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The Hacker Defense (aka Trojan/Virus Defense)
Below are accounts of different hacker/virus/Trojan related defenses. Albeit some of these are not ‘reputable’ web sources, but they should all have official court backing from wherever the various legal proceedings occurred. Among the below you’ll find successful (and also unsuccessful) Trojan defenses against charges for kiddie porn, DOS attacks and tax evasion. They span from about 2003 to current and related to crimes/accusations back to about 2001.
I have heard that the DC3 lab runs at least two types of anti-malware / anti-virus scanning on media as a matter of course[back this up anyone?], I’ve spoken with Nebraska State Patrol and county level investigators that do similar. And the CPS (sort of FBI in UK) is training prosecutors en masse about ‘trojan defenses’ (link below). These types of actions would not occur unwarranted. Why do all the extra work for nothing?
“The "Trojan defense" has now become standard in many types of computer crime cases. But the defense often plays on the ignorance of juries and prosecutors. It has raised the need for the CPS to do more to explain complex technical issues in simple terms to judges and juries, says George.” (Esther George is the policy adviser at the Crown Protection Services) http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2007/01/27/221526/high-tech-crime-is-put-on-trial.htm
US man, Eugene Pitts, found not-guilty of tax evasion after blaming a computer virus. Avoids ~$900,000 in fines. http://www.sophos.com/pressoffice/news/articles/2003/08/va_virustax.html
United States v. Michael McCourt U.S. Court of Appeals Case 1/24/06 Western District of Missouri. Guilty charge upheld. http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/06/11/061018P.pdf
Karl Schofield walked free from court yesterday after prosecutors accepted an expert's report that the "Trojan" program could have saved the 14 depraved images off the internet without his knowledge. http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/6/6541/program_put_child_porn_pics_on_my_pc
Julian Green, 45, of Torquay, Devon was cleared in court in July of 13 charges of making indecent images, claiming computer malware was to blame. http://www.sophos.com/pressoffice/news/articles/2003/08/va_porntrojan.html
Aaron Cafrey acquitted with Trojan defense after US authorities claimed traced DOS activity to his machine http://news.com.com/2100-7349-5092781.html?tag=txt
A former Georgia teacher blames computer viruses for altering his Web sites and uploading child porn images. Guilty charge upheld. http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1009_22-6130218.html
Odd spin on the issue, where a hacker used a Trojan to gain access to potential pedophile’s computers. http://www.darkreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=118157
Bandy’s defense attorney asserted that a “virus” or “trojan” must have downloaded the child pornography to Bandy’s computer without his knowledge. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,247903,00.html
A man found with more than 1,700 indecent images of children on his computer claimed a virus was to blame, a court heard. But Mark Craney, 33, from Knowle, was found guilty at Warwick Crown Court on 16 charges of making indecent images of children by downloading them onto his computer. http://icbirmingham.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0100localnews/tm_objectid=15104065&method=full&siteid=50002&headline=man-blamed-net-virus-for-child-porn-name_page.html
More links from previous research.