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"Very unique circumstances" prevent prison sentence

Monday 26 August 2019

"Very unique circumstances" prevent prison sentence

A local man will have to do 80 hours of community service for refusing to give Guernsey Police the password to his CCTV system, which was eventually found not to be of interest to their investigations anyway.

John Nathan's flat was searched in January after police found cannabis plants in his neighbour's property.

On searching, officers found a private CCTV system which covered the block of flats. They thought it could help with the investigation into Nathan's neighbour and asked for the password needed to access the footage.

Although police were able to hack into the system without a password, there were concerns that some of the files might be lost in the process.

Nathan had 14 days to respond with the password, but failed to do so.


Pictured: The defendant was sentenced in the island's Magistrate's Court.

Officers did eventually get into the system without the code, but found expensive specialist software was needed to look at the footage. The system had a short memory, meaning files had only been saved from the previous ten days.

In the end, Guernsey Police decided it was unlikely the footage would help the investigation progress, and did not buy the software.

In his mitigation, Advocate Chris Green said Nathan had set up the cameras for "peace of mind". He said it was an "unusual case" and asked that Judge McKerrell make "an exception to the rule".

The defendant has a "long record" of previous convictions, the last of which was for cultivating cannabis in 2012.

Although Judge McKerrell could have given Nathan a maximum of six months in prison for refusing to give up the password, he decided to take Advocate Green's advice.

"This is a very unique set of circumstances that is unlikely to be seen again," he said.

Nathan will have to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work as a direct alternative to six weeks in prison.

Pictured top: File image.

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