“Operation Ore”: "A huge miscarriage of justice"?
In 2001, the British police launched “Operation Ore”, hailed as a ground-breaking opportunity to catch individuals, who had paid for and accessed child pornography via the internet. With a possible 7,000 plus British suspects on the database, it is little wonder that the operation was perceived to have huge criminological and technological potential, not least in the fight against transnational pornography.
However, over the last two years, criticisms have been raised, particularly in relation to the validity of the evidence available. Although, the database could only be accessed by supplying credit card details, in many cases there appears to be little or no proof that the card owner was responsible. Such concerns are due to be heard before a judge at the Court of Appeal who will decide whether or not the test case of Anthony O’ Shea should be given a full hearing.
Child abuse is understandably an emotive subject, and a perennial favourite folk devil for the media. If Mr O’Shea’s appeal is successful, this could arguably open the way for many of the others convicted. Whether success in the courts is enough to remove the label of child abuser from the individuals caught up in “Operation Ore” remains to be seen.