Richard O’Dwyer reaches agreement with US to avoid extradition

by Kenny Hemphill on November 28, 2012

Richard O’Dwyer, the Sheffield student accused of breaching copyright laws in the US, will now avoid extradition after striking a deal with US Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE).

The High Court was told today that O’Dwyer would travel to the US in the next few weeks to ratify a ‘deferred prosecution’ agreement under which he’ll pay compensation.

The extradition application will then return to the High Court, where it is expected to be formally disposed of. The judge said: ‘It would be very nice for everyone if this was resolved happily before Christmas.’

O’Dwyer’s extradition was approved by Home Secretary Theresa May in January, and an appeal set for July was delayed. That appeal will not now be heard.

The Open Rights Group welcomed the agreement. Its Executive Director, Jim Killock, said ‘It’s great that the extradition request will be dropped. But we must remember that without this deal, he was due to be sent to the USA for an alleged crime apparently committed in the UK.’

US Customs and Immigrations Enforcement (ICE) officials claimed that O’Dwyer was guilty of infringing copyright laws because a website he ran, TV Shack, provided links to pirated films and TV programmes. ICE claimed that TV Shack earned £147,000 in advertising revenue before it seized the domain in June 2010. If he had been found guilty in a US court, O’Dwyer could have faced up to five years in prison.

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