Operation Ore appeal

I\’ve received an email about Operation Ore, the appeal and my previous coments on it.

As the email is from a reader here worth perhaps extracting from it and considering my views based upon the outcome of that appeal.

My original piece was here, the judgement is here.

In essence, my original pooh pooing of the operation rests on two points:

1) Identity theft.

2) That subscribing to Landslide did not mean subscribing to child porn: that required a second, subsidiary, subscription, and that this distinction was not made in police representations in the various cases.

This appeal was made on the grounds of IC/credit card theft. The judges found that not credible.

From the email:

\”Looking at the appeal judges summing up, in relation to Mr Jim Bates, they say regarding his evidence at the hearing (Section 46):
\”in our view his denial to us of having signed a confidentiality agreement in the case of Grout was a deliberate lie, maintained until his signed agreement was produced to him\”.

They also give their opinion in relation to the appellant\’s explanation for evidence found on his computer and the Landslide servers (Section 55):
\”this answer was misleading, and deliberately so.\”
Put another way – he lied.

In your posting you link to a DT article that states:
\”it did not matter that their computers had been examined and found to be free of child pornography\”

It certainly DID matter, it also mattered when examined computers were found to be free of child pornography but still contained records of visits to the Landslide child pornography websites in the web history – something the article artfully skates over.   The Landslide server logs also told their own story – see Section 43 of the ruling.\”

From the judgement:

\”Landslide provided two membership services, the Adult Verification Service and KeyZ. Operation Ore was concerned with the KeyZ service. When someone purchased a subscription using KeyZ, he purchased a subscription to a single website. There were a small number of KeyZ registered web sites.
16.
Someone interested in child pornography would first see a “taster” page, with small images of what could be expected to be available by a subscriber to the child pornography site. He could then progress to the subscription page of the Landslide site. A sample subscription page for Child Rape was in evidence at the trial. It is headed “Child Rape”, and requires the viewer to enter his name, postal address, email address, and his credit card number and expiry date. In addition, he must choose a password to enable him to access the members’ area of the site during the period of his subscription. At the bottom of the subscription page is the information for the subscriber:
“When you sign up for a KEYZ account, your credit card will be charged by Landslide Inc. The address you enter must match the billing address of your credit card.”

That would also seem to indicate that the differences between Landslide and KeyZ were also considered.

I have to admit to still being unsure. There most certainly have, in the past, been prosecutions where the police (and others in officialdom) were being lying scumbags: off the top of my head, the topping of Lord Haw Haw (not being a UK citizen he couldn\’t be charged with treason) through to the Birmingham 6 and other such cases.

I am therefore considering changing my mind on this particular case. However, I\’m going to wait a bit and see what others whose opinions and detailed knowledge I respect and admire say before finally plumping one way or the other.

Changed facts should leave to changed minds: don\’t judge me too harshly if it takes a little time.

8 thoughts on “Operation Ore appeal”

  1. “the topping of Lord Haw Haw (not being a UK citizen he couldn’t be charged with treason) ”
    He did steal a British passport –

  2. It does appear that the courts are not as incapable of understanding technical matters as was initially feared. In this case at least, there doesn’t seem much doubt about guilt.

  3. “It does appear that the courts are not as incapable of understanding technical matters as was initially feared.”

    Might want to bite your tongue there, given the judge’s reference to ‘Wikipedia’ during the Assange hearing this afternoon…

  4. “There most certainly have, in the past, been prosecutions where the police (and others in officialdom) were being lying scumbags…”

    Unfortunately, this isn’t an indicator of innocence. I have seen police give evidence in half a dozen cases about which I had detailed knowledge and in every case they lied. In one case concerning the sale of reading glasses in Scotland they lied even though the facts of the prosecution case were accepted by the defence.

    It’s a habit. A criminal lawyer told me once of an armed robber client of his, from Chelsea, who committed a robbery, was caught bang to right, guv, but acquitted because the defence could show a police statement was untrue. He robbed again a month later and the same thing happened. Only the third time were the police careful enough not to say anything falsifiable.

  5. The best articles contradicting Operation Ore were conducted by the freelance journalist, Duncan Campbell (not the other bloke who also wrote for the Guardian).

    Here is one example of his work:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/apr/19/hitechcrime.money

    There was a much longer version of the same story in PCPro magazine around that time.

    Consideration of Operation Ore is further muddied by the omnipresence of Jim Bates as an expert witness in many of the trials.

    It really is a shitty mess where much of the expert evidence is open to question by both sides. I need a few more experts to examine past claims and the disks that were seized from the US servers.

  6. An appeal heard in Dec 10, based on technical evidence provided by Jim Bates, is unlikely to convince the legal establishment. Even though his conviction for perjury was based on his statements of his qualifications not on his technical findings, that he was also the “expert witness” in the original trial raises significant legal questions about the admissibility of any new evidence he provided for the appeal (pace judgement para 12).

    The peculiar facts of this particular appeal may not raise questions significantly applicable to other Ore convictions or cautions.

  7. Having now read the full thing, para 46 of the judgement pretty much states what I suggested in my earlier comment.

    What is interesting is the para 48 contention that the original jury would have still convicted if they had been given the benefit of the (alleged – I thought it had been previously demonstrated) credit card fraud. Admittedly, the password and IP address evidence is suggestive, although the lack of KP discovered on O’Shea’s computers is rather more exculpatory, imho (unless he had active folder or disk encryption.)

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