Former Jones Day partner is fined by UK judge for telling client to delete secure messaging app

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The Royal Courts of Justice in London houses the High Court and Court of Appeal of England and Wales. Photo from Shutterstock.

A London judge has fined a former Jones Day partner about $28,000 after finding him in contempt of court for telling a client’s business to delete a secure messaging app.

British High Court Judge Adam Johnson in the United Kingdom ordered the fine Wednesday but rejected prison time for former partner Raymond John McKeeve, report Law360, Reuters and International.

McKeeve had told an IT person working for the client to “burn” the 3CX secure messaging app after learning of a search order, according to prior coverage by Law360. The client was Jonathan Faiman, a co-founder of Ocado, a British online grocery business.

Ocado obtained the search order in a dispute with Faiman over his creation of a rival online delivery business with another former Ocado executive, Jonathan Hillary. Ocado had claimed that the two men were using its confidential information.

The destruction of the app prevented material on the app from being searched, according to Johnson’s judgment.

According to International, McKeeve left Jones Day in 2020 after seven years with the law firm. He said in June he ordered the destruction of the evidence because of “super heightened anxiety” after his wife was subjected to “vitriolic” press attention because of her appointment as a Brexit party member of the European Parliament.

According to prior coverage by Law360 here and here, McKeeve told the court in June that Hillary had used the name of McKeeve’s wife as a pseudonym in their communications. McKeeve said he panicked when he realized that a phone would be seized with his wife listed as a contact, and he didn’t want to drag her into the litigation.

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