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Saturday 25 March 2017

Silk Road accused fails in bid to beat extradition order

Gary Davis faces jail in the US
Gary Davis faces jail in the US

A man alleged to be an administrator of Silk Road, a darknet website that dealt with illegal drugs and hacking software, has been placed in custody ahead of extradition.

Gary Davis (28), of Johnstown Court, Kilpedder, Co Wicklow, is wanted in the US to face charges of conspiracy to distribute drugs and conspiracy to commit computer hacking and money laundering.

It is probable he will be incarcerated in the US pending his trial, and could receive a life sentence if found guilty.

Depression

Yesterday, the Court of Appeal dismissed Mr Davis' appeal against an extradition order made by the High Court in August.

Mr Davis, who has Asperger's syndrome and suffers from depression, claimed he would be detained in an inhumane and degrading manner if he were extradited.

His counsel, John O'Kelly, told the court that people with severe Asperger's were "very heavily" reliant on family support, and that Mr Davis would be "totally torn" from his roots if he were extradited.

He also said Mr Davis would require an individualised system of care not available in the US prison system.

Mr Justice Alan Mahon said the appeal was not based on a point of law. As such, it was not permitted in law.

He said the High Court decision was made after a detailed consideration of the facts, including medical evidence and evidence relating to the US prison system.

The appeal effectively invited the court to reach a different conclusion on the same evidence to that of the High Court, said the judge.

"I wish to emphasise that I in no way seek to diminish or trivialise the very real concerns and worries of the appellant and his family as he faces the prospect of extradition to the United States and being imprisoned there," the judge said.

"Such a prospect would be daunting for an individual in robust mental health let alone someone coping with a significant mental health condition."

After the hearing, Mr Davis, who has been on bail since his arrest in January 2014, was led away by prison officers.

Millions

The Silk Road facilitated the sale of illicit drugs, including cocaine, crack cocaine and crystal meth. Commission earned by the site is said to have run into tens of millions of dollars.

It is alleged Davis was paid $1,500 a week.

In the course of its investigations, the FBI arrested US citizen Ross Ulbricht, whom it is believed is the owner of the site.

It is alleged that Davis' involvement was identified from information extracted from Mr Ulbricht's computers.

Mr Davis, a single man who lives with his parents, is the youngest of five children.

The court was told he has a poor employment history, is "obsessed with computers" and is a "loner, naive and immature".

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