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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70180
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Is it illegal to access private documents

Resolved Question:

Is it illegal for someone to access private documents between a psychologist and a patient? My uncle recently stayed at my mum's house and he was found to be on my mum's laptop, going over private documents that my sister had written to her psychologist. He made copies of these documents and copied them to a USB stick. Knowing this has caused my sister psychological harm in the form of self harm. I'd like to know what we can do about this please. Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi was he given permission to use the laptop?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
no he did not - he actually did it while my mother was away. To give some context, she lives in France, with my sister who care for my grandfather. mum and my sister came to the UK for a week to visit me and our newborn - my uncle and aunt went to france to care for my grandfather in their absence - this is when it happened. (everyone concerned here are British, if that is important in anyway).
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
What did he do with this information?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He is using it to mount a legal case against my sister caring for my grandfather, wanting to show that she is not a fit and proper person. However, she has worked with children for years without any issue whatsoever and she is fully functional in every respect - the issues she works on with her psychologist do not impact her ability to care for him or anyone.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
There is arguably a computer misuse act offence if he has made the computer perform an unauthorised action. However, that isn't taken particularly seriously in the UK I'm afraid.The reality is that even if he were prosecuted that wouldn't lead to him being unable to use evidence gathered in this way. I'm not sure what it supports but if he has it then it could be used.You could complain about the computer misuse issue to the police though.Can I clarify anything for you?Jo
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
As he is trying to remove my sister from caring for my grandfather, what arguments/documents could we counter with? For example, references from her psychologist/former employees?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
It depends what his objection is. In truth, that isn't really my area. Your original question was about whether there were offences that cover what he had done which is my area.Anything that disproves what he is saying would be useful.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok thanks.