Billionaire to fund student legal fight

Richard O'Dwyer and his mother Julia, leave Westminster Magistrates Court, in central London, after he lost in his attempt to fight extradition to the US over alleged infringement of copyright.
Richard O'Dwyer and his mother Julia, leave Westminster Magistrates Court, in central London, after he lost in his attempt to fight extradition to the US over alleged infringement of copyright.
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A SHEFFIELD student facing extradition to America for breaching US copyright laws has been approached by a billionaire entrepreneur offering to pay his legal fees.

Richard O’Dwyer, aged 23, originally from Bolsover, faces extradition over a website he set up called TVShack, which US authorities claim provided links to pirated films and television programmes.

The Sheffield Hallam University computer science student, who lives on Shoreham Street in Sheffield, allegedly earned thousands of pounds through advertising on the site he ran from his bedroom before it was closed down.

He is accused of infringing copyright laws and if he is forced to stand trial in America his legal bill could run into millions of pounds and he faces up to 10 years in jail.

Digital media entrepreneur Alki David has offered to help the student with his fees.

Richard’s mum Julia O’Dwyer, a palliative paediatric nurse, said she knew her son had built a website but he was not the ‘Mr Big’ the US authorities thought he was.

She claimed when City of London Police mounted raids on the family home in Bolsover and Richard’s student digs looking for the ‘trappings of wealth’ all they found was computers, a phone and a few gadgets.

“They came looking for Mr Big and found Mr Stupid Student,” she added.

Home Secretary Theresa May has signed the order authorising Richard’s extradition to the US – but his mum said the family plan to continue fighting against it, claiming they have been ‘sold down the river’ by the British Government.

“We are not even thinking of having a trial in America. Richard is not going to become some poster boy for the pirates in America,” she added

“Richard is not trying to evade justice and he may or may not have committed something that was a crime in America. That is not the issue here. The issue is that it’s not a crime here, and he has never been to America.

“If he has committed a crime in this country then he should be prosecuted in this country. But they know they won’t get a conviction in this country because of previous cases.”