Brian Sims

Ex-public servant pleads guilty to misconduct in office offences

AN EX-employee of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has pleaded guilty to the offence of misusing computer systems while working for the organisation. Rachel Simpson, aged 39, from South Wales, was charged with two counts of misconduct in a public office and 29 counts of unauthorised access of a computer system between 2016 and 2020 and pleaded guilty to all of these offences at Cardiff Crown Court.

Simpson was working as a paralegal officer at the CPS offices in Wales in June 2020 when she was arrested by officers from the South Wales Police Anti-Corruption Unit. The case was investigated by Tarian, the Regional Organised Crime Unit for South Wales.

The evidence against Simpson was discovered during an investigation into the use of encrypted phones by criminals.

Andrew Penhale, the Chief Crown Prosecutor, stated: “As a CPS employee, Rachel Simpson was in a position of trust and expected to only access sensitive and confidential information when necessary to do so for her job. She regularly accessed material when there was no business need and, on two occasions, the sensitive material she obtained was passed on to organised criminals.”

Penhale continued: “The CPS expects all staff to act with integrity in handling data held in its systems. Simpson fell well below these standards. We will not hesitate to prosecute individuals who engage in unlawful conduct. We also constantly review our digital systems to ensure they are as secure as possible.”

The CPS is wholly committed to maintaining the public’s confidence in its ability to effectively manage data entrusted to the organisation. Action is already underway to ensure that the CPS effectively learns from the issues identified in this case and makes appropriate changes to prevent such a scenario from arising at any point in the future.

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