Leyland solicitor spared jail over unauthorised access of ex-wife's information

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image captionScott Ainge was convicted of three counts of unauthorised access of information

A senior crown prosecutor who used his work computers to find information about his ex-wife's new partner has received a suspended jail term.

Solicitor Scott Ainge, 48, was cleared last month of stalking his deputy district judge ex-wife Kate Ainge, 41.

But the lawyer, who specialised in domestic violence cases, was convicted of unauthorised access of information.

In sentencing Ainge, Mrs Justice Steyn said he had "committed a grave breach of trust".

She said he accessed the information using the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) computer system between October 2016 and February 2017 for his own benefit in divorce proceedings.

"You wanted to win. Your offending was deliberate, planned and persistent," she told Ainge.

'End of career'

During the trial at Liverpool Crown Court, the prosecution alleged that between September 2016, when Ms Ainge revealed to her then husband that she was having an affair, and January 2018 there were 43 incidents which amounted to Ainge tracking her movements.

They also alleged 23 incidents of him tracking her car, 54 threats to reveal personal information, 11 unwanted visits to her home, five episodes of him monitoring her Facebook page and one incident where he accessed her iPad.

Ainge accepted carrying out the acts he was accused of as part of the stalking charge.

His barrister, Ian Whitehurst, said they were done to gather evidence of her infidelity for the divorce, because he was emotionally upset and to protect their daughter.

He said Ainge would lose his job with the CPS and faced the "real risk" of the end of his career, which he "fully accepts" is "due to his behaviour, which he bitterly regrets".

Imposing a 20-week sentence, suspended for 18 months, the judge said Ainge had been "entrusted with wide-ranging access to personal confidential information" and "committed a grave breach of trust".

She said she took into account Ainge's "strong" personal mitigation, that he was sole carer for his elderly mother, and that there was a "realistic prospect" of rehabilitation.

Ainge, of Camellia Drive, Leyland, Lancashire, was ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and 20 days of rehabilitation activity.

He was also handed a restraining order prohibiting contact with his ex-wife.

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