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Hacking | Computer Misuse Act 1990 (Section 3ZA)



The Computer Misuse Act 1990 (“the 1990 Act”) sets out the offences associated with interfering with a computer (that is, hacking) and the associated tools (such as malware) that enable computer systems to be breached. The 1990 Act, which applies UK-wide, makes unauthorised access to, or modification of, computer material unlawful.

Malware and Tor

The new law should be taken very seriously because it creates offences that can carry Life Imprisonment. There is a determination by Government in Europe and USA to make attacks on government institutions or other organisations threatening public health or national security punishable in the harshest way possible.

Malware capable of conducting such attacks can be used in innocent circumstances but it’s presence of a person’s computer at the point of search by Law Enforcement is going to lead to a detailed investigation into a person’s online activity.

Tor and other encryption software may disguise a person’s identity … Read More

Social Media Gets New Legal Guidelines


New guidance have been published bytThe Crown Prosecution Service to help police determine whether to press charges against someone’s behaviour on social media.

Click here for more information on Cyber Crime Offences

Under the new guidelines, the posting “disturbing or sinister” Photoshopped images or coming up with derogatory hashtags could lead to a prosecution. Also publishing someone’s address or bank deatails, known as doxxing, and asking other people to retweet a “grossly offensive image” can lead to being prosecuted.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said: “Social media can be used to educate, entertain and enlighten, but there are also people who use it to bully, intimidate and harass.

“Ignorance is not a defence and perceived anonymity is not an escape. Those who commit these acts, or encourage others to do the same, can and will be prosecuted.”

The guidelines have been released during Hate Crime Awareness week as they launch a hate crime consultation.… Read More

Nearly Six Million Cyber Crime and Fraud Cases


The ONS (Office for National Statistics) for the first time has included online offences and fraud as part of its official statistics release. The figure shows that there were two million incidents of cybercrime and 3.8 million of fraud. The majority of the two million computer misuse incidents involved a computer or internet-enabled device being infected with a virus.

The data is based upon on a survey of 9,000 people over six months, a technique that’s used to estimate other crimes as well. The figures will form part of the British Crime Survey, used by the Government and statisticians to assess offending levels.

John Flatley, of the ONS, said: “This is the first time we have published official estimates of fraud and computer misuse from our victimisation survey. Together, these offences are similar in magnitude to the existing headline figures covering all other crime survey offences.

“However, it would be wrong to concluded that actual … Read More

Fraudulent Trading – Trading Standards

What you say in an interview with Trading standards can have far reaching financial consequences.

Trading standards departments were given increased powers and budgets to prosecute businesses who trade in a fraudulent manner. Complaints from members of the public made to Local police forces are referred to trading standards departments who can restrain assets both business and personal.

What is fraudulent trading?

Directors and officers of companies recognised by the Companies Act 2006 and partnerships or sole traders covered by section 9 of the Fraud Act 2006 can commit the offence of fraudulent trading if the businesses are run with intent to defraud the creditors or other persons.

Defraud – what is it?

The law is drafted to capture a wide range of activity but the accepted definition arising case law is that defrauding means dishonestly ‘putting at risk the property or rights of another knowing that there is no right to do so’.Welham v … Read More

New Website Launch


MJP solicitors are pleased to announce their new Fixed Fee Probate services. On the website you’ll find helpful information about our services for probate, intestacy and contesting a will.

If you would like to speak to our solicitors about probate please call us on 0333 011 0515.… Read More

Trademark Act – Offences on the Internet and Open Market


A huge volume of goods are traded on the internet and there is increasing threat of prosecution on traders dealing with non authentic brands or grey market goods or goods that are copies of original product.

The law is worded in a complicated way and this blog looks at Trademark law [although there can be dual infringement of copyright law].

Who is this for?

This is a much simplified explanation of Trademark law as it applies to online traders, dealer and occasional business people.

The vast majority of offences relate to people who deal in: –

  • clothes, shoes garments accessories of every description with a label that adds value to the goods
  • sports clothes, trainers, gym equipment
  • electronic goods, music, computer software, programs
  • motoring goods and accessories
  • watches, jewellery of any description
  • any goods that have a made greater value by it bearing a brand label or trade mark which would far cheaper without trademark
Read More

Panama Papers – Unauthorised Disclosure


Mossack Fonseca

The disclosure of sensitive information to a public source give rise liability for losses suffered as a result of the breach of confidentiality by the Law firm.

However, immediate concerns in UK surround how agencies such as HMRC will react to the disclosure and how they use the information that they have gained.

The most likely approach will be that they will find the simple cases to pursue first and try to make an example to encourage cooperation and voluntary disclosure from less straight forward cases.

Criminal jurisdiction

HMRC use their powers under criminal law when they believe that there has been :-

  • Conspiracy to cheat the Revenue
  • Tax evasion
  • Money laundering

Where HMRC can prove that an off shore jurisdiction has been used to avoid paying tax that would otherwise be payable in the UK- the criminal jurisdiction can be used to prosecute [or at least threaten prosecution].

Evasion of taxes arises … Read More

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and 2014


What is the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and why does it exist?

The general aim of this Act is to assist offenders back into society by not allowing their past mistakes affect and hinder the rest of their lives. The Act enables convictions for relatively minor offences to be spent after a certain period of time, otherwise referred to as a ‘rehabilitation period’. This means that for the time of conviction until it is spent, you will have to admit its existence, however after it is spent, as a rehabilitated offender, you will not need to declare it for most purposes unless it falls under one of the exceptions. The longer the sentence, the longer the rehabilitation period.

(Guidance on how long your sentence will take to become spent can be found at the bottom of the page.)

What does ‘spent’ mean?

A spent conviction is a conviction that can be ignored after a … Read More

Online Pirates Could Face 10 Years in Jail


Currently, online copyright infringement carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment a consultation launched by the Intellectual Property Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills want to change this to 10 years to bring it in-line with copyright infringement of physical goods.

The new proposed measures will be aimed to deter those who distributed pirated content, not those downloading the pirated files.

Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe said: “The government takes copyright crime extremely seriously – it hurts businesses, consumers and the wider economy both on and offline.

“Our creative industries are worth more than £7 billion to the UK economy and it’s important to protect them from online criminal enterprises.

“By toughening penalties for commercial-scale online offending we are offering greater protections to businesses and sending a clear message to deter criminals.”

The head of the police intellectual property crime unit, DCI Peter Ratcliffe, said: “Online or offline, intellectual property theft … Read More

HSE S3 Prosecution – Client Acquitted


HSE Section 3 Prosecution

Our client prosecuted under Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The case involved a tragic case involving a man who died as a result of being trapped inside an industrial oven. He was cleaning inside of the oven, when another employee, without noticing he was in it, shut the door and turned the oven on. There was nothing inside to allow him to stop the oven and release himself, and as a result he died.

What is Section 3?

S3(2) It shall be the duty of every self-employed person to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons (not being his employees) who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.

Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 places an undertaking Read More

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