Justice depends on full evidence disclosure

Posted: 10th May 2016

ComputerJustice ultimately depends on full disclosure of evidence by all sides, no matter how costly, inconvenient or even embarrassing that may be. That point was succinctly made in one case in which a company accused its former financial controller of abusing his position to misappropriate £2.3 million.

After Hunter Worldwide Premium Sourcing launched proceedings against him, Gerrard Lawless accepted that he had taken £81,000 without authority. However, he said that he had repaid that sum and that all other payments received by him had been made in accordance with normal practice and had been authorised at board level.

Lawless argued that the sums concerned were remuneration, although they did not appear in the company’s accounting records. In those circumstances, he obtained orders requiring Hunter to disclose large amounts of information from its servers which might support his defence.

After a preliminary hearing, the High Court found that those orders had not been fully complied with and gave directions which were designed to ensure that all relevant information was put before the trial judge. Amongst other things, the Court directed that the servers should be searched by an expert contractor, using agreed search terms. Neither the parties, nor their solicitors, were to be present during the search so that there could be no interference with the independent expert’s work.