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Londoner accused of accessing National Lottery users' accounts

Case to be heard in full next year

A man will appear at Crown court in December to answer charges that he used hacking program Sentry MBA to access and take money from online UK National Lottery gambling accounts.

Prosecutors claim that 29-year-old Anwar Batson gained access to National Lottery users' accounts in November 2016, having downloaded hacking tools during the previous year. He is then said to have fraudulently conspired to withdraw money from those National Lottery accounts.

Batson, of Lancaster Road in London's Ladbroke Grove, was told by magistrates today that his case would be sent to Southwark Crown Court on 10 December for a plea and case management hearing.

The accused, wearing a plain white shirt buttoned at the collar and with his long hair slicked back into a ponytail, spoke only to confirm his name, address and British nationality. No plea was entered at this morning's hearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court and Batson was granted unconditional bail.

The Londoner is alleged by Crown prosecutors to have committed two crimes under section 3A(2) of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and two under section 3A(3). Both are about "supplying or offering to supply an article believing that it was likely to be used to commit, or to assist in the commission of, an offence under section 1 or 3 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990".

Section 1 makes it a crime to access computer material without authorisation. Section 3 makes it illegal to impair the operation of a computer, or to recklessly do something that might impair its normal operation.

Batson is also accused of committing one crime under section 2(1)(b) of the same act; causing "a computer to perform a function with intent to secure unauthorised access to a program or data held in a computer and with intent to facilitate the commission of an offence".

On top of the Computer Misuse Act charges, he stands accused of two fraud charges for allegedly removing funds from the National Lottery accounts, as well as using credit card details to buy North Face clothing for himself.

Although three magistrates (volunteer lay judges assisted by a trained legal advisor) were present at the start of this morning's hearing, one left shortly before the start.

"Just because we're short-staffed... our colleague is going to go to another courtroom," the white-haired chairwoman of the bench explained to the court.

Batson is innocent unless found guilty. Full details of the allegations will be heard by a jury at the Crown court next year. ®

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