Judge says Jake Birchall would have been jailed if he wasn’t just 16 at the time of attacks on PayPal and others
Despite being found guilty for helping carry out attacks on major companies like PayPal and Mastercard, 18-year-old Anonymous member Jake Birchall has avoided jail time.
Judge Peter Testar said Birchall was “profoundly isolated” with “special needs”.
Birchall, who was only 16 when the attacks were carried out, has been handed a youth rehabilitation order. He had admitted conspiring to impair the operation of computers between 1 August 2010 and 22 January 2011.
He would have been sentenced to jail time if he had been older, the judge said.
“The fact of the matter is he has been disadvantaged in life but he actually played an important role,” Judge Testar said today at Southwark Crown Court, according to the Daily Telegraph. “I recognise that when you committed this offence, when you were involved in this conspiracy, you were 16 years old.
“You should be serving a custodial sentence and a substantial one at that.
“But I have to sentence you with the fact that you were under 18 when convicted in mind.”
It is believed the hackers did substantial damage to companies through their distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. It was claimed PayPal lost £3.5 million.
Birchall was one of four who were guilty of Anonymous-led attacks. His co-defendants didn’t get off so lightly. Christopher Weatherhead, a 22-year-old, was handed 18 months in prison, whilst Ashley Rhodes was given seven months. The other defendant, Peter Gibson, was given a six-month suspended sentence.
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