A dismissed former senior prosecutor with the CPS has claimed that other members of staff are unlawfully accessing records without authorisation.
Scott Ainge, appearing at the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal, also said he had been urged to lie by a colleague over his online search of his ex-wife’s new partner.
The tribunal heard Ainge, 49, was convicted of using work computers to find information about the other man after he discovered his wife had been having an affair.
During the course of the hearing, Ainge took full responsibility for what he had done but said he was not the only person in the CPS accessing online records without just cause.
‘Other people have gleamed information and passed it on outside the organisation,’ said Ainge, who worked for the CPS from 2004 to 2021.
He claimed to have been aware that ‘half of CPS office’ tried to get access to the former footballer Nicky Butt’s file following an arrest, telling the tribunal: ‘I do know people have looked at things they shouldn’t have [for] no good reason other than curiosity.’
Ainge, representing himself at the tribunal, reiterated his explanation given at his sentencing last year that he acted as he did to protect his daughter. In January 2021 at Liverpool Crown Court, he was handed a 20-week sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to do 100 hours of unpaid work.
The tribunal heard that the sentencing judge said Ainge had committed a ‘grave breach of trust’ following his two convictions of unauthorised access of information. As well as searching his ex-wife’s partner’s files twice, he also asked a colleague to access the file for him. Ainge, from Lancashire, was cleared of stalking his ex-wife following a trial.
He admitted breaching three SRA principles – namely upholding the rule of law, acting in a way that upholds public trust in the profession, and acting with integrity. Ainge said he now worked for pizza delivery company Dominos and accepted he would never return to the legal profession.
‘I am sorry for what I have done – I am paying the price and I don’t blame anyone else,’ he added.
The tribunal suspended him from practising as a solicitor for 18 months and ordered he pay £1,000 costs.
Following the ruling, a CPS spokesperson said: 'Staff who misuse our computer systems face disciplinary action or criminal proceedings. Comprehensive audit reports are maintained for all cases and access to our most sensitive cases is limited to named individuals.'