TVShack owner O'Dwyer cuts deal to avoid US extradition

Richard O'Dwyer will have to pay compensation, but won't face jail

Nicole Kobie
28 Nov 2012

A Sheffield student accused of online piracy has cut a deal to avoid extradition to the US and a possible jail sentence.

Richard O'Dwyer ran a website called, which linked to sites offering illegitimate downloads. He has been fighting extradition to the US over the issue.

Today, a court accepted a "deferred prosecution" deal, which means O'Dwyer will pay a small amount of compensation, and travel to the US to sign an undertaking not to infringe copyright laws again. He will then return to the UK to have the extradition request formally dropped.

According to the BBC, the judge said it was a "very satisfactory outcome", adding: "It would be very nice for everyone if this was resolved happily before Christmas."

Speaking to The Guardian, Richard's mother Julia O'Dwyer said she was surprised to hear the news. "I didn't know this was going to happen today – I'm at work! I read a comment on Twitter with someone reporting what the judge had said and just burst into tears," she said, adding she was yet to hear from her son, who was still in class.

Extradition treaty

The solution follows a similar positive outcome for accused hacker Gary McKinnon, whose extradition to the US was blocked on human rights grounds by home secretary Theresa May last month - who said she couldn't intervene in O'Dwyer's case.

The decision to drop the O'Dwyer's extradition was welcomed by Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group. "But we must remember that without this deal, he was due to be sent to the USA for an alleged crime apparently committed in the UK," he warned.

"Is the UK government happy for the US to assume jurisdiction over every UK internet user?" he asked. "The government would do well to take a long hard look at its extradition arrangements with the USA."

His view was echoed by Isabella Sankey, Liberty's director of policy. "This will be a huge relief for Richard, but how appalling that he had to wait so long for the US authorities to make this decision," she told the BBC. "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."

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