Computer Misuse Act charge against judge thrown out | 6/12/2018 | Staff
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A Crown court judge accused of a Computer Misuse Act offence after browsing digital documents in a case where her daughter was a witness has been discharged from court.

Her Honour Judge Karen Jane Holt, who sits as a judge under her maiden name but was charged under her married name of Karen Smith, had the case against her thrown out after her lawyers convinced Mr Justice William Davis, sitting at Southwark Crown Court, that no jury would realistically convict her.

September - Year - Holt - Digital - Case

On 30 September that year, Holt accessed the judicial Digital Case System (DCS) entry for the case of one Cecil McCready, who was jailed in March 2017 for child sex abuse offences. In August 2016, McCready entered his guilty plea.

“The range of material accessed by Karen Smith was wide,” said Mr Justice Davis as he listed the files she had accessed, adding that “the order in which the items were accessed followed no particular order.”

DCS - Sheet - Case - McCready - Magistrates

The DCS files she viewed included the “sending sheet” which moved the case against McCready from the magistrates’ court to the Crown court, statements from some of the witnesses including two versions of the statement provided by her daughter, some of the documentary exhibits, the Police National Computer printout for McCready, transcripts of interviews and the plea and trial preparation hearing form "as completed on 22 August 2016".

Although she had the McCready file open for just under 10 minutes, Holt’s phone records showed she was on the phone for nine minutes while they were open.

Judge - Inference - Trigger

The judge said “the only sensible inference is that the trigger was the...
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