Thursday, March 01, 2007

Frustration lands internet user in prison

The trial of Martin Edward Cummins, 45 of today concluded at Norwich Crown Court. Mr Cummins was accused of lewd acts likely to corrupt a minor and was arrested after a police sting operation involving a dozen web sites and forensic investigation of his computer.

"This is a complete miscarriage of justice, " he said in a statement through his solicitor. "I have at no time attempted to corrupt anyone, it was a misunderstanding over usernames and the frustration of creating new ones when registering for web sites."

Mr Cummins defence was that every userid he tried on popular sites was taken. "The normal ones, such as first names, and fun ones like ‘BigMartin’ are always taken." he explained through his solicitor. "However I realised that if I used slightly more risqué words and phrases then those tended to be available. Naturally I tried to tailor my choice so that it matched the website I was registering with."

In court the prosecution stated that Mr Cummins had registered dozens of such aliases including ‘*********sucker’ for a teen book website, ‘UptheArsenal’ on a football related site targeted at teenage girls and ‘I****your******’ in a virtual reality game aimed at under 18s .

"I am deeply sorry that I let my frustration get the better of my judgement in the usernames I picked" concluded Mr Cummins’ statement.

Gerald Billingsworth, QC for the prosecution, informed the court that whilst he could in some ways understand how the accused could have arrived at such a situation over user names, it did not explain the 3 gigabytes of images and video police found on his hard disk.

Mr Cummins was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. He has already lodged an appeal and is hoping to raise funds for his legal costs at

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