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McKinnon ruling could be good news for Richard O’Dwyer

TV Shack student might face a more sympathetic government
Wed Oct 17 2012, 09:48
TVShack's Richard O'Dwyer

THE UK HOME SECRETARY'S DECISION to block the extradition of Gary McKinnon could be good news for Richard O'Dwyer, the student accused of criminal offences for running the TV Shack website.

In March the Home Office said that it had agreed to extradite O'Dwyer to the US where he is accused of copyright infringement because he created a website that hosted links to material that other people had uploaded at other websites.

His mother and others have campaigned to keep him in the UK where it is possible he will face a more sympathetic justice system than the one that so desperately wants him across the Atlantic.

Yesterday after May's announcement about the McKinnon case Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, said, "And we expect her to exercise her discretion to allow Richard O'Dwyer to stay."

Julia O'Dwyer, Richard's mum is a bit less confident, telling us, "The government have the power to apply law changes to pending cases if they wish but since they haven't scripted it yet it's unlikely subject to a miracle."

She added that she was pleased with the news for Gary McKinnon and his mother, who she said has been a "brilliant source of support" to her.

"I'm delighted at today's verdict from Theresa May - pleasantly surprised on both the Gary decision and on law change. This should put an end to the situation of Brits who have never set foot in the US being extradited," she said.

"Janis has been a brilliant source of support for us right from the beginning in May 2011 when we got the extradition warrant. She is a mine of information, extremely knowledgeable about extradition law. There is nothing better than support from someone who is experiencing the same. She has sent me lots of legal info and I have sent her stuff we have helped and supported each other."

O'Dwyer's camp has the backing of Wikipedia bigwig Jimmy Wales and a petition calling on the home secretary to block O'Dwyer's extradition to the US has almost a quarter of a million signatures.

In a statement the Home Office declined to comment on O'Dwyer's prospects in the light of the McKinnon decision, telling us that each case is different.

"Each case is considered entirely on its own merits," said a spokesperson. "Mr O'Dwyer is appealing against his extradition (the decision of the district judge to order extradition, not the Secretary of State's decision) and a hearing is scheduled before the High Court in December." µ



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