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Trojan Horse defence failed in two cases

CARL BEAME raises the issue of a Trojan Horse program, inadvertently downloaded from the internet, being responsible for the further downloading of child pornography without the computer owner’s knowledge or consent (Irish Examiner letters, May 21).

This defence has been entertained in two cases in Britain. The accused was acquitted in one of those cases, wrongly hailed as a victory by the self-styled computer expert who proposed the Trojan defence.

The prosecution withdrew the case because the history of the second-hand computer was impossible to verify: exclusive access to it by the accused could not be proven and the specific images on the computer could not be reliably linked with other prosecution evidence of internet activity.

Prosecutor David Sapieca said: "We don’t accept the conclusions of the defence expert report, but there were already other issues in the case regarding the history of the computer itself. We cannot show that Mr Green downloaded the images on to the computer, so the Crown reluctantly offer no evidence in this case."

It is notable that of the estimated 350,000 people identified by the FBI as having downloaded child pornography from the same Wonderland site that Judge Curtin is alleged to have accessed, the Trojan Horse defence has been used only twice, and has not succeeded on either occasion.

If such a Trojan program did exist, then Irish internet service providers would be plagued by complaints from innocent customers. They are not.

Stuart Neilson,
10,York Terrace,
Summerhill North,
Cork.