Sorry to say that Deane have paid up, not accepting any liability and on the basis that court would be too much hassle, which I do understand.
What is a shame is all this work to prepare a court case, and it is wasted. I really wanted a judge to look at this and say one way or the other. I am deprived of that by their choice to just settle.
I have a long list of others that have emailed that particular individual subscriber email address and this case and the previous one have both helped me understand the details of the county court process and the subtle aspects of the regulations. So I have to thank Deane for finally discussing the case in more detail and detailing their defence, which I can now counter in advance on future cases.
We have it very pinned down that the email address in question is that of an individual subscriber. The ICO comments on even less likely email addresses, and their clear re-iteration of the regulations and definitions therein, makes that crystal clear. If there is a contract between an individual and a public provider for the email address, it is an individual subscriber, job done.
The interesting defence I wanted to understand from a judge's point of view was the defence of "taken such care as in all the circumstances was reasonably required to comply with the relevant requirement". In my view there is a really simple step that can be taken which is not to send the emails at all, and the only reason to ignore that simple step is for purely commercial reasons, which is not usually justification for breaking a law.
The fact that the step of not sending any emails, or unsolicited emails, is a step that could be taken, and was not, is a key point in my view. A judge agreeing with me on that point would have been really useful. Shame.
We'll see what the next case brings. I do think that I have to revise my estimate of costs from the spam somewhat upward. This was £10, but clearly actually pursuing a case resulting from the spam means costs in my time alone that is way more. I suspect next case will be £100. In any case, if I ever get in front of a judge I'll ask for advice on working out the damages.
One spammer at a time.