Cyber-fraud piracy case thrown out
Brett Wilson LLP has successfully defended an individual at Nottingham Crown Court who had been charged with multiple counts of fraud and money laundering in relation to a number of websites which he owned and operated.
The Federation Against Copyright Theft ('FACT') reported three of the Defendant’s websites to the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit. The websites were alleged proxy sites, which were said by the Crown to be used to circumvent the block placed by the High Court injunctions against the notorious Pirate Bay website.
The indictment contained a count of transferring criminal property contrary to s.327(1)(d) Proceeds of Crime Act 2002; in relation to the movement of advertising revenue between bank accounts, and three counts of the following in relation to each website reported: -
- Possession of an article for use in fraud, contrary to s.6(1) Fraud Act 2006;
- Supplying an article for use in fraud, contrary to s.7(1) Fraud Act 2006; and
- Making an article for use in fraud, contrary to s.7(1)(b) Fraud Act 2006.
Defence Application to Dismiss
The Defence team applied to dismiss the charges primarily on the basis that the Crown had failed to raise a case that the Defendant intended the websites to be used for fraudulent purposes. It was argued that the operation of these websites could not be encompassed by the main offences created by the Fraud Act 2006, namely; fraud by false representation, fraud by failing to disclose information and fraud by abuse of position. The servers utilised were not in the UK and none of the users were misled as to the content of the websites.
Furthermore, it was argued that, in the circumstances, there was no proper basis for the contention that the websites constituted articles ‘for use in fraud’ and that these charges should be dropped.
The Court ultimately accepted the Defence’s application to dismiss the charges and the Crown did not seek to appeal the decision.
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