Son hacked into the school system- should he accept a caution?

(179 Posts)
Animavillis Sat 01-Feb-14 00:05:55

Hi, I'm desperately looking for some advise about my son's situation. He hacked into the school computer system and changed a desktop picture. In return, the school reported him to the police. After 3 months, the police decided to give him a conditional caution. Both the police, YOT and the firm which provided a duty solicitor during the police interview are nagging me to sign it. I am hesitant though because this will be on my son's record forever and he didn't do any damage to the school. His intention was to let them know that the system was insecure and easily accessible. What is going to happen if he doesn't sign it?

CouthyMow Sat 01-Feb-14 00:07:26

Could he not have just told the head of IT?! Are you condoning him doing this?

really1234 Sat 01-Feb-14 00:13:05

If he doesn't sign it he will be prosecuted I imagine.

I would sign and move on.

Pancakeflipping Sat 01-Feb-14 00:15:50

Don't cautions disappear off records after a certain amount of time?

A caution is a let off for something like this. Take it.

PatriciaHolm Sat 01-Feb-14 00:19:14

So why didn't he just tell them?

If he doesn't sign it , then the police will liaise with the CPS as to whether to charge him. So he could end up i court.

prh47bridge Sat 01-Feb-14 00:31:35

As he is (presumably) under 18 the caution will not appear in DBS checks after 2 years (although it will still be on his record which will be available to the police and the courts). If he doesn't accept the caution he could be prosecuted in which case he will have a conviction on his record. That will appear in DBS checks for 5.5 years.

Even if his intention was as innocent as you say this was the wrong way to go about it. He has committed a crime regardless of whether or not there was any damage. He should accept the caution.

BeyonceB Sat 01-Feb-14 00:34:50

My goodness, he's extremely lucky to have got away with a caution. I hope he's learned his lesson. Sign it and move on.

Quinteszilla Sat 01-Feb-14 00:40:10

Accept the caution. When dh was young he hacked his schools system and found the exam papers for the following day. With answers. These were distributed to his entire class. He was never found out.

MarthasHarbour Sat 01-Feb-14 00:41:21

I used to work with someone who was prosecuted for trying to make a similar point.

I agree with Beyonce he is lucky to get a caution.

Support your son by all means but not by condoning his actiins.

Avalon Sat 01-Feb-14 00:54:24

Can you get another legal opinion?

Mrscupcake23 Sat 01-Feb-14 00:58:19

I would see a solicitor it might not even get to court.

KissesBreakingWave Sat 01-Feb-14 01:10:12

The 'proving insecurities' thing is hogwash. He was showing off.

He should take the caution. It'll be gone on his 17th birthday. I got cautioned for several incidents of juvenile hijinks and it never did a bit of harm to my subsequent career. And the stereo bollockings from my father and a uniformed police officer did some good, with hindsight.

averyyoungkitten Sat 01-Feb-14 05:55:54

If it wereme, I wouldcheck first. It may be that if he wants to join the forces or gointosomething like teaching, it could well remain on his record and pre vent him doing so. CRB is enhanced for teachers, so such things do show up.

Very silly boy, he may well have put the breaks on his future overplaying silly.He may well be better advised to take the caution - but do check to see what it will and wont affect FIRST. That would be my course of action anyway.

averyyoungkitten Sat 01-Feb-14 05:58:24

I would also pay a proper solicitor. Duty solicitors are rarely what you think they are in my experience. Many are little more than legal execs.

StrawberryMojito Sat 01-Feb-14 06:03:56

If he refuses the caution, the police will go to cps for a charging decision. If they charge, he will go to court and could be convicted. If I were you, I'd take the caution.

lljkk Netherlands Sat 01-Feb-14 06:04:20

it will never disappear from CRB checks.
1/3 of all adult men have something like this or worse on their records. Vast majority are law-abiding good people with good jobs. It doesn't have to blight his life forever, but check there isn't any alternative.
Sorry, it's a very unforgiving age we live in.

cafecito Sat 01-Feb-14 06:11:05

I would not recommend accepting the caution. However they have evidence to prosecute - would it be in the public interest to prosecute him though? I'd say a prosecution is disproportionate and defensible if it came to that. So, personally I wouldn't take it. Nope.

BadgerB Sat 01-Feb-14 06:22:51

I'd be sneakily proud of a son who could do this. He could have a great future in computer safety. Get independent legal advice before you do anything.

Verybadmummy Sat 01-Feb-14 09:31:03

Unfortunately the law does not give an excuse for wrongdoing along the lines of "I only did it to show you something was wrong". Your son should have just told the school about his concerns. I suspect that the reason was thought up after he was caught!!
I would accept the caution. It will not be there forever. There are v few crimes that remain active on someone record for life- the one that comes to mind is murder.
Hopefully he will not do it again as the consequences will be more severe next time!

DalmationDots Sat 01-Feb-14 09:39:19

This makes me even more angry about our Youth Justice system. A big over reaction over what is fairly typical (yes wrong but not hugely damaging or anything over than a teenager who doesn't wait to think of the consequences of his behaviour).
I would look into what happens if you don't sign, if it goes to prosecution, just sign.
I would be angry at the school for their overreaction IMO. They should be more worried about how to tighten their security. But everyone has different views on this sort of thing and when it is OK to criminalise young people.

DrankSangriaInThePark Spain Sat 01-Feb-14 09:43:17

"I would be angry at the school for their overreaction"

I would be bloody furious with my child for getting himself into such trouble. If he is old enough to know how to hack, then he is old enough to take the consequences.

Support the school OP. By doing so you will also be supporting your child. Though I appreciate it may not seem like it at the time. As others have said, he is getting off lightly.

Chippingnortonset123 Sat 01-Feb-14 10:24:26

I would give him a Duke of Edinburh Award and a job managing computer systems and training.

prh47bridge Sat 01-Feb-14 10:41:14

it will never disappear from CRB checks

This is NOT true.

It used to be the case that any cautions and convictions would appear on checks for life. However, following decisions by the courts, many old convictions and cautions are now filtered and will not appear on any CRB/DBS check. This offence is one that is subject to filtering. Assuming the OP's son is under 18 a caution will not appear on CRB/DBS checks after 2 years whereas a conviction would appear for 5.5 years. If he is over 18 it would take 6 years for a caution to disappear, 11 years for a conviction. After the information disappears from CRB/DBS checks it will still be available to the police and courts but no-one else will know about it.

I would look into what happens if you don't sign

As others have said, if he doesn't accept the caution the file will be passed to the CPS for prosecution. As he admits the offence there is a good chance they would prosecute and he would be convicted. A caution is always preferable to a conviction. I stand by my view that he should accept the caution.

LadyMuck Sat 01-Feb-14 10:46:34

A caution is recorded in the same way as a conviction and is traceable for the rest of his life. The rules on what does and does not have to be shown on crb/DBS checks etc vary according to which way the wind blows, but a caution should not be accepted lightly. As a recruiter when I obtain a crb/DBS check I am checking for signs of dishonesty as well as violence or potential abuse.

I would talk to the school, as presumably a prosecution is very unlikely if they were unwilling to proceed down this route. Surely the school could come up with an alternative punishment?

cricketballs Sat 01-Feb-14 10:56:01

there is no black or white - your DS broke the law.

Ladymuch - what if someone physically broke into the school and sprayed a wall with graffiti? Would your response just to issue a detention?

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