Taxi driver acquitted of running counterfeit DVD business

A Tallaght taxi driver has been acquitted by direction of the judge of infringing copyright through running a counterfeit DVD and CD operation.

Stephen Trimble (aged 24), of Suncroft Drive was found not guilty by direction of Judge Frank O'Donnell at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court who ruled that an invalid search warrant had been used to search his home.

Mr Trimble had pleaded not guilty t to specimen charges of making illegal copies of ten Digital Video Disc (DVD) film titles and ten Compact Disc (CD) music titles at his home on October 28, 2005.

He also pleaded not guilty to three counts of having items designed or adapted for making illegal copies of a copyrighted work.

The items include six printers, 33 print cartridges, two scanners, one paper guillotine, a memory stick, two computers and six multiple unit CD and DVD burners.

Judge O'Donnell told the jury of two men and ten women following legal submissions in their absence that he was not satisfied that the "very strict conditions" which were required to be met when issuing a search warrant had been fulfilled in this case.

Judge O'Donnell told the jury that the gardaí in the case were doing what they thought was correct but in this case "it was not enough" and the items seized in the search were not admissible as evidence to go before a jury.

He directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty on all the charges.

Mr Michael Hinkson, a solicitor retained by the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) and the Irish National Federation Against Copyright Theft (INFACT), made an application on behalf of the copyright owners to have the items seized in the case forfeited to them or destroyed by order of the court.

Defence counsel, Mr Kieran Kelly BL, submitted that the court had heard no evidence on whether the items infringed on any copyright or had been used to create infringing works.

Judge O'Donnell put the case in for hearing in July and ordered that gardaí retain the items seized.

Mr Dominic McGinn BL, told the jury in opening the case, that the copyright owners of the musical and cinematic works involved in the case included major corporations such as Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Columbia, Disney, MGM, Sony, EMI and Universal Music Ireland.


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