Thursday 19 April 2018

High Court to rule on US extradition request for 'administrator of Silk Road website'

Gary Davis, of Kilpedder, Co. Wicklow, at the High Court
Gary Davis, of Kilpedder, Co. Wicklow, at the High Court PIC: COURTPIX

The High Court will rule in the New Year on the United State's extradition request for a man it alleges was an administrator of a website dealing in illegal drugs and hacking software.

Known as the "Silk Road", it was shut down in 2013 by the FBI who say it  was an underground website which hosted a “sprawling black market bazaar” on the internet.   

The site offered anonymity to its users, where trades were conducted in the on-line currency "bitcoins".

Gary Davis, aged 27, of Johnstown Court, Kilpedder, Co Wicklow, is accused of acting as a site administrator using the name ‘Libertas’.

Mr Davis is wanted for trial in the US  on charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, conspiracy to commit computer hacking and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

If convicted, he could receive a life sentence.

Mr Davis opposes his extradition and claims he suffers from Asperger's Syndrome and depression.

Among his points of objection are that if extradited he will be detained in a inhuman and degrading manner.

Lawyers for the State say he should be surrendered.

The matter was before the High Court Tuesday (Dec 1) for the submission of additional materials including a sworn statement from the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Professor Juan Mendez.

Prof Mendez expressed his concerns about conditions at the facility in New York City, the Metropolitan Correctional Centre (MCC), where Mr Davis is likely to be held if he is extradited.

The court heard Prof Mendez had sought but has not been granted access to the MCC.

John O Kelly SC, for Mr Davis, said Prof. Mendez had raised issues about effects on Mr Davis's mental health if he were to be held in isolation at a special housing unit within the MCC.

Remy Farrell SC, for the Attorney General, said there was no evidence he would be held in the Special Housing Unit at the MCC because he is not from the US.

Counsel said the MCC special unit used to house terror suspects  and a leading member of the Mexican drug cartel.

Assurances have been Mr Davis's condition would be monitored while detained, he said.

Following the conclusion of submissions from both parties, Mr Justice Paul McDermott said he hoped to give his decision in early February.

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