http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,8957483%255E421,00.html By Warren Owens March 14, 2004 A NSW Central Coast man accused of heading an Internet piracy gang which plundered $US50 million ($68 million) worth of music, film, game and software products faces the prospect of a US jail term. The Commonwealth DPP last week applied for the extradition to the US of Hew Raymond Griffiths, 42, of Berkeley Vale. They want Griffiths, code-named "Bandido" and allegedly co-leader of the Drink Or Die Internet gang, to face trial for criminal copyright breaches, including a conspiracy charge. But Griffiths is fighting the US move, which has already seen several Internet associates jailed. His lawyer told a Sydney magistrate last week Griffiths "had never set foot in the US", and argued he had committed no crime in Australia. The jobless computer expert shares a modest white weatherboard home in Berkeley Vale with his father, Neil Griffiths, who said the pair had recently been forced to move from their Housing Department townhouse. A knock on the door at 3.30am two years ago from Australian Federal Police was the first Mr Griffiths knew of the allegations against his son, he said. "I didn't know what he was doing on the computer," he said. "But it's all a wind-up. Of course I'll stand by my son." According to documents lodged in a Sydney court last week, the gang cracked secrecy codes on US film, music, gameware and software applications long before these were released on the commercial market. Then they downloaded the material and made it available to members of their Internet club. But the FBI cracked the code-crackers and launched criminal prosecutions alleging conspiracy to infringe copyright from 1999 to 2001. Several US members of the gang have been jailed for up to four years for their role and more are awaiting trial or sentence. A Downing Centre Local Court magistrate will hand down his ruling on the extradition move in two weeks. While Mr Griffiths Snr spoke to The Sunday Telegraph, his son sat inside watching television, refusing to come out. His father said media attention previously had forced them to move to another home. A former neighbour said Griffiths had lived with his elderly father in Berkeley Vale, near Tuggerah Lake, for about 10 years. The neighbour said he only rarely saw Griffiths outside the house in that time. He said Griffiths usually had long hair, bare feet, and wore shorts and a T-shirt. The accused computer whiz wore his hair almost to his shoulders until he was served with legal papers and required to attend court, when he had a haircut. The FBI launched prosecutions against the alleged Internet conspirators in the US state of Virginia two years ago, but Australian Federal Police did not receive a request to extradite Griffiths until mid-2003. If convicted in the US, he faces a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of up to $US500,000 ($680,000). - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomo@private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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