Caught up in the whirlwind following the raids were Australian native Hew Raymond Griffiths. Hew was the administrator, or “ring leader”, of DrinkOrDie. For the last three years, Hew has been fighting an extradition to the United States, where the US DOJ wanted him to face trial – or plead guilty – on American soil. The US DOJ got their wish in February, when the Australian government released him into American custody. On April 20th, 2007, Hew plead guilty to criminal copyright infringement charges.
The US DOJ, as do many sources, point out that this is a unique case in the fact that Hew has never laid foot on American soil, nor has he ever committed a crime on US soil, yet was still successfully extradited for his crimes. The US DOJ annunciated this fact in their statement on Friday, reveling in 51 month sentencing of Hew Griffiths.
So it appears that Hew was not safe on Australian soil, where according to his lawyer the penalties would have been less severe.
“Effectively my client was sent to face charges in a foreign country where he has no knowledge of the legal system and no friends or family,” his lawyer told The Sunday Age. “He has been surrendered to a country where the penalties for such offenses are much harsher.”
The only mitigating circumstance for Hew Griffiths is the US Judge took into consideration his time already served in Australia. Although he was sentenced 51 months, he was granted 3 years already served. According to The Age, he should be out of prison in 15 months. With good behavior, it’s likely he’ll be out sooner than that.