Background

I was born in Liverpool and, upon completing a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at the University of Liverpool, I converted by way of a Graduate Diploma in Law from the College of Law.  I then also undertook the Legal Practice Course with the College of Law.

Upon qualification, I ended up moving to Greater Manchester as an economic migrant, whereupon I started my legal career with general crime firms in Stockport and Ashton-under-Lyne, at which I advised on the range of offences that are seen across the criminal law spectrum.  My training contract, in order to qualify as a solicitor, was split between a general crime firm in Ashton-under-Lyne and Pannone Solicitors in Manchester.

Upon qualification, I initially worked at Burrows Bussin, a boutique commercial fraud firm in Manchester at which I began developing my specialism in the defence of cyber crime matters, before being asked to return to Pannone Solicitors.  It has been at Pannone that I have further specialised in advising on the defence and prosecution of computer related offences and data security matters.

General crime

I have advised on over 500 police station interviews, across the full breadth of offences under criminal law.   I have appeared before the Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court in relation to the most serious offences that a client can face.

Examples of the more interesting cases  that I have been involved with have been as follows:

  • Conspiracy to cause explosions with intent to endanger life – two boys who were alleged to have conspired to detonate explosive devices at their school and a local shopping centre.
  • Conspiracy to murder – alleged conspiracy based on diary entries and comments to friends.
  • Bigamy – client alleged to have married for cash on multiple occasions.
  • Manslaughter – death allegedly caused by a single punch.
  • Murder – successful self-defence argument submitted.
  • Conspiracy to import Class A drugs – crucial evidence provided by cell site data.

Specific private client crime cases recently undertaken:

  • Gross negligence manslaughter – client who dealt drugs to their partner who then died.
  • Conspiracy to facilitate a breach of immigration law – client alleged to have assisted in the arrangement of sham marriage for cash.
  • Assault – school teacher alleged to have assaulted a pupil.

Appeal cases recently undertaken

  • s.18 wounding with intent – appeal against conviction related to failings on behalf of the original defence team.
  • Conspiracy to import firearms – successful appeal against sentence on the basis that the trial judge erred in law in passing a life sentence without having properly considered the issue of the client’s dangerousness

Specialism

My skill base has a foundation in a knowledge and understanding of computers and how the use of them is governed by existing legislation.  The offering is broken down into two areas: (i) individuals; and, (ii) businesses.

Individuals:

  • Advising on social media based matters, such as defamation, harassment, contempt of court and reputation management.  For example, I was invited by the Director of Public Prosecutions to a roundtable meeting of experts, in order to help him draft guidance for formal prosecutions in this area.  I have also undertaken private funded defence cases including harassment through this medium and have advised solicitors and barristers regarding online defamation through Twitter and Facebook.
  • Advising on general website publications, involving issues including defamation, harassment, contempt of court and reputation management.
  • Advising on the defence or prosecution of criminal offences using the internet as a medium, which includes undertaking the successful defences of the first and second prosecutions in the country regarding online peer-to-peer filesharing,  computer misuse offences (“hacking”) and copyright and trade mark offences (such as eBay and Craigslist sales).  I also have a wealth of experience involving fraud offences in which an online database or forensically imaged hard-drive has been recovered – an area enhanced by my technical expertise in showing evidential flaws in this regard.  I frequently accept defence instruction with regard to allegations of criminal intellectual property offences.
  • Advising on data protection matters including ICO penalties for breach of the Data Protection Act 1998, criminal offences and FSA regulatory issues where there is personal liability for business based breaches and sole offences.

Businesses:

  • Advising on online reputation management including defamation and libel matters, as well as general reputational harm and how to remedy the same.
  • Advising on the defence or prosecution of criminal offences including online harassment matters or copyright breaches.  Involves businesses who wish to prosecute hacking for vandalism purposes, extortion or corporate espionage.
  • Advising on data protection matters regarding ICO and FSA sanctions and penalties for business causing financial and reputational harm.  I have recently advised on the merits of an appeal by a business in relation to an extremely large monetary penalty imposed by the ICO due to their sending of spam text messages.   I also advised a company regarding data issues and made representations to the ICO which resulted in one of the lowest monetary penalties ever imposed.
  • Data security audit in order to review the data processing activities and to advise whether an organisation is compliant with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and other applicable regulations.  I also set out the steps required to ensure compliance and assist in implementation.
  • Data dispute resolution by advising businesses in relation to disputes, claims and enforcement actions relating to the Data Protection Act, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and related privacy issues.
  • Data security advice for businesses on issues around the retention, storage and security of data, including personal data.  This includes advising on compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998, legal and regulatory retention obligations and security measures, encryption and compliance, as well as the archival and safe and secure destruction of data.
  • Communications interception involving advising businesses on legal and regulatory compliance, particularly in relation to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 including advice to local councils regarding their ability to monitor members of the public and employees.
  • Advises with regard to private prosecutions and the collation of evidence bundles for the police or Trading Standards teams.

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