Police in Derry have welcomed the jail term imposed on a 29-year-old man from the city who admitted running a website which facilitated the illegal accessing of films from the internet.
Paul Mahony, from Carnhill, had pleaded guilty to two charges of conspiracy to defraud, one of acquiring criminal property and one of converting criminal property.
In the largest case of its kind in Northern Ireland, Mahony was sentenced to a determinate sentence of four years. He will serve two years in custody and two years on licence. More than £82,000 seized from his home is now subject to forfeiture proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
He admitted running a website from his bedroom in Carnhill which enabled visitors to search for a particular film, click on a weblink to a third party website and watch the streamed movie on their computer.
Mahony made money by charging for advertising on his website, and by uploading new films to the third party websites.
The PSNI say they were contacted by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) about Mahony’s activities and began a lengthy and complex investigation which resulted in his arrest and subsequent admissions.
FACT Director General Kieron Sharp said this is an important case, which shows that people cannot hide behind the supposed anonymity of the cyber world, and will be identified, caught and convicted.