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Court Fines Man for Sneaking Into Police Computer and Other Offense

A man from ChristChurch faced a fine of $1,500 for breaking into the police computer system and forging an identity card. He admitted using a radio for the job.

36-year old David Norman Lee appealed to the court in 2006. However, since the hacking charge fell within the purview of anti-terrorism legislation, Lee was sentenced in the ChristChurch High Court. The transfer of the sentence to the High Court was under the crimes Act dealing with computer crime.

When the case first came to the district court it described that Lee had turned on his radio to the police channel and then made a request for some information about a vehicle. This happened when Lee was driving on May 26, 2006. He also used police call signs.

Defending Lee, his lawyer said that Lee had gathered information from the police computer system just to satisfy his intellectual curiosity. He also said that Lee did not intend to use the police ID card.

On searching Lee the police found he had two police business cards. The cards showed Lee designated as a detective constable with the Criminal Investigation Bureau. Lee had forged the cards from an actual business card.

On February 8, 2007, crown prosecutor Zannah Johnston at the High Court said in a statement that Nzherald published the same day that Lee presented the forged card before others to introduce himself as a police officer.

Lee's defense lawyer, Kerry Cook described his client as an "electronic gadget man" who enjoyed experimenting with ideas. Lee's act came in the open when his wife, separated from him, informed the police.

Mr. Cook said Lee was under undue stress because the media misapprehended that Lee's sentence had been forwarded to the High Court describing it to fall under the anti-terrorist provisions of the law and this made the story inflammatory.

While announcing the sentence, Justice Fogarty described Lee's offense as more foolish than malicious. But he warned that in future the courts would not treat Lee so leniently.

Related article: Court Acquits Student From Generating Fake Boarding Passes

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