Friday, February 16, 2007
"Hew Griffiths has been in prison here for nearly three years for allegedly breaching US copyright law. He has been charged by a grand jury in the US, but the offences alleged against him have never been tested, and the Australian Government has refused to resist an American demand to 'surrender' him to face trial before the US District Court in Virginia.Read more in "Another one sacrificed in the name of alliance", Richard Ackland, SMH.
There is no guarantee that the time he has served in prison will be credited against any US sentence, which could be for as long as 10 years.
What is particularly fascinating is that it is possible for Griffiths to be charged with these offences under the Australian Copyright Act.
Griffiths has instructed his solicitors that he would plead guilty to offences under our Copyright Act. He has probably already spent more time in prison than any person convicted of a copyright offence in Australia.
All the British were charged under British laws and the US did not push for extradition. Griffiths is the only person, and the only Australian, in the group that the US is pressing to extradite."
The argument seems a bit circular to me. It is hard to make a case for an unfair 'prison' sentence when the only reason the man is in jail is his continued appeals against his extradition.
If there is evidence he committed a crime (enough to warrant prosecution and grand jury indictment), he should stand trial. If he spends time in prison fighting extradition, that is on him and his legal team (as it is a tactic to avoid the charges). It doesn't really matter on how British infringers were treated (perhaps their work impacted or was partially directed toward UK targets whereas our hacker left Australian targets alone). Perhaps those individuals had other useful information and struck a deal (i.e. became informants). We just don't know, nor does it matter.
...And the comparison to the man formerly known as David Hicks is absurd and borderline in bad taste.
It is Hew Griffiths legal right to appeal. He was remanded in custody at the request of the U.S. government in accordance with the Australian Extradition Act 1988.
As to the charges against Hew, firstly the conspiracy charge. Whilst in America the No Electronic Act makes it illeagal to be a meber of of warez group, what law in Australia makes it illeagal? None.
The charge of copyright infringement should also be dismissed as the indictment fails to identify an specific copyrighted works or who the owner of this copyright is.
On this basis Hew Griffiths was not an extraditable person under the Australian Extraditon Act, because obviously this should have failed what is referred to as "Double Criminality", that is was it a crime in the requesting country, in this case the US and would it be a crime in the requested country, Australia.
It has never been made clear why Hew is the only non american they want extradited. Perhaps the current Australian governments relationship with the government of the United States holds the answer.
The comparison to David Hicks is a referral to the lack of due process that has occured, and to be honest there is a very striking comparison between the two.
Hew only plead guilty to the charge of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, the actual charge of copyright infringement was dismissed.
Does anyone know how to communicate with Hew Griffiths? Id be interested in making contacts with him.
Does anyone know how to contact Hew Griffiths in the US?
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