10/17/2023 - UK News: A former Guernsey Police officer Jailed For 'Obstructing Justice'

A former Guernsey Police officer, Aaron Cusack, aged 27, has been sentenced to a prison term of two and a half years for his involvement in attempting to obstruct the course of justice. This conviction stems from his actions in a case related to a rape investigation, as determined in a prior hearing at the Royal Court.

According to court records, Cusack tampered with evidence by accessing the mobile phone of an alleged rape victim before it could be examined by the police's high-tech crime unit. In delivering the sentence, Judge Russell Finch lamented the wasted potential of the once-promising former detective, stating that Cusack had squandered a bright future.

During the five-day trial, prosecutors argued that Cusack had pressured a woman with whom he had prior dealings to withdraw a rape accusation against another individual. They contended that the once "well-respected and competent" officer had manipulated the victim's phone to access potentially incriminating messages. They further alleged that he had been deceitful and had presented numerous half-truths during the court proceedings, all in a misguided attempt to protect himself.

Cusack eventually pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to disclose information after refusing to provide passcodes to his personal devices, which included a phone, laptop, and tablet. He defended his actions by expressing concerns about potential "professional embarrassment," asserting that his privacy held greater importance than his job.

In 2021, following an investigation by the Professional Standards Department of the Guernsey Police, Cusack was dismissed from his position within the police force.

The United Kingdom Police's High-Tech Crime Unit, often referred to as a digital forensics unit or cybercrime unit, plays an important role in modern law enforcement. Their primary responsibilities revolve around the acquisition, analysis, and preservation of digital evidence, particularly from mobile phones and other digital devices, to support criminal investigations.

The unit had a clear mission to enhance law enforcement's response to electronic crime, with a focus on bolstering police capabilities throughout England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It aimed to coordinate the approach to various forms of e-crime, in addition to providing a national investigative capacity for the most severe e-crime incidents.

Established on October 1, 2008, the PCeU played a pivotal role in strengthening the United Kingdom's policing response to cybercrime. It operated under the umbrella of the Specialist Crime Directorate (SCD6) within the Metropolitan Police Service, situated in the heart of London. Its jurisdiction extended across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, while maintaining a collaborative relationship with the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) and international law enforcement agencies. The PCeU held positions within both Europol and Interpol's cyber workstreams, actively participating in their activities.

In a significant development in February 2012, the PCeU expanded its presence beyond London by establishing three regional hubs. These hubs were strategically located in the North West, North East, and Midlands regions of England and were formally launched during the ACPO cyber conference in Sheffield.

The PCeU operated as a vital component of the ACPO e-crime program, with DAC Janet Williams leading this broader initiative.