Kilped­der ‘Silk Road’ sus­pect did not co-op­er­ate with Garda raid

Bray People - - NEWS - MARY FOG­A­RTY

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.

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