A UK lawyer who was controversially targeting online file-sharers has quit working on the cases currently underway in a patent court in London.
Solicitor Andrew Crossley of ACS:Law had been representing the law firm’s client MediaCAT in cases brought against 26 file-sharers.
Crossley said in a statement read out in court yesterday by MediaCAT barrister Tim Ludbrook that he had stopped working on the case, after it invaded his private life, reports the BBC.
"I have ceased my work... I have been subject to criminal attack. My e-mails have been hacked. I have had death threats and bomb threats," he said.
Crossley founded ACS:Law, which is well-known for firing off thousands of threatening missives to alleged file-sharers offering them the chance to settle rather than face going to trial.
However, Crossley - who is currently being probed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority - denied the suggestion that his law firm didn’t want to bring the accused file-sharers to court.
"It has always been my intention to litigate and, but for the fact that I have ceased this work, my intention was to litigate forcefully in these 27 cases," he said yesterday.
Oddly, MediaCAT has already informed defendants, via individual letters, that the cases against them have been withdrawn.
Judge Birss, who is overseeing proceedings, said that because the copyright holders associated with the cases were not present in court meant that they could choose to pursue the 27 defendants regardless of MediaCAT’s involvement or otherwise in the litigation.
"Why should they be vexed a second time?" the judge asked, according to the Beeb, before questioning why MediaCAT wanted to withdraw from the cases.
"I want to tell you that I am not happy. I am getting the impression with every twist and turn since I started looking at these cases that there is a desire to avoid any judicial scrutiny," he said.
Meanwhile, the Beeb reports that law firm GCB Ltd has begun the process of writing letters to the accused file-sharers.
Crossley said GCB had no connection with his law outfit; however, some of the founders of the company had previously worked at ACS:Law.
A judgment is expected later in the week.
We called ACS:Law today, but were told the firm was not making any further statements to the press. ®