I was interviewed on Adrian Goldberg’s radio show today on Internet trolling. Following my interview was an interview with Julia O’Dwyer whose son Richard O’Dwyer is facing extradition under the Extradition Act ratifying the Extradiction Treaty between the US and the UK.
His ‘crime’, if one can call it that, was proving links to websites in the US which provide illegal access to television channels in the US. Richard did not host any of these video streams.
From my point of view, if Richard is breaking this so-called US law, then he is doing no more than Google does – they also link to the same content, but are a Corporation, so the Government don’t have much power over them.
I would suggest Julia to consider one or more of the following options:
- Bring a Private Prosecution against her son, such as for an ASBO, or ask her local council to do so using the civil procedure under Section 1 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, which doesn’t carry a criminal record. This could be written to ‘prohibit Richard from posting any website links to unlawfully hosted copyrighted material’. The US have ‘double jeopardy’ rules, which means one can’t be charged and sentenced for the same ‘crime’ more than once.
- Ask the Crown Prosecution Service whether they can bring a test case under Section 126 of the Communications Act 2003, or bring a private prosecution herself. If one were to define his website as ‘supplying anything’ for ‘obtaining an electronic communications service dishonestly’ then again whether he is or isn’t found guilty, he couldn’t be prosecuted under US federal laws because of double jeopardy as per Section 12 of the Extradition Act 2003, as the UK courts will have ruled on the matter (i.e. exercised jurisdiction).
- Ask for a judicial review where the Court considers whether the Extradition Act is constitutional. For instance, Parliament is meant to have sole sovereignty and each Act of Parliament is of equal weighting. Why should that Act giving the US public prosecutor powers have precedence over the one giving our public prosecutor powers for instance? Should the UK be assumed to have exercised its jurisdiction under the Act (e.g. Section 12) if the UK public prosecutor (the DPP) says there is not enough evidence for a charge to be brought under the equivalent offence in this country? In other words can the police ‘charge‘ someone for an offence under a relevant Act referred to in Section 12(a) and then ‘drop the charge‘ due to lack of evidence on the DPP’s advice and thus comply with Section 12(b) and force the extradition proceedings to end?
I hope this helps Julia, who is being led up the garden path by the authorities who all too often try to fob people off rather than take difficult decisions. Julia might want to nominate the public servants she has dealt with so far for my Sir Humprehey’s Award for Public Disservice.
If the US say that the constitutional right to be free from being ‘twice put in jeopardy‘ does not apply to UK citizens under the Treaty, then neither must any other of their federal laws!
I set out in more detail in this article, how this applies to the case of Gary McKinnon.