An employee who accessed his employer’s computer system and stole information has been sentenced to 30 months jail in the New Plymouth District Court.

The employee downloaded the files of secret company information just before he went to work for a competitor.  The stolen information was located by the Police on his home and new work computers.

The judge described the employee’s behavior as highly calculating and opportunistic and a serious abuse of trust.  The 30 months imprisonment was imposed even though there was no evidence the employee had provided the information to his new employers (despite it being on his work computer).  The theft of it alone was enough to result in the prison sentence.

However, the Court of Appeal has heard an appeal against the sentence and is likely to quash the jail term as too harsh. All of the appeal Judges considered that home detention at most should have been imposed. Their decision is awaited.