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Monday, June 18, 2007


Griffiths To Be Sentenced This Week...

I know that many readers have been following the Hew Griffiths case, both via this blog and the mainstream media (see our previous posts here and here). For those readers unfamiliar with the case, Griffiths was arrested at his home in New South Wales in 2004 and extradited to the United States for criminal copyright infringement. Under the name 'Bandido' Griffiths was "the brains behind the international counterfeit software ring called DrinkOrDie." (from The Sun-Herald here). Griffiths was one of the first extraditions for intellectual property infringement.

According to reports in The Sun-Herald yesterday, Griffiths will definitely be sentenced this Friday. Further, it is also reported that there has been a plea bargain, which means Griffiths may/will get a reduced sentence. If you are interested in the Griffiths case, we will have a fuller discussion of the case when his sentence is handed down.

Update: Griffiths is also discussed in the context of extradition of individuals by the United States in a Sydney Morning Herald opinion piece by Mark Coultan. As Coultan notes, the Griffiths case "is trumpeted as a victory for US authorities battling software pirates around the globe but it has raised concerns about the reach of American law and the Australian Government's penchant for allowing the US to deal with Australian citizens." Read more here.

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Anonymous KC said:
Hew was sentenced to 51 months as was in his plea bargain. The time Hew has already served here in Australia will be counted. There may still be further negotiations for a reduction of his sentence. This sentence is still excessive given what American members of DoD got and what they actually served.
For example;

John Sankus - 46 months in prison (reduced November 2002 to 18 months)
2 years supervised release
200 hours community service

David Grimes - 37 months in prison (immediately reduced to 16 months in prison)
3 years supervised release
Substance abuse treatment

Richard Berry - 33 months in prison (reduced in October 2002 to 2 years probation including 12 months home confinement with electronic monitoring)
2 years supervised release

These sentences were served in minimum security prison farms. Hew may have to do his time in a maximum security prison as he is deemed an immagration detainee. After this sentence is done Hew will then be transfered to an immagration detainee facility until deported from the US. Given that Hew is a british subject and that the Australian government terminated his his permanent residency Hew is more likely to be deported to the UK.

How much should Hew be punished? Apart from being a show trial for the American DOJ, it should be noted that the light sentences for the American members of DoD came as a result of their pointing the finger at Hew. For example Richard Berry aka "FLOOD" rang Hew some time after the bust and just before he himself was to do his time. Unkown to Hew but known to Richard Berry this phone call was monitered and recorded by the FBI and became evidence against Hew. Other then entrapment what was the point of this call?
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