 identified the Mail, People and Mirror newspapers as making hundreds of requests to an investigator prosecuted by Operation Motorman, the Information Commissioner gave evidence to Leveson that he did not have material to investigate further.

The Information Commissioner, Christopher Grahm claims that the powers of sentencing for misuse of data are inadequate. [1]  – Section 77 (Power to alter penalty for unlawfully obtaining etc. personal data) and Section 78 (New defence for purposes of journalism and other special purposes) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (passed in May 2008) have not been brought into force [2] However, Section 1 Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 provides for imprisonment in cases of unlawful and unauthorised interception of electronic mail communications,  which seems adequate [3]

Read Article

 In view of the likelihood of changes in the law, and that the law as to historic investigations depends on the date of the acts, a summary of the law here might be more misleading than informative.


[1] Day 32 – AM Leveson Inquiry 26 January 2012

[2] 28/2/12

[3] In 2005 sentences of six months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years were imposed, for intercepting emails (not for the intention of going to the Press – “whatever the outcome of your later going with this material to the press, both of you know that, at the time when you actually committed this offence, it was not then your intention to affect the outcome of any proceedings between the Westminster Council and Dame Shirley Porter, but, in effect, it was your intention, to take over this company.”

[Read More]

International hacktivists


 The Obscene Publications Act 1959 is still in force, but is nowadays little used, since the Protection of Children Act 1978, ss.1-1B makes it an offence to “take, or permit to be taken, or to make any indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child;”  “Child” for this purpose is now anyone under 18, and “make” includes downloading or copying images onto a computer [1]

 The “consenting adult network” believe that the legislation has gone too far.

Since 26th January 2009, it is a criminal offence in England, Wales and Northern Ireland simply to possess material that is pornographic, depicts a level of serious violence or acts capable of doing harm, and is ‘grossly offensive’.

– Sections 63-71 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008


[1] R. v. Smith (Graham Westgarth);R. v. Jayson[2003] 1 Cr.App.R. 13, CA