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Ben Close represents private detective in ‘blagging’ case

Monday 27th February 2012

Ben Close has represented a man at Kingston Crown Court who faced charges of conspiring to commit fraud along with other private detectives.

Ben Close was a junior in the case in which his client, Daniel Summers, was the first on the indictment in a case of private detectives conspiring to commit fraud by contacting institutions such as banks, and obtaining people’s confidential information. Mr Summers used a technique called ‘pretexting’ or ‘blagging’ in which a caller pretends to be the person being investigated to gain access to their details.

Mr Summers, described as the ‘lynchpin’ of the operation, received a sentence of 12 months’ imprisonment. His co-conspirators, Phillip Campbell-Smith and Adam Spears (a 72 year-old former Police Detective), who paid Mr Summers to obtain information, both received eight months’ imprisonment. A fourth co-defendant, Graham Freeman, received six months’ imprisonment after HH Judge Campbell found that he had been less involved. Mr Campbell-Smith who served in the British Army’s Special Forces was also sentenced for possessing a small amount of ammunition. Recently, Mr Campbell-Smith was linked to hacking at the News of the World by the BBC’s Panorama programme after being referred to in the Leveson Inquiry. 

When passing sentence, the Judge found that some of the people being investigated by the defendants had either been responsible for serious criminal wrongdoing or were suspected of such. 

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