Man jailed over computer password refusal

Peter Mitchell otcbn at
Thu Oct 7 09:27:55 BST 2010

Richard Jones wrote  on 6-10-10 15:47:

> What I don't get is there must be some other evidence (eg. visits to a
> website from an IP address which can be tied back to him or his
> house).  

That's how the police would got authorisation to seize the computer. Or perhaps he was arrested for some other reason and the police then obtained a PACE warrant to search his home. 

> With this other evidence, go to court and prosecute him for
> the original offence, noting that this refusal to give up access to
> the computer is strong circumstantial evidence.  

Of what? There are many reasons why one might not want the police poking in one's personal files, not all of them criminal. 

> A jury would surely
> convict when face to face with strong IP address evidence and the
> refusal of the defendent to absolve himself by giving up the password.

As a juror I certainly wouldn't vote for conviction, in fact I'd send a note to the judge asking him to reprimand the CPS for abuse of process and seeking to pervert the course of justice. 

> Or ... is the IP evidence not so solid, and the police made a mistake?

Clearly the original evidence (used to justify the search & seizure of the computer) could not on its own have been sufficient for a conviction.

Pete Mitchell

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