Richard O'Dwyer's Mother Julia Tells Of 'Utter Relief' After Deal On US Extradition

'I Burst Into Tears When I Read The Judge's Comments'

Richard O'Dwyer's mother Julia has spoken of her utter relief after her 24-year-old son signed a deal to avoid extradition to the US over copyright infringement allegations.

She told the Huffington Post UK she "burst into tears" after the High Court ruled on Wednesday that O'Dwyer would have to travel to the US and negotiate paying compensation, but would avoid a trial and criminal record if found guilty.

"It's fantastic news. I'm still catching up - the phone keeps ringing. I burst into tears when I read the judge's comments saying it was a very 'sensible outcome' and that 'it would be very nice for everyone if this was resolved happily before Christmas," she said.

Richard O'Dwyer with his mother Julia

Julia, who has relentlessly campaigned against Richard's extradition, said after the 'nightmare' threat of extradition the final news came as a surprise.

"It's so fantastic, the news hasn't sunk in yet. I'm catching up very slowly. The judge's comments are going to make me cry again.

"They were going to court this morning to get the appeal moved, and obviously I knew they would have to try and persuade him, and I thought [this might come out] in order to persuade the judge to move the appeal date.

"But it's a shock that this came out in the court. I can't get on to the news to read whats going on."

She said there's going to be "loads to do" following the ruling.

"It's not a good time to be going to America is it on the run up to Christmas ?!" she said laughing.

"We'll have to book flights. It's going to be panic stations.

"Obviously we've got some work to do because we have to go to the US. We are still waiting for all the finer points to be agreed."

She said she hadn't had a chance to get hold of Richard, who studies at Sheffield Hallam, as he was in classes all day.

"I'm going to try and send him an email," she said.

Julia O'Dwyer has campaigned relentlessly on behalf of her son

Richard could have faced up to 10 years in a US prison if convicted after allegedly earning thousands of pounds through advertising on his TVShack website before it was closed down.

On Wednesday it emerged O'Dwyer had signed a draft agreement earlier this week that involves him travelling to the US and paying compensation, but avoiding a trial and criminal record if found guilty.

The court heard that O'Dwyer is expected to travel to the US in the next 14 days to complete the agreement, pay a small sum in compensation and give undertakings not to infringe copyright laws again.

O'Dwyer's supporters have always argued that as the site, which linked to other sites that streamed pirated television programmes, did not host material itself he should not face any charges and should therefore not be extradited.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales started a petition on behalf of the student and has since tweeted his elation at the deal.

253,000 people have backed this campaign to date which, on the first few days of its launch, was the fastest growing petition ever, the UK site told the Huffington Post UK.

Edward Fitzgerald QC, for O'Dwyer, told the court he had agreed to a "deferred prosecution agreement" and intended to honour it.

This meant O'Dwyer's pending application to challenge US moves to extradite him were no longer necessary.

Sir John Thomas, President of the Queen's Bench Division, said: "It is a very satisfactory outcome."

Richard O'Dwyer's attracted support from Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia

His extradition application is expected to return to the High Court in 15 days' time so it can formally be disposed of.

The judge said: "It would be very nice for everyone if this was resolved happily before Christmas."

Home Secretary Theresa May agreed to O'Dwyer's surrender after a court ruled in January that his extradition would be lawful.

O'Dwyer was facing the prospect of being the first British citizen to be extradited for such an alleged copyright offence and his lawyers argued he would effectively become a "guinea pig" for copyright law in the US.

The US authorities alleged that O'Dwyer received more than 230,000 US dollars (around £147,000) in advertising revenue since January 2008, until the site was shut down in 2010.

When he was arrested by City of London Police in November 2010, he accepted that he was earning approximately £15,000 per month from online advertisements.

Human rights charity Liberty said in a statement following the announcement that although it was a huge relief for Richard it was "appalling" he had to wait so long for the US authorities to make this decision.

They added: "Case after case shows that our extradition arrangements must be overhauled to allow people who have never left these shores to be dealt with here at home. We need urgent legislation to prevent their torment."


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