In a vivid warning to the business community that embittered ex-staff members can sometimes return with a vengeance, a disgruntled computer expert who used his technical skills to take retribution on his former employers after he was made redundant has failed to persuade the Court of Appeal that his jail term was too tough.
The IT specialist caused chaos after hacking into servers controlling the computer systems of the financial services business for which he had worked. He was subsequently sentenced to five months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to modifying computer material without authority.
His lawyers argued that his sentence was too severe and should have been suspended. But, in dismissing his appeal, the Court observed, “Businesses rely much more heavily on computers these days than ever. These sorts of offences are relatively easy to commit for those with the relevant expertise.
Businesses deserve to be protected from them and there ought to be an element of deterrence in sentencing. This sentence cannot be said to be wrong in principle. The sentence ought not to have been suspended, nor is five months even arguably excessive”
Shaun Underhill, a Partner at Winchester law firm Shentons Solicitors & Mediators, commented: “Local employers can be reassured that the Courts are willing to impose heavy penalties on those who commit such actions.”