Alleged Irish administrator of Silk Road website granted bail pending appeal outcome

Gary Davis, the Wicklow man alleged to have been an administrator of the Silk Road website that dealt with illegal drugs and hacking software, has appealed the High Court order that he be extradited to the US and has been granted bail.

Mr Davis, aged 27, of Johnstown Court in Kilpedder, is wanted by US authorities on charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, conspiracy to commit computer hacking, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Mr Davis, who has Asperger syndrome and depression, had opposed the request. Among his points of objection, he said that, if extradited, he would be detained in an inhuman and degrading manner.

If convicted in the US, Davis could receive a life sentence.

Earlier this month, lawyers for the attorney general said Mr Davis should be surrendered to the US after an order was made by Mr Justice Paul McDermott.

Following the decision, Mr Davis was remanded in custody to Cloverhill Prison. The matter returned before the court yesterday when Ms Justice Caroline Costello was informed that Mr Davis had lodged an appeal, seeking to be released on bail pending the outcome of said appeal.

The State consented to bail on conditions including that he sign on daily with the gardaí and that an independent surety of €15,000, €10,000 of which must be cash, be lodged in court.

Further terms include that he reside at Johnstown Court, be of good behaviour, and undertake not to seek travel documents that would allow him leave the jurisdiction.

The court heard Davis had been on bail while the High Court was dealing with the extradition request and had fully complied with all the terms of his bail.

Ms Justice Costello approved his father, John Davis, as independent surety and granted bail.

Gary Davis, who was not in court, was expected to be released from custody late yesterday.

Silk Road, which was shut down by the FBI in 2013, was an underground website that hosted a “sprawling black market bazaar”.

Mr Davis is accused of acting as a site administrator using the name ‘Libertas’. It was created and run by American Ross William Ulbricht under the pseudonym ‘Dread Pirate Roberts’.

Ulbricht had been charged and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment. The site offered anonymity to its users, where trades were conducted in bitcoin.

The US authorities claim that between June and October 2013, Mr Davis was a site administrator and had “explicit knowledge of the items for sale on the website”.

Drugs available on the site included heroin, LSD, cocaine, and amphetamines. It was claimed that as part of his role, Mr Davis dealt with queries from site users, and had reorganised into different categories certain items that could be purchased on the website.


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