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GSM gateway ban U-turn casts doubt on 7.5-year prosecution in Blighty

He broke the law when it was illegal to run COMUGs. Just because it's legal now shouldn't change anything. If he'd been fined / jailed back then, would he get his money back today if he asked for it? Doubt it.

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Anonymous Coward

"Just because it's legal now shouldn't change anything."

There have been numerous offences which were no longer prosecuted when it was seen that a change in the UK law was coming.

Many laws are enacted which are too loose - or are overtaken by changes in public opinion. The CPS can tell the police that they will not prosecute a breach of a law in particular circumstances that have been challenged.

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It is no longer in the public interest for this prosecution to proceed.

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I think Aladdin sums it up.

It was illegal when he did it, so he should have been prosecuted.

But if the law is repealed, it would probably no longer be in the public interest to proceed with the prosecution.Given they have dragged it out this long, I think it must have been dodgy to begin with.

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Coffee/keyboard

He broke the law?

Really?

He's been charged, but the case isn't proved. Ofcom has been in bed with major telcos for years (Regulatory capture). Ofcom opposed the end of the Roaming Charges (which had no real basis in costs). Ofcom's regulation was probably illegal.

He's not broken the law till it's proved in court. The CPS taking a case is not proof of someone breaking a law!

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Devil

@ alien overlord

No, he didn't break the law, because it hasn't yet been proven that he did. Innocent until proven guilty?

Meanwhile, apparently the regulator who made up said law, is considering whether this is infact a stupid law which should be repealed.

If Ofcom does repeal the law, then is it still worth spending public money deciding if this man broke it or not?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ alien overlord

Pedant time. 1) Innocent until proven guilty should be innocent unless proven guilty. Until implies you are, they just need to show it. 2) if he ran one of these he did break the law, a conviction doesn't change this, nor does being found innocent. The law being broken is a fact that does not hinge on conviction.

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Anonymous Coward

He broke the law....

By that logic all gay pensioners should be prosecuted and thrown away, maybe chemically castrated as that was on the table back then too?

Or maybe, just maybe, when the law moves then past allegations should not be pursued in some crazed pedantic prosecution ... Because well, try not to be moronic to a populace

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Re: @ alien overlord

"if he ran one of these he did break the law"

That might not be a settled matter. If the ban on a COSUG was contrary EU law it could well be that the Appeal court could make the same ruling for a COMUG were the case to be put to them. It certainly would not be in the public interest to continue the case when the ban itself has been rescinded and there's a possibility of the Court of Appeal throwing it out were it to get that far.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ alien overlord

"No, he didn't break the law, because it hasn't yet been proven that he did."

'M'lud. I maintain my client cannot be guilty, because unless convicted by this court, he has not broken any law, therefore since he has not been convicted, I move that he is innocent and the case is groundless'

do you people ever actually think before opening gob?

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Re: @ alien overlord

The law being broken is a fact that does not hinge on conviction.

Maybe you need to better understand how the law works.

A jury in a jury trial, or a judge/magistrate in a bench trial, is the finder of fact. They are the sole determiners as to what is fact vs what is conjecture.

Among other things, a trial will determine:

1) whether the accused did the actions alleged; and

if they find the accused did in fact commit the actions,

2) (if it's not a strict liability case) did the accused intend to commit the acts;

3) if those actions broke the law.

Unless all 3 (or 2 in strict liability cases) are decided against the accused, then in fact they have not broken the law.

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Re: He broke the law....

"By that logic all gay pensioners should be prosecuted and thrown away, maybe chemically castrated as that was on the table back then too?

Or maybe, just maybe, when the law moves then past allegations should not be pursued in some crazed pedantic prosecution ... Because well, try not to be moronic to a populace"

I thought someone would come up with that line of thought. The ban on homosexuality was a 'morality' law, so the fact that morality changed is what makes it no longer in the public interest.

If someone stole something in the past that is now given away for free, then things look less clear, right? The ban on COMUGs was treated as part security, part economic. It seems to me, although I am not a lawyer, that to claim public interest you would have to show that those weren't true then, not that they aren't true now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: He broke the law....

"The ban on homosexuality was a 'morality' law, so the fact that morality changed is what makes it no longer in the public interest."

All laws are "morality" laws. They are passed by those who believe they have an absolute right to label something a crime - and to apply the full force of the state's apparatus.

The compulsory "hue and cry" was often invoked against a peasant for an action against a lord's presumed ownership of a resource. His peers were coerced by fear of their own summary punishments if they did not try to hunt him down for the lord.

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Tell that to Alan Turing.

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The carriers (Both mobile & fixed) hated those boxes simply because they exposed what rip-off merchants the carriers were.

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> rip-off merchants the carriers were.

With my mobile provider, I can phone overseas inc the US, Aus, South Africa etc for one tenth of the per minute price of phoning within the UK. On the one hand, great for phoning overseas; on the other hand, who is making loads off the UK calls? I suspect they are still rip-off merchants, just a little better at hiding.

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The trick is in ripping off your customers just slightly less than your competitors would, so they stick with your network. Capitalism in action basically.

(In the case of mobile providers, the aim has always been to get as much money from the customer as possible, and then immediately plough that money back into building more masts and adding more connectivity. But sure, they're rip off merchants.)

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"The Crown Prosecution Service has been contacted ...."

So in other words...

Once they've wiped the egg off their faces.

Got their collective feet out of their mouths.

And got their thumbs out of their arses.

They may be in touch.

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Re: "The Crown Prosecution Service has been contacted ...."

"Once they've wiped the egg off their faces.

Got their collective feet out of their mouths."

These 2 epithets don't make sense, the CPS was pursuing a prosecution under the law as is their purpose. They made no mistake in doing so and will likely drop the case if the law is no longer current. If there's egg on anybody's face it's Ofcom's for introducing the law in the first place.

"And got their thumbs out of their arses."

Harder to argue with that one.

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Re: "The Crown Prosecution Service has been contacted ...."

On bail for Eight years for allowing people to make phone calls.

You'd have thought someone would have asked "Do we really need to do this?."

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Anonymous Coward

"Calling cards" ???

Wasn't that the name for this service ?

You signed up, got an account, dialled a local number, then entered your account details and dialled the number you wanted.

Quite popular in the 90s when Mercury 1-2-1 offered free local calls ....

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Anonymous Coward

From a comment in Bill Ray's article

> After all, movistar would like to charge me 3€/min to call the UK.

Ah, those were the days! :-)

It's incredible to think that only six years ago operators had the balls to extort €3 per minute for a Spain-UK call. Good riddance.

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Black Helicopters

They will drop the COMUG charges

Then charge him with wasting Police time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They will drop the COMUG charges

Hey. Are you saying he was prosecuting him self?

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FAIL

As usual, Ofcom has shown that it is far close to the telcos it is supposed to regulate and does absolutely nothing to help the consumer.

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To put that into perspective

Today a call from Germany to a Mexico landline costs about less than 0.05 cents wholesale a minute.

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It's at least arguable that there have been technical changes of the lifespan of this law.

Meanwhile, it is hard, from round-trip times, to figure out whether an IP address is in the UK or not. It may be that everything goes via a few nodes, such as Telehouse, in London. Or it may be that everything goes through a few nodes in Cheltenham.

The CPS might be close to honest, but can we trust their political lords and masters.

8 years on bail? nulli vendemus, nulli negabimus aut differemus, rectum aut justiciam

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CPS Honest?

Not judging by the cases I have had to sit on. They lie and lie and lie, and then when proved to be lying by actual evidence, repeat the lie again in their summing up. CPS just give a shit about getting convictions however they can.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: CPS Honest?

"CPS just give a shit about getting convictions however they can."

My experience is limited - but I was shocked by a police investigation's blatant lies and false inferences in attempting to sway potential witnesses.

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Anonymous Coward

Case over

All charges dropped?

Mr Mahony was and is innocent it seems.

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