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Operation Sledgehammer’s fuse still fizzing

The deadly silence since this story (scroll down for original story) was first published has been interrupted by a whisper of possibility. What one needs to be aware of is that with rare and honourable exceptions all computer forensics ‘experts’ in the UK work for the police and prosecution and lack the integrity and courage to stand up for the truth when it comes to admitting to knowledge of miscarriages of justice, especially in the taboo area of child pornography, where the dominant narrative is that all accused are guilty. The so-called ‘computer forensics industry’ prostitutes its services to the Crown in exchange for recognition and money.

The first report on this web site about Operation Sledgehammer was greeted with expected derision and insult by UK ‘computer forensics experts’ over their forum at
‘Forensic focus’, in the usual manner of attacking anyone who questions the State’s draconian response to either inappropriate sexuality or false allegations of such by labelling them as apologists for child porn.

One of these individuals wrote, “Encouraging anyone to visit inquisition21 must be close to an offence of abstracting electricity or at least a waste of internet bandwidth.”

He may be, or simply calls himself, Harry Parsonage, a ‘Digital Forensic Triage Specialist’ operating from ADF Solutions.

Apparently suspecting that the truth might emerge, Harry now makes the following amazing admission: “However on this occasion there is an element of truth in the post. I wrote a report which identified significant errors in the technical assessment circulated in the national briefing document. The CPS agreed that in some circumstances my report amounted to material which could undermine the prosecution case and so should be disclosed to the defence as such. If a defence examiner is working on a Sledgehammer job then they should ask the instructing solicitor if they have had a disclosure.”

Harry appears to have a cosy relationship with the CPS, but that is no surprise seeing that all of us who are not in the UK computer forensics industry may have the pleasure of dealing with the CPS only in the dock as defendants.

The original story, below, suggests that the head of the cyber crime unit in Nottingham wrote a report, since kept secret but issued widely to national forces, warning of the mistakes made by CEOP. Guess where Harry is from. Yes, Nottingham.

We asked, "Well, Harry, have you anything more to tell us?"

It transpired that just before asking this question one of his forensics colleagues wrote:

"Mr Parsonage

"Can you give us some more details of the errors and the significance to the defence? Pat."

He replied, "There is insufficient space here to give an explanation and do it justice. I would suggest the most appropriate means is via disclosure in a relevant case."

Such obfuscation familiar to anyone?

Hopefully the truth will out.


Operation Sledgehammer was a campaign carried out by the Austrian police in 2009 claiming to have ‘broken an Internet child porn ring that stretched across 170 countries’. That the UK did not figure prominently in its own version afterwards appears to be because of disastrous mistakes made by CEOP.

Lawyers at the CPS have had a good year. The Operation Ore appeal was dismissed in the High Court and news of an almighty mess-up in the very recent UK involvement in Operation Sledgehammer did not get leaked to the outside world.

This was not the Sledgehammer operation which tackled organised crime groups in County Durham and Darlington, but the UK’s follow on to the 2009 Austrian police’s Operation Sledgehammer which claimed the breaking of a child porn ring in 170 countries. When one remembers the trumpeting of the police in Operation Ore, their silence over Sledgehammer must appear deafening.

CEOP under its then leader Jim Gamble managed Sledgehammer and despite hundreds of arrests got it so wrong that the head of the cyber crime unit in Nottingham wrote a report, since kept secret but issued widely to national forces, warning of the mistakes made by CEOP. CPS lawyers have been overheard agreeing that the information in the Nottingham report should have been revealed to defence solicitors, but that justice was probably done anyway as the accused were probably ‘sick people’. They have also privately agreed that the report, should it get out, is dynamite.

It is now in the interest of justice to obtain the Nottingham report either through an FOI request or in a case brought against the police for arrest under Sledgehammer.

Was this the reason for Jim Gamble's sudden resignation last year? Did someone on high say, "Not another Operation Ore!"

Created on 02/04/2011 12:39 PM by Editor
Updated on 03/30/2011 04:15 PM by Editor
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