UK student faces extradition to the USA on infringement charges

February 2012



A UK student faces extradition to the USA after District Judge Quentin Purdy ruled that the extradition could go ahead at Westminster Magistrates Court. Richard O’Dwyer, a 23 year old studying at Sheffield Hallam University faces charges relating to his ‘TV Shack’ website that allegedly linked to infringing films and television programmes that could be found on other internet sites. No infringing material was held on the site although allegedly after it was closed down for the first time, O’Dwyer simply re-started it the next day and made substantial financial returns from selling advertising on the site.   District Judge Purdy ruled that “there are said to be direct consequences of criminal activity by Richard O’Dwyer in the USA, albeit by him never leaving the North of England” adding “such a state of affairs does not demand a trial here if the competent UK authorities decline to act and does, in my judgment, permit one in the USA”. O’Dwyer’s lawyer, Ben Cooper, said the matter would be appealed to the High Court. In a completely separate action Christopher Tappie, a retired businessman, who faces extradition to the USA on charges of conspiring to sell batteries used in Iranian missiles, failed to halt his extradition before Lord Justice Hooper and Mr Justice Cranston and said he will now appeal to the Supreme Court. An independent review of the extradition treaty between the UK and USA by Sir Scott Baker concluded last year that the extradition arrangements were balanced and fair, but many criticise the legislation for favouring the USA and the case of Gary McKinnon, the alleged computer hacker, raised a number of concerns.

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