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Pirate Bay lawyer calls for retrial

TT/The Local · 23 Apr 2009, 08:53

Published: 23 Apr 2009 08:53 GMT+02:00

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The judge in the Pirate Bay case, Tomas Norström, has been a member of several of the same copyright protection organisations as several of the main entertainment industry representatives, Sveriges Radio's P3 news programme reports.

Peter Althin, the lawyer who represents Pirate Bay spokesperson Peter Sunde, has announced that he plans to demand a retrial.

"I will point that out in my appeal, then the Court of Appeal (Hovrätten) will decide if the district court decision should be set aside and the case revisited," Althin said on Thursday.

Althin is very critical of the judge's actions in the case and argues that the defence should have had an opportunity to review the circumstances.

"In the autumn I received information that a lay judge could have similar connections. I sent these to the court and the judge was excluded in order to prevent a conflict of interest. It would have been reasonable to then review this situation as well," Althin said.

Ola Samuelsson, the lawyer representing Gottfried Svartholm Warg, concurred with Althin in his assessment of the situation.

"All types of interest conflicts are a problem for the judiciary. It should be a matter of course as a judge to ensure that you keep your house in order. This is a high profile case and that is an additional reason to keep a check," Samuelsson said.

Samuelsson said on Thursday that he has not yet decided whether to join Per Althin and demand a retrial.

High profile attorney Leif Silbersky is one of a number of experts who concurred with Althin and Samuelsson in believing that judge Norström's various memberships represent a conflict of interest.

"A retrial is a possibility, but in that case the lawyers will have to take this up immediately," Silbersky told Sveriges Radio.

Pirate Party chairman Rickard Falkvinge has called for the verdict to be scrapped.

"The copyright lobby has really managed to bring corruption to Sweden," he said in a statement.

Story continues below…

One of the groups of which Norström is a signed up member is Svenska föreningen för upphovsrätt ('the Swedish Copyright Association'), where he is joined by Henrik Pontén, Peter Danowsky and Monique Wadsted, all of whom represented the entertainment industry in the case against file sharing site The Pirate Bay.

The judge also sits on the board of Svenska föreningen för industriellt rättsskydd (Swedish Association for the Protection of Industrial Property), a group actively advocating for more stringent copyright laws.

Norström argues that he was not however swayed in his judgement by involvement with copyright protection groups.

"My view has been that these activities do not constitute a conflict of interest," Norström told Sveriges Radio.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:17 April 23, 2009 by Keith #5083
Oh dear! That the judge does not see any conflict of interest is hardly an 'objective' assesment. He should have stepped down prior to the start of the case. I am not in favour of piracy,nor am I in favour of manipulation of society by 'power groups'. The judgement is forever tainted.Justice should not simply be done,it should be seen to be done,ergo,justice should be beyond question. This judge has unfortunately raised more questions than he has provided 'just' answers.


Perhaps for the re-trial we can find a 'hacker judge', just so we get some sense of balance in this.

(obs: I do NOT use PirateBay or any other such systems).
09:35 April 23, 2009 by Gower76
How embarrassing for the Swedish justice system. The highest profile case in years, one that's being observed all round the world, and the judge is effectively working for the prosecution. Disgraceful.

What's more, many people must have been aware of this in advance but chose to keep quiet. Like the previous poster, I'm against piracy - but I'm even more opposed to corruption in the judiciary.
09:37 April 23, 2009 by Balticcrosser
Quite incredible. I'm no big fan of the pirates, but justice should always be impartial. If the judge is a member of an organization represented in a case, his impartiality is compromised. That he didn't declare it is extraordinary! This just screams 'conflict of interest'.
09:48 April 23, 2009 by Swedishbob
Re-trial!!!! Please this whole case is a joke and waste of Time and MONEY. The record/film companies win the case resulting 4 guys going prison maybe within 5 years and never paying a Kr, the webpage is still running and will probably never be closed. So who are the real winners?

Why doesnt the industry use the spotify idea and platform to distribute content or you internet license like your Tv and everything downloaded if free.
09:49 April 23, 2009 by benraph
This is so bad for Sweden's justice system. The judge should be investigated for corruption!
09:53 April 23, 2009 by Britswedeguy
Biased cops, biased juror, illegal 'surprise' evidence and now a biased judge!

The case should be dismissed and TPB awarded damages.

And given a parade.

Or something.
10:06 April 23, 2009 by Texrusso
10:06 April 23, 2009 by oasking
Found guilty before proven guilty is the case of Pirate Bay, judging from this recent revelation.

Some Swedish people claim perfection when actually, they are not near it. This is just one of the cases and a lot are left unresolved.
10:25 April 23, 2009 by acooperfan
RE-TRIAL for sure

TPB= fight the good fight guys (email me with any free PR goodies)

acooperfan AT hotmail.co.uk
10:33 April 23, 2009 by Bender B Rodriquez
Honestly, nobody takes the local courts seriously in profile cases anyway; it will always go to a higher court.
10:45 April 23, 2009 by RoyceD
Charging the Pirate bay guys with anything is like charging the companies who build roads for all the tickets people get who speed on the roads. This is really stupid. The only reason the Pirate bay guys are even on trial is because our society has eclipsed the production companies and they are scrambling to hang on to their power.

Large production companies are now days redundant. I could release my own album/movie/book from my desktop computer if I wanted and receive the majority of the profits if I didn't have to battle the fat that is a market saturating media machine like Universal

I am laughing at the slow demise of the former elites. Muhuahahah
11:52 April 23, 2009 by Miss Kitten
It's obvious what happened here. The entertainment industry found a judge that would give them the verdict they wanted. In what universe could this not be considered a conflict of interest? What a disgrace! I wholeheartedly agree that the verdict should be thrown out.
12:08 April 23, 2009 by Temp
I feel a little sadder now to the Swedish justice system - now it's easier to understand how:

a) the industry won with such a poor case, and

b) the verdict was leaked before the judgement made

...very hard now not to think that the decision was already agreed between prosecution and judge before the case started.

@RoyceD - sure, you could release and take the majority of profits yourself, but how would you feel when your stuff was shared without you getting any of the profit?
12:48 April 23, 2009 by Blackodin
b) the verdict was leaked before the judgement made

lol................... pirated verdict.
13:35 April 23, 2009 by Yendor79
13:48 April 23, 2009 by Supergrover
There is footage of a previous trial by this same judge!

13:52 April 23, 2009 by dtes
ok, so now this makes sense, i was wondering how such a crooked verdict could be handed down, but this here explains everything. so predictable, such a typical situation eh? this is why i frown on governments and leaders, they all have a conflict of interest, anyone who is put in a position of power has a conflict of interest, but this here is just a slap in the face of justice, get it straight Sweden!
16:16 April 23, 2009 by JackSpratts
judge norström disqualified a lay judge in this trial for a conflict, but for some reason known only to him he didn't feel it necessary to inform the defendants of his own. i have serious doubts this verdict or sentence will be allowed to stand. whether it results in another trial remains to be seen, but professional life for the judge is going to get very uncomfortable very fast. power with arrogance rarely sits well with the public. it's an age old lesson norström is about to relearn.
16:48 April 23, 2009 by ameribrit
Got to love 1930's Chicago.... What do you mean this is 2009 Stockholm?...
17:56 April 23, 2009 by Kind Man
It is not true Higher would only look into very big big cases. and higher court is almost 95% agree with small courts. sometimes the higher court doesnt even read the appeals. and they only say yes to first court decision. it happens in aslymseeker cases.. that is what I heard from lawyers which there is only 0% of chance that higher court would look at cases. but maybe they would look into paritebay.

another reason why higher court mostly agree with lower court is because they dont want to slap the lower courts by saying NO you did wrong. and you know how Swedes are "very conservative" people on the face of earth
18:14 April 23, 2009 by byke
Disgusted as usual..... but what more could I expect based on all the courts errors on this case.

Freedoms and liberties in this country have turned a new corner.
19:18 April 23, 2009 by El Mojito
In this situation, considering the US companies she workks for, and not least hosting her own TV show, it is paramount to put Monique Wadstedt in custody, so that she may not communicate with her clients, nor with the incriminated judge, pending the decision of the Svea Hovrätt to decide for a retrial or not. The judge should also be investigated by JO (Justitieombudsmannen) or JK (Justitiekanslern)in order for RÅ (Riksåklagaren) to be able to press criminal charges.
19:41 April 23, 2009 by Bender B Rodriquez
Asylum cases are NOT profile cases.. This case IS a profile case which has the potential to go all the way up to HD.. The rest of your post is a load of bollocks.
20:12 April 23, 2009 by Keith #5083
Just so I am sure I have understood this correctly: TPB folk have been charged with being' accessories' in copywright infringement.Does this also mean that the electric company that supplied them,the Kommune in which they are located,the internet routing companies,etc.etc. are also accessories?

In this case,being an 'accessory' is connected to the persons who download pirated data.

A judge,who is associated with the plaintifs,is - by definition therefore, also an accessory to the plaintifs. In this example such a judge should have disqualified himself from trying the case.

I do NOT seek to defend anyone - pirate facilitators or the 'owners' of copywright material. I am simply examining the contradictions that have compromised the law. Neither plaintif nor defendant should be connected in any manner to a truly impartial judge.
20:18 April 23, 2009 by Kind Man
A case is a case to the courts no matter what!
00:08 April 24, 2009 by Bender B Rodriquez
My god, you clearly haven't got the slightest clue how the legal system works.
04:51 April 24, 2009 by Marley420
The Judge should have recuse himself from the case. My guess is the Judge, pragmatically was on the side of Pirate Bay. He knew the case would be appeal, and motion set aside by not recusing himself. Interesting twist of events.
04:52 April 24, 2009 by Marley420
If the Court of Appeals do not set aside this verdict, then God help us all...
18:13 April 24, 2009 by mrfx
We, the Europeans demand to eliminate shameful and insolent judge and his dubious verdict.
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