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Hacking plot leaves Gordon Ramsay's father-in-law jailed for 6 months

View profile for Christopher Buck
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Background

Gordon and Tana Ramsay have been married since 1996. This year, sentences have been given in respect of a hacking plot led by Ramsay’s father-in-law.

Chris Hutcheson Sr. was previously CEO of Gordon Ramsay Holdings Limited. After a falling out, Ramsay sacked Hutcheson and a public row developed. It would appear that this public falling out is the catalyst which led Chris Sr. and his sons to conspire to cause a computer to access programmes and data without consent. Both of his sons had IT roles in Ramsay’s company, which were abused in accessing the data in the way they did.

During the period of 23rd October 2010 and 31 March 2011, Chris conspired with his two sons and hacked Ramsay’s company’s systems nearly 2,000 times. On one day in February 2011, Chris hacked the systems 600 times whilst Adam Hutcheson hacked the systems a further 282 times.

Suspicion was aroused when stories about a “hair transplant” and “fishing trip” emerged. Furthermore, once the hacking had been discovered, Chris sent an email to his son, Chris, saying “Guess we have been rumbled. Bit late though”.

The three admitted to accessing data and programmes without consent. However, one point which Chris Sr.’s lawyer, Michael Borelli, confirmed he did deny was leaking any of the material to the press.

Under the civil proceedings, Ramsay’s father-in-law was ordered to make a payment in excess of £1,000,000 to Ramsay by means of compensation for the data breach and in respect of Ramsay’s legal costs. Chris Sr. was also then responsible for his own legal costs. In addition, under the criminal proceedings, the Judge felt that the monetary penalty was not fully reflective of the seriousness of the crime; hence ordering for Chris Hutcheson Sr. to be jailed for 6 months. Neither Ramsay, nor his wife Tana, supported the criminal prosecution and were not present during the sentencing.

Chris Sr.’s two sons were present during the sentencing and were themselves both given 4 month jail terms, suspended for 2 years. The prosecution had dropped the case against Chris Sr.’s daughter, Orlanda Butland, at an earlier date after her denying any involvement.

The judge described the conspiracy as "unattractive and unedifying". Despite the findings and sentencing, since the conclusion of the civil proceedings, the families are said to have reconciled.

General Data Protection Rules

From breaching data protection rights both civil and criminal proceedings may arise. The conclusion of this matter coincides with the encouragement for businesses to familiarise themselves with the anticipated implementation of the GDPR in May 2018.

Under the GDPR, data protection rules will become stricter and aimed at further protecting the rights of data subjects.

This previous article provides further information as to how you may begin to prepare for the GDPR’s implementation. http://www.franklins-sols.co.uk/site/blog/commercial-blog/steps-to-prepare-for-the-general-data-protection-regulation. Alternatively, should you have any additional questions or wish to discuss data protection and your rights or infringement please do not hesitate to contact us on 01908 660966 or feel free to email me at christopher.buck@franklins-sols.co.uk.

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