Operation Ore ‘was a witch hunt’ – the case of Anthony O’Shea (2010)

Screenshot of the R v Anthony O'Shea judgement Screenshot of the R v Anthony O'Shea judgement

Jailed for 5 months on child pornography charges, Anthony O’Shea argues he was a victim of credit card fraud

Following a failed appeal against conviction, O’Shea’s solicitor Chris Saltrese said, “The Court of Appeal decided to hear a two week case in two days by not hearing the evidence. 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. 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. 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.”

Operation Ore began after authorities in America prosecuted the owners of a website called Landslide Inc, which showed child abuse images, and found the details of thousands of credit card users. The names of more than 7,000 Britons were found on the database and some were prosecuted even though raids found no indecent images on their computers. Their lawyers argue that some were victims of a miscarriage of justice, as their credit card details had been stolen and used to buy child pornography.

Peter Johnston, a former computer crime officer for Merseyside Police, told ITV News that officers rounded up people whose details had been linked to internet child pornography despite doubts over their guilt. My view, and it’s purely my own view, is that yes there was a witch hunt.”

Compiled from Inside Time November 2010, Telegraph 10 November 2010, and The Register 6 December 2010.

Appeal Judgment 6 December 2010


About INNOCENT (138 Articles)
Challenging miscarriages of justice since 1993.

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