News:

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QEB News: Supreme Court rules sale of 'grey-market' goods a criminal offence
4.08.2017 More >

QEB News: Edward Henry appeared on behalf of the Earl of Cardigan at Swindon Crown Court in his appeal against conviction for a public order offence.
11.05.2016 More >

QEB News: Edward Henry warns that the ‘administration of justice is not a business and can never be run on narrow cost-centred imperatives’
12.04.2016 More >

QEB News: Prosecution offer no evidence against Royal Agricultural University students accused of rape
12.04.2016 More >

QEB News: Edward Henry has had a busy July and August with 8 cases in a selection of courts and tribunals successfully defended – which included the prosecution offering no evidence in a conspiracy to murder following service of abuse argument; a PC cleared of assault; a Doctor’s reputation preserved at the MPTS; a joint enterprise robbery and an art fraud.
20.8.2015 More >

QEB News: Edward Henry represents Lord Cardigan in hat-trick of harassment acquittals
28.7.2015 More >

QEB News: Edward Henry comments on the future plans of the SFO
24.9.2014 More >

QEB News: Ranked as Leader in Crime by Chambers UK
28.7.2014 More >

QEB News: Student Disciplinary Hearing
25.9.2013 More >

QEB News: Naming Names of Rogue PIs?
9.9.2013 More >

QEB News: Koo Stark cleared of theft
20.6.2013 More >

QEB News: Koo Stark
9.10.2012 More >

QEB News: R v Tony Morris
12.7.2012 More >

Edward Henry: news

Naming Names of Rogue PIs?
9.9.2013

Edward Henry comments on the further developments in the exchanges between Keith Vaz MP and the Information Commissioner over the possible revelation of the identity of clients of private investigators under investigation.

 

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) announced on 2 September that it is investigating whether insurers, law firms and other businesses that used private investigators convicted of data 'hacking and blagging' offences have themselves contravened the Data Protection Act (DPA).

 

In his blog, http://www.ico.org.uk/news/blog/2013/transparency-shouldnt-get-in-way-of-rogue-pi-client-probe,  Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, attacked the practice:

 

For years we’ve been warning about the dirty trade in confidential personal information and the threat to our privacy and security posed by the ‘blagging’ of personal information in family disputes, in the insurance business, in the credit sector – and for purposes of fraud and other criminal enterprises.’

 

Graham is now in a personal battle with Keith Vaz, the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, over publication of the names of insurers and law firms said to be on the list.

 

In an extraordinary attack, Graham accuses Vaz and his allies of seeking publicity, stating:

 

‘Keith Vaz and his Select Committee continue to focus on whether the private investigator client list should be published. But surely effective regulatory action is what is needed, rather than a day’s headlines.’

 

The 98 names in a confidential list, which was given to the ICO by the soon to be defunct SOCA, have apparently already been leaked to the press and a prominent international insurer is believed to be among them.

 

Those listed under investigation have not been told anything and Graham  wants to keep it that way: ‘Transparency shouldn’t get in the way of the investigation. It’s not clever to start a criminal investigation by publishing the names of everyone and everything you’re investigating. That’s why we’ve stated we’re not publishing the list at this stage, and why I’ve written to Keith Vaz MP to urge similar patience on the part of his Select Committee.’

 

The ICO clearly seems to have been wrong-footed by the Select Committee who received the information in confidence. In relation to the original data, provided by SOCA, on 17 July, Mr Vaz wrote to ‘confirm that the Committee will treat any such information as confidential and that it will be handled in accordance with current guidance on the provision of sensitive information to select committees.’

 

If the list is published pre-emptively in Parliament, not only might the ICO find that it faces actions for defamation when innocent parties consider the reputational stigma of being outed but Graham is also concerned that publication will undermine the investigation.

 

The ICO had contemplated a long and cautious examination of the evidence before deciding whether the law had been broken by those on the list. Section 55 of the DPA states that is unlawful for a person to ‘knowingly or recklessly without the consent of the data controller obtain or disclose personal data or the information contained in personal data, or procure the disclosure to another person of the information contained in personal data’ without the consent of those who control the data. There are public interest based exemptions from liability but the risk remains that businesses and their staff may have been exposed to criminal liability under the DPA as a result of the actions of rogue investigators, provided they were complicit or negligent.

 

S.61 of the Act states (in general terms) that if a company or other corporation commits a criminal offence under the Act, any director, manager, secretary or similar officer or someone purporting to act in any such capacity would be personally guilty of the offence, as well as the corporate body, if the offence was committed with their consent or connivance; or was attributable to neglect on their part.

 

Acknowledging that none of the 98 may have broken the law, Graham set the template for this inquiry:

 

“’The criminal offence associated with “unauthorised disclosure” of personal information depends on the prosecution establishing that the clients knew that the information they were seeking would be, or could only be, obtained by unlawful means. That will be central to the ICO’s investigation.’

 

Publish and be damned may well be the cry of the politician (particularly if swathed in parliamentary privilege), but the cost to the ICO and to the potentially blameless parties involved is perhaps too high a price.


Notable cases:

R v Martin and others (2016)
Defended student at Royal Agricultural University accused of rape. Prosecution offered no evidence following defence submissions.

R v P&P (Southwark) (2015)
Instructed to defend two company directors charged with insolvency offences – case adjourned. Instructed by Steven Young

R v F (Croydon Crown Court) (2015)
Successful defence of man accused of a campaign of gunpoint rape. Edward’s cross-examination of the complainant caused

R v P (Chelmsford Crown Court) (2015)
Successful defence of an accountant charged with sexual assault. Instructed by Raj Law.

R v B (Kingston Crown Court) (2015)
Successful defence of a fruit and vegetable trader charged with two counts of large scale cannabis smuggling – the only

R v F (CCC) (2014)
Tragic case of a paranoid schizophrenic who was misdiagnosed and went on to kill a sex worker. Plea to manslaughter accepted.

R v W (Manchester Crown Court) (2014)
Successful defence of a man accused of assisting Dale Cregan. Edward’s disclosure arguments directly led to the collaps

Earl of Cardigan (2014)
Edward Henry represented David Brundell-Bruce, Earl of Cardigan in criminal proceedings at Chippenham Magistrates Court.

Student Disciplinary Hearing (2013)
Edward Henry successfully represents student at disciplinary hearing.

R v Koo Stark (2013)
Koo Stark cleared of theft

NMC v H (2012)
Misconduct allegations repudiated after prolonged battle for the recall of witnesses following non-disclosure

Articles:

Cheating the public revenue (R v Lunn)
Should a series of tax cheats be charged as a single count or as a series of individual counts? Edward Henry reports in light on the recent Court of Appeal ruling.
21.03.2017
Download (PDF) >

Examining deferred prosecution agreements—SFO and Rolls-Royce
Edward Henry argues that a widespread move towards entering into deferred prosecution agreements could result in a shift away from trials and open justice.
31.01.2017
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Edward Henry comments on the Bribery Act 2010
28.10.2014
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Edward Henry comments on the future plans of the SFO
Interviewed by Jon Robbins of Lexis Nexis, Ed Henry considers David Green’s recent speech in which he outlined future p 24.9.2014
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Expert Evidence
Recent Developments in the Use of Experts and Admissibility of Expert Evidence � An International Perspe 3.11.2007
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Forensic lip-reading
Mary Luckham of London University examines a landmark case in which Edward Henry challenged the reliability of forensic lip- 19.12.2004
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