Tsunami Web site 'hacking' trial delayed

A man arrested after an alleged hack attempt on the Disasters Emergency Committee's Web site at the end of last year is still awaiting trial as computer forensics experts gather evidence
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor

The trial involving the alleged hacking of a charity Web site set up to raise funds for victims of December's Asian tsunami disaster has been delayed yet again while witness reports are compiled by computer forensics experts.

Daniel James Cuthbert, 28, from Whitechapel in East London has been charged with one offence under section one of the Computer Misuse Act following what police called an "unauthorised" attempt to access the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Web site on New Year's Eve.

At his first appearance at Horseferry Road Magistrates court in London back in February, Cuthbert pleaded not guilty and was released on unconditional bail until April pending submission to the court of a report by an IT security expert witness.

A trial date was due to be set at the April hearing but the case was again adjourned due to delays in Cuthbert getting the legal aid approval required for his defence counsel to commission a computer expert. The expert was needed to conduct a forensic examination of the seized hard drive and compile a report.

At the latest hearing today, the court heard visiting London School of Economics fellow Professor Peter Sommer has now done 10 hours work examining Cuthbert's hard drive. But a further 30 hours of forensic examination are still to be completed.

The prosecution told the magistrate that depending on the contents of that report they may want to instruct their own computer forensics expert to examine the hard drive. Only when that has been completed can the court fix a trial date.

The case was adjourned until next month and Cuthbert was released on unconditional bail. The magistrate also excused Cuthbert's attendance at the next hearing due to him starting a new job.

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