Legal representation Internet and Criminal Law
- Hits: 4229
The growing use of the internet has exposed an unprecedented number of otherwise law abiding citizens to the risks of committing criminal offences. Prosecution of offences involving fraud, harassment, unlawful publication, breach of reporting restrictions, court orders and contempt of court are on the increase, along with an increasing number of people finding themselves (often inadvertently) on the wrong side of the law. Many of these crimes do not even require any criminal intentions by the offender. In other words, these are what we call 'strict liability' offences where no excuse is acceptable.
Unfortunately, when criminal offences involve internet use, it can be a real challenge to find suitable legal representation with adequate knowledge and experience, to deal with such matters for either party.
Too many alleged suspects and victims of internet crime are poorly represented at court by lawyers who simply fail to properly grasp how the internet and social media really work.
Solicitors, counsel and often judges alike all still find phrases such as SEO, DNS or URL too confusing and too "technical" to understand. At the same time, members of the public are often unaware of the possibility that their actions could actually land them in jail. The lack of this understanding of the internet in the legal profession may not come as such a surprise when one considers the how ‘internet law’ is a relatively recent phenomenon and is as a result still in its developmental infancy.
There is, as yet, no clear distinction between overlaps in civil and criminal law, a problem which has yet to be fully explored by the courts. As a result, our experience shows that the police frequently dismiss complaints brought by victims of ‘internet crime’ because they do not consider them to be a criminal offence.
The police will instead take the view that such complaints are in fact civil matters and should therefore be dealt with in the civil courts. A common example of this is where there is a dispute between two commercial entities online, despite the fact that if the equivalent acts were committed offline, they would have no doubt been treated as serious crimes. Another example is when a case is dismissed by the police for lack of evidence or to put it more accurately, difficulties in obtaining the evidence because they are of an electronic/internet nature.
At Cohen Davis Solicitors we are often far quicker than the police in securing evidence for our clients, particularly when the crime involves foreign jurisdictions. To give one example, we can obtain full disclosure from GoDaddy or PayPal by issuing quick subpoenas in their local courts in less than 48 hours.
It would take the police on the other hand at least 4 months just to obtain permission and the necessary budget to process a request for the same evidence. If then you are arrested or prosecuted for a criminal offence involving the use of the internet, particularly for offences relating to breaches of court orders or harassment on the internet, you might find that your local criminal lawyer is not able to effectively assist you at the police station or in court.
This is because most lawyers are not internet literate. If you wish to receive effective legal representation concerning internet crime, we would therefore recommend that you approach a lawyer who specialises in internet law and who is also a certified police station representative with relevant experience in criminal law.
As our internet law and social media crime lawyers are also fully accredited police station representatives, we should be able to help. Our lawyers can help you with: contempt of court, breach of court orders, harassment, breach of privacy, threats to kill, public order offences and regulatory breaches.