Monday 5 December 2016

Irishman set for extradition to US on 'Silk Road' charge to appeal

Aodhan O Faolain

Published 19/08/2016 | 12:38

Gary Davis pictured at the Four Courts. Pic: Courts Collins
Gary Davis pictured at the Four Courts. Pic: Courts Collins

Gary Davis, the Wicklow man who is alleged to have been an administrator of the Silk Road website that dealt with illegal drugs and hacking software is to appeal the High Court's order that he be extradited to the United States.

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Mr Davis, 27, of Johnstown Court in Kilpedder is wanted by US authorities on charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, conspiracy to commit computer hacking and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Mr Davis, who has Asperger's Syndrome and depression, had opposed the request. Among his points of objection, he said that if extradited he will be detained in an inhuman and degrading manner. If convicted in the US Mr Davis could receive a life sentence.

Lawyers for the Attorney General said that Mr Davis should be surrendered to the US.

Earlier this month Mr Justice Paul McDermott ruled that Mr Davis be surrendered to the US.

The judge rejected all grounds of Mr Davis's opposition to the request including that his Constitutional rights and rights under the European Convention on Human Rights would be breached.

Following the decision Mr Davis was remanded in custody to Cloverhill Prison.

The matter returned before the court today when Ms Justice Caroline Costello was informed that Mr Davis has lodged an appeal against Mr Justice McDermott's order with the Court of Appeal.

Mr Davis, represented in court by Niamh Foley Bl, made an application to the to Court to release him on bail pending the outcome of his appeal.

The state said it was consenting to bail, on conditions including that he sign on daily with the Gardai and that an independent  surety of €15,000, €10,000 of which must be cash, be lodged in court.

Further terms of his bail include that he reside at Johnstown Court in Kilpedder, be of good behaviour and undertake not to seek travel documents that would allow him leave the jurisdiction.

The court heard Mr Davis had been on bail while the High Court was dealing with the extradition request and had fully complied with all the terms of his bail. 

Ms Justice Costello, who approved Mr Davis's father John Davis as the independent surety, granted Mr Davis bail. Mr Davis was not in court, but he is expected to be released from custody sometime on Friday.

The Silk Road, which was shut down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2013, was an underground website that hosted a "sprawling black market bazaar" on the internet.

Mr Davis is accused of acting as a site administrator on the Silk Road website using the name 'Libertas'. It was launched in 2011. It was created and run by American Ross William Ulbricht under the pseudonym 'Dread Pirate Roberts' (DPR).

Ulbricht had been charged and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment. The site offered anonymity to its users, where trades were conducted in the online currency bitcoins.

The US authorities claim between June 2013 and October 2013 Mr Davis was a site administrator of the Silk Road website and had an "explicit knowledge of the items for sale on the website".

The drugs available on the site included heroin, LSD, cocaine and amphetamines.

It was claimed that as part of his role, Mr Davis dealt with queries from the site users, and had re-organised into different categories certain items that could be purchased on the website.

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