This morning Jane Badger was acquitted of fraud at Birmingham Crown Court. The judge found there was no case to answer.
Her case was remarkably similar to that of John Munden, about whom I wrote here (and in my book here). Like John, she worked for the police; like John, she complained to a bank about some ATM debits on her bank statement that she did not recognise; like John, she was arrested and suspended from work; like John, she faced a bank (in her case, Egg) claiming that as its systems were secure, she must be trying to defraud them; and like John, she faced police expert evidence that was technically illiterate and just took the bank’s claims as gospel.
In her case, Egg said that the transactions must have been done with the card issued to her rather than using a card clone, and to back this up they produced a printout allocating a transaction code of 05 to each withdrawal, and a rubric stating that 05 meant “Integrated Circuit Card read – CVV data reliable” with in brackets the explanatory phrase “(chip read)”. This seemed strange. If the chip of an EMV card is read, the reader will verify the signature on the certificate; if its magnetic strip is read (perhaps because the chip is unserviceable) then the bank will check the CVV, which is there to prevent magnetic strip forgery. The question therefore was whether the dash in the above rubric meant “OR”, as the technology would suggest, or “AND” as the bank and the CPS hoped. The technology is explained in more detail in our recent submission to the Hunt Review of the Financial Services Ombudsman (see below). I therefore advised the defence to apply for the court to order Egg to produce the actual transaction logs and supporting material so that we could verify the transaction certificates, if any.
The prosecution folded and today Jane walked free. I hope she wins an absolute shipload of compensation from Egg!