Paralegal Handed Six-Year Jail Time

On 10th May 2023 the Cardiff Crown Court sentenced a Crown Prosecution Service paralegal to six-years of jail-time following her entering guilty pleas to allegations of accessing personal documents whilst she was not authorised which were contained on the organisation’s computer system. In fact, the matter was taken so seriously by the Crown Court judge because the paralegal had not only accessed the unauthorised information and this would have been significant enough. However, compelling evidence suggested that the legal professional had taken the information from the secure location where it was held by her employer, betrayed the confidence placed in her and instead of complying with her duties of confidentiality she appears to have believed that it was acceptable to disseminate the highly sensitive information to widespread criminal gangs.    

What Happened In The Case?

The career of the paralegal had seemingly been progressing well and she was employed by the CPS from approximately 2016 to 2020 based predominantly in Wales. However, her career success crashed down in the summer of 2020 when the regulatory authorities made an approach to her in connection with some seemingly very serious accusations that she had been mixed up with unscrupulous persons partaking in illicit activities of a criminal nature. When the law enforcement authorities in the form of the Welsh Police Anti-Corruption Department launched a  probe into information which had been cunningly hidden in coded language by those of an illicit underhanded persuasion it made a number of concerning discoveries.     

Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out…

The Regulatory Authorities uncovered some extraordinary evidence which did not make for happy reading for the paralegal. Surface level the paralegal deserved the trust she had built up from her employer by complying with her duties of confidentiality and exclusively accessing information only as part of her normal day-to-day job duties. 
However, the probe highlighted that this was not the case here as the legal professional had been repeatedly gaining access to documents of a sensitive nature under circumstances whereby it was not required. Arguably and more seriously the legal professional had obtained secret information and put it into the hands of persons carrying out illicit activities. When the legal professional was confronted by the allegations in open court in Cardiff she admitted to just shy of thirty occasions on which she had accessed computers when it was not permitted. There was also two charges levelled against her appearing to suggest that her behaviour amounted to misconduct in a public office.      

What Did The Crown Prosecution Service Say?

The Crown Prosecution Service provided the paralegal with employment, placed her in a trusted position and paid her wages. However, the legal professional appears to have thrown all of this back in its face via her decision to take part in these criminal behaviours. The CPS commented that the paralegal had fallen below the level expected of a person employed in her position and in this regard had failed to manage the information held on the computer system with honesty.  

Lessons Learned?

Legal professionals need to be carefully considering the outcome of this case if they are ever faced with similar scenarios they should be advised to avoid jail time by: 
-    remembering the privileged position they occupy
-    operating with honesty and integrity at all times
-    avoiding accessing confidential client information unconnected with matters they are engaged in and
-    under no circumstances accessing and communicating private information to those operating in the criminal world.
If you have experienced something similar or have an opposing viewpoint, please kindly leave a comment on the article or contact us.  
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