As we move towards a paperless legal world and try to streamline communications, we should always remember that things can be overdone. In particular, the increased potential for the abuse of any e-systems is a constant risk. Those working with contracts should take a lesson from the world of criminal law. This recent case of an “e-break” from an English prison was reported in the BBC:

From his prison cell Wandsworth prisoner Neil Moore used an illicit mobile phone to create a fake email account. He then posed as a senior court clerk and sent bail instructions by email to prison staff, who released him on 10 March 2014. His deception was uncovered only when his own solicitors went to interview him three days later and found out that he was no longer in the prison.

Notwithstanding his successful (and inventive) escape, Moore decided to hand himself in to the authorities three days later.

At a later trial the court was told that the prisoner had set up a fake web domain which closely resembled that of the court’s official address. He then emailed the prison’s custody inbox with instructions for his release. Moore had actually registered the bogus website in the name of investigating officer, Det Insp Chris Soole, giving the address and contact details for the Royal Courts of Justice.

The Crown Prosecutor said: “A lot of criminal ingenuity harbours in the mind of Mr Moore. The case is one of extraordinary criminal inventiveness, deviousness and creativity, all apparently the developed expertise of this defendant”.

Long live the cell phone. It can be very handy!