A chief constable who is refusing to return computers suspected of holding masses of child abuse images to a controversial expert witness could face jail and the sack.Hmmm, this seems a pretty dangerous course of action for a chief constable to take. More detail of the legal wrangling and possible consequences of it can be found here at Bystander’s blog.
Colin Port, head of Avon and Somerset police, is accused of defying a High Court order.
He was served with a summons alleging contempt of court at his force headquarters earlier this week.
But he is adamant he will not give back 87 hard drives and 2,500 photographs of abuse seized from the home of Jim Bates, a forensic computer analyst.
But what could prompt such a trenchant refusal to obey the court order?
Bates, who is seen by many as one of the founders of forensic computer analysis, fears he is being targeted by police because he has become an outspoken critic of Operation Ore, a police investigation that began in the late 1990s and led to thousands of arrests.And a great deal of controversy. So much so, that Mr Bates is now a campaigner for those caught in the ‘Ore’ web.
And it seems Port isn’t the only law enforcement officer with a flexible approach to those pesky laws:
Jim Gamble, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, said: 'We fully support the chief constable in this matter.Yup, he’d be committing an offence by complying with a lawful court order.
'In our view it could be argued that the chief constable would be committing an offence by giving abuse images back to this individual, unless he held them as part of an ongoing case.'
We’re through the looking glass, people!
Update: Bea Campbell has now weighed in on this. Hilarity ensues in the comments...