I’ll fight for my son

NDET 94648'Julia O'Dwyer with websites on extradition
NDET 94648'Julia O'Dwyer with websites on extradition
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THE MOTHER of a student facing extradition to America has launched a last ditch bid to save her son from jail.

Julia O’Dwyer’s son Richard, who created a website which helped people watch films and television shows for free, was told by a judge on Friday that he can be extradited to America to face infringement allegations.

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Julia has slammed the British Government for not doing anything to help and has now launched a final battle to appeal the decision.

“It’s not a crime in this country – my anger is directed at the British Government for not doing anything to help and of course I’m angry at America,” said Julia.

The student, who studies at Sheffield Hallam University, faces a potential ten-year term in a US jail despite never having been to America or using web servers based in the country.

At court in Westminister, district judge Quentin Purdy, agreed with American prosecutors and ruled that Richard should face trial in the US on two charges of copyright infringement.

In an exclusive interview with the Derbyshire Times shocked Julia, 55, of New Station Road, accused the British justice system of abandoning her son and insisted he is not a criminal worthy of such heavy-handed tactics.

She said: “The home secretary has two months to write a letter to say Richard can be extradited.

“Then we are going to appeal the decision and if we don’t win the appeal Richard will be extradited within a month.

“The problem is we felt really confident that what Richard’s website did was not a crime in this country but the judge dismissed all the evidence.”

The allegations were brought following a crackdown by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in November 2010.

At its peak, TVShack was among the 1,800 most visited websites in the world, bringing Richard advertising revenue of £146,000 over three years.

Julia said: “This law was brought about for murderers and terrorists.

“I think they are trying to make an example of him and I think America is trying to restrict and regulate the internet but they don’t own it.

“Since Friday I’ve had hundreds of messages from techy people saying the judge’s decision was wrong.”

She added: “If it was a crime in this country he should be prosecuted in this country.”

The family are now fighting for a “forum clause” in the extradition treaty to be introduced, allowing a judge to examine where a case should best be heard. The clause has been passed by both houses but not yet enacted.

Julia said Richard was confident about the appeal and had been trying to carry on with his life as normal.

She added: “He is trying to put it to the back of his mind. He just thinks it is so ridiculous, I don’t think he realises the situation he is in. He is a bit naive in that way.

“He says he feels confident about the appeal but I don’t because I know that nobody has won this appeal before.

“I’m doing as much as I can to try and stop him being extradited.”

A petition – Stop Extradition Fair UK Trial for Richard O’Dwyer which has almost 4,000 signatures – has been launched on www.gopetition.com.