Regina v. Matthew Millen
 EWCA Crim 1471
In the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division
Case Number 2021/00528/B5
Before Lord Justice Holroyde, Justice Holgate, and Justice Cockerill
Decided on October 05, 2021
Relevancy of the case: Taking defence as a cyber volunteer in an appeal arising out of conviction in a child sexual abuse case
Statutes and Provisions Involved
- The Criminal Attempts Act 1981 (Section 1)
- The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Section 47)
Relevant Facts of the Case
- An undercover police officer created an online persona called “John Austin” to catch hold of child predators on an online platform, Kink. He entered a room called family fun, where he met the applicant.
- The officer told the applicant that he was willing to sell his 11-year-old daughter “Grace” for sexual favours in return for £300, to which the applicant agreed. They decided to meet at a famous restaurant in Southampton.
- The police arrested the applicant, who possessed £300, two USB sticks and a laptop for recording purposes.
- The applicant claimed that he was a paedophile hunter and played the role of a child abuser to catch hold of the person he thought to be an experienced paedophile and submitted oral evidence for the same.
- The officer questioned the possession of USB drives and cash and the applicant’s insistence on deleting messages.
Prominent Arguments by the Advocates
- The applicant’s counsel argued that the trial representative’s decision not to call a social engineering expert rendered the conviction unsafe.
- The prosecution argued that his defence could be advanced without mentioning the use of a social engineering expert since the need for an expert was not crucial to that defence.
Opinion of the Bench
- There were severe weaknesses in the applicant’s case, such as the deletion of messages, failure to report to the police, failure to record evidence, etc.
- There was a mismatch between paedophile hunting and profiles of volunteer roles in the Essex Police.
- The applicant did not produce the social engineering expert’s report to the court.
- The court concludes that it is not arguable to declare the conviction unsafe.
- The court refused the convict’s time extension to apply for a leave appeal.
Srikari Ammanamanchi, an undergraduate student at the NALSAR University of Law, prepared this case summary during her internship with The Cyber Blog India in May/June 2022.