” It’s been a long road and an eventful twelve months for Richard and Julia O’Dwyer. The Sheffield Hallam student and his mother now know their journey is not over yet.
The young web designer will have to potentially up to six more months before his appeal is addressed.
The fight to keep Richard in the country has led to thousands of supporters online and his petition has been signed by over 25,000 people.
With his appeal being pushed back from it’s original date of July 30th it will mean a long summer lies in wait for the computer science student who is entering the final year of his degree.
Home Secretary Theresa May ruled in January that Richard could be extradited to the US where he could face up to five years in jail.
His mother Julia spoke to me earlier and once again reiterated the fact that this case is not over and she will not giving up fighting for justice for her son.
When Obama was questioned on the Tvshack.net creators potential extradition he refused to address the case directly and said “i can say broadly, intellectual property should be protected”.
The case was brought against Richard by the US Immigration and Customs agency which says that TVShack.net earned more than $230,000 (£147,000) in advertising revenue before US authorities seized the domain in June 2010 and then a few months later in January 2011 produced a warrant for the seizure.
The website only held links and did not host any copyrighted content. A recent freedom of information request to the UK home Office showed that no US citizen has been extradited to the UK for any crime committed on US soil, this recent revelation supports the voices of campaigners in the UK who have long argued that the extradition treaty is imbalanced in favour of protecting US citizens who have additional protections in the First Amendment.
Waiting is never easy, American poet Henry Longfellow once wrote “all things come round to him who will but wait”.
130 years after Longfellows death Richard and Julia O’Dwyer are facing up to a wait that will decide the Sheffield Hallam student’s life. An appeal is being prepared for the High Court and the O’Dwyers are not going to give up in their fight against extradition.
Julia spoke to me in the last few days regarding the Magistrates court ruling allowing for Richard to be extradited and where the case is going from here.
I could further elaborate with words but its easier to grasp the true complexities and challenges of the US Goverment Vs Richard O’Dwyer by watching the video interview below.
Friday has been considered an unlucky day of the week since the Canterbury Tales in the 14th century and many Christians associate it with the day that Jesus died. For Friday the 13th to be considered a day of ill fortune one must look to the first documented version which occurred in Henry Edwards biography of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini. Edwards was aware of the mental and physical illness endured by the composer and wrote that on his death
“Rossini was surrounded to the last by admiring and affectionate friends; Why Friday the 13th Is Unlucky”
144 years on Richard O’Dwyer will await his fate at Westminster Magistrates Court in London hoping that his luck finally turns regarding the controversial website TvShack.net. The extradition case has caught the attention of media as far away as China and Russia and will hopefully come to a conclusion.
Barrister Ben Cooper has been taking the approach that the site worked on linking rather than directly hosting tv shows and movies and so Richard did not commit copyright infringement. In a case that has been compared to that of Gary Mc Kinnon it is yet to be seen what will become of the extradition order on the Sheffield Hallam Student.
His mother Julia spoke with me earlier and said that if the judge rules against her son ” she will look at what options are presented and carry on”. Julia also added that the recent parliamentary discussions and debates on extradition are bringing the issue into the main stream and hopefully this Friday will go against the grain and prove that the 13th can be a lucky day.
With December upon us an anxious six weeks lies in wait for Richard and Julia O’Dwyer.
The creator of the Tvshack.net website is due in court
on January 13th and his mother Julia spoke to me regarding the case.
She says that momentum is building in favour of change with
potentially significant action regarding the issues of extradition law
taking place this coming Monday on the 5th of December; with
politicians and MPs set to vote on a motion that could lead to major
amendments to extradition law in the UK. It is high time that the
government addresses these issues head on and with a forum amendment
already waiting to be enacted there is a glimmer of light at the end
of the tunnel for Richard and the other Britons facing extradition to
Julia spoke passionately about the current focus on extradition law in
the media, helped in some respected by the high profile cases such of
Gary McKinnon, Babar Ahmad and Julian Assange. She said the knock on
affect of amendments to British extradition law may or may not
directly impact Richard, Babar Ahmad or Christopher Tappin but that it could help
others who may face extradition in the future. Julia hopes any changes
will benefit those currently being pursued for extradition since Sir
Scott Baker at a lawyers debate in London just last week stated any
amendments the government decides to make could be retroactive, in
other words there is no reason why pending cases should not benefit
from any amendments.
In light of the allegations that Richard made money from Tvshack.net
Julia responded by saying he made approximately £150,000
over 3 years 2008 and this was from advertising in common with most
websites and this in itself is not a crime. She also reiterated the need for
British citizens to be tried on British soil and said that there is
cross party support for change and that all we can do is press our
MP’s and hope that changes will be made to protect not only Richard
but many more from a fate that is both terrifying and uncalled for.
So it seems Richard and Julia O’Dwyer will have to wait until January 13th 2012 to see what fate awaits the creator of Tvshack.net.
Lawyer for Mr O’Dwyer, Ben Cooper is arguing that the Sheffield Student should face trial in his home country and says that he would be “vulnerable” in a New York detention centre and has not visited the US since he was five years old. O”Dwyer’s legal advisors and family also feel a ten year sentence is “disproportionate” to the copyrighting issue that O’Dwyer was linked to. His site performed the same facility as that of google and other major search engines.
At this crucial stage in his studies in Computer Science at Sheffield Hallam an extradition or court case in the US would be a major distraction to the talented young man whose skills and abilities are coveted in an age of rapidly increasing and developing web technology.
Richards mother Julia who has already given one of a series of eye opening and determined interviews for youtube.com/JPMTVUK has clearly stated that she does not want her son to be tried in a different country when any TVShack related activity was done from Richard’s dorm room in Sheffield student accommodation.
For now the family and friends of Richard and Julia must endure a restless Christmas as the fate of the gifted young web designer lies in the balance in early 2012.
To lend the support to the campaign follow the link below.