Justice Peter Openshaw, a judge in an internal terrorism trial in United Kingdom admitted in front of stunned prosecutors that he had no idea what a website was. His exact words were:
The trouble is I don’t understand the language. I don’t really understand what a website is.
He was later coached by a computer expert on the World Wide Web through a PowerPoint presentation. The question is can someone like Justice Peter Openshaw be expected to deliver an informed and intelligent judgement in a case of cyber-terrorism?
This incident reminds me of the Julie Amero case. Julie Amero is a former Kelly Middle School substitute teacher who may be sent to prison for 40 years for exposing children to pornographic images. The children were exposed to pornographic images due to a sudden barrage of popup ads. This case became famous internationally due to poor investigation from prosecution and dumb conviction. There were several flaws in this conviction, which mainly arose from lack of technical knowledge. The prosecution had failed to check the computer for malwares and had managed to convince the judge that Amero had intentionally triggered the pornographic pop-ups! You can learn more about this incident here.
The comments made by Justice Peter Openshaw and the shoddy conviction in the Julie Amero case demonstrates the need for specially trained judges to deal with cases like these. Until then unfortunate individuals like Julie Amero would continue to suffer.