- Posted November 20, 2011 by
sheffield UK, United Kingdom
The Fight of Their Lives, Richard O’Dwyer: Tvshack.net
Twenty years ago the very thought that something termed the internet could lead to extradition and tear a mothers son away would have been laughed at. Yet in 2011 a Sheffield based student and his mother are facing and fighting a case that first began over a year ago. In a frank and eye opening interview with me, Julia O”Dwyer mother of Richard O’Dwyer the creator of Tvshack.net told me about their journey over the last twelve months.
In a year that has seen Julian Assange of Wikileaks heralded as a hero by so many and in an age when politicians have been haunted by misdemeanours on social networking sites the power and influence of the internet is truly reaching beyond any of our wildest imaginations.
One year on, and just ahead of another court appearance next week, his family says that they are concerned that no direct progress has been made in a case that has intrigued and fascinated many people on both sides of the Atlantic.
Due to legal restrictions,I was unable to speak with Richard (left) but his mother Julia, from Chesterfield, who has been acting as a spokesperson for him opened up on the ordeal surrounding the case of the Tvshack.com creator.
Six months after questioning, in November 2010, Richard was called back and informed that the criminal charges against him in the UK were to be dropped but that he would be extradited to the US to face a New York court.
Julia says she was shocked and confused when told her son was facing the possibility of being made to leave the country and she sought immediate legal assistance and action. She also began to research and self teach copyright and internet law and discovered what she felt were numerous issues and loopholes with the legal system in Great Britain in the 21st century.
Julia discovered that Extradition to the US was almost impossible to fight but that there may be loop holes within the UK Copyright Legislation which could help Richard's position.
There have been similar cases to the one her son is facing - most notably the high profile case of Gary McKinnon and more recently Ryan Cleary.
The law on copyright in the UK differs from that of the US but, the focus of Julia's argument is why is her son is asked to face trial in a country where he hasn't been since his early childhood, and says that what he is alleged to have done in his own country is not deemed illegal.
Richard's life has been changed with the constant looming shadow of the American legal system flitting into his college experience. Julia says that, despite this, he gets on with what is in front of him and only gets concerned coming closer to court dates.
Julia has appeared on numerous chat shows and high profile news programmes in both the US and UK and has nothing but praise and gratitude for the way she and her son have been portrayed and treated.
Julia also spoke of the approaching court date where their barrister will continue the arguments from the previous date and says a lot more needs to be done in the area of Copyright and Internet Law in the UK.
His legal team is expected to argue that the site Richard ran was not run off US servers and that he should be tried within the UK.
In the final words of my encounter with a defiant and determined Julia O'Dwyer, she offered advice to all parents and young people in the UK - to be careful online, as this could happen to anyone at any time.
Richard is due to re appear at Westminster Magistrates Court next Tuesday, the 22nd November.
In the words of Mark Twain
“its not the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog”