ICO accuse Jack Beecham of breaching bail conditions
By John Brace (Editor)
First publication date: Thursday 24th November 2022, 17:45 (GMT).
This hearing had been originally scheduled to start at 10.00 am, however the start of the hearing was delayed. This was because the barrister (Miss Anam Khan) for ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) wasn’t present in the court room in person. She virtually appeared at the hearing using the Cloud Video Platform (CVP), however as the listings section of Liverpool Crown Court hadn’t told this information to the Clerk, there was a delayed start due to some initial confusion as to what was going on before Miss Anam Khan appeared at the hearing virtually on the screens in the court room.
Mr Jack Beecham (the Defendant) was present for this hearing in the dock accompanied by a dock officer. Mr Beecham’s barrister was different for this hearing and was Mr Benjamin Berkson. A piece on what happened previously on 7th November 2022 can be read here.
The Clerk asked the Defendant if he was Jack Beecham, to which he replied, “I am”.
HHJ Swinnerton said to Ms Anam Khan that he had been told that she was looking at powers to amend? Miss Anam Khan replied that she was not trouble right away, the matter had come before HHJ Swinnerton on the 7th November 2022 listed for a trial, Mr Beecham had failed to attend and she invited HHJ Swinnerton regarding four matters. The first was the direction given on the 7th November 2022 that photo evidencewas to be provided by 4pm that Mr Beecham had had a positive lateral flow test.
HHJ Swinnerton replied that it had been a little late but that they did get something.
Miss Anam Khan continued pointing out that the evidence provided in the form of an image wasn’t dated, therefore it was difficult to attribute the image to the Defendant.
HHJ Swinnerton asked her for her other 3 things she wished to raise?
Miss Anam Khan said that she wished to draw to the Court’s attention a breach of bail conditions. At the first appearance in the magistrates’ court there had been a bail condition not to contact Caroline Ashcroft, this had been extended on the 13th January 2022 when a condition had been imposed not to contact at all both witnesses.
HHJ Swinnerton referred to the decision about no contact.
Miss Anam Khan continued that contact had been made on the 10th November at 16:49 when the Defendant had emailed a Dennis Jackson (at Merseyside Police) and copied in Caroline Ashcroft about Sergeant Doyle’s disciplinary process and the email was asking if Caroline Ashcroft had been retrained. There was a further email sent on the 14th November at 11:15 am by the Defendant that was copied in to 11 other people seeking to make a referral to ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) that Merseyside Police had breached the Data Protection Act, embedded was one of the four sheets of paper accidentally sent by Merseyside Police. Miss Anam Khan summarised that both the email that Caroline Ashcroft had been copied to and the second email were a breach of the bail conditions.
HHJ Swinnerton thanked Ms Khan and asked for her third point?
Miss Anam Khan referred to an application to amend the indictments, as the email from 14th November embedded one of the four sheets of paper which was evidence that the Defendant continued to retain the material sent inadvertently, therefore the application was to amend count 1 and substitute the date of 4th November 2021 for 14th November 2022 and in addition to add a new count to the indictment which covered sending the email on 14th November 2022 which alleged the Defendant disclosed personal data.
HHJ Swinnerton said that it was a fresh matter and that she should go through the magistrates’ court, then apply for a joiner depending on the trial date, that would be the correct process.
Miss Anam Khan stated that a written application could be made, but that the Court had the power to amend the indictment, relying on  EWCA Crim 102 as well as  QB 475 and she argued that where new evidence post dated the case being sent to the Court, that the Court did have the power to amend the indictment.
HHJ Swinnerton replied that he would have to look at  QB 475, but he was not sure as extending the indictment could be never ending in the hypothetical situation of a defendant on bail who kept committing offences, it wouldn’t be right to keep adding fresh offences as it would be subverting the procedure in the magistrates’ court.
Miss Anam Khan replied with the factors to be considered and that in light that a trial would be some months away that would be an opportunity to set out an application in writing.
HHJ Swinnerton replied that it was either that or the route of the magistrates’ court, was the fourth point to fix a date for trial?
Miss Anam Khan replied that it was.
HHJ Swinnerton invited Mr Benjamin Berkson (the Defendant’s barrister) to make comments on trial counsel. Mr Berkson said that trial counsel would be Mr Ian Whitehurst with a time estimate (on the current indictment of 3 days). HHJ Swinnerton replied that as the Magistrates Court might enjoinder (but it wouldn’t add a huge amount) that 3 days were enough, 3-4. Ms Khan agreed.
The Clerk said that the week commencing 7th August 2023 was the earliest date. Mr Berkson asked for the week after, to which Ms Khan agreed. The week commencing 14th August 2023 was suggested by the Clerk, Ms Khan indictated this week was also fine.
HHJ Swinnerton said subject to Mr Whistehurst’s availability, 3-4 days was right and that he would go through the points in order.
Mr Berkson pointed out that some of the points he had had no notice of.
HHJ Swinnerton explained that when the Defendant hadn’t been there for trial, he had asked for evidence that the Defendant had COVID, had Mr Berkson taken any instructions? Mr Berkson replied that the Defendant had COVID and had provided evidence to the Court.
HHJ Swinnerton asked Jack Beecham if he’d had COVID to which he answered, “Did I? Yes.” followed by HHJ Swinnerton asking Jack Beecham if he had seen a doctor? Jack Beecham replied that he had been told not to come to the doctor and to isolate for 5-10 days, he had been a lot better on the 8th day and thereon improved.
HHJ Swinnerton said to Miss Anam Khan that the Defendant was present today and the trouble with COVID was that it was hard to see a doctor as they don’t want patients with COVID at the surgery and that he was minded to accept that at face value with warnings about the next trial date.
Miss Khan replied, but unfortunately her reply was too distorted through the speakers for me to make out what she said clearly. HHJ Swinnerton asked Mr Benjamin Berkson to respond regarding the breach of bail conditions?
Mr Benjamin Berkson said that he had not been able to take instructions on it and didn’t know until the CVP that morning, he hadn’t seen the email and would need to take instructions from Mr Beecham. HHJ Swinnerton said that he hadn’t seen the email and the draft amended indictment.
Miss Anam Khan said that she believed Mr Beecham had copied in a solicitor to at least one of the emails. HHJ Swinnerton asked for it to be forwarded to him which Ms Khan indicated that she would do that.
HHJ Swinnerton said he would adjourn for ten minutes so that Mr Benjamin Berkson could take instructions, but before it was adjourned, he decided that the trial date would be listed for the earliest convenient date which would be the 14th August 2023. The Clerk asked HHJ Swinnerton if he wanted the matter reserved to him to which he answered, “No”.
After the adjournment, as the rest of this hearing then fell within the period between a trial date being set and the start of the trial, I have decided not publish an account what happened after the adjournment.
If you click on any of the buttons below, you’ll be doing me a favour by sharing this article with other people.