The epic battle to stop UK student Richard O’Dwyer being extradited to the United States is finally over. His excited mother Julia contacted TorrentFreak from New York with news that all necessary paperwork had been signed and that a brief court appearance had effectively ended legal action against her son. Richard thanks all those who supported him and says he is looking forward to getting his life back on track.
In 2011, Richard O’Dwyer was arrested by police in the UK for his part in the operations of TVShack, a site that listed user-submitted links to TV-shows.
Ever since the student and his mother, Julia, have been fighting an extradition battle to the U.S., where authorities wanted him put on trial for criminal copyright infringement offenses.
In March this year UK Home Secretary Theresa May approved the extradition request from US authorities. But seemingly against all the odds, last month it was announced that a deal had been struck to avoid Richard being tried in the United States.
The so-called deferred judgment agreement requires that Richard does not breach copyright in the future and orders him to pay compensation to rights holders. That amount was revealed today as £20,000, which represents the profits generated by TVShack between December 2007 and November 2010.
The agreement itself was hammered out between Richard’s legal team and U.S. authorities last week, but would not be completed until the student had appeared in court in the United States in a hearing scheduled for this week.
A few hours ago came the news that everyone had been waiting for, delivered by Richard’s mother who has worked tirelessly to fight the extradition.
“In New York now,” Julia told TorrentFreak. “Have just been to the court for sign off of deferred prosecution agreement…..so no extradition! Woo !”
Speaking outside the court with The Guardian, Richard said that the procedure had been very swift.
“The judge read out the terms of the deferred prosecution and I agreed to them and that was that,” he said.
While Richard said that he was very pleased that the U.S. government had decided to drop the case against him, he protested his innocence and criticized the UK government for doing little to help him.
“I still believe that I never committed any crime,” he said. “It really is a pity that the UK government didn’t try and resolve this without us having to come all the way over.”
That sentiment was echoed by Julia, who is thankful that the ordeal is now over but is disappointed by the inaction of the UK government.
“It’s just a pity that the British authorities couldn’t have allowed us to sort this out in the UK in a similar manner,” she said.
Of course, while the matter is now effectively over, there has still been a human cost.
“It’s been quite destructive to life really,” she said. “It messes up your finances, it messes up your relationships and causes stress.”
Offering a “a big thank you” to everyone who supported him throughout his ordeal, Richard said he was hoping to get back to normality soon.
“I’m just looking forward to getting back to university really, and seeing all my friends,” he said, but not before “a little celebration tonight.”
Richard and Julia will fly back to the UK today and will no doubt be looking forward to a peaceful Christmas – together, as a family.