Virus maker dodges his own trial

A man suspected of spreading a computer virus that caused chaos for Swedish public authorities and media companies in 2002 failed to appear in court in Härnösand, northern Sweden, on Wednesday.

The trial was delayed after the man failed for the second time to turn up in court. He was eventually caught by police. Court officials said the trial would start later in the day.

The suspect previously failed to turn up to a trial in June. Since then he has signed a confession, but he nonetheless failed to turn up on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Chatrine Rudström said that the man’s confession meant he had nothing to gain by avoiding the court hearing.

“It won’t pay off for him to try and hide in the hope that the crime will expire – this cannot happen when he has confessed. If there’s no trial today there will be one later in the autumn,” she said.

The man risks a jail sentence if convicted of charges including computer hacking. He is also being sued for 220,000 kronor in damages by companies affected by the virus.

The so-called Ganda virus spread rapidly around Sweden in 2002, leading to email systems crashing at a number of public authorities and media companies. The Swedish National Agency for Education, tabloid Aftonbladet and television company SVT were all hit by the virus.