Mum fears extradition changes “may be too late”

Julia O'Dwyer campaigning to to prevent her son being extradited to the USA
Julia O'Dwyer campaigning to to prevent her son being extradited to the USA

The mother of a Derbyshire man facing jail in the US fears plans for a major shake-up of the extradition laws will come too late for her son.

Richard O’Dwyer, of Bolsover, faces ten years in an American prison after authorities said the 24-year-old’s TVShack website hosted links to pirated films and was in breach of US copyright laws.

Mr O’Dwyer’s appeal in the High Court, against the Westminster Magistrates’ Court decision to allow his extradition, is set to take place in December.

Mum Julia said: “There has been a tremendous amount of public support.

“It is happening more frequently and people need to get educated about it because if it could happen to Richard it could happen to anyone.”

Home Secretary Theresa May has announced new rules making it more likely a UK citizen will face trial at home rather than the US will be introduced but mum Julia said the changes may not help Richard.

She added: “There has been some success with the extradition reforms but I don’t think it will help Richard unless the changes come in quickly.

“At least it will help others in the future.”

More than 248,000 people have signed a petition, set up by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, calling on the home secretary to block the extradition and supporters have already launched a fund to pay for legal costs in the US which has raised over £11,000 in 25 days.

But Julia said they did not feel buoyed by the outcome of Gary McKinnon’s case - the British hacker’s whose extradition was withdrawn on human rights grounds last month.

She said: “The two cases are entirely different.

“Gary McKinnon has health issues and it was refused on that basis.

“Richard doesn’t have any medical grounds for extradition to be refused.”

She added: “Looking at all the other cases everything is stacked against Richard,

“We will have to see how the appeal goes but last time the judge said we had good, strong arguments then changed his mind.

“I don’t entirely trust the courts because extradition seems to be a priority for them.”

Richard, who is in his last year studying multimedia at Sheffield Hallam University, has already been offered a placement with a company in the city.

Julia said: “He is just getting on with things now.

“We’ve had a big gap since the last court appearance.

“He can’t think about it all the time, it’s been going on for over 18 months now and he doesn’t like talking about it much.”

Richard allegedly earned thousands of pounds through advertising on the site he ran from his bedroom before it was closed down in 2010 following his arrest by police and U.S. officials.

To support Richard go to