Kilpedder ‘Silk Road’ suspect did not co-operate with Garda raid
A KILPEDDER man allegedly involved with the ‘Silk Road’ website was in court last week accused of obstruction.
Gary Davis (26), of Willow House, Johnstone Court, Kilpedder, appeared at Bray District Court on Thursday.
Davis did not give gardai passwords and encryption codes for media and equipment during a search of his home on December 19 last year.
Detective Inspector John Fowley of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation said that a warrant was issued to search the property as part of the investigation into the website.
‘ The FBI had identified Gary Davis as an administrator/editor operating this underground website,’ said the Detective Inspector.
‘ The primary reason for search was collection of computer media owned, operated and under the control of the accused as well as any documentation regarding the operation of Silk Road.
‘When we entered the home of Mr. Davis we spoke to Mr. and Mrs. Davis. Gary was in an upstairs bedroom.’
Sixty items were seized during the search. ‘I asked Gary Davis to give me passwords and/or codes to enable us to access the media. He didn’t provide them.
‘I explained to him that he would be committing an offence and could be arrested.’ A Garda witness giving evidence said that Davis initially said he couldn’t remember them, then stated he would think about it, and later refused to give passwords
Solicitor Brendan Foley said that the warrant did not mention passwords specifically, he argued that any warrant that seeks to incur into the right of a person not to incriminate himself should be ‘specific and proportionate’.
He added that there was a presumption of ‘mens rea’ or the ‘ guilty mind,’ however the offence is not one of strict or absolute liability.
‘As I see it this is a very simple matter,’ said the prosecuting inspector. ‘It was made clear to him the consequences of failure or refusal to give information. It’s clear he obstructed the search. It’s frankly preposterous that he forgot the passwords.’
Judge David Kennedy refused the submission and handed down a fine of €1,000. THE ‘Silk Road’ website was an online market that allowed users to browse it anony - mously, without being monitored by authorities or other bodies.
It launched in February 2011 and became notorious worldwide as most transactions involved the buying and selling of illegal drugs, while some weapons were also offered for sale. The site also facilitiated the sale of many legitimate goods, such as art, books, col lectibl es, computer equipment, and other digital goods.