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Operation Ore decision a 'serious miscarriage of justice' - lawyer

Judges ignored evidence, lacked expertise

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The solicitor who brought the Operation Ore appeal that was finally rejected today has questioned whether the British courts had the expertise to consider deeply technical cases.

Chris Saltrese, the solicitor who brought the case on behalf of Anthony O'Shea, told us today that in his view, the verdict was "not based on the evidence".

Speaking on the dismissal of O'Shea's appeal against his conviction for incitement to distribute an indecent photograph of a child, he told us: "This is a disappointing judgment but not unexpected.

"The Court of Appeal decided to hear a two week case in two days by not hearing the evidence," he claimed.

"As a result, the Court overlooked the key issues in the written submissions. It substituted its own version of the significant evidence."

"The Court's version did not include the core evidence on which the appeal was based.

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has recommended that the Government review the availability of independent specialist advice in court cases involving internet-related crime, Saltrese said. "The conduct of this case suggests that such a step may now be timely.

"Landslide [the database in which O'Shea's details were found] was not a child pornography portal. It was an internet vehicle through which criminal webmasters processed stolen credit-card information," Saltrese continued. "The evidence is clear but was overlooked by the Court.

"We would stress that we remain convinced that Operation Ore in general, and this case in particular, was seriously flawed and a miscarriage of justice."

O'Shea would now have to consider his next steps, Saltrese said.

From the authorities' point of view, the verdict vindicates Operation Ore. Jim Gamble, ACPO lead for child protection, told the Reg earlier today: “Today’s decision by the Court of Appeal draws a line under the efforts of a small number of individuals who, over the past ten years, have perpetuated conspiracy theories about Operation Ore." ®

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