A Crown Prosecution Service lawyer is on trial accused of unlawfully accessing information about his judge wife's new lover after their marriage broke down.
Scott Ainge, 47, was accused by estranged wife Kate of mounting "a relentless, determined and continual campaign of harassment" that culminated in him abusing his access to CPS computer systems to look up the criminal past of her new lover.
Liverpool Crown Court heard earlier this week how Ainge also allegedly tracked and photographed his wife's car, as well as monitoring her emails and social media accounts as she cavorted with new lover Andrew Thompson.
Kate, a deputy (part-time) district judge, told the court while giving evidence: "All he wanted to do was destroy me and I don't think he will ever stop."
Ainge is said to have threatened to reveal to another judge and his estranged wife's colleagues the details of her affair. He is charged with using CPS systems to look up past convictions of Thompson's as well as stalking Kate, according to local paper the Liverpool Echo.
Ainge denies five charges of unauthorised access to information under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and one count of stalking. The case continues.
Public sector workers abusing their access to state computer systems is not uncommon, though it is relatively rare for these cases to be brought to court. Earlier this week The Register reported how a police officer in Wales was sacked, in a similar case to Ainge's, after being found guilty of spying on his girlfriend's ex.
Kate Ainge is not the only judge to have been involved in Computer Misuse Act proceedings in recent years either. Back in 2018, Crown court judge Karen Jane Holt was herself charged with illegally accessing a case file, though another Crown court judge dismissed the case against her.
Cases brought to court under the Computer Misuse Act, the key piece of anti-hacking legislation in the UK, declined 9 per cent in the year to March 2020. It appears that cases may be on the increase this year, perhaps thanks to COVID-19 forcing most of the UK to stay at home. ®