Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's father-in-law and two sons today pleaded guilty at London's Old Bailey to computer hacking.
Now Chris Hutcheson, 68, and his sons, Adam, 46, and Chris, 37, must wait to hear their fate. Sentencing has been adjourned until 2 June for reports.
But as he adjourned sentencing the Judge Gerald Gordon left the possibility of jail sentences open. He said all "sentencing options" were available.
Hutcheson and his sons admitted conspiring together to cause a computer to access programs and data held in any computer without authority, contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. They were granted bail pending sentencing. The maximum sentence for the offence is two years jail.
A fourth defendant, Hutcheson's daughter, Orlanda, 45, pleaded not guilty to the same offence and no evidence was offered against her. A not guilty verdict was entered in her case.
The case followed allegations that Ramsay's emails were hacked during a bitter family dispute and an investigation by the Metropolitan Police under Operation Tuleta.
Hutcheson (snr) was chief executive of Ramsay's company for four years, running his restaurants and other business interests.
In October 2010, Hutcheson was sacked by Ramsay as chief executive of Gordon Ramsay Holdings and the following year the pair ended up in a High Court battle, with Ramsay alleging his computers had been hacked. He blamed Hutcheson amid claims that emails between Ramsay and his wife, Tana, had been read by a third party.
The Met are on record saying that the charges followed an investigation by detectives from Operation Tuleta, one of several investigations launched following revelations of phone hacking involving the media. The operation's main focus was the illegal interception of messages on computers, which can be done in several ways, including the installation of spyware.