Huffpost UK Tech uk

Internet Pirate Anton Vickerman Posts Private Court Documents On Day Of Fraud Sentencing

Posted: Updated:

An internet pirate who made hundreds of thousands of pounds from his illegal download website committed contempt of court on the day he was sentenced for fraud, by publishing court documents on the web.

After Anton Vickerman was jailed for four years at Newcastle Crown Court in August, his blog was updated with comments about the judge, counsel and the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact).

His writings were not the subject of the contempt proceedings but Vickerman provided web links to documents provided to his defence team by the prosecution that had not been aired during the trial. That was in breach of regulations and a contempt of court.

Fact demanded they were removed from his blog which was quickly done, but Newcastle Crown Court heard that they are still available to read elsewhere on the internet.

Vickerman, 38, apologised to Judge John Evans, who had previously branded him the "most arrogant" defendant he had ever come across.

Vickerman, from Gateshead, said: "I genuinely believed that this was in the public domain, so I apologise for that."

The judge jailed Vickerman for an extra month for the contempt, saying: "You were aware that there were restrictions upon what you could publish.

"I am not concerned at all about the contents of the blog, I am only concerned about the link you provided to the various attachments.

"Although advice was available, you chose not to seek it. There is no doubt had you sought the advice of your counsel and your solicitor, they would have cautioned against doing what you had in mind."

Vickerman ran the surfthechannel.com website which made him up to £60,000 a month in advertising.

It provided an index of TV shows and films to download and at its peak it was close to the top 500 most popular websites.

The site cost the film industry tens of millions of pounds, and ultimately huge losses to the Inland Revenue.

Vickerman was originally convicted by a jury of two counts of conspiracy to defraud.