A PETITION is calling for powers that may stop a student being extradited for trial in America to be enacted.
It aims to bring into force an amendment to the law as Bolsover 23-year-old Richard O’Dwyer faces being sent thousands of miles away over copyright infringement accusations.
His mother Julia O’Dwyer has started the e-petition, which will go to Parliament urging ministers to put in place changes that give courts further ground to refuse extradition.
“We got about 150 signatures in just the first 24 hours,” she said.
“This would help Richard, and others, but it’s a simple bit of legislation that is already waiting to be signed off.
“If it was agreed by Parliament it would only take about a month to become law.”
As reported in the Derbyshire Times, former Chesterfield College student Richard is battling extradition for hosting a website containing links to TV and film clips that grew to make money from advertising.
It has since been shut down.
Richard has not been charged in the UK and his shocked family are desperately fighting to keep him in this country for any case to be dealt with here.
The amendment to the Extradition Act 2003 would mean a further ground for courts to refuse extradition.
Justices could consider whether a significant part of the conduct in respect of which extradition is sought occurred in the UK and if it would not be in the interest of justice for the offence in question to be tried in the state requesting extradition.
Last month Julia told of the ‘David and Goliath’ battle taking its toll on the family.
Richard was forced to spend a night in jail because of red tape delays and his bail conditions mean he must return to Sheffield University student accommodation every night.
She added: “Everyone is being very supportive.
“His university is supporting him and he just wants to carry on with his studies, it’s going to be quite a long process.
“He just wants to try and get on with his life.”
Computer student Richard could face ten years’ imprisonment for the two counts outlined against him in an initial ‘complaint’ from the USA Department of Justice.
His case is similar to that of allegedd hacker Gary McKinnen, also facing extradition to America, and the two families share the same barrister.
Richard’s next court appearance is in September.