Thursday, 27 December 2012

HUGE THANKS TO THOSE WHO HAVE HELPED IN SO MANY WAYS

O’Dwyer Family Thank You

We have many people to thank and wanted to ensure that no one was overlooked so this is our thank you to you all.


We would like to thank our legal teams in the UK and US. Ben Cooper Barrister at Doughty Street Chambers and Chris Wong Solicitor at Howells in Sheffield who have worked tremendously hard, often very long hours over the last 18mths or so. They have put up with my copious rantings and had to sift through tons of material that I have passed on to them. We thank them for their hardwork and diligence.We are extremely grateful to Ben for accompanying us to the US, his presence was a great reassurance even though he could have had us arrested numerous times for Jay walking! Joshua Dratel Richards US lawyer who has worked extremely hard on the US side not least in negotiating the outcome which has been achieved for Richard with the least possible damage and which is I am sure the best we could have achieved in the absence of either a UK or US trial.


A number of Intellectual Property Lawyers have helped Richard on a Pro Bono basis in the UK and US. Graham Smith from Bird & Bird gave his expertise to assist in preparations for the High Court Appeal in the event that it should go ahead. I first spotted Graham via twitter where I discovered he was giving talks at an Open Rights Group Conference. Graham introduced us to Andrew Bridges of Fenwick and West LLP in San Francisco and arranged for him to meet with us and the legal team in the UK. Andrew enthusiastically worked on the case and was able to assist during the negotiations.


David Cook of Pannone in Manchester gave his opinion and comment as well as assisting in the early days of the case.


We are grateful to the US prosecutors who allowed these negotiations to come to fruition in a way that I hope satisfies all concerned.Thanks also the Homeland Security staff at New York Newark airport who were so kind to Richard and made sure our passage through security & border control went without any hitches.


David Bermingham was one of the Nat West 3 extradited to the US a few years ago. David was the first person I turned to after the extradition warrant was served on Richard. David was the first to advise that we would be unlikely to win over extradition through the courts and highly recommended that we approach the US prosecutors to negotiate a remedy outside of the courts. I’m sure David at times wondered what we were playing at and thought we should have had it sorted ages ago but there were all sorts of reasons for the delay and I never forgot his good advice- hence the outcome. So huge thanks to David as without his advice
Richard may have found himself being extradited to the US. I would highly recommend that anyone finding themselves in this dreadful position should get in touch with David. http://www.dbsc.co.uk/


Melanie Riley Director of Bell Yard Communications in London was the second person I got in touch with just before attending court with Richard in June/July 2011. Petrified of facing a gathering of press and not knowing how to manage the situation, Melanie quickly responded and was on hand to help at first with simple advice and later to help with guiding us through what was to become a very regular part of court attendances. Melanie has worked tirelessly for many years helping victims of this rotten extradition Act and playing a key role helping others fighting for extradition reform. On top of this Melanie has been doing all of this for Richard and others before him for no payment! I don’t know how we would have managed without Melanie and we owe her big style! As some tiny recompense Melanie was able to harness Richard’s skills to create a website all about UK to US Extradition


 Friends Extradited.org

Melanie also suggested I join twitter! Since then much of my life has been on twitter- a waste of time some may think but not for me as twitter has been a huge source of support, new friends and vital information so don’t knock it!
A huge debt is owed to Melanie she has been tremendous, so knowledgeable and professional. David Bermingham told me at an early stage that Melanie would be the best thing to happen to us during this fight and he was quite right!
Janis Sharp mum of Gary Mckinnon, I got in touch with Janis via twitter as recommended by Melanie. What a role model! Janis is so knowledgeable about extradition due to having fought to stop Gary’s extradition. Janis has been a brilliant source of advice and support, we have met several times now. There is no better support than that from another person having the same experiences. So brilliant that Janis won the battle to keep her son Gary in the UK and can now try to get life back to normal- whatever that may be. Massive thanks to Janis.
Wilson Sharp a bit of an unsung hero! I’d like to thank Wilson for his fantastic filming and video skills, he has helped us several times by putting together videos about Richard’s case. Thank you Wilson!
I’d like to thank Jimmy Wales for spearheading a huge campaign of support along with Brie Lowry and John Coventry and all the staff at change.org along with Ian Katz and James Ball at the Guardian who teamed up to support Richard and set up the Saverichard Campaign which over 253k people signed. Thank you so much to all of you who signed and also those who left their messages of support.
Liberty the Human Rights Organisation have been behind Richard from the start and particular thanks to Bella Sankey and Shami Chakrabarti for their help and support.
Fair Trials International have supported us and we are especially grateful to Jago Russell who helped to convince Richard that negotiations outside of the courts was a desirable option to pursue.
Jessica Zeun and Deborah Adshead and Graham Coyne tutors at Sheffield Hallam University have been a great source of support and friendship to me and have been very active at the University raising awareness of Richard’s situation, educating his fellow students and rallying support at the University.
Angela Roberts is an old nursing friend of mine Huge thanks to Angela for turning out at demonstrations and pestering all her friends to sign petitions. Angela set up the fighting fund to help with US expenses and amazingly £13k has been raised in 2 months. Hugs and thanks to Angela for doing this and a tremendous thank you to all have very kindly given most generously to the fund.
I’d like to thank Alki David who so generously offered to cover legal costs for a trial in the US, as it happened we had pro bono assistance and didn’t have a trial but Alki’s very generous offer was greatly reassuring.
A number of MP’s have been very supportive both in Richard’s case and in the fight for extradition reform. Dominic Raab, Tim Farron, Keith Vaz, Caroline Lucas, David Burrowes, Sir Menzies Campbell, Zac Goldsmith and others who I know have on occasion raised Richard’s name in Parliament as has Lord McGuinness so I would like to thank them here for their support, efforts and assure them that I will continue with those others fighting for extradition reform.
I would like to thank those groups and individuals campaigning for digital and online freedom and legislation which is fit for today’s digital age and who have in a number of ways have tried to help us such as, Open Rights Group, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Pirate Party UK, and James Firth.


Last of all but certainly not least I must thank the many many people on twitter who have supported in many different ways for example, blogging about Richard’s plight, making amazing videos to raise awareness of the campaign, sending over copyright case information most of which was forwarded to the lawyers, sending messages of support, writing to MP’s and the Home Office and all the RT ‘s etc. There are too many to mention you know who you are! I have been very fortunate to meet a few of you especially from the #Freegary team!


Huge thanks to you all and I do hope no one has been overlooked. You have all helped in so many ways and all of it has been very much appreciated. Without your support I don’t know how we would have survived this ordeal, we are greatly indebted to you.
Thank you


Julia & Richard O’Dwyer

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