A man has pleaded guilty to the charges relating to a series of high-profile hacks targeting jobless Australians.
Key points:Bishop George Wortley, 54, admitted hacking jobseekers via Facebook Messenger and Twitter during the 2016-17 financial year and the hacking of bank accountsHe was arrested at a Brisbane home in April, aged 45, with his son, who was aged fourThe offences were committed in Brisbane, Victoria, Melbourne, Sydney and PerthBishop William Wortly, 54 was arrested in April at his home in Brisbane’s north-west after police and intelligence agencies tracked him via social media.
He admitted hacking more than 200 Australians’ Facebook accounts and one bank account using the social networking site Messenger, according to court documents.
Bishop Wortles son, Luke, was charged with the same offences in March, and the father was arrested by police at his own home in Adelaide.
Luke was arrested after he allegedly used the same computer to hack his mother’s mobile phone, the court documents said.
Luke’s lawyers said he was “delighted” with the outcome of his father’s trial and was “very relieved” to be found guilty.
“It is a very positive result,” his lawyer, Paul Prentice, told ABC Radio.
“It is very gratifying for Luke to be vindicated, it is a big step forward for Luke, but also for all of us.”
Bishop’s son, named in court documents as John, was arrested following his father.
Bishops son was released from custody on bail pending further inquiries.
Luke, who has a two-year-old daughter, will not be eligible for bail for the next 18 months, meaning he will be unable to attend court until January at the earliest.
Byrne police said the investigation had started after a tip-off from another Queensland police agency.
“We are pleased that Luke has been brought to justice and we are pleased the father is now facing trial in court for the charges he has committed,” Assistant Commissioner Paul Dickson said.
“Our detectives have been investigating this matter for several months, and our ongoing work will continue to uncover information that will assist our investigations.”
The Bishop’s trial has heard he used the internet to hack Facebook accounts of jobseekers, which could have been used to steal personal details from them.
In one case, the father used the social media platform to find and post details about an unemployed man’s daughter, who had also been unemployed.
“When you see what a family can do, and how important family is to them, and what a good parent their children are, that is how important they are,” Assistant Superintendent Dickson told the court.
Brynden Wortleys son, William, is charged with breaching bail conditions and with obtaining and using a telecommunications device to breach bail conditions.
He was bailed into Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday, aged 34, and will face trial on November 23.
Bribery charges were also laid against another of Bishop’s sons, William Wodley, who allegedly hacked a bank account in July last year.
William is also charged with conspiracy to commit a crime and with breaching a court order.